Bed-Stuy Special Needs Preschool Looks to Expand

By Paul DeBenedetto on February 26, 2014 11:42am 

 C. Clay Berry speaks in support of Adaptive Solutions Multi Services preschool in Bed-Stuy. The school is preparing to bring evaluation services to the neighborhood.
C. Clay Berry speaks in support of Adaptive Solutions Multi Services preschool in Bed-Stuy. The school is preparing to bring evaluation services to the neighborhood.
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DNAinfo/Paul DeBenedetto

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A Bed-Stuy preschool that serves special needs children wants to expand its services by evaluating children with developmental disabilities.

Adaptive Solutions Multi Services, now in its second year, is a private preschool that helps families with special needs children by providing specialized training and instruction, with child psychologists and physical and speech therapists on hand to help kids develop. 

But that development is only one step. Before children can even enter the school they must be evaluated and approved by the state.

The school wants to solve that problem by offering parents an option to be evaluated by experts on site, said co-founder Marcia Ross.

"They think, 'can I have my child evaluated, I'm concerned,' and we always have to send them out of the community," said Ross, 52.

Ross founded Adaptive Solutions after years working as a special education teacher and day care director. She and clinical director Karen Beckles wanted to open their own facility that Ross said better supervised children and worked closer with parents.

In order to accomplish that, the school focused on a small enrollment — there are currently 22 children. It partners with the Joy of Learning Center, with whom they share space at 992 Gates Ave., to provide integrated classes where children with special needs can learn alongside typical kids.

The preschool opened as a way to provide more services to a community in need, Ross said. Now she believes the school can be the missing piece to special needs care in Bed-Stuy, by providing assessment exams for parents in the neighborhood to see if their kids might need special education.

"It's the perfect place," Joy of Learning CEO C. Clay Berry said at a recent community meeting about the proposed expansion.

"The facility is specifically designed for these type of services. For every two classrooms, there are therapeutic rooms, such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and special instruction."

Brooklyn Community Board 3 already approved the school's request for a letter of support. Now the preschool will take its application to Albany, where the state education department will review it.

With the addition of the new services, Ross said the school can better serve a community she is invested in.

"I live in this community," Ross said. "I'm not going anywhere. So I want to give all the kids in my community the support that they need."

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