The Stanislaus County Mental Health board brought their regular monthly meeting to the California State University, Stanislaus campus on Thursday to consider the potential for forming a partnership with the university.
Members of the Stanislaus County Mental Health Board previously visited the Martin Gipson Socialization Center in Stockton, which is a drop-in center for the mentally disabled. The center uses curriculum-based small classes to teach life skills to clients. Karl von Spreckelsen, chair of the Mental Health Board, said their tour showed them some of the services available to people in San Joaquin County. The group also saw a partnership between University of the Pacific psychology students and San Joaquin County mental health system at the Gipson Center. UOP graduate and undergraduate students work at the Martin Gipson Socialization Center to help clients and further their educational goals.
“We are hoping to offer some Gipson-like services in our county,” von Spreckelsen said.
The Stanislaus County Mental Health board invited two professors from the CSU Stanislaus Psychology department to the meeting to talk about their Applied Behavior Analysis program. Jane Howard and Carrie Dempsey, both professors in the ABA program, attended the meeting and gave a brief description of what applied behavior analysis is all about. Howard described the method as a development and teaching model that helps people with mental disabilities obtain a repertoire of behaviors or skills.
“The goal is to teach that person the skills he or she needs to manage himself or herself. The goal is to have them be successful but independent,” Howard said.
Dempsey added that she has done work with more of an emphasis on severe behavior disorders. She said that by analyzing severe behavior disorders in children under different conditions it can help identify environments that cause the behavior or make it worse. Then they can give skills training or help change the home or school environment to help change the behavior.
“That keeps our students very positive because they can see behavior change,” Dempsey said.
CSU Stanislaus already runs a center for direct instruction, which is a joint venture between the psychology department and special education (Department of Advanced Studies.) The center is an on-campus clinic that provides services to children and adolescents.
After hearing the presentation, members of the Stanislaus County Mental Health Board voted to form an ad-hoc subcommittee to study the possibility for a partnership between Stanislaus County mental health services and the university. Kimberly Kennard and Frank Alvarez volunteered to co-chair the committee.
“It’s just to explore the possibilities on what action we should take. We have not formed any partnerships yet,” Kennard said.
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