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Glossary Of Professionals

Professional Types

Click on any Professional term below to find out more.


An individual with knowledge of the law and best practices, and special expertise in the area of special education rights. Educational advocates use their understanding of a child’s needs to help parents meaningfully participate in their child’s education, and to ensure that parents’ and students’ legal rights are protected. They will typically consult with families and attend IEP meetings, mediations and hearings. Currently, there are no federal or state legislative or regulatory guidelines for the educational or credentialing requirements of advocates, nor to inform the practice of “special education advocacy.”

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An educational attorney is an attorney with extensive knowledge of the special education process. These attorneys work to ensure that children and adolescents have access to the educational services that they are entitled to under federal law (e.g., Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA]). They protect the rights of students and families struggling with learning, developmental and other disabilities that affect academic and/or social functioning. They provide legal representation to individuals with disabilities and their families at mediations, IEP meetings, and Due Process Hearings. Educational attorneys understand diagnoses and psychoeducational and neuropsychological assessments, and are thus able to help with IEP and 504 plan advocacy; they may also represent individuals seeking services through Regional Center. Educational attorneys often work with educational advocates to ensure that schools are addressing a child’s educational needs, and are fully and appropriately implementing 504 plans and IEPs.


Educational audiology is a subspecialty in the field of clinical audiology. Educational Audiologists deliver a full spectrum of hearing services to all children, particularly those in educational settings. Audiologists are trained to diagnose, manage and treat hearing and balance problems. Educational Audiologists are members of the school multidisciplinary team who facilitate listening, learning, and communication access via specialized assessments; monitor personal hearing instruments; recommend, fit and manage hearing assistance technology; provide and recommend support services and resources; and advocate on behalf of the students. Educational audiologists provide evidence for needed services and technology, emphasize access skills and supports, counsel children to promote personal responsibility and self-advocacy, maintain student performance levels, collaborate with private sector audiologists, help student transitions, and team with other school professions to work most effectively to facilitate student learning.

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An educational therapist is a professional who combines educational and therapeutic approaches for evaluation, remediation, case management, and communication/advocacy on behalf of children, adolescents and adults with learning difficulties (e.g., difficulties related to Dyslexia, ADHD, executive functioning deficits). Educational therapy differs from tutoring and other remedial interventions in that it attends to psycho-educational and socio-emotional factors, which inform and support the achievement of academic goals. The Association of Educational therapists note that “while a tutor generally focuses on teaching specific subject matter, an educational therapist’s focus is broader. Educational therapists collaborate with all the significant people concerned with the student’s learning, and they focus not only on remediation but also on building self-awareness and underlying learning skills to help clients become more self-reliant, efficient learners.”

Source: Association of Educational Therapists - Click Here


The practice of clinical social work is defined as a service in which a special knowledge of social resources, human capabilities, and the part that unconscious motivation plays in determining behavior, is directed at helping people to achieve more adequate, satisfying, and productive social adjustments. The application of social work principles and methods includes, but is not restricted to, counseling and using applied psychotherapy of a nonmedical nature with individuals, families, or groups; providing information and referral services; providing or arranging for the provision of social services; explaining or interpreting the psychosocial aspects in the situations of individuals, families, or groups; helping communities to organize, to provide, or to improve social or health services; or doing research related to social work.

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Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, or LMFTs are mental health professionals trained in psychotherapy and family systems, and are licensed to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, both individually and within the context of marriage, couples and family systems. They treat a wide range of clinical problems including depression, anxiety, marital problems and child-parent problems, and they use psychotherapeutic techniques to assist individuals and families in resolving emotional conflicts, modifying perceptions and behavior, enhancing communication and understanding among family members, and preventing family and individual crises. LMFTs take a holistic perspective to health care; they are concerned with the overall, long-term well-being of individuals and their families.

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy - Click Here For Source:
of Behavioral Sciences - Click Here For Source:


Occupational therapists help people across the lifespan do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners enable their patients to live life to the fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability. Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations (e.g., fine motor and handwriting interventions, treatment for sensory-motor integration difficulties). Therapies can also help children and adolescents recover from injury to regain skills. Occupational therapy services typically include: an individualized evaluation, customized intervention, and an outcomes evaluation.

Source: The American Occupational Therapy Association - Click Here


The American Psychological Association defines a psychologist as a person with “a doctoral degree in psychology from an organized, sequential program in a regionally accredited university or professional school." In the United States, the doctoral degree is generally recognized and accepted as the education credential for license eligibility to practice independently as a clinical psychologist.

