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Also part of the UPMC family:

Our Experts at the Therapeutic Nursery and Preschool

Specialty Clinical Staff

Specialists in child development and behavioral health are a crucial part of the assessment and treatment team and help to monitor the effects of medications, psychotherapy, and other treatments.

The staff at the Matilda Theiss Therapeutic Nursery and Preschool includes:

  • A child psychiatrist
  • Licensed psychologists
  • Early intervention specialists
  • Milieu therapists
  • Program counselors

At the Matilda Theiss Therapeutic Nursery and Preschool Program, a medical doctor, child psychiatrist, licensed psychologists, and an early intervention specialist provide administrative and clinical oversight for the program and serve on the multidisciplinary treatment team.

  • The program's medical director is a child psychiatrist who sits in on monthly treatment team meetings to monitor each treatment plan and clinically supervise the treatment of all patients. In addition, the attending child psychiatrist manages psychopharmacological treatment prescribed at the center.
  • The director is a licensed psychologist who serves as a member of the treatment team, and oversees clinical programming and treatment at the center. The director may complete psychological evaluations and is available for case consultations. In addition, the director assists in collaboration with other agencies, including the child’s lead educational agency.
  • The program manager is an early intervention specialist and responsible for the daily operations of the center. She provides supervision and assistance to the classroom milieu therapists and oversees how educational and clinical programs are integrated in the classroom environment.
  • Clinical child psychologist(s) provide highly specialized services to children in the program in the form of diagnostic evaluations, individual play therapy, classroom-based behavioral consultation and intervention, dyadic parent-child psychotherapy, and family support and education.
  • Program counselors: For individual children, treatment planning and therapeutic programming is coordinated by a master’s-level behavioral health clinician who coordinates intake activities, develops and maintains treatment plans, provides parent support and programming, coordinates ongoing progress monitoring activities, and convenes multidisciplinary treatment team meetings. They may also assist in the collection of information for psychological evaluations, provide support to classroom staff, and provide individual clinical support and educational services to parents and families.
  • A bachelor's-level family support specialist provides additional support and access to resources for parents and families with needs that impact their child’s behavioral and emotional functioning. The family support specialist also may provide supportive and educational services to parents and families.
  • A member of the classroom staff is identified as the teacher-parent liaison and, in addition to fulfilling classroom responsibilities, supports the family support specialist. This design helps support an integrated and comprehensive program that is both child- and family- focused.

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Classroom Milieu and Staff

Within each classroom are milieu therapists that may include a master’s-level clinician and/or certified teacher, a bachelor’s-level behavioral support staff, and multiple classroom aides with child development associate certification.

Preschool milieu — At the preschool level, maximum classroom capacity is 15 to 18 students, including children enrolled in therapeutic and nontherapeutic programs.

  • A certified teacher functions as the classroom leader.
  • A bachelor’s-level mental health specialist is responsible for documenting and addressing behavioral concerns, implementing classroom-based individual and group therapeutic interventions, completing notes for individual time they spend with children.
  • Two classroom aides who hold — or are working toward — child development associate level (or higher), support classroom activities.

Toddler milieu program — Maximum classroom capacity is 10, which also includes therapeutic and nontherapeutic clients. Depending on the number of children enrolled, each toddler classroom is staffed with at least one:

  • Bachelor’s-level mental health specialist who is responsible for both oversight of educational programming in the therapeutic classroom and implementation of preventive interventions.
  • Classroom aide who supports activities in the classroom, as needed by the mental health specialist.

Infant milieu — Maximum classroom capacity is 10, which includes therapeutic and typical clients.

  • A bachelor’s-level clinician staffs the one infant classroom and is responsible for both oversight of educational programming in the therapeutic classroom and implementation of preventive interventions.
  • Two aides support activities in the classroom.

Milieu Staff-Child Ratios

Staff ratios will vary, according to the individual needs and ages of the children served.

  • Within a center-based program, the infant-toddler level necessitates staff-child ratios ranging between one to three and one to five, depending on the age of the child and specific behavioral needs within the group.
  • At the preschool level, the staff-child ratio within the classroom is no more than one to five.
  • Outside the classroom, clinical child and family-oriented support services such as play therapy, dyadic therapy, medication management, and parent education are typically provided one-to-one or in small groups, depending on the individual needs of the child.

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Contact Us

Call 412-383-1575 for more information about The Matilda Theiss Therapeutic Nursery and Preschool.

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