Parents Don’t Know Where to Begin
In times of crisis, parents are often overwhelmed with a barrage of emotions. The confusion and desperation associated with having a struggling teen, young adult or even young child can be extremely trying. Parents may not be aware of the options available, or may not be able to decide on their own what option best meets their situation and the needs of their child. Among the questions, we often hear:
- How do we know when treatment is necessary?
- What would be best for our child?
- Is an intervention needed? What exactly is an intervention?
- Should we find a residential program?
- What is a wilderness therapy program? It sounds scary. Is it a real choice?
- Would an emotional growth or therapeutic boarding school be better?
- Will insurance cover the expenses?
We are determined, passionate and committed to helping children, adolescents, and young adults realize their potential to lead productive and fulfilling lives. Under the leadership of Gail Curran, Certified Educational Planner, Optimal Edu Options provide guidance, support and expertise to families. We offer a comprehensive and individualized approach to addressing clinical and educational needs in a continuum of care.
The Options are Overwhelming
A student’s individual skills or development may require a unique environment. What makes educational and therapeutic consultants unique is their extensive knowledge of schools and programs throughout the United States. There are hundreds of programs, some reputable and useful – others less so – making it very confusing for parents to make the difficult choice of choosing the best option.
Further, as professional educational consultants, we travel thousands of miles each year visiting, assessing and evaluating hundreds of programs that offer unique therapeutic and academic experiences. Only by conducting such visits can we get a good understanding of a facility’s strengths, therapeutic options, and staff expertise.
Every Student has Unique Needs
What works for one adolescent, young adult or pre-teen may not be appropriate for another. Parents cannot investigate these programs by only reading descriptions over the Internet or relying on friends whose children do not have the same needs. Our in-depth experience and knowledge enable us to recommend an individualized plan of action or ‘roadmap’ for your family and child.
We are Available for the Long-Term
What sets our practice apart is that we do not make suggestions and end our commitment. When we accept an engagement from your family, we are in it for the long haul. We work with others already engaged with you, such as therapists, educators or learning specialists. We communicate with each program and school to evaluate whether and what changes must be made to help your child progress.
We offer an extension of services beyond placement, to coach students, further ensuring their success.
Our Tool Box is Extensive
We have an extensive network of professional relationships with schools, mental health professionals, transport services, insurance and legal advocates.
Helping You Make a Wise Investment
The cost of our services is a fraction of what private programming costs and it can mean the difference between success and wasting your money. You will spend tens of thousands of dollars on a program. You do not want to get it wrong. With our help, you will spend your money wisely. We help you choose the best program; we help you get the full value once you have chosen it, and we there to support you throughout the journey.
Our fees are paid solely by our clients. No fees, commissions or other compensations are ever accepted from a school, or program, assuring impartial recommendations. Objective planning and guidance in school or program selection are of utmost importance. That is why we adhere to Best Practices of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA).
We accept most Major Credit/Debit Cards.
Please call for our current placement fees.
We can provide information on financial assistance for meeting student/family needs, as well as financing options.
|Adoption and Attachment Issues||Executive Functioning Challenges||Problematic Technology Use|
|ADD/ADHD||Grief and Loss||Self-Harming Behaviors|
|Anger Management||Lack of Motivation and Underachievement||School Avoidance and Refusal|
|Autism Spectrum or other Neuro-developmental Disorders||LGBTQ+ Affirmative||Sexually Acting Out Behaviors|
|Bipolar Disorders||Learning Differences||Substance Abuse|
|Borderline and Personality Disorders||Medical Complexity||Struggle with Transitioning to Adulthoow|
|Depression and Anxiety||Obsessive Compulsive Disorder||Suicidal Ideation or Attempts|
|Disordered Eating||Oppositional/Defiant||Trauma and PTSD|
These programs subscribe to a diverse treatment model that incorporates a blend of therapeutic modalities but does so in the context of wilderness environments and back-country travel. The approach has evolved to include client assessment, development of an individual treatment plan, the use of established psychotherapeutic practice, and the development of aftercare plans. Outdoor behavioral health programs apply wilderness therapy in the field, which contains the following key elements that distinguish it from other approaches found to be effective in working with adolescents and young adults: 1) the promotion of self-efficacy and personal autonomy through task accomplishment, 2) a restructuring of the therapist-client relationship through group and communal living facilitated by natural consequences, and 3) the promotion of a therapeutic social group that is inherent in outdoor living arrangements.
Therapeutic Boarding Schools
These schools generally provide an integrated educational milieu with an appropriate level of structure and supervision for physical, emotional, behavioral, familial, social, intellectual, and academic development. These schools grant high school diplomas or award credits that lead to admission to a diploma-granting secondary school. Each school will vary in their approach to the emotional and behavioral needs of the child and we urge parents to review this approach with the professional that has been working with their child to ensure appropriate placement. Placement at these boarding schools can range from 12 months to 2 years depending on the program’s therapeutic components. (NATSAP/IECA)
Residential Treatment Centers
The focus of these programs is behavioral support. Medication management and medical monitoring is generally available on-site. These facilities treat adolescents with serious psychological and behavioral issues. Most are accredited by a national accrediting body. These facilities provide group and individual therapy sessions. They are highly structured and offer recreational activities and academics. (NATSAP/IECA)
Young Adult Programs
Transitional Independent Living – These programs are designed to serve young adults over the age of 18 years who could benefit from a safe, supportive environment and life skills training as they transition into adulthood. Many offer access to community-based self-help groups such as 12 step programs and may have a psychiatric component. Generally, these programs offer educational programs that are linked to community colleges or universities or provide schooling at their location. Volunteering, employment arrangements, community service, and re-integration into the community at large are general components of the programs. Many operate on a small residential model and transition to a community-based, independent living apartment model. Young Adult Programs are designed to work exclusively with young adults and may not be able to be fully licensed or accredited as an entity but have therapeutic services that are overseen by a licensed clinical professional.
Speciality Psychiatric & Assessment Centers
Specialty Psychiatric Hospitals, are hospitals or wards specializing in the treatment of serious mental illness, such as clinical depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Psychiatric hospitals vary widely in their size and grading. Some hospitals may specialize only in short-term or outpatient therapy for low-risk patients. Others may specialize in the temporary or permanent care of residents who, as a result of a psychological disorder, require routine assistance, treatment, or a specialized and controlled environment.