What is Educational Consulting?

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By: Michael Conner, Psy.D
Mentor Research Institute
Revised:  May 21, 2014

What is the Purpose of Educational Consulting and Intervention Services?

The purposes of intervention and educational consulting are

  • To provide parents with an objective evaluation, information, guidance and support to address their child's psychological and educational problems. 

  • To evaluate and develop a plan to address dysfunctional and other problem behavior.

  • To help parents interview, evaluate and find schools or intervention programs that will  address the parent's concerns.

  • To help parents insure the school or intervention program is appropriate for their child.

  • To support, monitor and advocate for parents with programs and staff.

Why use an Educational Consultant?  

  • To help parents avoid programs that are inappropriate, abusive or incompetent.

  • To insure that your child receives services appropriate to their level of need.

  • To insure that your expectations and concerns as parents are met. 

  • To provide you with a qualified professional resource and an advocate that will help you make sure that programs stay on task and provide the services that your child needs.

  • Programs that care about you and your child will value their reputations with parents and they care about what educational consultants have to say about them. Educational consultants are able to evaluate a programs performance before and while your child in enrolled in that program.

What is an Independent Educational Consultant?

  • An independent Educational Consultant does not work for school or treatment programs and they are not paid by these programs. They work for you and you alone. 

When do Parents and Professionals Need Educational Consultants?

A growing number of parents with teenagers are searching for private behavioral intervention and school programs for help. They need help because there is an increasing number of teenagers have emotional, psychological, behavioral, school or substance abuse problems. Many public and private school are simply not providing the help that children need to learn, grow and feel good about themselves. In absence of appropriate supervision and healthy self-esteem, students are dropping out of school, bonding with other kids who have problems, turning to drugs, and becoming involved in unsafe activities that feel more rewarding and worthwhile. 

Fortunately, there there are thousands of school and intervention programs. Unfortunately, many of these "schools" and "programs" act unethically, are not safe or may do more harm than good. Even schools and program that have good reputations  are not necessarily appropriate for your child. Some schools and programs have earned good reputations a long time ago, but programs change and reputations may no longer be deserved.  

Many parents make the mistake of trying to find the best program for their child without the necessary information or  professional guidance and support. When you call a private school or program, they will either tell you they can help or they can't help. If they can help, only a few will tell you about a school that is better or more appropriate for all of your needs. 

What Problems do Parents Bring to Educational and Psychological Consultants?

Parents are usually overwhelmed with information and decision factors when they are exploring school and intervention programs. If there is a crisis involved, the situation is even more distressing. Very few parents know how to tell if a program is appropriate or not. Research and published materials on programs are simply not adequate and the results of parent surveys are never enough to assure that your child's needs will be taken care of.  In many cases, children need some form of crisis intervention, psychological and educational evaluation, as well as a referral to an appropriate school or intervention program. Previous evaluations and services may have been inadequate or incomplete. Parents need objective advice and information as well as commitment to their family.

Intervention, therapeutic and educational programs vary considerably and there are a tremendous number of programs. Programs vary tremendously in terms of 

  • philosophy

  • health and safety

  • structure and design

  • student populations

  • level of supervision

  • intensity of educational or clinical programs

  • quality and competence

  • follow-up support

  • cost

In many cases, an intervention is necessary before students can return home or go to a private school that can address any special educational needs. Interventions may involve screening, runaway location, crisis stabilization, clinical and educational evaluation, developing treatment plans, monitoring, and educational planning.   

What are the Qualifications of an Educational Consultant?

  • Licensed and Trained. A relatively small number of educational consultants are licensed and specifically trained to provide screening, intervention, evaluation, treatment and referral services for both psychological and educational problems.

  • Membership in an Professional Organization. A growing number of educational consultants are becoming members of professional organizations that require specific education and experience for membership. Membership provides some  assurance to consumers. Members of organizations are not required to be licensed or specifically to provide educational, school or psychological services.

  • Incompetent Provider. There is no state regulation, licensure or educational requirements before someone can call their self an educational consultant. Unfortunately, there are inexperienced and unqualified people offering educational and psychological services in this country.

What Services Should a Psychological and Educational Consultant Provide?

At the very least, educational consultants should,

  • Spend time with parents, students and involved professionals to gather information to identify the family’s needs.

  • Provide evaluation, guidance and intervention support during family crises such as a runaway, dangerous or threatening behavior, or alcohol and other drug abuse.

  • Collect and review pertinent records such as school cumulative records, behavioral records, psycho-educational reports, medical and mental health records and other information that might be helpful in making decisions regarding potential intervention or placement of students. 

  • Research, visit and contact programs and schools that are potentially appropriate placements. 

  • Recommend between one and three programs that parents can contact and visit that are most appropriate for their child.

  • Provide ongoing support, advocacy and information regarding their child's progress during placement in a treatment program or school program.

  • Remain in contact with families and programs to insure proper communication between all parties for an agreed upon period of time. 

  • Remain with a family through any program adjustments or changes if they are necessary. 



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Copyright 2004 - 2011, Michael G. Conner