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STAR Program for Special Needs Children

The STAR Program provides enhanced, coordinated care for children with autism or Down Syndrome. The STAR Program’s mission is to provide the highest quality care to all children, from newborns through age 18, in a compassionate, family-centered, coordinated care environment.

At Winthrop we realize that entering a hospital can be a difficult experience for the entire family, particularly for those with children who have special needs.

What Does The Program Offer?

When your child is hospitalized or has a visit/procedure at Winthrop, he/she will be paired with a Child Life Specialist, who is specially trained in care and development of children with complex medical and behavioral issues.

The program was created to address the unique emotional and developmental needs of children and their families, helping them cope with the stress that outpatient visits/procedures or hospitalization can cause.

The STAR Program’s Goals are to:

  • Help the child overcome fear and anxiety.
  • Alleviate the long and short-term emotional effects of hospitalization.
  • Transform hospitalization from a potentially frightening experience into a positive one that promotes the child’s growth and development.
  • Provide the family with emotional support as well as answers to questions, serving as a link between the hospital and home.
  • Improve the child’s and family’s understanding of medical procedures through education and medical play.
  • Provide the hospitalized child with a sense of control over a seemingly uncontrollable situation.

How To Participate in the STAR Program

  1. Please complete our Parent/Child Intake form to help us know you and your child. Contact us at 516-663-2112 if you have questions about the forms or the process.
  2. Please complete our “All About Me” form, which will help us learn more about your child.
  3. Set up a session with a team member to further evaluate your child’s needs should they have a hospital visit or a test/procedure.
  4. Bring forms to your next visit or fax to Lori Benzoni at 516-663-2308
  5. Follow up and update the forms as needed.

Once enrolled, this is a patient driven program. We are available Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, with exceptions of holidays. To make an appointment, please call 516-663-2112.