Lisa and I decided to take the schools that we visited and each blog about them from “our perspectives.” Mine being the perspective of the Educational Advocate since that was my role when I visited the placement and hers as the parent.* My disclaimer before discussing the placement-*these are only my opinions as I see them fitting the specific needs of the client I am supporting. They may or may not fit your needs in just these opinions given. You should always do more research on placements that suit your child’s specific needs. * That said, here is my point-of-view of the APS- Melmark, located in Berwyn, PA.
Before visiting The Melmark School, as an Educational Advocate, I did some background research on it to make sure that the programming “fit the needs” of my client. I have broken it down into categories:
2600 Wayland Rd.
Professionalism of staff
-greeting and presentation were extremely professional
75 gorgeous acres- large campus- beautifully maintained residential buildings, day school
-indoor and outdoor pool areas-swimming part of day school curriculum once a week-great fun!
-stables with riding area- when OT is available- hippo therapy provided to students-students go to stables to visit horses and farm area with animals once a week
-gymnasium-used in conjunction with PT with students
-tennis courts- used when it is weather permitting
-fitness trails-for walks weather permitting
-playgrounds-especially great for 5 year olds that like to get out and play
-Ages served- 5-21 years
-Populations served-Autism Spectrum Disorders, Neurological Impairment, Intellectual Disabled, Developmentally Disabled, to Mutliple Disabled
-12-month cycle for both Day School and Residential Students
-Clinical, comprehensive, and evidence-based programming that features Applied Behavior Analysis to address the unique characteristics of each student as an individual
-the team meets weekly to discuss each student’s progress on the ABA programming and the needs of each student
-the team meets with the family to make sure they understand the ABA programming and progress on a bi-weekly basis
-the team works with the family’s wraparound home team so that ABA is also being implemented in the home-setting
-truly a “collaborative” approach to working with parents, programming, and the community
-once older, students are brought out into different parts of the area for Community Based Instruction to learn functional skills
Clinical Team Members
-Board Certified Behavior Analyst
-Clinical Social Workers
-Speech and Language Therapists
-Special Education Teachers
-Vocational Coordinators (once of age and in need)
-Registered nurses (if medical need)
Concerns for my client
– coordinator of admissions mentioned several times methods of restraint for some of their students that had behavioral issues which was a bit alarming
-vision specialist not on-site-would need to be brought in as consult
-feeding specialist not on-site-need to be addressed with OT and SL
-Orientation and Mobility Specialist not on-site-would need to be brought in as consult
That was my experience with The Melmark School. Overall, I was quite impressed with the placement. Please feel free to contact them for a visit to view it for yourself.
NOTE: The tuition for The Melmark School is very expensive. You must go through a process-screening, interview, and acceptance to get into Melmark but also need your School District’s approval. This is when the proper facilitation of the IEP process is necessary for placement.