Full Circle is a licensed mental health center and a qualified developmental disabilities services provider serving Missoula and Ravalli Counties. The agency offers family-based mental health services, school-based mental health services, autism and developmental services, and evaluation and diagnostic services.
It offers support and services to help improve the lives of children and their families by following the family’s lead, and also working in partnership with the community to provide services. These services occur in the family’s home, at school, in the community, at the center’s play and learning space, or in an office setting. It serves children, adolescents, and adults working to help them learn to manage their emotions and behavior. Clients receive help to learn new skills to be successful (examples: play and leisure skills together with social, language and self-help skills). Families also learn strategies to encourage children’s positive behavior and development. Staff includes Licensed Mental Health professionals, Family Support Specialists, Care Coordinators and Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA). All payment sources are accepted including Medicaid, private insurance, and Healthy Montana Kids.
- Focus on positive behaviors from children. Be clear about expected behaviors you want to see and verbalize what you WANT them to do and not what you DON’T want them to do. Instead of saying “don’t hit your brother,” you could say “we use safe hands with brother” — and show/model for them what safe hands look like.
- Provide choices. Make sure children have several options to give them a feeling of control over tricky situations. When you know a child is going to have a hard time ending an activity, you could say “It’s time to leave the playground — do you want to run or skip to the car;” or “It’s time to clean up your art project — do you want to put it in the big bag”; or “I see you are really mad — do you want to sit on my lap or on the beanbag chair to calm down?”
- Use praise and rewards. Children respond to positive reinforcement with positive behaviors. The praise is specific to the behavior that you are seeing, such as saying “You played very nicely with your toy and waited for me while I had to talk on the phone — nice job.”
- Plan ahead. Create situations and environments that help children know what is expected. For example when you know you are going to grocery shop, make sure your child has activities to occupy his time and make it successful. For example, he could play “I Spy” in the store with you, bring books to look at in the cart while you shop, or help you find the items you will need for dinner. Before you go shopping, you can remind your child of the rules in the store such as “Walk,” “Stay by Dad,” “Use inside voice,” etc.
- Acknowledge emotions. Helping children understand what they are feeling may help to prevent a tantrum before it begins. Using phrases such as these may be helpful: “You look like you are frustrated Let’s figure this out together;” “Your frown tells me you are not happy. Want a hug?”; “I hear a mad voice. I bet you might be mad because I won’t let you go outside right now — let’s find something else to do.”