Child psychologists in applied settings
Child psychology is not just about developing theories or approaches to explain development, it has a practical reason. It is about working with children and young people to support their lives. Child psychologists often work in practical settings such as schools and hospitals, to help support development. Here we offer two examples of work in practical settings.
Educational psychologists work with children who find it difficult to learn, understand or communicate with others or are judged to have behavioural difficulties. Educational psychologists work in schools with teachers, families and school administrators to help children who are struggling with specific educational issues.
Activity 2 What is the role of an educational psychologist?
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Clinical psychologists study, assess and treat a wide range of biological, psychological and social problems that children and young people may experience in their personal lives. This might involve the assessment of individuals to find out what they are struggling with, interventions that support individuals to cope with that difficulty or prevention programmes that stop them suffering. Clinical psychologists also consult with other professionals to offer as holistic a support structure for individuals as possible.
Similarly to educational psychologists, clinicians often use diagnostic tests to identify children who are at risk of having some kind of developmental disorder, such as autism or ADHD, or even to assess the progress of children who have suffered physical or mental damage. By understanding how children of a certain age typically perform on a set of tasks, clinical psychologists can identify symptoms of developmental disorders to ensure, to the best of their ability, that the child is given appropriate support as early as possible.