What is a Child Study Team?
Child Study Team (CST) is a multidisciplinary group of professionals typically employed by the board of education to provide parents and teachers with a variety of learning related services. These services include consultative, evaluative and prescriptive services for students who are experiencing academic difficulties. A typical CST consists of a psychologist, a learning disabilities consultant, social worker and oftentimes, a speech/language therapist alongside the student's parents. Ideally, they will meet before any special education testing is conducted and will continue to meet periodically if the student requires special services.
Roles of the Team Members
The primary role of the psychologist is to assess the student's developmental and cognitive abilities. In addition, the psychologist also assesses and monitors the emotional status of the student to pinpoint any factors which may affect behavior and academic performance. In certain situations, the psychologist may also provide counseling services, instruction and mentoring for students struggling with a combination of social, emotional and behavioral problems.
Learning Disabilities Consultant
Learning disabilities consultants (LDT-C) are certified teachers with a graduate level specialization in Learning Disabilities or equivalent. These individuals are trained to identify the learning styles, and to develop a customized learning plan for the student.
The primary responsibilities of the social worker lie in assessing the interactions of the student in relation to family, school and community. This professional gathers information in matters concerning the student's health, family and academic history as it relates to the student's current situation. In addition, the social worker is also responsible for coordinating students and their families with community resources.
The speech and language therapist is pivotal in assessing the student's ability to communicate. Speech and language therapist provide assessments and intervention in areas where there is evidence of speech, language or other cognitive-communication difficulties. Development of age specific communication skills is essential to the learning process. Language skills also play a vital role to the student's sense of social and emotional well-being. In order to be successful, students must be able to understand language, express their thoughts and to interact in a meaningful manner with others.