NATSAP Annual Conference Keeps Attendees Abreast of Field Changes

Nestled at the base of Idaho’s Cabinet Mountains, Boulder Creek Academy is a year-round boarding school for students between the ages of 13 and 18 who have social and cognitive deficits. Fully licensed by the state, Boulder Creek Academy is a member of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP).

A voluntary membership organization, NATSAP provides important resources to professionals and programs that work with young individuals who have behavioral and emotional difficulties. The organization accomplishes this through various programs and events, the most notable of which is its Annual Conference. Held in January or February every year, the NATSAP Annual Conference features everything from keynote speakers and concurrent sessions to numerous networking and development opportunities. The event lasts for three days and is typically the first NATSAP event of each year.

The NATSAP Annual Conference is designed for allied and mental health professionals. Most attendees at the conference consists of program owners, directors, and administrators, along with therapists and other mental health personnel. Attendees of the conference will have the opportunity to learn about new changes in the field, along with various programs offered by NATSAP. The 2017 Annual Conference is scheduled for January 25 to 27, 2017 and will be held in Tucson, Arizona at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa.

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A Brief Overview of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program

A therapeutic boarding school in Idaho, Boulder Creek Academy has spent over two decades meeting the unique needs of students between the ages of 14 and 18 who are struggling with a range of social and cognitive deficits. Boulder Creek Academy is a year-round school that is fully accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission and affiliated with such programs as the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

A part of the National Security Investigations Division, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) manages nonimmigrant students in the academic and vocational vice classification and the schools who teach such students. It was designed to ensure that all rules and regulations are followed by international students studying in the United States and to certify schools so that they may accept international students. Additionally, SEVP maintains several outreach programs to help students find a SEVP-certified school and maintain their student status. These outreach efforts also focus on such areas as student benefits, postgraduate procedures, and international student regulations.

SEVP oversees its certified schools and international students with the help of SEVIS, or the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. This system tracks and monitors certified schools and exchange visitor programs, while also monitoring vocational and academic nonimmigrants while they participate in the United States education system. To accomplish its goal, SEVP works with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, US Department of State, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, and several other government partners.

Improving Social Skills among Teenagers with ADHD

Boulder Creek Academy pic

Boulder Creek Academy
Image: bouldercreekacademy.com

Since 1993, Boulder Creek Academy has helped teenage boys and girls with academic, clinical, and behavioral challenges to embrace their strengths and flourish academically. Among the students served by Boulder Creek Academy are teens with ADHD, for whom social interactions can be challenge. Below are three ways in which teenagers with ADHD can develop their social skills:

Discuss ADHD: It’s normal for teens to feel embarrassed when talking about their ADHD, but explaining the issue to their friends can help. When friends know the reasons why a teen often loses track of time or forgets to meet them, they will be more understanding of the situation instead of simply becoming angry.

Join clubs: The key to joining a school club or youth group is finding one that fits the teen’s interests. Social interactions become easier for teens with ADHD when there is already a shared interest or passion.

Practice with family: At home, teens with ADHD should practice putting their thoughts into words. This can be accomplished by reading a book or watching a television show together, and then summarizing what the family watched or read. Additionally, parents can plan group outings to make it easier for teens to hang out with friends.

SEVP – Nonimmigrant Status for Foreign Students in the US

Student and Exchange Visitor Program pic

Student and Exchange Visitor Program
Image: ice.gov

Offering therapeutic curricula and services to students aged 13-18, Boulder Creek Academy utilizes brain-based learning to enhance students’ memory, communication, and cognitive functioning. Actively affiliated with several organizations, Boulder Creek Academy currently holds membership in the government-run Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

SEVP upholds national security by collecting regular information and statistics on non-immigrant students currently attending US schools. Long-term visitors to the US are assigned a non-immigrant classification depending on their length of stay in the US and their purpose for entering. Non-immigrant students are divided into two categories: F-1 non-immigrants and M-1 non-immigrants. F-1 non-immigrants are foreign students pursuing academic study, whereas M-1 non-immigrants are foreign students pursuing vocational study. All schools and programs must be SEVP-approved in order for foreign residents to qualify for non-immigrant student status.

Non-immigrant students may be accompanied by spouses and children. Dependents of students are classified under either F-2 or M-2 status. To learn more about SEVP and how to become a non-immigrant student in the US, go to www.ICE.gov/SEVIS.

AdvanceED and Northwest Accreditation Commission Accreditation

Boulder Creek Academy pic

Boulder Creek Academy
Image: bouldercreekacademy.com

Boulder Creek Academy is a therapeutic boarding school in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, that accepts students in grades eight through twelve. The academy focuses on meeting the academic, behavioral, and clinical needs of students. Founded in 1993, Boulder Creek Academy operates with accreditation from the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC), a division of AdvancedED.

These organizations outline quality standards and processes that meet the specific requirements for several types of learning institutions, and accreditation from NWAC and AdvancedED serves as a testament to quality standards. For instance, standards have been developed for education corporations, public and private school systems, digital learning institutions, and post and secondary academies. Criteria for accreditation include: a commitment to continuous improvement, demonstration of quality assurance through internal and external review, and cooperation with AdvancedED standards and policies.

The organization utilizes a system-oriented accreditation approach that helps institutions make the most of their talent and resources. It measures the program’s quality, relationships, and results through an examination of an institution’s standards, student performance, and stakeholder feedback. Furthermore, the accreditation process emphasizes the importance of accountability, learner outcomes, and efforts to achieve positive learner outcomes.

For additional details on accreditation with AdvancedED and the NWAC, visit advanc-ed.org/services/accreditation.

Metacognition – Mastering One’s Own Mind

Metacognition pic

Metacognition
Image: edutopia.org

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.

Causes and Treatments of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Image: WebMD.com

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.