Two Frenship Special Education Teachers Complete Training in Dual Diagnosis

Project TEDD: Training Educators in Dual Diagnosis is an initiative that addresses state needs for Kindergarten through 12thgrade teachers who specialize in teaching students who have a dual diagnosis of an intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD) and a mental health condition.

Frenship’s Patricia Mendez and Stephani Campbell completed a virtual, one-day workshop through Texas Tech University’s Virginia Murray Sowell Center for Research and Education in Sensory Disabilities.

Through the program they learned some necessary skills for recognizing, understanding and working with I/DD individuals and those with mental health disorders. This workshop equipped them with the skills they will need to train other teachers on dual diagnosis as well.

Stephani Campbell, Frenship’s Behavioral Intervention Specialist, said the training talked about the symptoms of mental illness and the need in the mental health field to recognize that students with I/DD can have mental health disorders and are more vulnerable to mental illness.

“The virtual class was eight hours long and was divided into 6 different modules that covered a variety of areas regarding dual diagnosis,” Campbell said. “Project TEDD is a train the trainer program and I think the most important part of the training was to bring awareness of dual diagnosis to us so we can bring it to teachers and share the signs and symptoms to look for if mental illness or trauma is suspected.”

Campbell said as a Behavioral Intervention Specialist she will be able to utilize the information she learned from the course to help teachers struggling with students that have I/DD and challenging behaviors.

“I think the training had great information to share with the teachers and provided good ways for teachers to start a conversation with a mental health professional on students that may be eligible for dual diagnosis,” Campbell said.

Patricia Mendez is a Focus Teacher at Oakridge Elementary. She has been in special education for five years and said the Project TEDD course was very helpful.

“I was a little confused about dual diagnosis before this training so, I will have to say, learning about the different types of dual diagnosis and how to be proactive would have to be my favorite part of this training,” Mendez said. “I learned how to be more proactive and why students display certain behaviors. We learned a lot about behavior being a way a student communicates, so when I train others, I would like to talk a lot about that part because there are students that do not know how to express themselves appropriately and sometimes as teachers, we think they are just acting out.”

Mendez said she believes that opportunities like Project TEDD are helpful for support staff, teachers, and administrators.

“These classes are important for our District because there are always new things that we can learn to help students be successful,” Mendez said. “Becoming more aware of the students’ needs and how to accommodate them will support our students to become their best.”