What are private special education schools?
Every student has different needs and abilities. While many schools can address a broad range of learning abilities, sometimes more specialised educational options need to be considered. This is typically due to the needs of the student and the resources available (or not available) at their current school. Private special education schools are designed to address the specific needs of their student population. The needs of the student base vary greatly and it doesn’t always make sense to have all students with varying needs grouped together.
A good private special education school will be able to clearly articulate the ideal student that they work with. This can include age, gender, grade level, learning ability, learning disabilities, IQ, and social skill level. Private special education schools can be boarding or day schools (meaning that students can reside on campus or go home in the evening). And because of the individualized approach that special education schools provide, there is typically a lower staff to student ratio. These schools are also typically private pay, meaning they do not receive funding from the local, state, or federal government.
New Focus Academy is an example of a private special education school. With a curriculum built specifically for teenage boys with autism and/or developmental delays, this residential boarding school provides a home-like setting. By using evidence-based approaches and real-time coaching, New Focus Academy is able to help students learn valuable life skills while developing socially and emotionally. The academic component of New Focus Academy teaches Utah Common Core Curriculum with a focus on the Essential Elements.
Who do private special education schools help?
Private special education schools are designed to address the unique academic, social, emotional, cognitive, and physical needs of their students. Many times, therapeutic support has been attempted within the traditional school setting or outside of it. A private special education school can provide support in and outside of the classroom. This increases the learning, skill development, and growth of the students in deficit areas. Students that attend private special education schools may be struggling with diagnoses such as:
- ADHD or ADD
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Developmental delays
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
- Nonverbal Learning Disability
While having a diagnosis can be helpful, this is not necessarily a requirement to attend a special education school. These schools can help students struggling with:
- Social skills/making friends
- School refusal
- Academic failure/low achievement
- Parental/family conflict
- Substance use
- Traumatic brain injury
However your teen is showing up, there is likely a private special needs school that can help him. With the right environment, structure, and support, these schools can help their students flourish.
Outcomes of private special education schools
Making sure that support is provided as soon as possible is helpful in ensuring positive outcomes for those in need of special education services. And there is definitely room for improvement with how public schools are able to offer special education or special needs services. Because the focus in public schools is typically on the general population, public schools can struggle to provide a consistent high-quality education for students with special needs. Without appropriate accommodations, inclusion practices can actually be detrimental to students with emotional and behavioral disabilities.
With the individualized approaches that are tailored to the students needs, it is no wonder that private special education schools offer more positive outcomes that public school options. Students leave with increased social, emotional regulation, and relational skills. , it is no wonder there are more positive outcomes for students. Students with autism also are safer and less likely to be victims of bullying, increasing overall quality of life. These settings also make the subject matter more accessible, which leads to more academic progress.
For the over six million students in the United States receiving some sort of special education programming, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that will be effective. This is why private special education schools are particularly beneficial to this population. With more individualized attention and diagnosis-specific training, teachers and educators are better able to create accurate assessments and appropriate goals. Both of these are connected to better outcomes for students with learning disabilities post-graduation. And finding the appropriate fit is crucial to positive outcomes down the road.
Why Choose New Focus Academy?
New Focus Academy is specifically designed help your son achieve success. We do this by supporting the specific and individualized needs of students with a variety of cognitive, social, and emotional struggles. Many of our students have Autism Spectrum Disorders, other Attentional Disorders (ADHD or ADD), and generally struggle with Executive Functioning. Knowing the type of student that we work well with is crucial: we have designed our program to meet the specific and unique needs of a student with this profile.
How is New Focus Academy customized for students with autism? Though our holistic and comprehensive curriculum and program, which includes:
- Education and Experiential Learning: We believe that successful education and learning occurs both inside and outside of the classroom. Many students come to us frustrated with the traditional classroom setting. Our team combines hands on instruction with real world, practical learning to help our students find success in school again.
- Individualized Therapy and Coaching: At New Focus Academy, we call our team members coaches. These highly dedicated and trained individuals are with our students every step of the way, providing positive reinforcement and guidance while navigating all aspects of the program. Your son’s treatment plan will be individualized for his specific strengths, goals, and areas of growth. His treatment plan will be supported by the daily work he does with his coaches as well as in his individual therapy sessions.
- Social Development Groups: Our students attend daily groups that work on social skills. With therapists, coaches, and a positive peer culture, your son will have ample opportunity to learn and practice social skills in multiple settings. Beyond social skills, he will develop social-emotional fluency. This starts with a comprehensive assessment so that we can learn his unique strengths and areas of growth.
- Physical Health and Recreation: We want to create opportunities for students to participate in activities that make them feel good and build confidence. This includes developing interests and leisure activities and having a chance to practice social skills in these settings.
- Learning Life Skills: Our goal is to foster independence for each one of our students. Built into our academic curriculum is the practical application of life skills including self-assessment, critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making skills.
- Focusing on Principles, Not Rules: While our students thrive in structure, and although rules are closely connected, we aim to teach learning through principles as opposed to rules. Since different situations call for differ rules, we find that principles allow for learning to be generalized and applied to multiple situations where the rules may not.
We believe that independence is key to your son having a higher quality of life. Independence is related to autonomy, so this is how we have structured our treatment team approach: by creating the Autonomy Development Model. This is completely unique to New Focus Academy and works to increase independence, autonomy, and personal satisfaction for each of our students.
Clinical Model at New Focus Academy
The ultimate goal for each of our students is to develop independence in order to be prepared for a successful life. We use the Autonomy Development Model to help students reach their highest levels of independence.
By combining the student’s progress along with the treatment team’s approach, we are able to clearly see and guide the student through appropriate goals, interventions, and strategies. The Stages of Autonomy include:
- Awareness: This is where students are able to identify limitations and barriers to achieving success. They do this through observation, interviews, and assessments.
- Targeting: We then help the students select the specific barriers and limitations that they’d like to work on, while also building up motivation to do so.
- Strategies: Preparing a plan and method for overcoming the previously identified barriers and limitations.
- Implement: This is when students are able to practice new skills and experiment with the strategies they have identified. The treatment team works closely with each student to process the experiences, track successes, and find opportunities for improvement.
- Fluency: Once the student has developed fluency or mastery, they will be able to use their adaptive abilities in everyday life. During this time, positive habits continue to be reinforced.
At New Focus Academy, we want to ensure that your teen is receiving the highest-quality and results-oriented care possible. We do that with our evidence-based therapeutic approaches. Some of the approaches that we use are:
- Motivational Interviewing
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
- Self-Efficacy Theory
- Resiliency Therapy
- Social-Emotional Fluency
By using an evidence-based, integrative approach, we can address your son’s unique needs and abilities. With our relationship-based program in a home-like setting, we get to know your son as an individual and are right there with him for all the work and successes along the way.