At least 10% of CAAS Head Start enrollment is made available to children with disabilities. Our program is designed to bring children with different strengths and needs together. We want to foster an understanding of individual differences for all children. We focus on the child, not the differences in ability. Every child deserves the opportunity to develop and learn in the best possible inclusive classroom.
Head Start staff follow the progress of each child through observations and assessment. Meetings and conferences are scheduled with the family for the purpose of planning activities for home and school to meet the child’s individual needs. Disabilities services include:
Helping families understand their child’s growth and development.
Ensuring that children receive evaluations and services if needed.
Helping families to understand the referral process, including rights and appeal procedures.
Giving families the information and skills they will need to advocate for proper services and placement for their child.
Support for successful transitions from Head Start to the next school the child will attend.
CAAS Head Start supports children’s social and emotional development and their good mental health. Our teachers work to create welcoming, comfortable, and emotionally safe classrooms. Teachers individualize plans for each child based on each child’s unique needs and temperament.
CAAS Head Start’s Mental Health Supervisor and Child Development Team help the classrooms achieve the foundational levels of the Mental Health Pyramid. Positive relationships and supportive environments help all children. We use teachings tools such as books, songs, feeling charts, and puppets to help children learn how to express and manage feelings, cooperate with others, and achieve their goals in appropriate ways.
As a result of this work, we can more readily identify children and families who need more specialized interventions – the top of the pyramid.
CAAS Head Start has a mental health support agreement with Riverside Community Care. We use their services to provide support to teachers as they work with individual children. These professionals can also provide “coaching” to individual children. “Coaching” can help a child become a more successful member of the classroom community. The social development professionals can also work with small groups of children who have common developmental needs. No consulting professional will work with your child without your written consent.
Our consultants are available to meet with families at our centers or our Main Office. Call Roberta McCluskey, CAAS Head Start Mental Health Supervisor, to arrange a time: 617-623-7370 x118. Any child can need extra help sometimes. Being involved with a mental health professional is a great way to get that help!