First assessment know-how
The Pedagogical Psychological Counseling Unit - Pædagogisk Psykologisk Rådgivning (PPR)
Text: Martina Popadakova / Sara R. Newell
If your child has special needs, or if you suspect that your child may have special needs, the main starting point is to contact your local municipality, where you should receive guidance and may be eligible for family counselling (familievejledning) - as covered in previous articles in this series.
Efforts surrounding your child will include many different professionals and administrative offices and processes before the municipality can decide whether your child is eligible for special needs support and assistance. One of the bodies involved in this process is the Pedagogical Psychological Counseling unit (Pædagogisk Psykologiske Rådgivning - PPR).
What is PPR?
How PPR is organised typically varies between municipalities and will usually depend on how the individual municipality has organised and prioritised managing tasks associated with children and young adults. Because of the differences between municipalities, our goal is to give a general overview of PPR and information about which tasks PPR typically is responsible for.
PPR is the municipality's psychological and pedagogical counselling unit. Some of the professional groups you might encounter at PPR can include: school psychologists, clinical psychologists, speech-hearing consultants, counsellors or social workers. PPR has responsibility for a wide range of tasks, which may vary between municipalities. Some of these tasks include carrying out assessments to determine: if a child should be referred to a physician to examine if the child has an undiagnosed disability or illness; if special assistance should be initiated for a child; or whether a child may require special education or extra assistance at school or in daycare.
PPR may also be involved in offering guidance and counselling in several situations, e.g.:
If your child doesn't thrive in school or daycare
If your child is delayed in their motor, linguistic, or cognitive development
If you or your child's teacher suspect that your child may have an undiagnosed disability
If your child has behavioural or attachment difficulties at school or in daycare
If your child has speech, hearing, or language difficulties
PPR can become involved either by request from your child's school/daycare or caseworker, or by request from you, the parent or guardian. Besides providing assessments and guidance, PPR services can also include: carrying out psychological and pedagogical assessments of your child's function level, participation in network meetings regarding your child, counselling children and their parents, and supervision of teachers and pedagogical staff. However, the services offered by PPR can differ significantly between municipalities. You can find more information about PPR on your municipality's website.
How does PPR play a part in applying for assistance and support?
If you are applying for extra assistance for your child at school or in daycare, this will only be granted if PPR has carried out a pedagogical psychological assessment (Pædagogisk psykologisk vurdering - PPV). As a parent, you have the right to contact PPR, but your child's school or daycare typically initiates a PPV, the health nurse or your general practitioner - as long as you, the parent, have given your consent.
A PPV is essential in assessing your child's resources and assistance needs at school or in daycare and is valid for up to one year once it has been carried out. Unfortunately, there is no legal time limit for how long it may take PPR to initiate a PPV or how long they may use to carry it out.
What is the process surrounding contact with PPR?
The first dialogue meeting (dialogmøde) will include parents, teachers or pedagogs, and consultants from PPR. You will need to fill in the dialogue form (dialogskema), which will create the basis for the collaboration. Therefore, all key people must be represented at meetings to give a thorough picture of your child's challenges. While you as a parent know your child best, it is also essential that teachers and pedagogs can give a picture of how they experience and observe your child during everyday life at school or in daycare.
Before registering the case in the PPR system, you may be concerned whether your child may need to be examined by a psychologist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech-hearing consultant or other specialists. Besides consultants employed at PPR, you can request to be referred to external specialists. For example, if you suspect that your child might have an undiagnosed handicap such as ADHD or autism, you may prefer your child be examined by a child psychiatrist or clinical psychologist with specialised knowledge in this specific area.
A word of caution
Be aware that it is not always easy to get PPR to initiate your child's assessment or refer your child to an external specialist. The process surrounding this can vary greatly between municipalities. Regardless of the outcome of an assessment, you have the right to get a second opinion from outside the PPR. For example, you have the right to consult a private psychologist, physiotherapist or occupational therapist at your own cost. If you do so, you can apply to be reimbursed by the municipality. However, it is often a lengthy and challenging process to be reimbursed, and applications often are denied.
Most municipalities offer anonymous counselling services, which you can contact if you have questions about your child's help.
For more information (in Danish):