Jessica, a Therapeutic Preschool teacher at the Gulf Coast Women's Center for Nonviolence, shares Jane's story with us.
Jane started the Incredible Years Therapeutic Preschool program in the Spring of 2014 due to domestic violence in her home. When Jane entered the Preschool Program she was almost entirely nonverbal; the only way she could communicate was through baby-talk and garbled noises. During the initial developmental and school readiness assessments, Preschool Teacher noted significant delays in speech and language development. Her preschool teacher referred Jane to Biloxi Public Schools Special Services Department for specialized treatment through an Individualized Education Plan. Jane currently sees a speech therapist from Biloxi Public Schools for 90 minutes a month. Since seeing the therapist, Jane's speech has improved dramatically. Jane also exhibited numerous behavioral issues when she first started attending the preschool. Initially, she was struggling to follow adult instructions; used very inappropriate language; would regularly tell her teacher "no" when asked to do something; and displayed occasional aggressiveness with her peers. The Incredible Years Therapeutic Preschool has provided Jane with the structured, safe environment she desperately needed to overcome her victimization and thrive.
The smaller class size of the Incredible Years Preschool really allows Preschool Teacher to focus the therapeutic needs Jane has and her developmental delays that occurred due to the victimization. Preschool Teacher is proud to report that Jane no longer uses inappropriate language and she follows directions without arguing or hesitation. She interacts appropriately with her peers and loves giving hugs to everyone. Jane continues to make major improvements and is testing at average for her age on the kindergarten readiness assessment.
Another component of this success story can be seen in Jane's family. The Children's Program focuses on holistic family healing; not just the healing of children enrolled in the program. As participants in the Center's Children's Program, Jane's mom has access to the Center's parenting program, group and individual counseling for herself, group and individual counseling for Jane, and also childcare during parent teacher conferences. Jane's family is low income and has a total of four children so the Center has assisted them with clothing, shoes, and Christmas gifts for Jane and her siblings. Most recently, during Jane's last birthday her family did not have a safe place to host a birthday celebration. After coordinating with the Preschool Teacher, Jane's family came and decorated the classroom while Jane was outside playing with her peers. When Jane came back in from playing, her family surprised her with a class birthday party. Her family was very thankful they got to host her birthday in a safe environment.
Jane will continue in GCWCFN Therapeutic Preschool until she graduates in 2016 and begins kindergarten. Her teacher looks forward to watching the student continue to grow academically, socially, and emotionally.