Children and adolescents struggling with emotional problems often experience difficulties in school. Prairie View’s Special Purpose School is designed to help these students receive psychiatric treatment as well as an education. Here, students with emotional problems work on study habits, continue with academic instruction, learn appropriate school behaviors, develop more positive attitudes about school, learn effective social skills and improve peer relationship skills.
The School’s mission is to provide a therapeutic environment where students can learn the skills necessary to function in society. Individualized academic instruction, combined with a structure based on positive reinforcement and accountability help young people achieve individual success. The staff’s goal is to help students achieve that success and facilitate their return to the school district that referred the student, or of prior attendance.
Both the Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) and School have adopted the Behavior Management Through Adventure (BMTA) philosophy. This structures the learning of life and social skills that promote successful relationships in other settings. Group discussion and accountability for one’s actions are major components of the philosophy. Students are encouraged to take more and more responsibility for the success of the community (class, school, residential program) as they achieve greater proficiency (control to empowerment).
Staff consists of certified special education teachers with specialized training in dealing with children and adolescents who are emotionally disturbed. The Special Purpose School is staffed with a psychiatric nurse, special education licensed teachers and mental health workers. A certified administrator is also part of the staff. Attendance is 20, which allows for a student-to-staff ratio of 4 to 1.
Unique Program Components
Throughout the school week, students may receive a combination of the following services:
- Creative Arts. Students participate in school art which focuses on art education and is adapted to meet each student’s needs.
- Art Therapy. Encourages students to communicate in nonverbal ways that can help them address treatment goals and understand issues that are difficult to verbalize.
- Recreation Therapy. Students receive physical education credit as they learn teamwork, improve communication skills, learn to respect authority and abide by rules. Students are taught how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and learn positive ways to reduce anger through physical fitness.
- Family Therapy. Families are encouraged to participate in therapy that provides support from a therapist as well as from other families in similar situations.
- Group Therapy. Students attend group therapy daily to process issues and concerns related to their individual education and treatment goals.
- Adventure Course. To enhance knowledge of contracts, trust, group interaction, goal setting and actualization. Students are involved in experiential learning through games and activities, reflecting on the activity and processing their experience.