When you think of “preschool,” you likely think of storytime and simple arts and crafts projects. However, as we continue to learn about the development of young children, it is becoming clear that some children benefit from additional support with pivotal developmental skills. In a therapeutic preschool program, the staff will typically hold at least a Bachelor’s degree in a field related to early education, and additional services may be provided. Some additional therapeutic services that may be provided in a therapeutic preschool program include applied behavior analysis (ABA therapy), feeding therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy.
Some of the skills taught in a therapeutic preschool program:
- Language skills (expressive and receptive) and communication
- Speech (e.g. articulation)
- Motor skills (fine and gross)
- Coordination and proprioception
- Play and imitation skills
- Social skills
- Sensory integration
Who provides these services?
A therapeutic preschool program is preferred by many families, as there is a low student-to-teacher ratio to allow for more intensive intervention and support for the children who need it most. If children are experiencing developmental delays or have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or a related disorder, a therapeutic preschool program can provide the additional support that they need.
If a child is exhibiting signs of a speech or language disorder, they will likely work with a speech-language pathologist (SLP) to build their speech and language skills in the program. A SLP is a fully certified professional who has earned their Master’s degree in speech-language pathology. A SLP might work with children on improving their articulation, stuttering, or other issues related to speech and language.
A therapeutic preschool program may also have an occupational therapist (OT) on their team to help children who require additional support for motor skills, coordination, proprioception, and other related skills. An OT also has a Master’s degree and has received extensive training to provide these specific services. Some examples of skills that an OT would work on with a child include hand-eye coordination or handwriting.
In addition to these services, a child may also receive ABA therapy in a therapeutic preschool program. ABA can target many different skills in children with autism and related disorders. This aspect of the program will focus on resolving problematic behaviors by creating new positive behaviors. An ABA therapist, BCBA, BCaBA, or RBT might work with a child on building their expressive language skills, sensory issues, or self-regulation.
The other skills targeted in a therapeutic preschool program will also help other key developmental skills in children. If you think your child can benefit from a therapeutic preschool program, click the purple button below or call 773-620-7800 to learn more about our therapeutic preschool program, CST Academy, Chicago’s #1 therapeutic preschool program.