Rx for School Success
Coaching your Child to better Learning and Health
Primary care doctors at Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital (APD) have noticed that school challenges can impact their pediatric patients’ physical and mental health. Research has shown that most children experience challenges with their learning at some point during their school years. Those children who can’t figure out how to overcome their difficulties can start to wonder whether or not they are smart. The more children worry, the harder it is for them to feel good about themselves (for example they may feel sad, anxious or overwhelmed).
APD and the Center for School Success (CSS) have partnered to address this issue. CSS is a local non-profit education organization that specializes in helping children link how they learn best with strategies that will make schoolwork easier. Together, APD and CSS have developed a pilot program called Prescription for School Success (Rx for School Success) which is now in its second year of operation at APD. The Rx for School Success (RxSS) program helps children and adolescents who are experiencing learning challenges.
Typical challenges these children face can include the following:
- meeting classroom expectations
- following directions
- remembering information easily (e.g., math facts, spelling words)
- expressing ideas in writing
- summarizing what has been read
- working at the appropriate pace (not too quickly or too slowly)
- being able to complete homework within the given time-frame
- knowing what is important to study for a test
- staying focused; easily distracted
- starting work, staying on task or finishing assignments
The goal of the program is to provide a team approach to identify and manage the type of learning issues that can affect a child’s health and well-being before those concerns get too big.
Participating APD doctors will lead a team that also includes a learning specialist and behavioral health specialist. The role of your child’s provider is to identify his/her patients who are struggling in school with the assistance of a health and learning screener. The role of the Specialists is to help these children better understand their learning strengths and weaknesses. They will also work with the children to find ways that will make schoolwork easier.
APD Medical Staff
- Douglas Williamson, MD, RxSS Medical Director
- Linda Addante, MD, MEd
- Steven Atkins, PsyD.
- Elizabeth Reed, MEd
- Nancee Tracy, EdM, Program Coordinator (603) 442-5995
- Leslie Williamson, Program Manager
3:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays
Multi-Specialty Clinic, Level 2
Lebanon NH 03766
Map of APD
The RxSS program has three main components: a pre-screener, a Health and Learning Questionnaire, and Coaching.
- The pre-screener will be completed by the pediatric patient during well-child visits (ages 9-19) to identify any potential learning challenges that could affect the child’s health.
- If identified to be a potential candidate for Rx for School Success, the pediatric patient will complete an on-line Health and Learning Questionnaire.
- The results of the Health and Learning questionnaire will determine if a child is a good candidate for coaching sessions offered by an Rx for School Success team Specialist to support the child’s best learning strategies.
- All of the care will be overseen by a Program Coordinator and your child’s provider.
Details on the program components are below and the program handout details are available here.
Health and Learning Pre-Screener/Questionnaire
Children who have certain protective factors in their lives (e.g., connection with family and school, willingness to make mistakes and work hard) are more likely to bounce back when schoolwork gets tough. They are also more likely to have hope for the future.
Children that have few protective factors often give up. They can also find themselves physically and emotionally worn out. Sometimes they turn to people and things that are not healthy for them.
The Rx for School Success pre-screener and questionnaire are able to determine important protective and risk factors in four areas: academic, psychological, social, and biological. Extensive research has shown that these factors are related to a child’s school performance.
Coaching with a Learning Specialist or Behavioral Health Specialist
It takes time and support for children to move from being aware of their learning strengths and challenges to making lasting changes in behavior. Coaching helps children identify useful strategies, so they can then begin to take control of their own education and advocate for themselves.
Coaching sessions focus on deepening a child’s understanding of how to manage the way they learn best, and on developing effective strategies (e.g., time management, identifying the purpose of a task, pacing). Coaching differs from tutoring or counseling. It does not teach specific academic skills like long division or reading. It does not involve therapy.
Each 30 minute coaching session might include one or more of three steps to success:
Identify and build greater awareness of the child’s learning strengths and challenges;
Link the child’s learning profile to his/her school experience;
Take action: apply strategies and practice the skill of using them independently.
Each member of the RxSS team specializes in working with children and adolescents. Each team member serves a unique role on the team.
Child’s Provider: Your provider serves as the team leader. She/he will identify among those patients who are struggling in school with the assistance of a health and learning pre-screener.
The Medical Director: Dr. Williamson meets with every child and her/his family to review the health and learning questionnaire results. Then he will meet separately with your child and have her/him complete some additional tasks to rule out any physical health concerns that might be impacting your child’s learning.
The Program Coordinator: Nancee Tracy is the point person for the entire team. She will contact you if your provider recommends that your child complete the on-line Health and Learning Questionnaire. She will also talk to your child’s doctor about the results, make appointments with the Specialists for your child and answer any questions you may have.
Team Specialists: Dr. Addante, Dr. Atkins, and Ms. Reed are the team specialists. They will meet with you and your child. Their role is to explore your child’s learning strengths and challenges. They will also develop strategies and coach your child to help make schoolwork easier and less stressful.
Together, the team members work to better understand how your child learns best and how they can help your child be more successful in school. This will hopefully make your child more happy and healthy overall.
All team members meet on a regular basis to discuss children’s progress. A shared electronic medical record system keeps track of all important information regarding care provided by the team members.
The RxSS program is being generously supported by several philanthropic organizations and individuals. At this time, all services being offered through the RxSS are being provided without charge to patients and their families.
We invite you to explore these frequently asked questions about the program.
On April 6, 2017, the team from the RxSS delivered a 90-minute presentation on “How Learning Can Affect Your Child's Health.” The presentation was video-taped on CATV and can viewed here. A copy of the presentation and the handout from the event are also available.
The Friends of APD are hosting the RxSS on Thursday, December 7th at 5:30pm. This event is free and open to the public. Learn more here.