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Recently, a young boy named Ian was referred to the Help Me Behave program, facilitated by Helping People Succeed. At the time, this two-year-old was exhibiting behaviors that concerned his child care provider and his parents. Staff at the child care center shared that Ian was having difficulty following directions, having frequent tantrums that included hitting and kicking, and was running from his teachers, which was becoming a safety issue.
A behavior specialist from the Help Me Behave program was introduced to the family and after observing Ian at childcare, she recognized that he was not talking as much or as clearly as the other children, and that his most challenging behaviors were during transitions and when the classroom was noisy.
The behavior specialist met with his parents and helped them understand the need for speech and occupational therapy evaluations and discussed how these therapies can help improve a child’s behavior. The specialist helped the family with referrals to Easter Seals Early Steps and to ELKS Children’s Therapies. Strategies to help in the classroom, including picture schedules and visual tools were implemented by the teachers and this young man began to get the help he needed. The process was slow. During evaluations, Ian's behaviors would preclude the evaluators from getting a true read on his speech and motor skills and abilities. He was offered minimal speech therapy and began occupational therapy with the ELKS, but it was obvious that he needed more services.
The behavior specialist helped Ian’s parents continue to advocate for services, and finally, after more than a year, he will begin a part-time speech and language preschool program through the St. Lucie County Public Schools. By addressing concerns early and implementing strategies recommended by the behavior specialist, Ian's behavior has begun to improve. His mom expressed extreme gratitude for the help and support provided by the Help Me Behave program and for teaching her to continuously advocate for her child.
The Pre-K Behavioral support programs help families with children ages two to five who attend a childcare center in Martin and St. Lucie counties. By working directly with parents in the family home and teachers in the child care setting, we can provide ideas for improving a child's behavior and creating more peaceful pre-school and home environments. Specifically, we can help with: decreasing power struggles; redirecting behavior; encouraging cooperation & caring; calming techniques; and being kind and firm.
For more information on Helping People Succeed and the Help Me Behave program, visit their website at www.hpsfl.org or call 772-320-0770.