Aspergers Boarding Schools
An aspergers boarding school is a residential school that works primarily with students that struggle with autism or aspergers. Aspergers boarding schools help students with both their social and educational needs. Students that are struggling with aspergers or autism have unique learning differences that typically respond best within smaller learning environments, so this is an approach that many aspergers boarding schools utilize.
Aspergers boarding schools specialize in teaching students the skills they need to find success in school and social settings, with the best aspergers schools also assisting students with life skills – the types of skills not typically found in a traditional boarding school.
Since aspergers boarding schools are residential, this means that students live on-site at the school, with home visits and also the ability to have family visit campus. Aspergers boarding schools have staff members that stay overnight with students to ensure students feel comfortable and safe. This boarding or residential approach allows students to further develop independent living skills and understand how to better advocate for themselves. Because of this, aspergers schools typically have students stay enrolled for a year or more (which is a similar approach to how this works at a traditional boarding school).
Aspergers boarding schools can also go by other names, including a therapeutic boarding school or residential treatment center. This is because of the combination of academics and therapeutics that asperger boarding schools, and the other programs listed, are able to provide.
New Focus Academy is a leading aspergers boarding school located in Utah. New Focus Academy works work students that have aspergers or autism and need help developing the skills they need to move toward independence and a fulfilled life. At New Focus Academy, students have the academic curriculum and educational support they need to stay on track for graduation, while also gaining experience and knowledge they need to succeed in the world after high school.
Who do aspergers boarding schools help?
Aspergers boarding schools help a variety of students that have differing cognitive abilities. These schools help students of all ages that are struggling with the behaviors and learning styles associated with the diagnosis of aspergers. Aspergers boarding schools can also be for students that are “on the spectrum” or a student that is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Typically these schools will group students according to age and ability level, therefore it’s very important to understand the type of student that the school you are considering works best with.
New Focus Academy, one of the best aspergers boarding schools in the country, works with boys and girls ages 12-18 that are in grades 6-12 and have a full-scale IQ (FSIQ) of at least 70. Working with this specific age and grade group allows New Focus Academy, which is located in Utah, the ability to specialize the type of approaches and interventions that will be most effective with the needs of its population.
Aspergers boarding schools also help the family members of students with aspergers. This is typically done with education and sometimes therapeutic support. New Focus Academy has this and more – with a family systems approach to therapy, letter writing, and weekly calls, the student’s family members are considered important parts of the treatment team and partners in the process.
How does New Focus Academy help teens on the spectrum?
At New Focus Academy, an aspergers boarding school located in Utah, we employ at strengths-based approach in working with our students. This means that from the beginning, we seek to help our students understand their unique abilities and strengths. This approach is realistic – New Focus Academy understands that there are struggles associated with an aspergers diagnosis. By using this approach, we can help students grow and develop in areas that they need support. For example, aspergers students can typically talk for hours about a subject that is of interest to them!
It’s also important for them to develop appropriate social skills. We have weekly social skills groups in order to develop our students socio-emotional fluency, and a starting point can be some of the topics they feel so passionately about. This helps our students feel comfortable and accepted while trying new activities and skills. At New Focus Academy, we treat the student, not the problem – and this is one of the reasons we are so successful.
Autonomy Development Model
New Focus Academy also has a proprietary approach that guides the treatment process for our students. Our founder, Dr. Brandon Park, helped develop the Autonomy Development Model which combines autonomy stages with the role of the treatment team. This unique model takes into consideration the growth that each of our students has while at New Focus Academy, and blends the need for our relationship with them to change while they are here. As our students gain autonomy, the treatment team’s approach shifts from “caretaker” to “guide”, and eventually to “resource”. This natural progression resembles the evolution of a parents role with their adolescent becoming a young adult. We couple this with the stages of autonomy:
As a premier Aspergers boarding school, New Focus Academy knows that an individualized and comprehensive approach is what each of our students needs and deserves. Using this approach means that each student has a plan – tailored to their specific needs – from the first day they arrive on campus. Our dedicated team truly gets to know each of our students personally, and we all celebrate the little successes (and big successes) along the way together!
New Focus Academy utilizes research-based therapeutic methods to help our students find success. Our therapeutic goal is to use evidence-based modalities that are equal parts effective and engaging. This means that we combine experiential approaches, such as recreational therapy and animal stewardship, with more traditional options, including Motivational Interviewing and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
Research: Getting help for teens with Level 1 autism/Aspergers
Aspergers boarding schools are one of the best options for teens with aspergers (or level 1 autism) to get help. The most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) states that level 1 autism teens require support due to noticeable impairments – and that those impairments may already exist without support or with inadequate support. These “supports” are different for each student – while one may need one-on-one instruction throughout the day, another may need an hour of individualized support coupled with support tools and assistive learning options the rest of the school day. At a smaller school or program, like New Focus Academy, this individualization can occur on an as-needed basis for students.
While the DSM description of support is vague, there are evidence-based interventions that are effective for helping teens with autism spectrum disorder. Some of the practices that are helpful for teens with aspergers include prompting, exercise, reinforcement, scripting, and modeling. These very specific interventions makeup the coaching-based model at New Focus Academy, which aims at motivating and educating our students toward more effective behaviors.
Graduates from Aspergers boarding schools are better prepared for independent living and also college. Many of our students are incredibly book smart, meaning that the academic requirements of college would come easily to them, but the social and life requirements could prove difficult. By providing functional life and social skills experience and training, New Focus Academy is helping our students prepare for success here and beyond!