What is a Child Psychologist?
A child psychologist is a doctor that has a doctorate degree in psychology. A child psychologist works with people from infancy to young adulthood and takes interest in issues relating to children.
There is no specific degree in child psychology. A psychologist who classifies herself as a child psychologist is simply saying that her practice specializes in dealing with children. It is important to note that a child psychologist, or any psychologist for that matter, cannot prescribe medication.
A child psychologist may have her own practice or work in a practice with many other psychologists. She may work for a government agency, for the court system, or for a hospital.
Why Should My Child See a Psychologist?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD or autism) is a disorder that affects a child’s behavior as well as communication and social development. Because of this, your child’s doctor may recommend that you take your child to a psychologist in order to address behavioral concerns or emotional development concerns.
A psychologist can help develop a therapy program for your child, in order to decrease certain negative behaviors as well as encourage the development of positive behaviors. A psychologist can also help address communication or social issues that your child may have, as well as create a plan to deal with the issues. For example, if your child has difficultly dealing with social interactions and meeting people, a psychologist can encourage him to take steps to overcome these difficulties. The first step in such a program might be to make eye contact with new people and say “hello.”
A psychologist can also help families deal with how autism may affect their interpersonal relationships and family dynamics. For example, an older sibling of a child with autism may need to find positive ways to deal with her brother’s diagnosis. She may also need emotional support in order to deal with some of the negative behaviors exhibited that may affect her.
Another Advocate for Your Child
A psychologist can be a valuable part of a treatment team and help you advocate for your child with school officials. They can provide documentation as needed and answer questions about child development and child behaviors. A child psychologist can also help a family find community resources and medical resources to help deal with problems that may occur.
Reference: Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia(APNS). Psychology Works for Autism, retrieved on 4/1/2011 from http://www.apns.ca/prob_autism.html
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