May 8, 2019 at 7:38 pm #116237
My 4.5 yo son has been diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, and sensory processing disorder.
While our struggles are many, the main issues that are causing us the most stress are his emotional outbursts at school. We are on our 4th daycare, which is supposed to be a supportive, inclusive environment which has onsite therapies as well as day treatment. These folks should be especially equipped to handle aggressive behavior in the classroom and assist in redirecting to more appropriate methods of behavior regulation. All the while, we are doing OT, play therapy and PCIT. Now, after a long wait, we will be starting day treatment for him in a couple weeks. My question is this: does anyone have experience in day treatment for emotional regulation for young pre-K kiddos, and its effectiveness? On one hand, I’m worried that he will acquire new behaviors from others kids in the program that are challenged….and on the other hand, I’m concerned that whatever therapy techniques they use there won’t be effective. He will be going to his preschool in the AM, and day treatment in the PM.
Anyone want to help ease my mind, or at least share some similar experiences?
May 9, 2019 at 2:59 pm #116293Penny WilliamsKeymaster
I have a friend whose son went to a day treatment school for a couple years in early elementary. It make a huge positive impact for them. That said, every facility is different. See if you can chat with any parents at the specific school your child will attend.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
May 9, 2019 at 7:00 pm #116346
Thanks Penny. Will do, though we haven’t been able to network with anyone yet. We’ve just tried SO MUCH, that I feel like all the challenge and expense of doing day treatment will be for nothing.
I am probably a bit emotional about it myself since the daycare he is currently at is a special needs preschool, and they offer day treatment as part of their own suite of services — and even though we have finally been accepted in the day treatment program, they seem keen on kicking him out of the pre-school portion. His aggression is the biggest challenge, and the ratio is 1:6, but they tell us they spend too much 1:1 time for the “classroom to be successful”. Though I can understand this, it’s difficult because I wonder where else are we supposed to turn to?
Really hoping that day treatment will be the piece of the puzzle that will finally get us on the path to healing.
May 17, 2019 at 12:48 pm #116718Dr. EricParticipant
I worked at a Day Treatment high school for over two years.
I don’t know how comparable the experience would be.
Generally speaking, adolescents in Day Treatment have more severe psychiatric issues and the consequences of their behavior are far more serious than the pre-school and elementary programs that I have consulted/visited. The reasons for student placement are far more extreme than a lack of good early intervention.
By nature, preschools and elementary schools are much smaller.
Although generally a good thing, the negative of smaller size is a lack of capacity and resources increasing the likelihood that they will refer out to another program.
The younger you go, the more likely that the day treatment provides successful early intervention.
As previously stated, individual quality matters.
Also, once successful exit criteria are met, the transition and the step-down process are the most critical steps in preventing a need to return.
October 28, 2019 at 10:16 am #132613
I just wanted to offer an update on this after 4 months.
We have had some limited success with the day treatment program. Some positive behavior changes have emerged, along with some different techniques to work through the big emotional periods. On the flip side, he has learned “new” behaviors and has shown some resistance to working with some of the therapists.
It does look like he’ll be there for the full year, and possibly until next fall.
One of the downsides to this program is that kids will “graduate” as they have reached their milestones for achievement, and new kids come into the program. This is very hard for our son as he does seem to develop friendships with the kiddos, even if some of them choose not to play with him due to his dysregulated state.
I think we have had so many other factors playing into his treatment, that it’s hard to know where he would be without day treatment. He’s taking medication (clonidine), but I’m doubtful that is helping. In fact, we switched from Prozac about 2 months ago since the prozac seemed to make him more hyper (though how can you tell really?), and after a few weeks, his irritability and defiance seemed to increase.
They are taking a far more supportive approach with him at DT, where they are treating him more like the emotional capacity of a 2 year old instead of a 4 year old, and it seems to be working. They have stated that this is common in DT programs for pre-schoolers, and the hope is over time, their emotional skills catch up to the cognitive skills.
Still waiting and working and hoping….
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