Our Approach


Our students discover their unique strengths and skills and use them to address their challenges.

At New Focus Academy, we know each student comes to us with a unique mind, background, skill set, and personal experience. Our team works with your family and child to find the specific evidence-based approaches that will help to build confidence, social growth, and motivation to become productive and self-sufficient.


Learn about how Our Approach helps teens grow.


Autonomy—the ability to make an informed decision. Many of our students’ parents worry about their child’s ability to make healthy decisions and lead independent lives. Helping students reach their highest level of autonomy motivated John Webb and Dr. Brandon Park to develop the Autonomy Development Model. The model combines the student’s progression through the stages of autonomy with the treatment team’s changing approach as we work together to increase the student’s autonomy and quality of life.

autonomy model

Treatment Team Approach

The Treatment Team Approach side represents how the Autonomy Development Model changes and morphs as the student gains more autonomy. Our team’s role in the student’s autonomy lessens as the autonomy of the student grows and develops.


While a student is in the Awareness and Targeting phase the treatment team takes on the role of a caretaker.  Often at this point, a student is struggling with understanding and using help, while also making unhealthy decisions.  At this point, our team provides attentive care.  Providing immediate feedback and support while the student is learning how to become more autonomous.


During the Strategies and Implement stages the treatment team takes a step back, but continues to give feedback and support as the student begins to exercise more autonomy. Here the student is given the opportunity to make more decisions for himself. If they make an unhealthy decision, this provides a therapeutic opportunity to help them learn and grow. Our students learn from experimenting and practicing to adapt emotionally and socially to daily life.


When a student reaches the Fluent stage the treatment team takes on the role of providing support and being a resource. At this point, the student is making most of the decisions and exercising their autonomy as they have increased their Social-Emotional Fluency. The treatment team focuses on providing resources necessary to help the student live as independently as possible for their ability while increasing the student’s quality of life.

Stages of Autonomy

This side represents the student’s autonomy as they progress through their treatment at New Focus. When they first arrive, they have very little autonomy but as they progress through these stages, their autonomy increases and they are  able to make more independent informed decisions.


Identification of barriers and limitations to success. This is accomplished through interviews observations and assessments.


Helping a student to understand and choose barriers and limitations to work on while enhancing motivation and preparedness.


Developing a plan and method for adapting and overcoming barriers and limitations.


The students begins to experiment and practice new skills in daily life as the treatment team works with the student evaluating the successes and opportunities for improvement.


The student has developed an adaptive ability that they can use in a variety of situations in daily life, where positive habits are reinforced and the student makes healthy decisions as they exercise their autonomy.


You may be tired, overwhelmed, and feeling like you are out of options. Your child may be acting out or socially isolated. Siblings may feel neglected due to the effort required for your child’s unique struggles. Our admissions specialists are ready to listen.

Learn more about our Autonomy House

Where students learn independence, life skills, and safe technology use. In our Autonomy House, students will create their own structure, manage money, and make and maintain new friendships in the community.

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