Boarding School for children with ADHD / Bipolar

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Bugsy, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. Bugsy

    Bugsy New Member

    Has there been success with children at any good boarding schools for children with BiPolar (BP)/ADHD? I am not looking to hand off my child some where else. I do wonder if a more structured environment with trained specialists who love the children but are not as emotionally attached as parents would not be better for my child and our family as a whole. (Perhaps I am delusional that a place like this exists). Financially it would be very difficult but I would go back to work (which I don't work to take care of him and his needs and the family needs)

    My son is only 6 so I am looking to the future. Even though he is doing better it is still more than a challenge every minute of every day. I can't see how this amount of stress is good for the family. Every thing is badly effected. Financially we are starting to drown. We have no family (not due to son). We can't make much of any life because it is 100% consumed with his needs.
    Every simple task seems beyond difficult.

    Are there any children that feel better, happy and content in a full day structured environment? I don't want to "put him away".
    I want him to thrive and for the family to thrive too.
  2. Paris

    Paris New Member

    Are there even places that will take someone that young? I would just make sure to really investigate the place and make sure their doctors are top of the line.
    What about a day program? Where he would come home at night?

    I feel your pain. My son is about to turn 18 and I wish I had put him somewhere when he was younger, but I waited and waited. I kept thinking things would get better and it only got worse. Now I can't put him anywhere unless he agrees to it.

    I still take care of him and the family is still always consumed by him.

    Hindsight is always 20/20 right????

    Maybe you can try the day program first and then if things still do not get better try the boarding school.

    My heart goes out to you.

    difficult child: 18 on Wed., boy, bipolar on Zyprexa
    easy child: 15 yr old girl deals with way too much while trying to be a normal teen.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I dont know about programs for a child of that age but I can tell you that when I was a teen I begged to be sent to boarding school. I couldnt put into the exact words why I wanted to go but I know now that I needed the structure that I was completely lacking in my life.

    Now granted that I wasnt diagnosed back then and I didnt have any support at all on the home front. My life was horrible. But I truly believe that there can be good programs that can help a kid grow. Maybe Im delusional too.
  4. Bugsy

    Bugsy New Member

    I'm sorry if I was not clear. I did not mean to send him now I mean in the future. I can't imagine sending him at 6 but at 10 or so.

    I LOVE my son is a sad miserable life for him and for us. Yes there are fun moments and moments he makes us proud. for example: he is doing well in Tae Kwon Do. Which is really hard for the child that has been going to Occupational Therapist (OT) for 3 years and has a lot of bilateral issues, motor planning,... He is the highest belt in his class and did an absolute amazing job at belt testing last week BUT prior to testing I dealt with a few hours and days of pure h-ll. Nothing to do with Taekwondo. After a few rough weeks I can say it was hard to be happy for him at testing. On the outside I was the proud mommy for show but on the inside I was angry about all of the pain he puts us through.

    On Friday there was a slight change in our car pool pick up routine. This slight change caused him to be shrieking outside of the car and hit his sister. I was mortified.

    Just looking to the future for a better enviroment for him and for us and hopefully maintain a loving relationship.
  5. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    While my daughter didn't have ADHD/BiPolar (BP) some of the kids in her Residential Treatment Center (RTC). It was successful for some, not so successful for others. A lot depended on how willing the child was to work the program. My daughter still chats online with many of her group. Most are succeeding today (not necessarily successful but at least not dropping out of life). Those that aren't came in with horrific family situations (one child had father allegedly committing suicide and then mother was arrested for his murder 4 years later and she died in prison; another was tossed from one Residential Treatment Center (RTC) to boarding school, to whatever just so she wouldn't be home; etc.). While most of the kids resented being sent away they did admit that they did much better in the structured environment and gained tools to help them as they are reaching adulthood.

    Had I known then what I know now, I would have sent her during middle school rather than high school. I think that in the long run it would have helped more.

    Most schools will work with you in arranging financing. However, the cost is prohibitive -- more expensive than a year at an Ivy League college and that's without factoring in therapy, medication, clothing, etc. I used my daughter's college fund to pay for her Residential Treatment Center (RTC). It means that if she decides to go to college, she is going to have to go the route of student loans and grants and working. Not what I wanted or had planned, but she's alive and well, which I doubt would have been the case if I had let her continue on the path she was on.
  6. Paris

    Paris New Member

    Can't she get an IEP though? Or is that too young? I didn't get an IEP for my kid until one week away from his 18t b-day, so I'm clueless. But that would pay for his boarding school.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think lots of kids do better while they are in an uber-structured facility. However, I'm not sure that, once back in real life, they continue to function well. I've seen a lot of examples of kids who go back to the way they were soon after they come home. It's good respite for the family though. Seems like some parents here had luck with RTCs, however also seems they were teenagers. I've heard more bad than good, but I don't know everyone on earth...worth a try, at least.
  8. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    :rofl: :rofl: Thanks for making me can't imagine what it takes to get a school system to pay for a residential treatment center...and if they determine that your child is so impaired that he/she needs to attend a program...believe would not be one with "highly trained profressionals, who love children, who will try a variety of strategies to meet the individual needs of your child". It would be have to be a program that was funded by the school system. Most of the really good programs....that people mention are the ones that parents pay for out of pocket that costs thousands and thousands of dollars...

    Now I will apologize ahead of time that I know there are some very good publically funded programs out there....that the school system pays is the exception rather than the rule....I believe there are also programs that your child can enter that are funded by medicaid, but it can be very hard to get a child with emotional issues to qualify for these types of programs....for so many of is a major challenge to just prove "educational impact" in order to qualify for an IEP and if we are fortuante enough to have private health insurance....the mental health coverage is awful....I also know the public funded health insurance also has bad coverage...I guess it means that nothing is easy....

