The Negative Effects of Social Isolation in Teenagers

Boulder Creek Academy pic

Boulder Creek Academy
Image: bouldercreekacademy.com

Boulder Creek Academy is a coed therapeutic boarding school for teens ages 14 to 18. Located in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, Boulder Creek Academy serves the unique needs of students who struggle with various behavioral, clinical, and academic challenges, including social isolation.

Given the social nature of human beings, feeling disconnected and isolated from one’s peers can be extremely harmful to teenagers. In many cases, because teenagers tend to stay connected through online interaction, adults disregard social isolation in teens. However, the need for face-to-face interaction persists. As individuals grow through their adolescent years, they often seek peer support to process the various dramas and changes they are experiencing, and online interactions alone cannot fill this need.

When teens feel socially isolated, it results in a wide range of mental health problems. Teens often experience lower self-esteem and increased anxiety. Further, they may become depressed and possibly develop suicidal tendencies.

Teens experience physical problems, as well. They are more likely to become obese during young adulthood, have worse physical health, and experience headaches and stomachaches. Isolated teens also frequently have higher blood pressure, higher cholesterol, and poor cardiovascular health as young adults.

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.

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.

Challenges and Causes of Clinical Depression in Children

Clinical depression in children

Clinical depression in children

 

As a therapeutic boarding school, Boulder Creek Academy provides educational programs designed to help teenagers with behavioral difficulties. One such difficulty Boulder Creek Academy is designed to address is clinical depression, which is experienced by approximately one in 20 children in the United States. Depression can take several forms, including major depression, which causes extended periods of sadness that interfere with a child’s daily activities; dysthymia, which has less dramatic effects but can persist for a year or more; and bipolar disorder, which causes periods of depression to alternate with those of irritability and emotional outbursts.

Clinical depression is not merely the occasional sadness, lack of motivation, or low self-confidence that almost all children experience. Expecting a child to “snap out of it” or scolding a child for showing a lack of interest in his or her responsibilities is liable to upset the child further and intensify feelings of unworthiness. Likewise, it is rarely helpful to explain to a child why he or she shouldn’t be depressed, since major depression is not a rational response to pain or loss. The child may be fully aware that he or she has no specific reason to be upset, but this realization may not be enough actually to relieve the child of depression.

Depression can be caused by numerous factors. Traumatic life events such as a death in the family or parental separation can trigger long periods of serious depression, and its incidence is higher in children who have attention or learning disorders. There may be a genetic component as well, as some genes result in reduced levels of neurotransmitters that normally produce feelings of satisfaction or happiness. Because of this, children are more likely to experience depression if it is present in other family members.

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

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder  pic

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.

A Primer on Nonverbal Learning Disabilities

Boulder Creek Academy  pic

Boulder Creek Academy
Image: bouldercreekacademy.com

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.