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Wallingford, CT: New program for K-2 kids with mental health problems

Jan 28, 2018, Meriden (CT) Journal Record: New Wallingford program aims to help K-2 students with mental health issues http://www.myrecordjournal.com/News/Wallingford/Wallingford-News/Wallingford-looks-to-start-behavioral-program-for-kids-with-severe-needs.html The school district will start a new program next month for children in grades K-2 with severe social and emotional needs. The program will place children in a smaller classroom environment with support from para-educators, social workers and psychologists. It is meant to help children dealing with anxiety, trauma and other issues, said Laura Klimaszewski, the school district’s director of pupil services. “The biggest problem is the inability to self regulate their emotions and behaviors, regardless of what's causing it,” Klimaszewski said. … Superintendent of Schools Salvatore Menzo spoke about the new program at a school board meeting last week. “We have so many students that have either experienced trauma or have experienced emotional issues that they’re coming to us with, and we have to help them,” Menzo told the board. “They’re not (able) to learn without having this support.” … For many years, the district has offered a similar program for children in grades 3-5. But school officials said they’ve seen an increasing need at the K-2 level “The needs have previously been able to be met within our K-2 buildings,” Menzo said, “but I think the needs have just reached a level where... it’s best to provide an alternative setting.” … Menzo also included three new psychologist/social worker positions in his 2018-19 budget proposal. Those mental health professionals will work in elementary schools helping students that are not in the new program, Menzo said. … Klimaszewski said it’s hard to pinpoint a reason for the rise in K-2 students with severe social and emotional needs. “There are theories out there, but I don’t think they've come up with any definitive conclusion that any one thing has caused the increase,” she said. …