Preparing to visit potential programs for your student

Visiting programs prior to placing your student is a critical part of the decision making process. This visit should be utilized to help you determine if you and your child are a good fit for the program. This visit should not be taken lightly and should be an event you prepare for in advance. 

Key items to remember:

·          Arrive with an open heart and mind- leave preconceived notations at home.

·          Take the time- plan enough time for the tour; do not rush your visit.

·          Arrive prepared- create a list of questions beforehand highlighting specific questions for specific departments (academic, clinical, recreation, canine, admissions, CEO, etc.)

 Key questions to include:

1.      Ask how your student compares to the programs typical student.

2.      Ask why the admissions and/or clinical staff feel the program might be a successful placement for your student.

3.      Ask the clinical staff, what they believe your child needs to change?

4.      Ask about program ownership, how invested are the owners, are they on-site, how often do they interact with the staff and students?

5.      How accessible is the upper level staff (CEO, Clinical Director, etc) to you?

6.      What is the financial stability of the program?

7.      Ask about the programs specialties and specific areas of expertise.

8.      How did the program come to specialize?

9.      How is the direct care staff trained in regard to this area of specialty? Is training on-going? Are staff screened before being hired, if so, how?

10.  What treatment model does the program utilize? Does the treatment model utilized match the students they work with?

11.  How well versed is the staff in utilizing the treatment model?

12.  How will my child know they are cared about by staff?

13.  What is the role of the direct care staff?

14.  What is the role of the therapist?

15.  What is the role of the parent?

16.  How open in the program to family visits?

17.  How do students communicate with their parents?

18.  How do parents communicate with staff?

19.  Is the program licensed and accredited? If so, by whom.

20.  Does the program participate or have membership in professional organizations in their field?

21.  Ask for a list of parents (current and past) that you may contact.

22.  What makes the program different than all of the other programs out there?

23.  What is the ultimate goal the program is striving towards?

24.  What are the programs needed areas of growth or weaknesses".

25.  Lastly, ask any question you feel would impact your ability to make a decision in regard to your students potential placement, no question is a bad question.

ResourcesBelow are some informative websites: