A four-year old male Head Start student was displaying challenging behaviors in the classroom-having difficulty transitioning, becoming upset with little triggers, screaming and throwing himself on the floor. For the first month of class, he required one-on-one attention from his teacher. The child passed his developmental screening. In September, his parents were asked to complete the ASQ:SE. Results showed an elevated score. The mental health consultant was contacted and asked to observe the students in the classroom with elevated scores. Based on the observation, the consultant encouraged the family to contact a mental health professional for a psychological evaluation and to re-screen for special education. The Head Start agency approved an extra staff member for the classroom until the evaluation was complete. Two months later, the student had been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The child is receiving special education services, occupational therapy, and a personal care attendant (PCA) in the classroom. His family is participating in the filial therapy program offered at Head Start.
Head Start staff had concerns about a five-year old student's ability to cope with strong emotions and function in the classroom. The student previously had been removed from several daycares, and this was his first placement in Head Start. The student's parents did not understand nor share the concerns that the staff identified. The teachers administered the ASQ:SE during a home visit. As the parents were completing the screening tool, they identified several problem areas for their child. They began to ask the teacher several questions. The teacher was able to use the ASQ:SE results and questions as a "talking piece" to introduce the concept of mental health. Through this initial meeting, Head Start staff built a positive relationship with the family. They worked together to develop a behavior support plan and to seek services that include mental health consultation and a DC 0-3 diagnostic assessment.
Story 2: Screening as a mental health talking piece
Story 3: Giving Parents a Voice to Share Concerns, Find Answers
A two-year-old student involved in a home-based Early Head Start program passed the developmental screening and, although referred, did not qualify for special education services. His mother expressed concern about her son's temper tantrums and processing difficulties. Upon completing the ASQ:SE, the mother was able to elaborate on her concerns. She met with the mental health consultant and the ASQ:SE results were shared. The consultant recommended assessment by an occupational therapist and the student's pediatrician. Those assessments indicated vision problems. The student now wears glasses and receives vision therapy and special education services for his disability. His parents are in contact with a mental health professional for behavior management techniques. ASQ:SE gave the mother "a voice" to share her concerns and a vehicle to explore other possible causes for his behavioral issues beyond "defiance".