Imagine feeling terrified of living life with your own child. Not scared for your life, but terrified of the emotional instability your child brings to your life every day. I lived that way for too long. I searched for answers. There were hundreds of chaotic calls to our therapists, too many frantic calls to the police, and even a short stay in a lock down stabilization facility. All these people wanting to help but no one knowing how. Until I finally made the right call.
Gail Curran, owner and educational consultant at Optimal Edu Options, answered my call and that changed everything. Finally, someone not only understood, but could lead me out of the chaos. I thought I had made the right decision to place my son in a Therapeutic Boarding School recommended to me by two different therapists. We were coming out of the pandemic, and our home life was plummeting. My middle son was 14, isolating in his room, He failed his first semester of his freshman year, and was smoking pot. I felt like I had no options. I made the call to the recommended school and off he went about a week later. I was uneducated and left my son’s mental health up to a school that promised they would be our answer.
About five months in, my son’s progress at the school was sliding downhill. Once again, I was feeling panic set in. Somewhere along the way I heard about education consultants so, I started calling and asking questions. My last call was too Gail. Speaking to her gave me peace. She didn’t have all the answers, but she had most. Who knew there was someone who could walk me through all the pros and cons without judgment? Who knew that there was someone who could say, “yes, that is a wonderful program, but not for your son?” There are hundreds and hundreds of programs out there for “troubled” kids. How does a parent in crisis find the right fit? The answer is an educational consultant.
A good EC (educational consultant) has knowledge of programs all over the country, they know the best therapists in those programs, and they take the time to get to know your child so that your kid can be placed in the best program for the success of your specific child. Gail met with my son and right away knew he was not getting his needs met at the school he was attending. She walked us through the next steps as a family and has set us up on the best path we could be on. My son ended up going to a wilderness program and is now thriving at a placement that fits him wonderfully. Many of you have heard of wildness therapy and can draw any number of conclusions from that name. I was one of them. My son doesn’t need “that!” I told myself that because I was uneducated on what “that” really was. Once again Gail (our EC) to the rescue.
While he was in the wilderness program, Gail talked to his therapists weekly and even went to visit. She made calls to different programs and found the ones that in her expert opinion would be successful for my son. Then she presented us with her research. We finally had options! When you are living in crisis and chaos, jail seemed like the only option. My son and my family finally see a future—a future of peace and happiness.
The path we are on now is not the path we would have been following without our EC. There is a price tag attached to getting expert advice and direction, and many families I have spoken to feel think they can do the research themselves. Not us. To our family, Gail’s service is INVALUABLE. She offered me support, knowledge, comfort and most important, options.
Marnee M. is the mother of 3 boys, ages 17, 15, and 11. She began working Gail at Optimal Edu Options in 2021 while her son was in a Therapeutic Boarding School (TBS) in Utah due to behaviors including refusing to attend school, behavioral challenges and marijuana use. He and a brother are both in TBS and doing well. The family are hopeful they will come home next year to Arizona and finish their years of high school.