Whitney Hall School

A state approved Special Education program designed to work with children, grades Kindergarten thru 12, who have emotional, behavioral and academic challenges.

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Laurie’s Story

Children revel in wearing masks for Halloween, but when a mask refuses to come off it can wreak havoc in a young adult’s life. Laurie’s mental health issues, cloaked in a number of conflicts and frustrations, gave her a mask she didn’t really want to wear—a mask that concealed her ability to learn, socialize and get along in the world.

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Thanks to the intervention of the Connecticut Department of Children & Families and the sponsorship of her local school district, at age 17 Laurie was enrolled in the Whitney Hall School at The Children’s Center of Hamden, where a team of professionals was ready to help remove the mask and bring more authenticity back into her life.

The issue of how mental health issues can mask sociability is a serious business that requires significant treatment, education, skill development—and a great deal of support. Fortunately for Laurie, the Whitney team has had great success in creating learning games and social experiences that were all part of a fundamental treatment plan. In a relatively short amount of time, the team behind the treatment plan identified Laurie’s hidden abilities, provided her with increased self-awareness, and encouraged her ability to participate in meaningful activities with others.

What Laurie’s team had discovered during the early days at Whitney Hall was that most of her conflicts and frustrations were traceable to a sense of complete helplessness and hopelessness. So the team went into action to focus on coping strategies, self-advocacy, academic tasks, interpersonal and social skills, positive feedback and more. It was a full program that, in the words of one Whitney professional, restored Laurie’s faith in Laurie. That made a big difference.

Soon she was able to practice her new skills in a real-world setting through a carefully selected and well-supported off-site work arrangement. She has thrived so well that her stay at Whitney has been extended. That way she can further hone those skills and commit to earning her high school diploma. With the continued help of her Whitney Hall support team, the tremendous capabilities that had previously been shrouded have now been unmasked and are seeing many wonderful results that make each day more joyful than they might otherwise have been.

What The Whitney Hall School Provides

img-clinical-day-schoolWhitney Hall School provides an integrated educational experience for clients living in the  Residential Treatment Program and youth living in the community (Day School) and referred by local school systems. The students, elementary level through high school, receive 25 hours a week of academic instruction and clinical support in single-gender classrooms which average 10 students each. Whitney Hall School offers a full compliment of core subject matter as well as physical education, art, life skills, remedial reading and math support and speech and language services when needed. In conjunction, a strong emphasis is placed on helping students develop healthy coping strategies and positive interpersonal skills through a structured school-wide behavior program and a dynamic team of social workers, teachers, education assistants and childcare workers.

For referrals contact Clinical Admissions Coordinator, Jennifer Kazdan, LCSW, x332 or email

What Our Clients Say

My teachers labeled me as a person who could make it out there. They always had very high hopes for me.

My plan was to get back into my school system, get a steady job  and go on to college. I got a job washing dishes at an area restaurant, got my high school diploma and went on to college. I am now an executive chef managing a $4 million restaurant.