The Incredible Years Parent and Dinosaur (Dina) School programs have been part of our Behavioral Health Services program for four years. These programs focus on children ages 4-8 who need support with social and emotional interactions and regulation. Many of these children have experienced trauma, been diagnosed with ADHD, struggle with intense tantrums, or have difficulties expressing themselves. Families enrolled in the Incredible Years program face many adverse experiences that may be difficult to manage in a healthy way: domestic violence, substance use, neglect and grief/loss. Many of our families come to us because they are single-parent homes, work multiple jobs and struggle to find time each day to spend time with their children outside of homework and other activities such as meals and bath times. Children in these types of families may struggle in regulating themselves in a healthy way and often engage in verbal or physical aggression. Many of the families in this program experience defiance and power struggles that often end up in high stress conflict situations that can last for hours or days. It is through the Incredible Years Parent and Dinosaur School program that families are able to learn new strategies to communicate and work through tough situations. This evidence-based program lasts 18 weeks and enrolls one child in Dinosaur School while at least one parent or caregiver enrolls in Incredible Years. Both child and parent are learning the same concepts at the same time, assisting parents in building stronger, healthier, supportive families together and applying at home what they have learned. This helps strengthen the relationship between child and parent as they experience learning these new techniques together and provide opportunities to role-model change and build resilience. The Dina School program uses puppets, toys, games, and positive reinforcement to help children understand how to work through and regulate tough emotions, how to connect with each other, how to build healthy relationships with their peers, increase understanding of appropriate ways to get their needs met, and build a foundation of resiliency to manage typical life challenges. This program is a great tool to decrease the chances of abuse and neglect, to address and heal from traumatic experiences, and to help build a healthy emotional and mental mindset for children and families.
To learn more about Dina School and our Behavioral Health Services program click here.