Therapeutic Schools: Addressing a Child in Crisis
We write assuming that you did not arrive in AQ's Therapeutic School section, by accident. You probably have concerns about how to identify and address a child’s life that, for unknown reasons, isn’t working as it should. Or, you have an interest in this topic. We asssume that you are looking for help. The following may be af assistance.
First, contact a good mental health professional- psychiatrist, psychologist, family therapist. Do not use just the telephone book or the internet even though you are reading this via the Internet. You must find a mental health professional with whom you can work comfortably. Working with a child in crisis requires a special set of procedures and assumptions. The child is in crisis; no one knows why. The family cannot correct the problem, otherwise it would have.
Parents or guardians must release preconceived notions of how to address the issues. You may find prescriptions for solutions- both advertised and proposed over the telephone- but, if you find an easy prescription, it is exactly that- an easy prescription that you can grab, but one that may not be the best for your child. Special needs situations require more thorough, expert, knowledgeable, and nuanced approaches.
Psychological, chemical, legal, and medical issues may all present themselves. Each requires expert assessment and analysis. If you are a parent, come to terms with the idea of relinquishing control and seek help from experts. The problems may turn out to be simple or they may turn out to be complex, but at the beginning, no one knows.
You may have a child acting out. You may have a child in perpetual defiance, but no one has been able to solve the problem and no one knows why. Gather and harness as much expertise as possible when facing the subjective and the unknown.
Something is amiss in the life of the child who appears to be a candidate for a therapeutic setting. The child may not be attending school. Drug or legal issues may be in the picture, or the child may not be able to control behavior. The therapeutic candidate exhibits outward signs. It is a risky misunderstanding to approach special needs in the same manner as traditional schools.
No one in the family has been able to answer “why?” This “why?” brings us to the primary difference between a traditional school environment and a therapeutic setting. In the therapeutic setting, the question “why?” serves as the focal point of assessment and treatment.
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