Established in 2004, the Student Support Services Division (SSSD) delivers an array of psycho-social, educational and behavioural services for students to provide environments which support their healthy development, enabling them to become responsible, productive citizens.
The Division provides a comprehensive and well-coordinated array of psycho-social support services to students which include specialised services for children with moderate and severe Special Educational needs, behavioural issues, clinical issues and career guidance.Read More
In an effort to reduce the barriers to learning, the Student Support Services Division (SSSD) provides the following services to students enrolled at ECCE Centres, and Primary and Secondary Schools:
- Guidance and Counselling
- Diagnostic/Prescriptive Services
- Social Work
- Special Education
- Behaviour Modification and Psychotherapy
These services have proven to be of immense benefit to students providing them with the appropriate types of interventions to assist them in overcoming some obstacles to learning.
A range of support-based services have been made available to students by the Student Support Services Division, at both the district and school levels. Multi-disciplinary teams of specialist are being deployed at each of the seven (7) Educational District Offices.
Additionally, the Division is continuously collaborating with the Ministries of Health, Social Development and Family Services, and National Security, as well as the Children’s Authority, to identify and treat with situations of abuse, neglect or exploitation which are detected among children in the education system.Read Less
The Student Support Services Division is divided into four major units;
Guidance and Counselling Unit
Guidance and Counselling is involved in supporting students’ Academic, Personal-Social and Career Development needs. This is done through the design and implementation of a comprehensive Guidance and Counselling Programme targeting students, parents, teachers, school administrators and all other stakeholders in education.
Content shared under this category will include:
- Psycho-Educational Sessions for Students
- Targeted Intervention Programmes / Workshops for Students
- Professional Development / Teacher Education Sessions
- Parent Education Sessions
- Educational and Career Advising Content
Additionally, follow up counselling sessions will be done with all students who are presently referred to the Guidance Officer / Counsellor. Parents / guardians will be contacted to schedule online / telephone sessions during this period.
Social Work Unit
School Social Workers (SSW) are the link between students, schools, parents, communities, governmental social services agencies, and other civil societies as they advocate on behalf of students. They provide purposeful intervention in the lives of students, families, teachers and communities. School Social Workers provide psychosocial intervention to assist students in reaching their fullest potential for best performance. School Social Workers are employed by the Ministry of Education, Trinidad and Tobago and function in seven (7) Education Districts throughout Trinidad.
Some of the issues addressed by School Social Workers include but are not limited to, child neglect, abuse, targeted emotional and social support to students’ mental health, teenage pregnancy, chronic absenteeism, grief and loss and building coping and resiliency skills. School Social Workers provide information and training for parents, teachers and other school personnel related to issues affecting children and specialized forms of intervention.
Roles and responsibility of School Social Workers
School Social Work encompasses a variety of very diverse roles and tasks aimed at removing the psychosocial barriers to learning and working towards meeting the unique needs of each student. A systems framework forms a reference point for School Social Work Practice. School Social Workers roles/tasks include:
- Provide counselling services, support, and case management.
- Facilitate positive communication between home and school while build trusting and supporting relationships with students, families and school personnel.
- Advocate for the child and mobilize family, school and community resources to enable the child to learn as effectively as possible.
- Provide crisis intervention.
- Conduct home visits and family intervention to assist families in understanding their children educational needs and address barriers to learning.
- Facilitate Stakeholders engagement by linking students and families with school and community resources.
- Promote parental involvement in their child’s school and education through Parenting in Education Workshops (P.I.E.).
- Collaborate with school personnel to accurately assess students’ psychosocial needs and collaboratively develop strategies to meet identified needs and work towards facilitating students’ academic success.
- Provide opportunities for parents’/ caregivers to gain an understanding of services, programs and school policies.
- Provide assessments and interventions when working with students’ who have been referred by teachers or school administrators.
- Develop/facilitate/coordinate and provide prevention programs.
- Assess adaptive behaviours, and psychosocial factors that may be barriers to a student’s learning or have a direct impact on students’ behaviours.
Core Functions of School Social Work Practice
Guided by the systems framework, School Social Workers employ culturally relevant and appropriate strategies and techniques when working with students, families and communities. School Social Workers core functions are facilitated through the services highlighted in the following diagram. The services provided by School Social Workers are direct services provided at the student, family and community levels.
In response to COVID 19 School Social Workers continue to provide integral and necessary services to students, parents and families, educators and community members to create the appropriate intervention strategies during this pandemic whilst students are learning at home.
Special Education Unit
The Special Education Unit offers diagnostic screening, assessment, and intervention services for students with Special Education Needs (SEN), primarily via a school-based system of service delivery. The services provided are aimed at identifying and supporting students with disabilities and other special needs. The services are also designed to ensure that students with SEN benefit from equitable access to educational opportunities available to all students.
These services include, but are not limited to:
• School Based-Needs Assessment
• Referral Management
• Diagnostic Screening and Pre-Referral Intervention
• Curriculum Based and Standard Assessment
• Curriculum-based Support and Intervention
• Client Consultation and Advocacy
• Development, Implementation and Coordination of Individualized Education
• Specialized and Therapeutic Interventions
• The Management and Administration of Special Concessions
• Transition Planning and Services
• Management of Special Needs Grants for Private Special Schools
• Monitoring and Supervision of Public and Private Special Schools
• Consultation and engagement with internal and external stakeholders
Development Assessment Intervention Unit (DAIU)
The DAI Unit endeavours to take all measures and initiatives that ensure best psycho-educational and psychosocial services be provided to all students. Through methods of information and service provision, the specialists aim to provide interventions that reduce and manage mental health challenges within classrooms, school wide environs and family institutions. Utilizing modules for training and information sharing, seeks to promote collaboration in proactive measures of intervention.
Clinical Psychologist- provides professional development and psychological assessments of students to affect overall psychological functioning and well-being. The incumbent specializes in diagnosis and treatment of behavioural, mental, emotional and learning disorders that impact student learning and behaviour.
Behavioural Specialist- responsible for effecting positive behavioural change. The incumbent specializes in conducting Functional Behavioural Assessments and Creating and Managing Behavioural Intervention Plans for both individual and schoolwide positive behavioural change. Interventions are governed by compassionate and caring therapeutic support to students, families, teachers and other support personnel.
School Psychologist- committed to quality education and its ability to change lives. The incumbent addresses learning, motivation and behavioural challenges through collaborative efforts with Multi Disciplinary Teams, principals, teachers and students. Our aim is to promote a healthy learning environment that focuses on the specific needs of all students.
Student Support Services Division (SSSD)
Ministry of Education
Level 1, Building A,
No. 5 St. Vincent Street,
Port of Spain
Tel: 1(868)622-2181 (Ext. 1033/1034/1035/1036)