Poughkeepsie... Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus announces a $5 million county agreement with St. Francis Hospital to provide services for children with disabilities. The Early Intervention Program for infants and toddlers and the Preschool Special Education Program for children ages 3 and 4 serve approximately 2000 Dutchess County children. Both programs provide a comprehensive evaluation and services to remediate identified developmental problems in children.
County Executive Steinhaus said, “I am pleased to partner with St. Francis Hospital to provide these specialized services to help our children maximize their potential for physical, social and cognitive growth, and help to better prepare them for school and their futures in the community.”
St. Francis Hospital provides a major community resource for young children with disabilities. It offers speech and hearing evaluations through its Center for Communication Disorders and comprehensive educational evaluations through its Special Needs Preschool Program. It also provides individual and group speech therapy, hearing aides and other audiological support, and preschool programs to meet a variety of children's needs.
Beverly Allyn, the Dutchess County Health Department's Director for Children with Special Needs, comments, "St. Francis Hospital has shown strong leadership over the past 25 years in expanding its expertise and program locations to meet needs of young children in our community. We are fortunate to have this resource here in Dutchess County."
"We continue to be proud to serve the ever-changing needs of our community. The Special Needs Preschool Program and Center for Communication Disorders have been providing speech, language, hearing and educational services to both children and adults for over 50 years. Our child-centered approach emphasizing family involvement and education as well as goal achievement has been proven successful time after time,” states Shaween Buckley, Director, St. Francis Center for Communication Disorders and Education Services. “The recent local and national increase in the diagnosis of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder led to the creation of our specialty Autism Preschool Program. This highly-specialized and intensive program is designed to meet the unique needs of these children during their early years. Our new facility in Beacon will feature one additional Autism Program classroom as well as additional Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists for home based and clinic services.”
The Center for Communication's main location is on South Road in Poughkeepsie; another facility is under construction in Beacon to serve the southern Dutchess community. St. Francis' Preschool sites are in Beacon, Poughkeepsie, Hyde Park, and Millbrook and it partners with a childcare agency for a location in Red Hook. The agency also provides services to children in their homes.
County Executive Steinhaus concluded, “These specialized services not only help our children develop into happy and confident adolescents and young adults, but also greatly enhance the lives of our families dealing with these developmental issues.”