Bright Beginnings

DC-Georgetown University Center for Child & Human Development, UCEDD
Program Type UCEDD Fiscal Year 2012
Contact Diane Jacobstein, PhD
Phone 202-687-5372    
Project Description
The Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development-University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (GUCCHD - UCEDD) has provided ongoing consultation to Bright Beginnings, Inc. since January 1993. Two senior faculty members, an occupational therapist and a clinical psychologist, currently provide classroom and programmatic consultation as well as direct services to individual children and families. Each faculty member is at Bright Beginnings for one and one-half days a week. This year they were able to extend services with the assistance of five advanced graduate students in rotations of three to nine months.
Georgetown?s developmental specialists used a variety of approaches to address the complex needs of Bright Beginnings? special population in compliance with Head Start regulations. The occupational therapist and psychologist observed children in class and evaluated those referred by the Developmental Team. They consulted with parents, social workers, teachers, educational coordinator and director. Reflective supervision was provided to teachers from three classrooms on a bi-monthly basis for part of the year to help address difficult behaviors. In-service training sessions were also held. Formal IFSPs, IEPs and other individualized treatment plans were developed and implemented through individual and group therapy or classroom intervention to imbed therapeutic strategies in the daily routine. The focus of these efforts was on increasing positive behavioral supports, fostering appropriate social interaction and improving gross motor, fine motor, adaptive and pre-writing skills while enhancing language and early literacy. The specialists? approach was both collaborative and strengths-based. As needed, families were assisted to find mental health and medical services and to obtain special education as they transitioned out of the program.
The Georgetown faculty members also conducted developmental and social-emotional screenings within Bright Beginnings? new evening program. They trained evening staff in screening procedures, developmental expectations and strategies to address needs that were identified. Classroom activities were provided to model adaptation of curriculum for widely differing developmental levels within the same group.
Collaboration between the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development and Bright Beginnings improves access to therapeutic services for children at risk in the District. It does so by increasing the school?s ability to offer appropriate supports for infants, toddlers and preschool children with disabilities, delays or behavioral challenges. The strengths-based evaluations and therapeutic services are designed to increase parents? and teachers? appreciation for children?s assets as well as their needs and to foster attachment and developmentally appropriate activities in the home and school settings. Links to school programs and specialized resources through the Medical Center further assist the school to enhance children?s and families? chances of success. This collaboration with Bright Beginnings provides an important opportunity for GUCCHD-UCEDD to work intensively with this underserved population.