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Schools & Program Visits - Jun, 1999 Issue #58 

Apartment Living Program
The Brown Schools

Austin, Texas
Contact: Sue Forsburg, Admission Coordinator
888-791-2577

Site Visit by: Jodi Tuttle, Roving Correspondent
March, 1999

Located within a traditional apartment complex with a wooded park- like atmosphere, one would never know a program such as this exists in their midst. This program is a fully licensed community-based Residential Treatment Center for older adolescents. Patients in the program have a history of serious mental illness or emotional difficulties, but no longer require intense levels of monitoring and supervision. While some patients are transitioning from an acute or structured RTC, others are admitted directly into the program.

Patients who are admitted to this program must be over 17 years of age, have a DSM diagnosis, an IQ of 70 or above and have adequate coping skills to manage behavior in an urban community. They need to have rudimentary living skills and must be medication compliant. This is an unlocked environment that allows patients to live in a more traditional setting of an apartment complex where there are non-patient residents. Patients are expected to follow house policies such as avoiding physical aggression, sexual acting out, alcohol and non-prescription drug use, and absences without permission. Major emphasis is placed on learning to relate to other residents and staff.

The patients with whom I visited seemed extremely happy to be living a more normal lifestyle after having been in more restrictive environments before coming to the apartment program. Greater community interface and independence is permitted as patients make improvements. This allows patients the opportunity to rehearse actual community experiences using their new behaviors.

In addition to group and individual therapy, classes are offered including cooking, money management, apartment leasing, bus riding, dating, human sexuality, and social skills. Weekends bring opportunities for learning to make good use of leisure time with recreational activities and community outings.

If needed, there is a step-down apartment program if continued case management is needed when patients have finished the initial program. In this program, staff provides intensive care management by maintaining contact through phone calls and personal visits to patients living independently in an apartment complex near the Apartment Living Program.

Patients in the programs are expected to have either part-time employment or a vocational or educational objective. Certified vocational counselors assist with career guidance and vocational placement. The intent of this program is to solidify gains made in treatment and to provide support while progressing towards total independence.

Copyright 1999, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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