A FOLLOW-UP STUDY OF EARLY IDENTIFIED EMOTIONALLY DISTURBED CHILDREN FOLLOWING TREATMENT IN A THERAPEUTIC NURSERY SCHOOL PROGRAM (MENTAL HEALTH)
The purpose of this study was to describe and follow-up children identified as emotionally disturbed between the ages of 2 and 6 years and treated in a therapeutic nursery school program. This study included a descriptive, predictive, and comparative analysis of characteristics of children treated in the District of Columbia North Community Mental Health Center, Therapeutic Nursery School Program between 1970 and 1980. An excellent rate of success was obtained in locating the students. Ninety-four of the 113 children completing treatment were included in the current description of the population. The first section of the study described the students at the time of their enrollment. The Center's record files were examined to determine the subjects' race, sex, age of enrollment, health, length of treatment, presenting behavior problems, family intactness, number of siblings, sibling position, parental employment, diagnosis, and recommendation for school placement. The second section of the study described those students who entered the District of Columbia Public School system in terms of family structure, educational placement, and behavior adjustment. The data showed that two-thirds of the parents reported their children had made a successful adjustment to the regular classroom. The third section of the study was a predictive analysis of special education placement based on characteristics available at the time of enrollment and a correlation between these characteristics and the Revised Behavior Problem Checklist scores. Data were analyzed using discriminant analysis and regression correlation techniques. Results show that the following characteristics distinguish between special education students and regular education ones: the number of behavior problems, health problems, recommendation for placement, and the number of siblings. The final section of the study was a comparative analysis of the behavior of former TNS students and their classroom peers. The differences between the groups were tested for significance using the t-test. It was concluded that the classroom teachers rated the former TNS subjects as behaving as well or better than their classroom peers. Early identification and treatment of TNS pupils appears to have a positive and ongoing effect on adjustment skills at home and in school.