The 1960’s were a complex time of cultural and political change. It was during this time that the Kennedy family sought the prevention of intellectual disabilities and to improve the means by which society helps these individuals, thus leading the way to take disabilities out of the shadows and into the public light. In the late 1960’s many large state hospitals closed and there was an awareness that institutionalized people could move into a better life in their natural communities rather than in institutions—the WWII concept of a “therapeutic community”. The advent of medications (psychotropic drugs) to manage emotional life, and theories such as psychoanalysis, neurodevelopment, diagnosis & remediation of learning disabilities, began to emerge.
In 1974 five people with curiosity, and a deep understanding of children, child development, health, and mental health came together fortuitously, with great passion and determination to found a therapeutic school. The school, then called Community Preschool Therapeutic Nursery, was designed to serve the special needs of children whose complex educational, medical and emotional challenges could not be appropriately addressed in a traditional public or private school setting. Originally enrolling children ages 3-8 years, in 1985 the school matured to what we are today: Community Therapeutic Day School , serving children ages 3-12. The idea of a therapeutic school began to give hope and life to families and their children, many of whom could not be helped to work, play or function alongside their normally developing peers. Our evolution has led us to support the whole family through various groups for parents, fathers, grandparents and siblings while developing contributing, and even exemplary, members of society. From the beginning CTDS has operated with honesty, compassion, integrity and respect for children and their families, and has built a trusted community organization.
Nancy’s training in literature and education led her to direct an integrated child-care program with atypical and typically developing children at a local university in 1975. After being introduced to Bruce through a mutual connection, Trudy Goodman, she left that role to assume the position of Executive Director and teacher with CTDS. Through that time, Nancy was involved in psychoanalysis to achieve personal and professional goals. She has remained Executive Director for the past 45 years.
After finishing his psychiatry training with adults and children, Bruce spent two years with the renowned John Bowlby MD and Donald Winnicott at the Tavistock Clinic in England, where he also visited therapeutic schools that were developed after WWII. This time deeply influenced his career. Bruce’s early-life influence of John Dewey coupled with his experience performing assessments for the Navy, and his time in England laid the groundwork for the founding of CTDS. He secured the original funding from the National Institute for Mental Health and worked at CTDS for 44 years, until he passed away on November 11, 2017.
In 1975 Tom worked on the Children’s Ward at Mass. Mental Health Center and he was a natural with children. When the grant for CTDS was secured, he helped found the school as well as became a therapeutic teacher. A few years later, he left to pursue a social work degree, but always remained connected to the people at CTDS. He returned to the school in 2007 to assume a part-time social work position with children and families, and remains with us today.
In 1975 Alan was working in child development in the Boston area after having spent several years teaching young children in the inner city of New York. He worked at CTDS for 40 years as Program Director, up until his retirement in 2016.
In 1974 Trudy was a teacher and clinician at The Neighborhood Day School, a small program that was a service to the community and a training site in child development for the Harvard Psychiatry residents of Mass Mental Health Center. It was there she worked with Bruce Hauptman. Trudy, who studied psychology at Radcliffe, came on board as one of the original teachers when CTDS was founded as Community Preschool Therapeutic Nursery.
“Knowledge from the past is incorporated into our current new knowledge. It is not as if we take something from the past that has no relationship to the present. We strive to take the past and bring the past to inform us into the future.” — Bruce Hauptman, MD, Psychiatrist