High-quality assessment and treatment incorporates communication and consultation with a client’s primary care physician. For children and teens who have not yet graduated high school, communication with the school is usually essential. Depending on the client’s circumstances, communication with other providers such as a psychiatrist, family members, organizations or other individuals may be recommended.
Brief Parent-Focused Consultation
Sometimes children engage in challenging behaviors but do not have a diagnosable behavioral health condition. They may not do what their parents ask as often as parents would like, or they may have begun to whine or swear or be a “smart-mouth.” Sometimes parents are unsure what consequences to use for occasional problem behaviors, or have difficulty saying “No” even though they know it is the right thing to do. There are proven parenting strategies that work to significantly reduce or eliminate challenging behaviors, help grow parents’ skills at handling the unexpected and improve confidence. For mild behavioral problems or parenting dilemmas with children or teens who mostly are doing well, 4-6 weeks of behavioral parent consultation can prevent mild problems from becoming severe and set a family on a sound positive footing so they can move forward together.
Likelihood or diagnosis of an autism-spectrum disorder for a child can be life-changing for a family. Unfortunately, in Massachusetts, the time between initial suspicion of a diagnosis through to confirmation and then getting services in place can take up to 18 months. During this time, caregivers may get contradictory information about how to proceed. Wading through a sea of false claims about treatments and cures can waste precious time and resources.
The likelihood of parental separation or divorce and loss of income increases as time goes by without a solid evaluation and effective intervention for the child. Two of the most important steps caregivers can take in safeguarding the well-being of their family are getting evaluations completed and putting evidence-based services in place as early as possible. The Center helps with consultation that focuses on educating parents or guardians about autism spectrum disorders and current best practices. Dr. Gajee can also provide information to help with understanding health insurance coverage, special education processes and resources. Additionally, she assists caregivers with referrals for high-quality neurodevelopmental evaluations, applied behavioral analysis (ABA) services, special needs focused financial planning, and more.
School-Based Consultation and Trainings
Teachers and school staff are often the first to notice behavioral health struggles in children and teens. Many want more and better training in how to respond to suicidality, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, trauma and non-compliance in the moment. Dr. Gajee has considerable experience and expertise helping schools help children in need. She was previously Director of School-Based Counseling at May Institute and provided in-school services to children with serious emotional and behavioral disturbances at three Boston Public Schools.
Additionally, she has trained the staff of a special education collaborative in cognitive behavior therapy, behavior management skills and positive relationship building skills. Dr. Gajee is available to consult with schools around specific students or broader behavioral health issues that they are seeing. She is also available to provide training to teachers and staff in current best practices for addressing student emotional and behavioral problems and implementing them in a school setting.
Provider and Organization Consultation and In-Service Trainings
Primary care physicians, pediatric medical specialists and nurses are often the first people to whom children, teens, parents or guardians and young adults turn for help when confronting depression, anxiety, trauma, and other behavioral health struggles. While medical professionals are trained in screening for certain conditions and in making referrals to behavioral health specialists, they may be unsure how to directly help their patients or not have up-to-date information about current best practices in behavioral health.
Dr. Gajee has experience providing training and consultation to pediatric practices and continuing education trainings for the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services. The Center can help by providing a single or a series of brief in-service trainings on a variety of issues to help pediatric practices better serve their patients with behavioral health needs.