Child Participation and Agency and School Psychology

Larkins, Cath orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2999-6916, Lansdown, Gerison and Jimerson, Shane R. (2020) Child Participation and Agency and School Psychology. In: International Handbook on Child Rights and School Psychology. Springer, pp. 259-274. ISBN 978-3-030-37117-3

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The obligation to respect, protect and promote the right for children to express their views and for these to be taken into account in decisions that affect them is at the heart of the UN (Convention on the rights of the child. Available: Convention on the Rights of the Child and is echoed in the UN (Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD). Available: Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This right applies to all children, regardless of age and disability. It requires that children receive adequate information and that their views are given due weight. The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities stresses that participation in a school environment is a fundamental part of ensuring the provision of inclusive education. Adopting a participatory approach is in line with international ethical standards for school psychology and can help reach some key professional goals. International standards and examples of practice provide guidance on the application of a participatory approach in the case-based and systemic work of school psychologists. Children must be seen as competent to express their views about their own engagement with school psychology services, education planning and assessments of their needs. Their views should inform decisions and, in some situations, they should be enabled to make decisions for themselves. Children who are supported by school psychologists can contribute important perspectives, improving learning environments through school councils, guiding education institutions and informing government policies. Children have worked in decision-making committees, alongside school psychologists and education service managers, to co-produce aspects of their educational services and oversee improvements that children themselves have suggested. Children have effectively monitored practice and investigated possible solutions through research and evaluation. Children, together with parents and professionals, have also engaged in advocacy and policy-making, bringing about legislative change. Training resources are available to enable school psychologists to spread a culture of participation.

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