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The Melmark School from an Educational Advocate’s perspective.

The Melmark School

Lisa and I decided to take the schools that we visited and each blog about them from “our perspectives.” Mine is 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.

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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:

Facilities

75  gorgeous acres- large campus- beautifully maintained residential buildings, day school.

Melmark-Recreational Activities

  •  Melmark has both indoor and outdoor pool areas. Swimming is a part of day school curriculum once a week. Great fun!
  • They have stables with riding area and when OT is available, hippo therapy is provided to students. Students go to stables to visit horses and farm area with animals once a week.
  • Melmark has a gymnasium which is used in conjunction with PT with students.
  • They have tennis courts which are used when it is weather permitting.
  • Lots of fitness trails for walks (weather permitting).
  • Melmark has several playgrounds. Especially great for 5-year-olds that like to get out and play.

Melmark-Programming specifics

  • Ages served are 5-21 years.
  • Populations served-Autism Spectrum Disorders, Neurological Impairment, Intellectual Disabled, Developmentally Disabled, to Multiple Disabled.
  • 2-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.
  • Your child’s team meets weekly to discuss each student’s progress on the ABA programming and the needs of each student.
  • The child’s team meets with the family to make sure they understand the ABA programming  and progress on a bi-weekly basis.
  • 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.

Melmark Clinical Team Members

  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst
  • Clinical Social Workers
  • School Psychologists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Special Education Teachers
  • Vocational Coordinators (once of age and in need)
  • Registered nurses (if medical need)

Concerns for my client

  • The coordinator of admissions mentioned  several times methods of restraint for some of their students that had behavioral issues which was a bit alarming.
  • There is no vision specialist not on-site-would need to be brought in as consult.
  • A feeding specialist is not on-site-need to be addressed with OT and SLP.
  • There is no Orientation and Mobility Specialist not on-site. We would have to arrange for outside services to be brought in.

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.

Michele (this was written in 2011 and updated to check links)

NOTE: The tuition for The Melmark School is very expensive. You must go through a process that includes screening, interview, and acceptance. And you also need your School District’s approval. This is when the proper facilitation of the IEP process is necessary for placement. Click here if you have more questions on seeking an out of district placement on your IEP.

Read more about private school options in our area.

And this might help....

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