The identification of the signs and symptoms of a child in need of mental health services, methods of addressing these signs and symptoms, and how these signs and symptoms affect learning were explored in this qualitative study. Students in a therapeutic classroom were observed, and the staff of the classroom were interviewed. Observations and interviews indicate that the large number of staff members in the classroom allows identification of children suffering from trauma or emotional stress, and allows the needs of these children to be addressed. The classroom is structured so that the children develop both socially and academically. The pace of the classroom is such that developmentally delayed children are able to keep pace with the rest of their class. These findings suggest that positive aspects of a successful therapeutic classroom may include a small student-teacher ratio, a classroom structure that allows developmentally delayed children to keep pace with their c lass, and the proactive development of students' social as well as academic skills.
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