As a therapeutic boarding school for 13- to 17-year-old students, Boulder Creek Academy incorporates a wide range of educational strategies to help students overcome developmental and behavioral difficulties. Among the techniques employed by Boulder Creek Academy is metacognition, an individual’s awareness of how his or her own mind functions. Through metacognition, students can develop their own uniquely effective approaches to learning and understand when to apply different strategies so they can overcome challenges efficiently.
In most educational environments, students are taught several different methods of learning, such as rote memorization, mnemonic devices, pattern recognition, and logical deduction. What these students may not be taught, however, is why certain strategies work as they do, and they are not always encouraged to apply different learning techniques to the subjects at hand. By developing their metacognitive awareness, students can plan strategies for completing particular tasks based on prior experiences with these techniques, as well as identify and eliminate anything that distracts from learning, including techniques that do not serve them well.
Students then becomes actively engaged in the learning process and are often able to learn more efficiently. Depth of knowledge increases as well, as the students becomes less concerned about whether a particular answer is correct, instead exploring the underlying cause of why it is correct. The end result our students with much stronger reasoning and problem-solving skills, in addition to an improved ability to process new information, all of which can serve them well throughout life.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Boulder Creek Academy has served as a therapeutic boarding school for adolescents with behavioral challenges for over 20 years. One of many challenges that Boulder Creek Academy is prepared to help students overcome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the fastest-growing developmental disorder among children in the United States.
Believed to be affecting approximately 11 percent of children in the U.S. between the ages of 4 and 17, ADHD’s increased rate of diagnosis is sometimes blamed on modern life in general. However, similar rates among developing countries suggest that the increase is more likely due to expanding awareness and recognition. Causes of ADHD are often erroneously attributed to such factors as head injuries, food additives, and video games. However, current studies strongly suggest that the only causes of ADHD are differences in brain chemistry and structure that are determined entirely by genetics, particularly several genes responsible for dopamine transmission and reception. Dopamine is a neurochemical responsible for a sense of satisfaction that comes with succeeding at a particular task or challenge, and some scientists believe that those with ADHD are, quite literally, feeling unrewarded by many of life’s challenges.
Medication can help manage important brain functions, helping dopamine receptors behave in a more typical manner, but therapy may provide solutions that are equally effective and more permanent. The prevalence of adults in the U.S. with ADHD is only 3 to 5 percent, indicating that it can be overcome with time. Therapeutic solutions include behavior therapy that teaches a child to replace harmful behaviors with more beneficial ones, or redirecting a child’s focus onto a constructive task or activity that does result in a sense of reward. With such treatment, children with ADHD can become highly capable in their adult lives.
Boulder Creek Academy
Boulder Creek Academy in Bonners Ferry, Idaho provides therapeutic services for adolescent students who are struggling with learning disabilities and social deficits. In particular, Boulder Creek Academy assists students with nonverbal learning disabilities (NVLD).
A learning disability characterized by weak social, motor, or visuospatial skills, NVLD is an oft-misunderstood disorder that affects many children in the United States. Unlike students with verbal learning disabilities such as dyslexia, students with NVLD experience difficulty with nonverbal communication. Both learning disability types can cause considerable challenges for children in the school setting.
Nonverbal learning disabilities often include symptoms such as difficulty with fine motor skills–for example, tying a shoe, trouble coping with changes to a routine, or an inability to recognize nonverbal cues such as body language and facial expression. Some students with NVLD may excel at language-based learning tasks, leading teachers to overlook their other deficiencies. As such, treatment for NVLD focuses on the unique challenges faced by each student, typically involving individualized attention from the teacher and other educational professionals.
For 23 years, Boulder Creek Academy has provided therapeutic services and a stimulating learning environment for socially immature and clinically complex students in grades 8-12. Located in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, Boulder Creek Academy focuses its efforts on students with learning disabilities such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Parents of children with ADHD play a major role in the academic success of their children. Below are three ways to help your child overcome ADHD and excel in the classroom.
Make a calendar: Because children with ADHD often struggle to keep organized, you can use a calendar to help your child stay on top of his or her commitments. For an added layer of organization, color-code the calendar or use a digital platform.
Establish a homework routine: For many children, the home environment can be a highly distracting place, making it difficult to complete homework on time. By creating a designated homework space with minimal distractions and setting aside time every day for homework, parents can help children build a daily routine.
Teach prioritization: Children with ADHD may have trouble prioritizing their activities, ending up feeling overwhelmed by everything they have to do. To teach prioritization, parents can use a color-coded “priority level” system on a calendar to help instill this important skill.