Getting an instructional aide for your child in school

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Getting an instructional aide for your child in school

So an IEP includes information about what kinds of services are necessary to allow a child to be successful. One of those services might be the provision of an instructional assistant or an instructional aide. That is somebody who comes into the classroom and works with the child directly or comes into the classroom and works with the classroom teacher to help him or her create a better environment for the kids. Or it might be someone who pulls the child out of class every so often to provide specialized services. So the instructional aide can be a very important person. It's a problem because some parents think the IEP isn't good enough unless an instructional aide is written into the plan. And that's really a fallacy. An instructional aide, when that person is necessary, can be a wonderful kind of thing. The most important question to ask about an instructional aide is whether or not the presence of another person working with their child will help their child learn in the best way he or she can learn. If that person gets in the way of instruction by making the child feel insecure, making the child develop a dependency on the aide, making the child feel special in a negative kind of way, where the child is saying, get away from me, I don't want to work with you, then the instructional aid is not a good idea. There are other and perhaps better ways to meet a child's needs than simply putting another person in his physical space.

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Jerome Schultz, PhD

Clinical Neuropsychologist

Dr. Jerome (Jerry) Schultz is a former middle school special education teacher. He is currently in private practice as a clinical neuropsychologist and is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School in the Department of Psychiatry.  For over three decades, he has specialized in the neuropsychological assessment and treatment of children with learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other special needs. He was on the faculty of Lesley University in Cambridge MA for almost 30 years, and served there as the Founding Director of a diagnostic clinic called the Learning Lab. Before returning to private practice, Dr. Schultz served as the Co-Director of the Center for Child and Adolescent Development at the Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Teaching Hospital.

Dr. Schultz received both his undergraduate and Master’s degree from The Ohio State University and holds a Ph.D. from Boston College. He has completed postdoctoral fellowships in both clinical psychology and pediatric neuropsychology. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of a journal called Academic Psychiatry, and is on the Professional Advisory Boards of a website called Inside, and the Learning Disabilities Association of America.

In addition to his clinical and educational work, Dr. Schultz serves as an international consultant on issues related to the neuropsychology and appropriate education of children and young adults with ADHD & LD and other special needs. In his current role as neuropsychological consultant to several large school districts in the Boston area, he is on the ground, in schools and working with kids and their teachers several days each week.

Dr. Schultz created an award-winning video called “Einstein and Me” about living successfully with a learning disability, and has written extensively about children with learning, behavioral and emotional challenges. He has a special education and psychology blog on the Huffington Post. His book, called Nowhere to Hide: Why Kids with ADHD and LD Hate School and What We Can Do About It, (Jossey-Bass/Wiley) which examines the role of stress in learning, has received international acclaim.


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