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Posted: Jul 6, 2009 11:41


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Swansea, MA
Patrick Morrison, COO

Visit by Judi Bessette on May 22, 2009

Author's Note: In the fall of 2006, Larry Stednitz wrote about his visit to Stevens. On my recent trip there, I learned about their assessment service - an aspect of their program that I wanted to share with other professionals.

Occasionally, I run into a complicated case that calls for a higher-than-usual level of assessment. It may be that the client involved has many diagnoses from a wide variety of clinicians and nothing seems to be making sense...or it may be that circumstances dictate that the student needs to be tested in a secure environment...or it may be just that oddball case that seems to defy description.

Stevens Treatment Centers in MA, an attractive, well-run RTC, serves difficult-to-place teen boys -- youth who are fire-starters, involved in inappropriate sexual behaviors or are dealing with genuine conduct disorders. They started offering just these kinds of services about two years ago. They call the program Back On Track.

Boys 11 to 21 spend 45 to 60 days in a comprehensive assessment process that culminates in a diagnostic formulation intended to be a road map for future treatment based on the level of functioning identified for a student and his family.

The boys in the assessment program live on the Stevens campus in one of the cottages there and participate in activities with other residents when they are not involved in testing. The facility is attractive, safe and comfortable while also eliminating distractions, which encourages youth to focus on their issues.

A multi-disciplinary team conducts the assessments. The team includes licensed clinicians, special education teachers, behavior specialists as well as psychiatrists and psychologists as needed. Back On Track program includes:

Clinical Assessment: Developing a thorough history and identification of problem areas for all students as well as considering their ability to apply their strengths to effectively utilize individual, group and family therapy services;

Family Assessment: Identifying the family's strengths as well as any weaknesses;

Medical Assessment: Establishing a need for any medical intervention that may have gone untreated;

Educational Assessment: Producing a description of learning styles, academic strengths and abilities as well as identifying areas of deficits;

Functional Behavioral Assessment: Uncovering behavioral problems, the level of aggressive actions, social skills and the quality of relationships; and

Risk Assessments: Including psychological and psychiatric testing, substance abuse assessments and, as needed, sexual abuser and fire setter assessments.

The Back On Track program is competitively priced and offers another way to look at the tough cases I talked about earlier. Give the program a call to learn more.

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