According to Robert and Susan (not their real names), parents of a five-year-old boy, the change in their son's behavior was nothing short of "miraculous" after he "graduated" from the therapeutic nursery program, which is offered through the Department of Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Services at Jersey City Medical Center.
"Before he started the program, he had a hard time interacting with other children, his behavior was often aggressive, and he displayed a great deal of anxiety whenever he was placed in a new situation," said Susan. "He'll be starting kindergarten at the neighborhood elementary school in the fall, and we're confident now that he'll adjust well."
The program, which started in November 2009 and is located at 395 Grand Street, provides children ages 3 – 5 who have emotional, social, psychological and/or behavioral issues with a 6-hour a day program Mondays – Fridays. Openings are presently available beginning this summer for the program, which services families living in Hudson County.
"Our summer program is structured more like a therapeutic summer camp setting, incorporating fun activities while providing the therapeutic support and services these children need," said Marli Gelfand, Director of Child and Adolescent Behavior Health Services at the Jersey City Medical Center. "Children have the opportunity to start during the summer and carry on with the program throughout the year."
The nursery uses an evidence-based curriculum called The Incredible Years, which includes separate training programs, intervention manuals and DVDs for use by trained therapists, teachers and group leaders to promote children's social competence, emotional regulation and problem solving skills, and reduce their behavior problems. The program's multidisciplinary team addresses the child's social, psychological, behavioral and psychiatric needs, and links families with community resources.
"We also offer support and creative solutions to parents, who often face hurdles when it comes to parenting this specialized population," said Gelfand. "Our success rates have been extremely high, with 88 percent of our children in a recent class being 100 percent successful in meeting their goals."
The program includes group, individual and family therapy with a Master's level clinician, and social skills groups throughout the day utilizing interactive and experiential evidence-based techniques to engage the children in the treatment process. A family specialist who makes home visits is on staff to help families reach goals, and case management is provided to link families with other support services.
The program's staff can assist families in setting up transportation services. Costs are covered by Medicaid and private insurance. To make an appointment, call 201-915-2000 x 3687 or x3685.
Full day summer therapeutic programs for children ages 5 – 11 and 12 - 17 are also available. For these programs call 201-915-2864.