‘Peace of mind’ for parents

Joseph Larena, RN, with preschool student Joshua Rincon. Joshua is using the KidWalk, a mobility system that allows children to independently explore their environment. It was a gift from Matheny’s auxiliary group, The Friends of Matheny.

When parents send their special-needs son or daughter to preschool, it is often their first time away from that child. That’s why a registered nurse is considered an essential part of the Matheny preschool class. “We decided that parents and families need that extra peace of mind,” says The Matheny School principal Sean Murphy.

The preschool nurse, Joseph Larena, RN, says that being an in-class nurse who continuously interacts with the children and participates in daily classwork “provides me with an opportunity to truly know each child. This allows me to instantly identify and respond to issues that may arise and prevent certain complications from occurring.”

Before coming to Matheny, Larena, a resident of Blairstown, NJ, worked in home care. There, he says, “there was no contact between the home and the school.”

Larena has been working at Matheny for about six months. The culture, he says, “is unlike anything I have experienced at other schools. The staff is truly passionate about making a difference in the children’s lives.”