Since February 2019, For All Seasons has been offering school-based mental health therapy to the students in pre-k, kindergarten and first grade at Easton Elementary School. The program began being offered in schools in Kent County in 2007 and in Dorchester in 2012. The program then expanded into Caroline County Public Schools, addressing the needs of the students such as divorce, family dynamics, anxiety, behavioral issues, and peer relationships. Today, trauma-certified therapists from For All Seasons are dealing with many more students who have experienced three or more adverse childhood experiences, such as mental health and substance abuse issues in the family and single-family households.
According to Abby Tyner, LCSW-C, For All Seasons School-Based Therapist at Easton Elementary School, stress and changes in family dynamics are often the contributors to a child’s disruptive behavior in the classroom which can result in physical and emotional challenges. Tyner adds that poverty and inconsistent parenting skills can also be factors.
Tyner, who is based full-time at Easton Elementary School, sees a total of 47 children once a week – 40 children are from Easton Elementary School-Dobson and seven children are from Easton Elementary School-Moton, who she has followed from last year. She comments, “Most of the children are ages four through seven years of age. Some have multiple caregivers and are being raised either by single parents or by extended family. They benefit from the added stability and nurturing they can receive through therapy at school” She adds, “We are here to help provide kids safety and security and a sense of that love. We help children with self-regulation skills, resourcing books and social stories to teach them how to get in touch with their feelings. We use Theraplay, a child and family therapy for building and enhancing attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. This interactive play guides the child through playful, fun games, developmentally challenging activities, and tender, nurturing activities and ultimately, helps them learn to develop healthy relationships.”
Lesa Lee, Chief Clinical Director at For All Seasons, comments, “Our school-based clinicians act as a part of a school team which can help strengthen a school.” Tyner, who is in Easton Elementary School five days a week is perceived by the students as part of the school’s educational team.
“For All Seasons has been so consistent with providing quality therapists to Easton Elementary School. We couldn’t do what we do without their support. The work that Abby Tyner has done with our students has been transformational,” comments Lisa Devaric, Ed. D., Principal at Easton Elementary Dobson.“She is amazing. Her support means so much to the families of children she serves each day. She has truly changed their lives.”
Once a child is identified as needing services, Tyner works with both the children and their parents in addressing identified mental health concerns. She is also able to link students to a child psychiatrist or to the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program offered by Channel Marker, Inc. which helps build social skills and self-esteem.Tyner states, “I think disruptive behaviors have decreased and children are healing from some of the issues they have faced. We are also helping the schools better understand the effects of trauma on the students learning and to develop strategies to deal with some of the behaviors that result.”
Caption: Pictured is Abby Tyner, LCSW-C, For All Seasons School-Based Therapist at Easton Elementary School.