School counselors are available to talk to students about almost anything. Let’s face it: when you have something on your mind, it is hard to focus on anything else – especially school work. It is the school counselor’s job to help students be good learners and be contributing members of the school community.
Counselors may meet with students in groups or one-on-one. For example, a counselor may run a “lunch bunch” or other social program where students interact in a structured setting. Programs may be organized around specific topics (for example, a group for students of divorced parents) or they may be more about developing friendships over natural conversation. For students on the autism spectrum, a structured “lunch bunch” may be a good way to gain support in developing friendships with peers.
Some students meet individually with a school counselor to work on a specific problem or to develop a specific skill. For example, if your child is being bullied, meeting with the school counselor is a good step toward ending the bullying, maintaining or improving self-esteem, and empowering your child to deal with similar problems in the future.
Some students on the autism spectrum meet on a regular basis with a school counselor. One intervention that is used for some students on the spectrum is called “Check In/Check Out (CI/CO)” The student checks in with the counselor at the start of the day and then again before going home. This type of program is particularly useful for students with low-level problem behaviors. It provides positive reinforcement at the beginning and end of the day and holds the student accountable for his or her actions while at school. While CI/CO can be implemented by just about any adult within a school, it is frequently the role of the school counselor.
School counselors are also available to meet with parents. If you have a concern about your child, make an appointment with the school counselor and come up with a plan that will support your child at both school and home.