Extended Insights
Extended Insights

May 11, 2011, 13:07

Shared by Janyce Lastman
Independent Educational Consultant
The Tutor Group
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

(One of the most common questions I get from parents is how successful are these programs? Although there are a few studies, and some outcome reports, real information is rather scarce. This is probably because once a student successfully completes a residential therapeutic school or program, the past is seen as a nightmare both parents and child would rather forget. Also, the child is busy getting on with his or her life and doesn't want or need to revisit the difficulties of the past.

As a consequence, the following series of letters by parents is unique, reporting their son's steady improvement post-treatment and expressing their appreciation for the help their consultant gave them. The parents were kind enough to not only share with their consultant how things were going post-treatment, but also gave permission to publish their comments so long as the information could not be used to identify any of them. We respect that wish and appreciate the parents willingness to share that even with the most horrible turmoil a teen child might have put them through, there is still hope. -Lon)

This is from the parents of a very bright but troubled son with complex emotional, behavioral and learning challenges, and developing mental health concerns (no substance issues). His level of conflict with the family members was extreme at the time of his placement. He attended therapeutic wilderness, followed by a specialized American residential treatment program where he also started and completed his high school studies. He graduated high school within his RTC after many ups and downs, and several challenging years of individual and family work, and then returned to his home community for post-secondary studies. These updates cover a 6+ year period after completion of the specialized residential program. -Janyce Lastman

(Parents name withheld by request)

Fall 2005:
Our son has made a good adjustment (after high school graduation from an American RTC). He is living with relatives near the University during the week, and visits us on weekends and some weekdays. He's doing very well in all his courses - his favorite is psychology, and he's thinking of possibly majoring in it. He's been seeing a local psychologist himself (to continue personal counseling). He has reconnected with the old local friends who were always a good influence, and kept in touch with former classmates and staff from his RTC. He's active at the gym, started back playing his favorite team sport, and accompanies us to social events and visits. Friends and family tell us that he has changed into a mature young man.

We are grateful for everything good that has happened, especially as we acknowledge that it hasn't been a smooth ride. Thanks for all you have done for us, Janyce. Our son may not be completely out of the woods yet but he is certainly headed in the right direction and we are eternally grateful for your help.

Best Regards, Dr. and Mrs. P, Alberta

Update from Fall 2006:
Our son continues doing well. Last year, he earned two scholarships for his efforts. This year is more challenging but he appears to be working hard and motivating himself without anyone around to push him.

He continues to live with relatives and we see him at least once a week. He earned his driver's license and uses the car when he visits, but takes the bus otherwise. Last summer, he spent time with me, his brother and his grandfather visiting Eastern Europe - we had a grand time and it was definitely an unforgettable experience for all, especially the boys. Two weeks afterward, he left for a 10 day trip to Alaska to visit one of his former RTC school mates. We are planning another big family trip shortly.

We'll keep you posted on further developments...
Dr. P, Alberta

Update from Fall 2010:
Our son is currently completing his nursing degree in our home community. After a medical mission to South America in 2008 he was inspired and encouraged by many individuals to pursue a nursing career. He is very happy with the choice, doing well in school and getting marks in the B+ range. He studied Spanish by immersion, and later travelled around Central America for more Spanish instruction. He will soon embark on his third medical mission with CAMTA as a Spanish translator. Last year, he moved into a downtown condominium blocks away from school and lives with his brother now who is also in university. It is wonderful and incredible to us parents that these two can live together successfully. He is currently self-supporting, along with student loans for school. Someone he worked with in South America has offered him a summer job in a hospital here in town. He spends his spare time weight training, yoga and cooking and has a wide circle of good friends. He may return to visit his old RTC shortly when he visits his sister who is completing her medical specialist degree out East.

Thank you once again Janyce. We will be forever grateful for all you have done for us!
Dr. and Mrs. P, Alberta

Latest Update-March 2011:
Adam recently returned from his fourth medical mission to Quito, Ecuador, where he worked as a Spanish translator and also helped in the operating room and on the nursing ward. This experience has had a profoundly positive influence on his life and has kept him passionate and motivated. He is completing his second year of nursing at Grant MacEwan University and plans to work as a nursing attendant during the summer.

Janyce Lastman is an Independent Educational Consultant located in Toronto Canada. Her business is named The Tutor Group. She can be reached at , or call 416-221-0018.

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