Our Relational Approach


Our students come to us with a variety of challenges and past disappointments. They may feel like failures or outcasts due to struggles at home or school. New Focus believes every student’s potential can lead to greater successes when their strengths are cultivated. Our goal-orientated, positive reinforcement environment uses multiple approaches for students to build skills and confidence to succeed. Our students are challenged, nurtured, and given unique opportunities to pursue their independence.


Our students learn in different ways. While a classroom setting may be helpful for some, we find our students benefit from real-life experiences to practice the skills they need to thrive. Our approach to social-emotional fluency goes beyond a group and classroom setting. The first step for a student to grow socially involves a comprehensive assessment process where we can determine the student’s unique abilities and challenges.

Each student has an individualized plan outlining specific goals and objectives to help them become more socially fluent. They practice these skills with the help of dedicated coaches and experiential activities. In time, the skills are generalized to all aspects of their lives.


Our students arrive with various cognitive and learning difficulties. Our dedicated team assesses each student to determine their needs while discovering their unique abilities. This thorough process lets us find the most effective, evidence-based learning approaches for each student.

Our “Brain Training” activities start in the classroom and continue throughout various real-life settings. These research-based techniques not only make learning easier, they also improve cognitive functioning.

Your child’s progress is monitored and discussed by the team weekly ensuring the appropriate interventions. We use the input of everyone working with your child to make the evaluation process highly effective. As your child gets better at learning, the confidence for tackling new concepts grows. Within time, your once struggling student has developed a passion for learning.


Anyone with a pet can attest to the special bonds one creates with animals. Our students often have a hard time relating to other people. We found when our students interact with trained therapy animals, they organically start developing skills that may be harder to teach in traditional settings. The results are nothing short of amazing!

Therapy animals give our students the opportunity to learn responsibility, empathy, and an appreciation for helping others. We give our students specific tasks with these therapy animals based on their individualized plan. As they help care for these animals, they gain new confidence. In addition, therapy animals provide comfort. The calming effect of being with animals helps our students work through trauma, anxiety, and communication issues.  


Our students are paired with dedicated coaches helping them through every aspect of the day. When coaching is done properly, it creates an environment where students thrive from positive reinforcement and immediate feedback.

Chances are your child experienced countless moments when others pointed out your child was doing something wrong or bad. This type of reinforcement not only stunts a child’s willingness to learn, it tears away at his or her self-esteem.

We retrain our students by providing dedicated coaches focused on creating healthy positive change. Not only do they learn and generalize skills quicker, they also regain the self-confidence to bravely approach the path to independence.


As we all know, there is only so much you can learn in a classroom. Personal growth often accelerates when challenged with activities outside the comfort zone. The scenic backdrop of our campus provides excellent opportunities for our students to experience nature and learn more about themselves.

We offer several engaging activities helping our students get out of their comfort zone to practice life skills they need for success. Trained therapists guide our students through adventure therapy and team building activities designed to foster communication, leadership, emotional resilience, and decision making skills.

These opportunities help our students develop skills while exposing them to new leisure experiences they could enjoy for a lifetime.


Many of our students come to us well aware that something is wrong with them. They struggled in school, had issues at home, and didn’t make meaningful connections with peers. These experiences left them feeling like failures.

After all, who can feel confident when people are constantly pointing out the negative? We want our students to feel good about themselves. We believe they have unique skills and abilities they could share with the world. The best way to achieve this is by highlighting the daily successes they achieve while at our program.

When students struggle, we don’t make them feel bad about the situation. Instead, we approach it as a learning experience empowering them to find solutions preparing them for the future.

Let New Focus Academy Start Your Child on the Path to Independence

Change Starts Right Here. Let Us Show You How.

At New Focus Academy we are convinced each student comes to us with a unique plan and purpose. Our passion lies in helping the student discover this plan and purpose to live a better, more fulfilling life. By using our Relational Approach, we put our students on a journey of self-discovery. This isn’t an ordinary residential setting, it’s an opportunity to experience life in a way many of our students never fathomed.


We carefully developed a model where our students seamlessly learn basic skills and successfully apply them to everyday life. Based on the five stages of change models used in many other therapy approaches, we redesigned it to better serve the unique needs and abilities of our students. Our students start with concepts, practice them in multiple settings, and get immediate feedback. In time, they generalize these skills in all aspects of their lives.


Since a single intervention rarely inspires change, we integrated the Autonomy Development Model with our Relational Approach so students develop the skills for independence using multiple layers of learning and growth. Our intensive, multifaceted approach to building and solidifying skills gives our students the knowledge and confidence to pave the path towards their independence. We take joy in our students’ success stories. We know you will too.