The FAST Gains Program is a therapeutic program designed to meet the unique mental health needs of children and adolescents who are diagnosed with a mental health disorder such as:
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
The purpose of this program is to provide community-based treatment for children who have been identified as having significant difficulties successfully integrating into community and school-based activities due to their mental health needs as they relate to defiance, inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, mood dysfunction, and anxiety, etc. The FAST Gains Program aims to improve the child’s overall mental health and thus, enable maintenance in the least restrictive setting as possible. The goals of this program include, but are not limited to:
- Facilitating the acquisition and use of problem-solving skills
- Identification, labeling, and processing of emotional responses
- Development of successful coping strategies to deal with negative emotional states
Moreover, the program is designed to teach youth and their families how to develop, reinforce, and maintain the positive changes that occur during participation in the program.
This program will provide youth with a motivational point system, which is adapted from the Pelham Summer Treatment Program model. The point system will help motivate clients, and help them regulate their emotions (when applicable), and activate replacement behaviors during preferred and non-preferred tasks. The point system is designed to reward the child for showing appropriate behaviors, direction following, socializing and completing tasks. The child’s family may be given written instructions regarding the token economy so they can replicate and integrate this method in the home or community settings.
Those children/adolescents who participate in the FAST Gains Program will be evaluated & may be referred for up to four hours per session per day for the Morning (8:00 AM – 12:00 PM) & Afternoon (1:00-5:00 PM) sessions during the summer months. Clients will be referred for up to three hours per day from the approximate hours of 3:00 to 6:30 PM during the week for the evening program during the school year. The FAST Gains Program will be provided throughout the calendar year and clients will be able to enter and exit program services at any time during those intervals .
In order for a child to be referred to this program, they may be self-referred by their parents, other family members or self, the Managed Care Organization (MCO) Case Manager or MH/MR CASSP Coordinator or their designee, school personnel, agency personnel, and any other involved community members and/or service provider.
Each child who participates in the Program will receive an individualized treatment plan prior to the start of the FAST Gains Program based on issues and behaviors identified at the psychological evaluation as per report from the child, parent, school and/or other service providers. Once the child is enrolled in the program and staff can chart/track behaviors displayed within the program setting, the Mental Health Professional will take that data, along with the presenting problems indicated within the evaluation, and develop a more individualized treatment plan.
The program will provide parents with helpful materials to aid in the treatment within the home and to transfer skills. This includes but is not limited to, common parenting tips & techniques, fun and relationship building activity ideas, and educational handouts that are specific to each child’s individual needs.