By Jillian Amodio
The start of a school year is always a time of transition and students may need additional support services. For many, this period of transition is further amplified by the current state of our ongoing attempts to live, learn, and adapt through the COVID era.
Parents and their children may find themselves in need of support services for a wide range of topics pertaining to academic, social emotional, or mental health related concerns. Fortunately our area is ripe with providers who are skilled at offering additional support to children, parents, and families as needed.
With regards to in-school support, a good place to begin is often with your school counselor. Not only are they the most familiar with your child (aside from you as the parent or caregiver of course) but they are also able to help identify areas in need of further assistance for each child as an individual. This could be offering academic support, 504 or IEP planning, methods of calming fears, concerns, or anxieties about returning to the classroom setting or reconnecting with peers, and various other areas of concern. The school is also a great way to find referrals for any specific need that may be better met off school property.
If your child is in need of academic support, such as tutoring, there are a myriad of options available as well. You can seek insight and referrals from teachers or school staff, or begin with a few of the options listed below.
The Anne Arundel County Tutoring Pool lists all certified teachers in Anne Arundel County who are available to offer additional tutoring services.
Kumon offers academic enrichment services in reading and math.
Huntington Learning Center offers information webinars, tutoring, and test prep.
Start with your child’s counselor and resources at your school. If you need more help here are some places to contact.
Specialized Educational Services Inc.
The Summit School
Special Education Overview by County
Anne Arundel County: aacps.org/domain/238
Baltimore County: dci.bcps.org/department/special_education
Calvert County: wwwold.calvertnet.k12.md.us/departments/special_education
Howard County: hcpss.org/special-education
Prince George’s County: pgcps.org/specialeducation
Special Needs Services
In terms of special needs services ranging from speech and occupational therapy, to early intervention and assessments, listed below are a few local offerings that can help guide parents on treatment, services, and next steps.
AACPS Special Education services offers birth to 5 services, occupational therapy, speech services, physical therapy, services for hearing impaired individuals, services for learning disabilities, and more.
Children at Play offers occupational therapy,OT evaluations, small group OT sessions, and sensory-social groups.
My Kids Therapy provides services for SPD, ADD/ADHD, autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, seizure disorders, intellectual disabilities, developmental delays and more.
Annapolis Children’s Therapy Center Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Hippotherapy (equine therapy).
The Parents Place of Maryland is composed of families, professionals, and community leaders who strive to offer resources, support, and information to parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs. They offer a variety of support groups, programs, and resources for families and individuals.
Mental Health Support
Mental health is something that should be discussed year round, but during times of transition and uncertainty, struggles with anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns may become more prevalent. There are numerous providers available both in network and out of network. Finding a therapist, counselor, or mental health practitioner is a personal venture and often depends on a variety of things including methodology, scheduling, insurance, cost, location, and of course personal fit. Below are just a few practices to help begin your search.
Psychology Today allows you to search for providers with criteria such as location and insurance.
Arundel Lodge Behavioral Health offers same day or next day service. Deaf services are available, as are bilingual services. They are located in Edgewater
My Mental Health offers medication management, psychotherapy, TMS therapy, and accepts state insurance. They are located in Glen Burnie.
Oasis Mental Health offers urgent mental health appointments and are located in Annapolis.
Mirror Mental Health offers weekend and evening hours. They are located in Crofton.
Time Organization accepts state insurance and have locations in Baltimore and Glen Burnie.
Halcyon Wellness offers testing, evaluation, and therapy services and often assists with IEP needs in schools. They offer group intensives and individual therapy. They are located in Millersville.
Greater Baltimore Counseling Center is in network with most insurance, and offers evaluations, medication management, and counseling. They are located in Glen Burnie and Odenton.
Basic Needs Support
Meeting basic needs can be stressful especially during times of financial distress.
Systems of Care provides referrals for food, housing, utilities, crisis or emergency services, mentoring, parent training and education, eligibility screening for benefits and more.
Sometimes families need support to work through life’s challenges together. Below are a few practices offering family therapy.
Remedy Counseling in Severna Park
Chesapeake Bay Psychological Services in Kent Island.
Marna Wollman Brickman of Guiding Therapy in Annapolis.
Park Wellness on the Eastern Shore and in Seven Park.
Solace Family Counseling in Annapolis.
Regardless of what unique struggles or circumstances your family may be facing, please know that there are resources out there and people willing to help get you and your family the support you need.
Trust your gut feelings. If you feel that you or your child needs more help than what is being offered or suggested, search for additional resources. Often parents are told that their child will grow out of “it.” Most times Momma knows best, get a second opinion.