At the dentist this week, the hygienist asked me what I do for a living, and I was tongue-tied for a moment. Last year I might have said something like, “I provide mental health and behavioral support for students at school,” because that felt like my primary role. Academics were often put on the backburner during support time with my kids because the behavioral, socio-emotional pot was boiling over.
One SSA described our role as always wearing the hats of teacher, therapist, case manager, and behavioral coach rolled into one, and for her that hasn’t changed during distance learning. The main difference for her is that she is now finally accessing training on supporting students’ needs outside the behavioral realm: “For example, I had to dispense a lot of academic content without any training on how to teach math, ELA, etc. to students [last year].” This year, however, she had the opportunity to receive some training around supporting students with academic needs.