An Asian boy toddler looks into the camera smiling sitting inside a classroom setting.

At the heart of the San Bernardino County Preschool Services Department (PSD) is a deep commitment to nurturing the potential of every child, particularly those with special needs. Through the support of the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH), PSD has launched a series of innovative programs, including Theraplay and LIGHT groups, dedicated to providing comprehensive care for children aged birth to five years. These initiatives ensure that each child receives the tailored support they need to flourish.

A Holistic Approach to Social and Emotional Development

PSD’s strategy for addressing social and emotional development including challenging behaviors in children is both comprehensive and collaborative. At the core of this initiative is the Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP), an advanced tool that monitors children’s developmental progress from infancy through kindergarten. This tool is particularly effective for children with Individualized Family Service Plans and Individualized Education Programs.

Behavioral Health Specialists at PSD work in tandem with Marriage and Family Therapy interns, all under the guidance of licensed clinicians. This dedicated team partners closely with parents and teachers to set meaningful goals based on DRDP data, ensuring a cohesive approach to behavior management both at home and in the classroom. Moreover, parents are guided towards additional resources, such as more comprehensive assessments and specialized services like SART, CARE, IRC/SELPA support, and medical evaluations when necessary. Education and training for both teachers and parents are also provided, anchored by the Second Step curriculum.

Innovative Tools for Comprehensive Care

The DRDP-2015 is a cornerstone of PSD’s initiatives. Aligned with California’s Infant/Toddler and Preschool Learning and Development Foundations, Common Core Standards, and the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework, this tool is designed to be inclusive of cultural and linguistic diversity, including dual language learners. It assesses eight critical learning domains, offering a complete picture of a child’s development through observations and samples of their work.

Complementing the DRDP-2015 is the Ages and Stages Questionnaire Social Emotional 2 (ASQ SE-2), which identifies children at risk for social-emotional challenges. This tool screens for various behaviors such as self-regulation, compliance, social communication, adaptive functioning, autonomy, affect, and social interactions, covering ages from early infancy up to 72 months.

Curriculum-Based Strategies for Behavioral Support

PSD’s initiatives are further strengthened by curriculum-based education, particularly the Second Step Curriculum. This program equips Behavioral Health Specialists and Teacher IIIs with effective strategies to support children exhibiting challenging behaviors through engaging methods like songs, stories, lessons, and puppet play. Additionally, PSD staff are certified in the Teaching Pyramid Model, a comprehensive framework designed to promote healthy social-emotional development, support appropriate behavior, prevent challenging behavior, and address problematic behavior.

Throughout this program year, PSD staff from the high desert region engaged in in-service training sessions in the Second Step curriculum. From January to May, monthly sessions on the Teaching Pyramid Model provided the staff with the tools and strategies necessary to create a supportive and nurturing environment for all children.

A Collaborative and Inclusive Vision

The San Bernardino County Preschool Services Department’s Behavioral/Disabilities/Health Program exemplifies a holistic and collaborative approach to supporting young children with special needs. Through the integration of innovative tools, strategic partnerships with other county departments, parents and community resources, and dedicated professional training, PSD ensures that every child can thrive in a nurturing and inclusive environment. This comprehensive support system not only enhances the lives of the children but also strengthens the bonds within their families and communities, creating a brighter future for all.

For information on Preschool Services Department’s programs and services, please visit

Additional County Update News – June 6, 2024

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