    I do believe however, that there are some really good therapeutic residential programs that provide the structure needed for so many of our kids to be successful...

    A know a family who has their 10 year old in a residential program...but attends a public county school for students with emotional needs...the state pays for the residential program (covered because this family adopted a child with special needs) and because the public school system felt that they could appropriately plan for this child, he can not attend the private school part of his residential program, but he can live there via state funding...He is doing well in the structured supervised setting and is allowed home visits....I'm sure the parents hope he can stay there for a long period of time, becuase the family could not function as a family with him living in the home...after 9 years of stress.. they found this program.
  9. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    There are different levels of boarding schools in my mind.

    Military which tends to not be for Learning disabled or unstable personality. Geared towards behavior modification and structure. Good for some(I would have benefitted) I'm not talking the schools that are cruel, inhumane and not understanding of normal growth and development at that age.

    emotional growth boarding school. Tend for average intelligence and above. Very much modeled on a tier system of priveledges to be earned and a lot of peer pressure to do the right thing. Consequences tend toward loss of priveledge and what I call shunning. You are in contact with the group but aren't part of the group for a specified time. My son did little school work so after all the regular consequences failed, he was "tabled". During after school social time, he had a table to do his homework. He had one peer who spoke to him and helped redirect him to do the school work and to listen. Staff is always present and always a resource. hardly cruel.

    Therapeutic boarding school where there is instability and tends to be a more hospital based program. They can attend to medications, dr. visits and all is incorporated into a tightly therapeutic program. Once a certain level of stability is attained a less hospital type program is a way to transition.

    Residential Treatment Centers for substance abuse. I have no experience and can't speak of it.

    There are Residential Treatment centers for behavior problems also.

    There are forced programs for juvenile offenders and seem to be geared towards law breaking and teaching consequences for breaking the law. While mental illness is prevelant it is not a program for mentally ill teens.

    Pretty much those of us who have been through the programs can tell you it is not a cure and he will not come out neurotypical. I wouldn't have traded the 2 yrs for anything. We did a second mortgage on our home at the time. My son was sinking into a really worrisome place and no one was offering us options. Private schools wouldn't deal with him. Public schools did the best they could with what they had but it is a bit of warehousing. No blame, just fact. medications helped but he was a big ball of over wrought emotions.

    I should have moved to transitional program afterwards but I didn't want to keep going into debt and I was afraid to have him separated from us too much longer.

    The program helped difficult child but it helped me tremendously. I could take a breath and regroup. My spirit was pretty empty by then. I was not devastated that he was gone. I was relieved that someone might do what I could not. Help difficult child.
  10. Penta

    Penta New Member

    My girl was at a Residential Treatment Center (RTC). She wasn't a substance abuser, but had severe behavioral problems. Finding the right setting for your child is vital. I went on a wing and a prayer as I had only 1 week while she was in juvenile detention to find a setting. Residential Treatment Center (RTC) saved her life and mine too, probably. But,it was an extreme financial burden and continues to be for me. I had to take out a huge educational loan and will be paying it back well into my 80's.

    However, I look at it as an investment in the life of a child. My investment paid off well. I now have a healthy and mature young woman in my home.
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Bugsy, if you start working now and save every penny, you may be able to pay for a yr or 2. It is very expensive but quite often, worth it. I know where you're coming from!

    We are considering it, too ... so far, we've got our difficult child signed up for a 3-wk camp in NC this summer for ADHD kids.

    If you do a Google search you'll find some really neat places out there. The schools out west seem to be the best, because they combine classroom learning with-outdoor activities, a perfect use for their beautiful natural resources.
    I found a neat camp for older kids that also deals with-adoption issues, but it's too far away and my son isn't old enough yet.

    One of the reasons we're doing the 3-wk camp this summer is also to see how he'll hold up under that sort of environment for a shorter time. I hate to send him away for a yr, or even 6 mo's, and make things worse. 3-wks is totally workable ... just long enough.

    I'd post the links for you here but I think we're not supposed to do that, for fear of advertising or endorsing.
  12. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Another one here whose child had no substance abuse issues but was at an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). As a matter of fact, out of 12 kids in her class, only one had any substance abuse issues. I had checked in emotional growth boarding schools but my daughter needed something more intensive for therapy than they had to offer and some serious behavior modification.
  13. Bugsy

    Bugsy New Member

    Thank you for all of the input.
    He is much better now than he was a year ago. A year ago I chose not to hospitalize him because the 1 mental health hospital that would have taken him is a nightmare.

    Even though things are better it feels like a never ending difficult nightmare.

    He is functioning best in school. He goes to a small jewish private school and is in the regular program. The teachers are making acommodations and for the most part they are working, so he has not needed the speical ed support, yet. Thank G-d, because we really could not afford to tack that on to the tuition.

    Since he does better in school and is doing well in taekwondo I really think he might do well in a boarding program.

    Terry, we live in NC and I was wondering about the camp you found. If you would not mind please pm the name it to me for the futture.

    I'm with you Jannie,
    I know the public system and laws way too well. They would provide him an IEP but he would need to go to public school of I would need to show such a severe sense of violent behavior.

    Anyway, I want my son to be successful and be loved and at the same time I would like that same opportunity for my daughter, husband and myself. It feels like with our son here we have no chance at much of a life.

    Bugsy's mom