Volume 43 Issue 4
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Children as Refugees
By John E. Desrochers
Last year, nearly 70,000 people arrived in the United States as refugees. This year, unaccompanied children crossed our southern border in unprecedented numbers while border patrols and local communities scrambled to figure out what to do. Meanwhile, no one is predicting a reduction in refugees coming to the United States any time soon. What guidance can be given to school personnel dealing with refugee children? Arguably, one of the most important steps that should be taken is to reach out to refugee families and enlist them as partners in ensuring that their children receive the supports they need and benefit from the education they are offered. The article by Miller, Thomas, and Fruechtenicht provides us with important background information and some strategies for getting started with these families. Some schools deal with these issues every day and have a lot of experience with them while others have not been affected, but with the increasing number of refugees finding their way into our communities, it makes sense for everyone to be prepared.
Other articles this month can help us with a variety of practice issues. The front-page article on tic disorders should be a welcome update on how you can support students with this problem in school. Following the article, you will find two handouts that you can give to parents and educators to help them understand tic disorders and the kinds of interventions you will be discussing with them. You will also find articles on DSM-5, mindfulness, succeeding in academe, IDEA, and technology (including building a personal website, using e-signatures, and the gamification of education). And contributing editor Perry Zirkel offers his take on a case that he believes is especially relevant to school psychologists. This time, the case involves the complex interplay of IDEA procedural requirements, RTI, and SLD eligibility determination. This article joins others he has written to help keep us up to date with the constantly evolving legal aspects of our work.
Finally, the NASP 2015 Annual Convention is coming up soon (February 17–20 in Orlando), so naturally, there is quite a bit of convention news in this issue. You will find a description of the President’s Special Strand of presentations and a series of interviews with people who will be presenting at the convention. These interviews introduce us to the presenters, but they also serve as quick lessons on their topics. They are worth reading whether you plan to attend the convention or not! Called Presenters in Focus, the topics this month are technology, school safety, and dropout prevention.
This time of year is usually full of fun, family, and thanksgiving. Let’s all take a bit of time from our busy lives to appreciate all that we have. And as we look forward to the new year, I wish you all good health and happiness.
—John E. Desrochers