Benefits of a Therapeutic
The boys accepted for admission to Little Keswick School typically face multiple long-term challenges. Most parents and professionals agree that comprehensive and intensive services are extremely difficult to obtain when working in parallel with several unassociated professionals. Even with the best service coordination, providers only see the boy a total of three or four hours per week, making it difficult to pin down exactly how he is functioning.
In a therapeutic boarding facility, all professionals access a rich and relatively complete information pool that more effectively informs interventions. Therapeutic boarding placement allows the capacity for true integration of services, which utilizes the strength of combined efforts all pulling in the same direction.
An additional strength in therapeutic boarding school placement is found in the concept of social immersion. Much like learning a language, people learn other behaviors best when immersed in a culture that is saturated with appropriate cues, expectations, and supports. At Little Keswick School, we maintain a consistent structure that provides adequate cues and social expectations within a relationship based program to help our students develop skills and tools. When a student experiences some barrier to being successful it creates an opportunity to practice making choices with progressive levels of support.
Students with learning and emotional issues feel that they have failed in one or more important areas of life. One reason for this is that children from elementary grades through adolescence depend heavily on social comparison to measure their skills, accomplishments, and even their value in the world. When a child faces neurological, developmental, emotional, and social challenges, his comparisons usually tilt toward negative judgments. By leveling the playing field, our boys are willing to risk new efforts and find new successes. Appropriate comparison groups, achieved through careful admission screening, are a key element in recovering the natural interests, curiosity, and drives that fuel successful efforts.
Therapeutic boarding school placement can serve to re-align family interactions, buffer unproductive intense feelings, and develop new, more productive family roles. Patterns of family interaction are rightfully well established and entrenched.
Therefore, when interaction patterns which were likely necessary in a boy’s early development are no longer useful or become damaging, it takes intensive intervention, as well as some separation from old habits to change them. Agendas that have to be realized at home, such as care of other children, getting to school or the grocery store, or parents’ careers, are often in conflict with our boys’ immediate needs for intervention.
When multiple professional and paraprofessional staff are available for interventions, ongoing life agendas can progress while the boy’s needs are being met. Placement at a therapeutic boarding school allows others to be concerned with the moment to moment compliance issues, allowing parents to adopt a more loving and consultative role that tends to strengthen the relationship overall. Over time, individual responsibility is improved, maturation progresses, and the family can create a more collaborative alliance to attack the barriers that face them.
We knew that at LKS he was finally safe from the teasing and bullying and feelings of isolation he had experienced for so many years. The transformation during his time there was nothing short of miraculous: he came back to us a confident, relaxed, happy young man who laughs easily and enjoys friends, family, and life in general.
— A Parent from Colorado
Therapeutic boarding placement is not for everyone. Local services and family support should be thoroughly exhausted before considering placement outside the home. The costs in terms of emotional, financial, and time resources are significant. Some difficulties are rooted exclusively or primarily in family interactions and sometimes might best respond to intensive family therapy at home.
When selecting a therapeutic boarding school, the most important element is the “fit” of the boy to the type of boys served at that facility. It is important to provide that “just right challenge” where a boy has a strong chance to start experiencing success in some area, without writing off the various skills and talents he has already shown. When local resources are exhausted, the family is ready for the commitment to this difficult work, and a proper fit is found, therapeutic boarding school placement can make a difference in a young man’s life.