Berkshire Meadows School | Justice Resource Institute

Meet JRI's Service Navigator

Our Navigator personally answers questions and talks with you about resources that may be available in the community to meet your individualized needs. If you have any questions about our programs or services, or aren't sure what you need, contact our Service Navigator, Rachel Arruda, and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

Rachel has been a part of the JRI team since January, 2000. For over 20 years, Rachel has been working in the field of human services assisting families with accessing and navigating services. Rachel received her Bachelors degree in psychology and Masters Degree in Public Administration from Bridgewater State University. She was promoted in July 2005 to Family Networks Program Director where she closely worked with the Department of Children Families for 10 years ensuring that children and families received the highest quality of individualized services ranging from community based through residential care. Rachel is very dedicated to helping the individuals she works with and is committed to improving the lives of children and families. Rachel’s passion for creative service programming inspires her in her role as JRI Service Navigator.


Berkshire Meadows School

Berkshire Meadows is a residential school for children with severe intellectual and physical disabilities. The 365-day-a-year program includes nursing and medical services, allied health services, and activi­ties of daily living development. Set in the picturesque Berkshire Hills, Berkshire Meadows has homelike residences that are fully accessible homes and enable and maximize growth and skill development.

Berkshire Meadows Building
At a Glance
This service is for
Focus: We use a variety of innovative techniques, including sensory and ABA to help with skill development and behavioral issues depending on the individual child's needs and ability.
Age: 6+
Gender: Male and Female
Capacity: 35
Let's Connect
Liisa Kelly
Senior Program Director
249 North Plain Road
Housatonic, MA 10236
(413) 528-2523

At Berkshire Meadows skill development is provided in a 365-day-a-year, 24-hour-a-day program in order for each student to make progress and not lose skills over extended vacation periods. The one-to-one during instructional periods, instruction at time and place of functional use, clear and consistent expectations, consistent daily routines and schedules, brief instructional periods, hand-over-hand assistance, and verbal & physical prompting provide the best mechanism for skill development. Significant modifications in the content and methodology of the educational and residential program are made in the individuals program that emphasizes access skills and functional skills. It provides multiple opportunities for practice and short instructional periods alternated with breaks. A highly structured program emphasizes development of communication skills, appropriate behaviors, and functional activities delivered in a variety of settings across an extended day and uses hands-on activities.

Dr. Leslie Rubin, M.D, Medical Consultant to Berkshire Meadows
"We are able to bring the best possible professionals to Berkshire Meadows to provide the best possible care."
Aquatic Therapy

Berkshire Meadows has a fully accessible indoor pool with a motorized floor to enhance access and allow for changes in depth for various therapeutic exercises. Therapy focuses on building muscular strength through a variety of flexibility, muscle strength and range-of-motion exercises. Therapy also reduces muscle spasticity and joint pain. It is a setting for relaxing and self-healing and provides stimulation for others.



Changing Behaviors

Individuals with severe intellectual disabilities may present challenging behaviors that increase risk to their health and safety. Berkshire Meadows practices a team approach for addressing challenging behaviors under the leadership of a skilled Clinical Director and Medical Director. The behavioral approach utilizes positive programming to achieve realistic outcomes for individuals to help increase their self-management skills.

Student walking with teacher



Berkshire Meadows provides 24-hour nursing coverage and an in-house nurse practitioner and visiting physicians. Consulting physicians include nationally recognized experts in the field of disabilities and healthcare. They focus on the complex needs of the individuals, including assessment and treatment for orthopedic, gastrointestinal, and neurological disorders. Berkshire Meadows’ relationships with leading medical centers enable all the residents to receive the most advanced diagnostic services, treatment, and supportive care.


smiling boy in wheel chair
The spirit at Berkshire Meadows is one of can do, one of being positive, one of continually making progress.
Leslie Rubin, M.D.
Medical Consultant to Berkshire Meadows

Students live in fully accessible homes, with lifts and specialized bedrooms on campus within walking distance or an elevator ride to the school. Residential Staff work with individuals in their homes providing a normalized routine of activities of daily living, group and individual recreational activities, and community outings. Residences have 24-hour nursing and medical coverage. The children become active participants within their home and within the community at large. There are regular social outings on a daily basis that include shopping, bowling, and recreation. Many children also participate in weekly therapeutic horseback riding. A therapeutic dog is in residence and offers a consoling presence or attractive diversion to many.

Watch the maaps video called #ImIncluded.

Request More Information

For assistance determining which programs or services will meet your individualized need, please fill out the form below. If you have a question regarding a particular program, please contact the Program Director listed in the “Let’s Connect” box above.

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