ISPA – Support for the Profession Worldwide

ISPA colloquia are held in a different country each year. These annual meetings form a vital part of the activities of the Association as they provide opportunities for members to come together, share ideas and experiences, meet old friends, and make new ones.

During the four day annual conference, participants discuss practices that help parents raise healthy, resilient children, and that help teachers meet the needs of all students, including those with challenging learning and emotional problems. The conferences focus on different themes each year.

The conferences also serve to advance the profession in those regions in which they are held:

In 1993, ISPA’s presence in Slovakia helped lead to the passage of legislation establishing school psychologists as specialists in that country.

The 1994 conference in Brazil had a significant impact on establishing the profession in that country as well as other South American countries.

The 1998 conference in Latvia boosted the official recognition and rapid development of the profession not only in Latvia itself but also in the neighboring countries of the Baltic region in particular.

Similar benefits have occurred in many other countries where ISPA has held their annual summer meeting.

ISPA also has developed a definition and code of ethics of the profession and other documents that are useful internationally, including a set of core requirements for the training and education of School Psychologists.

Support for Schools and Teachers

ISPA members are resources in countless ways to teachers and to the schools where they work. Among the ways ISPA members provide this support are:

  • helping teachers understand child growth and development, social/emotional needs of children and how they learn
  • assessing learning and emotional problems and helping teachers develop strategies and interventions to help children be more successful in the classroom
  • providing counseling to children in need of emotional support
  • establishing or joining crisis response teams when schools experience trauma such as the illness or death of children, their family members or school staff, natural disasters, wars, terrorism
  • teaching peer mediation, conflict resolution and social skills to children to encourage alternatives to violence
  • designing programs for children at risk of school failure
  • implementing prevention programs to deal with issues such as violence, drug abuse, alcoholism, sexual molestation
  • consulting with school principals on ways to improve the social and emotional climate of the schools

Support for Children, Parents, and Families

School psychologists are often the primary link between homes and school, providing front-line support to families in times of crisis. Among the projects ISPA members have participated in are:

  • working with parents to manage learning and behavior problems in the home setting;
  • collaborating with community agencies to meet the broader social service needs of children and families;
  • offering psychological support to children in the Kosovo refugee camps and training the crisis relief staff;
  • responding to shootings in Columbine High School and other US schools;
  • providing relief services to the victims of the earthquake in Turkey and hurricanes and floods in South America;
  • training the professional relief staff in areas affected by crisis.