TAKE 5 with EC | Dr. Laura Echols, School Psychologist
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Durham Public Schools is proud to launch Take 5 with EC. This series spotlights our Exceptional Children’s team. Each month, you’ll meet one of our outstanding practitioners and learn a little about their area of focus and how they are helping DPS special needs students excel and thrive.
This month, we are pleased to introduce Dr. Laura Echols, a school psychologist. Learn more about Dr. Echols below.
- Why did you choose a career in school psychology?
I have always wanted to work with children. During my junior and senior years in high school, I was a member of a Teen Peer Helpers Group in which counseled and provided resources to our peers on a variety of issues related to teen life. The training for this position sparked my interest in psychology. I researched careers that involved both and school psychology seemed to fit both of my interests perfectly.
- Tell us about your daily work in assisting students with disabilities at your school or throughout the district.
It is hard to describe my daily life because no one day is typical or the same as the next. In general, I assist students with disabilities by assessing their strengths and needs and working with IEP teams to develop plans to address their needs while capitalizing on their strengths. I also help parents and teachers understand what the disability means for the particular student and how they can best assist students and advocate for them in order to foster a more positive outcome.
- What do you enjoy most about working with our students with disabilities?
When I think about what I enjoy most about working with students; it is difficult for me to separate those with and without disabilities in my mind. I enjoy helping all students realize their potential, develop coping and advocacy skills, and increase their self-confidence. I enjoy watching the students that I work with implement the strategies that they have been taught and experiencing the feeling of success.
- Describe your approach in meeting the needs of exceptional students, specific to your discipline.
I have a databased problem-solving approach in meeting the needs of students. It is important to gather relevant data from multiple sources then develop a theoretical framework based on that data that also lends itself to meaningful and practical interventions to address the individual needs of that particular student.
- What is one thing you want the DPS community to know about your work and the students you support?
I take my work with students very seriously because I realize that what I do and say could be life-altering; therefore, it is important that I give each student my best.