Dr. Caroline Hacohen
Educational and Child Psychologist

Years of professional experience  with parents, children and schools


An introduction to some of my work...

Assessments (in English or Hebrew):

  • Psycho-educational assessments for ages 6-17:  This explores the child’s cognitive ability, achievement (eg in numeracy and literacy areas) and emotional functioning. Cognitive ability is examined using intelligence tests which examine language, memory, concentration, thinking skills and perceptual ability. Achievement level is examined through a “didactic” evaluation, which looks at reading and writing difficulties (including in English where appropriate) and underlying causes of possible underachievement. Emotional functioning is explored through conversation, questionnaires, and through informal and “projective” testing using drawings and stories. A full report is then written with an emphasis on recommendations. (see below).
  • Psychological assessments. These are only suitable for children who have already had a didactic assessment within the past eighteen months. It is often (but not necessarily) for children in 9th grade and above, for purposes of evaluating the need for special accommodations in the Bagrut exams. This kind of assessment evaluates cognitive skills, emotional/social functioning, and perceptual-motor abilities. A report is then written up which integrates the findings with the results from the didactic assessment.

Consultations and therapeutic work:

  • Follow-up reviews with school staff concerning implementation of agreed targets, based on psycho-educational assessment.
  • Educational consultancy with parents, and referring families to educational resources/professionals, liaising with staff and parents.
  • Family meetings to work through transition issues.
  • Individual therapeutic support with children and teenagers.

Group training sessions

  • Training for teachers on issues of relocation/transition and successful integration – a series of 3 sessions (each 90 minutes), are recommended.
  • Sessions with groups of olim children and with their parents. Sessions reflect transition stages: separations and departure; arrival and adjustment; re-establishing an emotional status quo.


What are educational psychologists (EPs) and how can they help? 

The EP is an advocate for the students’ needs. Although the EP may often work in the school, s/he is not usually employed by the school directly, and so has the advantage of bringing more objective, professional judgement to issues. The EP usually becomes involved when the school-staff, together with the parents, are unable to support the child’s educational or emotional needs on their own. The teacher, parent, or school counsellor, will then ask the EP to help.

EPs’ work includes direct intervention with families – an EP usually only sees a child with the parents’ consent - and also as a consultant to the staff for more systemic issues which the school may be tackling. The EP will gather information about the child from the school and parents, and sometimes through observation or psycho-educational testing, and then suggest appropriate support. Parents are seen as active partners in all the stages of problem-solving and decision-making, including reviews, referrals to outside agencies, or other considerations such as the decision to apply to the Vaadat Hasama (see below) in order to receive extra funding/resources for special educational, emotional, or behavioural needs.  

Educational psychologists work together with parents and school staff to help children who have any special needs. After assessing the situation and what has worked so far (or not) at home and in school, the EP will consider two options:

Firstly, the EP may opt to work directly with the child or the family. Direct intervention may include short-term parental guidance/parenting support, a series of family consultations to encourage open communication, or one-on-one therapeutic sessions with the child.

Alternatively, the EP may feel it appropriate to support the family/child indirectly – as an advocate of the child by enlisting appropriate help from others. This can involve either a referral to other professionals, recommendations to the teacher and parents (including suggesting particular learning and behavioural strategies which may help, and concessions for exams), or considering other options such as applying to a “vaádat hasama” of the local education authority, in order to request extra resources for the child’s special educational, emotional or behavioural needs.
Parents often ask the EP to stay involved by joining in follow-up meetings with the school in order to evaluate the child’s progress.  

When should my child be assessed by an EP?

When parents have concerns about their child’s educational, emotional, or social development, the school or kindergarten staff are usually the first port of call. If progress seems slow, and the teachers are unable to identify how to help, the school counsellor may become involved. Frequently, the counsellor will then suggest that the child has an EP assessment, in order to clarify the strengths and weaknesses and identify the child’s needs. Parents sometimes prefer to go directly to an EP, rather than wait for the school to suggest a referral, as the EP report is a useful way of speeding up the school’s attention to the child’s needs. 

What do EP assessments involve? 

When an EP receives a referral for an assessment, s/he will usually ask the parents to complete a detailed developmental questionnaire which gives an indication of the areas to explore further. The EP may then speak to the child’s class-teacher or ask the teacher to fill in a questionnaire. It is helpful for parents to give the EP a copy of any previous assessments or pscho/educational reports so that any apparent changes in achievement or behaviour can be considered. The EP will usually then assess the child, using tests which help to explore cognitive strengths and weaknesses, achievement levels, and related emotional issues which may be impacting on the child’s well-being. The testing takes several hours, and therefore it sometimes needs to be done in more than one session.

Afterwards the parents receive a full report with recommendations, which they then discuss with the EP in a “feedback session”. While parents do sometimes feel a strong enough sense of partnership and trust in the school to monitor the child’s ongoing progress themselves, many parents ask the EP to continue with follow-ups to evaluate implementation of the recommendations at home and school.


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