Clinical child and adolescent psychology is a specialty in professional psychology that develops and applies scientific knowledge to the delivery of psychological services to infants, toddlers, children and adolescents within their social context. Clinical child and adolescent psychologists study, assess and treat of a wide range of interrelated biological, psychological and social problems experienced by children and adolescents (e.g., emotional and developmental problems). They often provide ongoing therapy services aimed at helping a child and his or her parents address behavioral, emotional, and/or educational issues. Child Psychologists are not physicians, and cannot perform a physical examination or prescribe medication.


Clinical Neuropsychologists are licensed psychologists who have specialized knowledge and training in clinical psychology and neuropsychology. They understand how the brain develops and they have in-depth knowledge of the applied science of brain-behavior relationships. They use this knowledge in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of patients across the lifespan who have developmental, neurological, medical, or psychiatric conditions.

A Clinical Neuropsychologist employs psychological and behavioral methods to evaluate patients’ cognitive and emotional strengths and weaknesses. They use this information, in conjunction with information provided by family members, educators and other healthcare providers, to identify and diagnose neurobehavioral disorders; understand how problems with the brain may relate to difficulties seen at school, home, or with peers; help match expectations to a child’s specific strengths and weaknesses; work with other professionals and teachers to develop the best treatment and educational plan for a child; and assist families and schools with implementing intervention strategies.

Sources: American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology (AACN) - Click Here
American Psychological Association – Click Here
California Board of Psychology - Click Here
The National Register of Health Service Psychologists – Click Here



Developmental-Behavioral Pediatricians are physicians with training and expertise in the evaluation and care of children and adolescents with a number of conditions including: learning disorders; attention and behavioral disorders; oppositional-defiant behavior/disorders; conduct problems/disorders; depression; anxiety disorders; disorders of regulation, such as sleep disorders; developmental disabilities; delayed development in speech, language, motor skills; and thinking ability and other behavioral and developmental problems.

Source: Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics


A child neurologist, or pediatric neurologist, is a physician who deals with diseases and conditions that affect the nervous system. For example, if your child has seizures, delayed speech, poor muscle tone, or frequent headaches, your pediatrician may ask a neurologist for an evaluation.

This type of neurologist specializes in dealing with children from birth to young adulthood. In addition to a four-year medical degree, a pediatric neurologist usually has had three or more additional years of training in child neurology. The American Board of Pediatrics certifies child neurologists. In some cases, child neurologists may work as part of a team with your child's primary care doctor and a developmental pediatrician to develop a treatment plan for your child if he or she has some difficult or serious medical concerns. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD or autism) may see a child neurologist in order to deal with sensory issues or behavioral issues associated with autism.

Sources: American Board of Pediatrics:
American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN):


A pediatric ophthalmologist is a medical and surgical doctor who graduated from medical school and specializes in the care of children’s eyes. All ophthalmologists have training in children’s eye disorders, but pediatric ophthalmologists have additional training, experience, and expertise in examining children, and have the greatest knowledge of possible conditions that affect the pediatric patient and his/her eyes. Neurologic development of vision occurs until approximately 12 years of age. Misalignment of the eyes (strabismus), uncorrected refractive error (myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism), and asymmetry of refractive error (anisometropia) between the two eyes can negatively affect this development and cause amblyopia (“lazy eye”).

Source: American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS) - Click Here


Pediatric Psychiatrists are physicians who practice in the diagnosis and the treatment of disorders of thinking, feeling and/or behavior affecting children, adolescents, and their families, and they are medical specialists that addresses needs for medication. A child and adolescent psychiatrist uses the knowledge of biological, psychological, and social factors while working with patients. A pediatric psychiatrist can perform consultations, conduct comprehensive diagnostic examinations and design and implement treatment plans that address presenting issues that affect the child or adolescent and family.

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Speech Language Pathologists/Therapists are professionals who work with adults and children on all aspects of oral communication. They can help prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat a wide range of challenges such as those involving: articulation/ phonological disorders, receptive & expressive language delays/disorders, auditory processing disorders, social communication challenges, fluency/stuttering Issues, & voice disorders. Speech/Language Pathologists work with adults and children with a wide range of diagnoses from those with minor challenges, to patients with more complex diagnoses, including but not limited to: autism, aphasia, apraxia, learning disabilities, and many others.

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