Posted: September 6th, 2023
Unique Issues. For this discussion, you will apply your learning about counseling children with special concerns in a school setting by responding to the following scenario:
A kindergartener is under the care of her physician for incontinence. Her mom checks her frequently to make sure she is dry and the girl often worries about making it to the bathroom on time.
As a school counselor looking at this case, consider your approach to a first counseling session with this child:
What are three developmental concerns (cognitive, socioemotional, and physical) that you would address regarding your approach with this young girl?
How might you assist her with each of the three developmental concerns in a school setting?
What are the special services she may qualify for through the IDEA?
Describe the process for obtaining an IEP or 504.
When approaching a first counseling session with a kindergartener experiencing incontinence, it is important to address three developmental concerns: cognitive, socioemotional, and physical.
The cognitive concern in this scenario revolves around the child’s understanding of bodily functions and control. The child may be struggling to comprehend why she is experiencing incontinence and how to manage it. To assist her in the school setting, the counselor can:
Provide age-appropriate education: Explain the basics of bodily functions and discuss how some children may have difficulty controlling their bladder at times. Use simple language and visual aids to enhance understanding.
Teach coping strategies: Introduce strategies to help the child recognize early signs of needing to use the bathroom and practice techniques such as deep breathing or positive self-talk to manage anxiety about making it to the bathroom on time.
Collaborate with teachers: Work closely with the child’s teacher to ensure the child is provided with extra support, such as scheduled bathroom breaks or a designated bathroom buddy, to alleviate concerns about accidents.
The socioemotional concern involves the child’s emotional well-being and how incontinence may impact her self-esteem and social interactions. To address this concern, the counselor can:
Foster a supportive environment: Create a safe and non-judgmental space where the child feels comfortable expressing her concerns and emotions. Encourage empathy and understanding among classmates.
Build self-confidence: Help the child develop a positive self-image by highlighting her strengths and encouraging her to engage in activities where she can experience success and recognition.
Facilitate social skills development: Support the child in developing social skills to navigate interactions related to her incontinence. This may involve role-playing scenarios, teaching assertiveness skills, and fostering inclusive peer relationships.
The physical concern involves the child’s bodily needs and ensuring she has access to appropriate resources and accommodations. To address this concern, the counselor can:
Coordinate with school staff: Collaborate with the school nurse and other relevant personnel to ensure the child has easy access to bathroom facilities and necessary hygiene supplies.
Implement a bathroom routine: Establish a consistent bathroom routine for the child, such as scheduled breaks or visual cues, to reduce anxiety and increase her sense of control.
Educate parents and caregivers: Provide information and resources to the child’s parents or caregivers regarding incontinence management techniques and strategies that can be applied at home.
Special services that the child may qualify for through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) include:
Individualized Education Program (IEP): The child may qualify for an IEP if her incontinence significantly impacts her educational performance. An IEP is a comprehensive plan that outlines specific educational goals, accommodations, and support services tailored to the child’s unique needs.
Section 504 Plan: If the incontinence does not meet the criteria for an IEP but still substantially limits the child’s major life activities, she may be eligible for a Section 504 Plan. This plan ensures the child receives appropriate accommodations and modifications to fully participate in school activities.
The process for obtaining an IEP or 504 typically involves the following steps:
Referral: The child’s parent, teacher, or counselor initiates a referral to the school’s special education department or the 504 coordinator, expressing concerns about the child’s needs.
Evaluation: A team of professionals, including teachers, counselors, and evaluators, assesses the child’s strengths, weaknesses, and needs through various assessments and observations.
Eligibility determination: The evaluation team reviews the assessment results and determines if the child meets the eligibility criteria for an IEP or a 504 Plan.
Individualized planning: If the child is found eligible, an IEP