"Therapeutic Boarding Schools", any experience?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Karenvm, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Karenvm

    Karenvm Member

    Hi All.
    I am hoping that my 17 year old son will be accepted into a program this coming week (evaluation is on Tuesday). It's a residential treatment center, avg length of stay is a year plus. His issues are ODD, maybe bipolar, depression, substance abuse. Brilliant kid, but can't get his stuff together at all, and for the past two years, our home has been a warzone. It's affecting my two other sons, who are 14 and 9, and I can't do it anymore.

    But I am afraid that I may need a "backup plan" if for some reason this group doesn't accept him, or for some reason does not work out.

    I have looked at many "therapeutic boarding schools" online, but I dont know anyone who has experience with one. The cost is phenomenal, which I can't even imagine anyone being able to afford (and no, I am not willing to take out a 100K loan for one year of treatment). I also don't know how "safe" they really are- you read horror stories online, and I don't know what to believe.
    Also, most are not anywhere near where I live (minimum at least 5 hours away for the closest one).

    Just wondering if any of you out there have tried this option, and if so, how in the world did you pay for it? Did it work?

    I love my son so much, and he is a wonderful person beneath this rock hard exterior (we occasionally see that side of him, but not nearly enough). I just can't live with him anymore. I want the best for him, but can't make him get it together.

    thank you.
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hi Karen!

    We were unable to get our child placed into an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). There were only a few options for us....and our applications were denied. (Residential Treatment Center (RTC) A said our daughter's issues were "too severe" and Residential Treatment Center (RTC) B said our daughter's issues "weren't severe enough".)

    That was our experience anyway...

    Hope you have better luck!
  3. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    What is your funding source for the Residential Treatment Center (RTC)? That often limits your choices.

    Any chance the psychiatrist will write a note and excuse him from gym? If he has enough credits otherwise, maybe they'll let him graduate anyways? Or maybe he can take a one credit PE class at the local jr college and they'll count that?

    My adult daughter has been in 4 RTCs. We have found them to be mildly effective but they served the primary goal of getting her away from the other kids so they could grow up safely.
  4. StressedM0mma

    StressedM0mma Active Member

    We looked into Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s for our difficult child, but where we live there is absolutely no funding available. We actually had a therapist laugh in our face when we mentioned it. I still feel it would have been a good choice for difficult child, but there was no way we could have afforded it on our own
  5. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My Youngest spent 4 months in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) prior to her senior year of high school. It was funded by Social Services, but only after a year of multiple meetings with a county inter-discplinary team, a stint of alternate placement at a therapeutic day school that failed, three manipulative suicide attempts (overdoses), and my threatening (actually got as far as filing) to relinquish custody to DSS just to get funding. They finally agreed to pay under a temporary agreement if I withdrew my petition, which I did. I don't recommend that last step necessarily, it was just the last thing I tried in order to get her help, and in my county it happened to work. It doesn't always, though, and it was a long road to get there.

    Did it work/make her better? Short-term, yes. It stopped the suicde attempts and kept her in a safe place for 4 months, and taught her some coping skills. Did it immediately cure her? No. A couple weeks after she got out, on her first day of senior year (in a new therapeutic day school), she was caught smoking pot in the parking lot, and started skipping school. Five months later, when she turned 18, she dropped out of school -- and a few months after that she was pregnant.

    I don't regret her going one bit, I think it saved her life (and my sanity!) I also think that all these years later, she's learned to use some of the coping and conflict resolution skills she learned there, so that's a very good thing. She's been through some rocky stuff the past several years but is doing pretty well right now, she's grown up a LOT and actually takes her medications now. I just think parents need to be realistic about it - and not expect it to be an immediate "magic bullet." It's a tool, and a good one.
  6. tammybackagain

    tammybackagain New Member

    difficult child 1 was in one for yr. but it was Court ordered so didn't have to pay for. because he was in there he qualified for SSD and that paid for it. Did it help well, he went straight from there to Juvi for 2 yrs. so really can't tell. But did keep easy child safe from her and gave house back to husband and I.
  7. Jess5277

    Jess5277 New Member

    I don't have much to offer you except I'm going through the same thing and just posted another thread. I will tell you that all the research I've done shows there aren't many options. I've spoken to a few schools that offer scholarships so you might ask about that. I don't see where you are but I found one I really liked called Hanna Boys in Sonoma CA that is on a sliding scale, they said 90% of parents pay less than $200 p/m the only (big) hitch is the kid has to want to go. My difficult child laughed in my face...
  8. greenrene

    greenrene Member

    My difficult child has been at an all-girls TBS since March of last year, and I gotta say it's been SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO wonderful to not have to deal with the day to day drama. Things had gotten really bad in my home, I was constantly in survival mode and completely stressed out, etc etc etc.

    We live in FL, and her school is on the West Coast. For the sake of privacy, I don't want to get into how we pay for it (it's very $$$), but I will just say it's "family money." I honestly don't know where I or my family would be if difficult child still lived here. The TBS has been a lifesaver. difficult child is doing fairly well there - she just moved up in "rank" about a month ago, but she still has a long way to go. It's unsure at this point when she'll be graduating, but regardless of when, she'll be going to another boarding school afterward because of her severe academic issues - we don't have a good local option for her, private or public.
  9. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    My difficult child is now 29. We sent him to a therapeutic boarding school when he was 13 for almost 2 yrs. It definitely stopped the downward spiral and taught him a great deal about accepting responsibility. He was getting so far removed from reality that I feared he would be institutionalized. No private school would take him and public was doing the best they could. The program didn't cure his basic thinking issues and executive function issues that are secondary to AS. Not having to deal with minute to minute meltdown, drama and school functioning gave us a chance to regroup. He came home better and over the years a lot of what he learned, he processed and uses.
    It was horrendously expensive. His college fund paid for it as well as coming from our retirement funds. If he had cancer I would have done anything to help him. This program helped my difficult child. You must be extremely careful that it is a healthy environment. Discipline in everyday life is important but no physical discipline should ever, ever be used. Read reviews, ask to talk to parents, make sure you understand what to expect and what your expectations from the program are. He will get tools to use and support but it will always be a choice for him to use them.