Connections Program: Positive Behavior Program for Highly Reactive Children and Adolescents.
The Program’s Purpose
The Connections Program is designed to assist with distress tolerance, reactivity and improving the child’s response to emotions. The program will combine a variety of treatment approaches to target and improve highly reactive behaviors. The ideal candidate for this residential program will be children and adolescents who have been diagnosed with or exhibit characteristics of:
- Reactive Attachment Disorder
- Mood Disorders
- Post Traumatic Stress
- Impulse Control Disorder
- Adoptive Home Disruption
The program will stress sensory development through expressive therapy and tactile (touch and feel) activities. Highly reactive behavior will be addressed through a positive approach to behavior management. This approach will purely identify the positive aspects of behavior and will not reinforce the negative. Play environments are used to teach pivotal skills, such as turn-taking, communication and compliance to requests. The behavior management portion of the program recognizes that reinforcers and punishers are different for each child. Part of the operant conditioning approach is to perform a functional assessment of possible reinforcers or punishers to determine which are most effective in shaping a child’s behaviors. Therapy will be child-centered and will involve the family unit as much as possible. The integration of a family system will be a crucial part of the treatment process. Parent training of these treatment aspects will be key to the success of the resident.
- Highly structured daily schedule
- On campus public school
- Individual therapy
- Expressive therapy and interactive play
- Group and individual social skill development
- Sensory room and sensory-focused activity
- Equine Assisted Therapy by Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) certified personnel
- Family therapy and parent training
Clinical Treatment Team will include
- Registered Nurse
- Clinical therapist(s)
- Certified Recreational Therapists
- Mental Health Workers
- EAGALA trained personnel
- Case Manager
This program is designed for male and female patients age 7-16. Children and adolescents will engage in activities as a whole group and based upon social ability levels. Higher functioning and advanced residents will provide modeling and learn to interact with those at less advanced levels. The residents will develop adaptive learning skills and benefit from one another. This approach will further advance the residents’ ability to socialize, understand cues and tolerate stimuli.
Each child will be screened and mental health and school records will be reviewed to determine if he or she will benefit from this approach to treatment. The family unit will be interviewed as well to determine their willingness to engage in treatment. If a family unit is not available, the clinical team will work with the referral source to determine a substitute or resources available to work with the child. In some cases, a local advocate or local resource may be available to assist with developing the social bonding process.