FAQ for School Psychologists and Other Mental Health Professionals: New Resources and Online Event

Oct 06, 2016

School psychologists and other mental health professionals who want to support Transgender and other Gender-expansive students may find they lack critical information tailored to their professional roles. Recognizing that need, the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and Gender Spectrum teamed up to create a series of FAQ’s for school psychologists and other mental health providers.

NASP informally surveyed its members to determine which questions most needed to be addressed. Responses ran the gamut, ranging from basic questions about terminology to complex clinical questions, including:

– I hear words like Agender, Gender fluid, nonbinary, and Genderqueer. What do they all mean?
– If a young child identifies as transgender or presents as gender-expansive is it likely that this will remain constant as they grow older?
– What is known about transgender and gender-expansive students and risk and resilience?
– What should our policy be about changing gender markers on school records?
– Should we use labels like emotionally disabled to ensure eligibility for special education services and protections when the problems stem primarily from a nonaccepting environment?
– How can I help address concerns from parents/guardians related to transgender inclusive policies?

In light of the diversity of questions, what was originally intended to be a two to three page FAQ grew to become a series addressing these topics:

Overview of Gender Basics and Terminology
Child Development and Research
Counseling and Supporting Students and Families
Policy, Law and Practice


Gender Inclusive Schools: Strategies for School Psychologists and other Mental Health Professionals
Tuesday, October 25 – 11:00am PST / 2:00pm EST
Click here to RSVP for the live, interactive online session!

Gender Spectrum will be hosting an online event on October 25 featuring NASP practitioners and leaders Todd Savage and Jill Davidson who will make the FAQs come alive with an online discussion drawing on their experience in the field. The event will be moderated by Gender Spectrum’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, Kim Westheimer.

Todd A. Savage, Ph.D., NCSP
Todd A. Savage earned his doctorate in school psychology from the University of Kentucky in 2002. Having worked as a consultant for several education-related agencies, he joined the school psychology faculty at New Mexico State University in 2004. Since 2008, Dr. Savage has been on the school psychology faculty at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, where he currently holds the rank of associate professor. He teaches courses on diversity and inclusion; consultation; assessment; public policy and advocacy; and school crisis prevention, preparedness, and intervention. His research interests include culturally-responsive practice; social justice in school psychology; issues of Sexual orientation and Gender identity as they pertain to the schooling process; and school crisis response. He has published multiple articles and chapters in a variety of sources, in addition to providing professional development focused primarily on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender student matters as well as the PREPaRE school crisis prevention and intervention curriculum published by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Dr. Savage’s NASP service includes terms as President; New Mexico Delegate; Leadership Development Workgroup chair and co-chair; and Program Manager for the Professional Development Program Area.

Jill Davidson, PhD, NCSP
Jill Davidson is a school psychologist at North Kitsap High School in Poulsbo, WA. She is a graduate of the school psychology program at The University of Texas at Austin, and has worked as a school psychologist in Texas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Washington State. She is a woman of transgender history. Her professional interests are in assessment of reading comprehension and cognitive learning strategies, management of aggressive behavior in children and youth, the development of skilled writing and reading, and the development of gender identity. She is a past president of the Washington State Association of School Psychologists.