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Building tailored treatment plans for children and youth

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October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month

Since its inception in 1968, psychology has been a core component of the Integra Program's approach to providing treatment for children and youth with learning disabilities.

“Through our Psychological Consultation Services, we examine the information contained in a child or youth’s assessment report in order to adapt and tailor their treatment plan to their learning profile,” says Dr. Ashley Morgan, Psychologist and Manager of Research with the Integra Program.   

Typically, individuals with Neurodevelopmental Disorders (e.g., Learning disabilities, Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) undergo comprehensive psychological assessments in order to facilitate diagnosis, treatment and educational planning. These assessment reports are often available to service providers within the children’s mental health sector; however, it can be difficult for families to interpret the technical language and understand how the findings are applied to mental health treatment planning.

At CDI, a psychologist works with families to translate the technical information into accessible language and discuss how the results of the assessment speak to the child's strengths and difficulties across a variety of everyday contexts (e.g., school, home, community and social relationships).

“Building an understanding of a child's learning profile and processing skills (e.g., processing speed, executive functioning, memory, attention, emotion regulation) leads to increased empathy in the child's parent(s), ultimately leading to improved treatment outcomes,” says Dr. Jenifer Scully, a psychologist with the Integra Program. “In addition, from the parent and child's perspective, understanding the child's learning profile is the first step in building advocacy skills,” she says.

Following amalgamation with CDI in 2014, the Integra Program has been working with clinicians delivering other CDI programs to offer in-house psychological services to clients. For example, in November 2014, clients in the School Treatment programs (i.e., students in the Section 23 classrooms) began receiving in-house psychoeducational assessments and consultations. In addition, each CDI program has the opportunity to receive two psychological consultations per year. This summer, CDI also began providing in-house psychological consultation services to childcare centres as part of the City of Toronto's Every Child Belongs model.  

“Our hope is to continue to build our capacity to offer psychological consultation services to all CDI clients who have received a psychological assessment in the past,” says Dr. Marjory Phillips with the Integra Program. “We have seen many benefits from this service including improvements in parent, therapist and children’s understanding of their learning profile and better-tailored treatments to fit with learning profiles.”

To learn more about CDI's Integra Program, click here.