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School of Education, Health and Human Behavior
School of Education

Introduction to the Head Start Behavioral Health Team

Supervisor. As the Behavioral Health consultant, Dr. Stephen Hupp oversees the Behavioral Health Team. He is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist & Associate Professor in the SIUE Psychology Department.

Behavioral Health Specialists (typically from the SIUE Psychology Dept). Behavioral Health Specialists (usually six or seven of them) are Graduate Assistants who work for 20 hours each week to organize the behavioral health screens, provide interventions for children, provide teacher consultation, and provide parent consultation. They typically have a bachelor's degree in psychology and are working on an advanced degree.

School Psychology Practicum Graduate Students (from SIUE). Practicum students (usually around 8 of them) are students enrolled in the Clinical Child and School Psychology graduate program at SIUE. They received course credit for practicum. They are required to work a total of 90 hours during the fall semester. They average 6 hours each week, primarily helping with the screenings and S.H.A.R.E. groups. In the spring semester, a smaller number of practicum students also help with interventions.

Field Study Students (from the SIUE School of Education). Field Study Students (usually around 30 of them) are undergraduates from SIUE, and they are paired up in teams of two. They receive course credit for Field Study. Each team implements one Second Step lesson each visit across several classrooms in a center.

Behavioral Health Services Provided

Second Step Prevention. All of Second Step lessons are presented to all children in Head Start. Second Step teaches children about empathy, emotion management, and problem solving. Field Study students typically visit the classrooms two times a week.

Initial & Follow-Up Screens. Within 45 days, Behavioral Health Specialists and School Psychology Practicum Graduate Students conduct an observation of each child. Additional information is provided by teachers and parents. If there are concerns noted during the initial screen, the Behavioral Health Specialist conducts a follow-up observation.

S.H.A.R.E. Group (NEW). Children with mild to moderate social-emotional or behavioral concerns are invited to participate in a group called S.H.A.R.E. (Social Health and Academic Readiness Enrichment) conducted by a Practicum Graduate Students. The some lessons include: 1) Playing with friends, 2) Following instructions, 3) Paying attention, and 4) Review and practice. Parent consent is required for participation.

Parent Conferences. A Parent Conference is a meeting set up by a Behavioral Health Specialist when a behavioral health referral has been made (usually by a teacher or through the screening process). Those typically involved in the conference include the parent(s), a teacher, and the Behavioral Health Specialist. The primary goals of the meeting include conducting a parent interview and getting the parent's permission for the Behavioral Health Team to provide intervention and consultation.

Parent Presentations & Consultation. Behavioral Health Specialists provide brief workshops during some of the regularly scheduled Head Start parent meetings. Parenting tips are used from the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL). Parents also sometimes join the individual interventions or are otherwise provided feedback during the parent conference. Occasionally, parents are referred to outside agencies for additional help. Some outside agencies include the Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center and Chestnut Health Systems.

Teacher Training & Consultation. The Behavioral Health Team is often involved in providing workshops for teachers. Also, teacher consultation is interwoven throughout every aspect of behavioral health services. Sometimes teacher consultation is provided for individual children, and other times it is provided for entire classrooms. The Incredible Years teacher training program is one of the primary resources used in consultation.

Small Group & Individual Interventions. Sometimes intervention is done with small groups of children and sometimes it is done individually. Usually intervention includes both the Child's Game as well as Behavioral Skills Training. The Child's Game (also called Child-Directed Interactions) is an important component to evidence-based behavioral parent training interventions, and it is being used more frequently with teachers. Child-Directed Interactions include a special play time in which the child gets to choose the play activity (with some limits) and the adult provides a specific type of attention. Behavioral Skills Training is a broad term used to describe a method for teaching news skills to a child. The basic components include: Modeling (show them what to do), Instructions (tell them how to do it), Rehearsal (let them practice the skill), Feedback (let them know how they did), & Reward (provide some type of reinforcer). We have access to several specific resources that can be used as the focus of Behavioral Skills Training, including: Second Step lessons, Dinosaur School lessons, Teacher-Directed Interactions, Parent-Directed Interactions, Social Skills Training, & Dealing with trauma resources. For many students, in-class coaching of skills is also used.

Early Head Start. The Behavioral Health Team has also been providing an increasing amount support for the Early Head Start classrooms. The screen includes the Adjustment Behavior Checklist. Other similar services include teacher training, teacher consultation, parent presentations, and parent consultation.

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