The Benedictine School Issues Special Needs Residential Care Advice for Parents of Developmentally Disabled

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Critical Demand for Special Needs Residential Care Even When Difficult Decision for Child and Family

The Benedictine School

The decision to select a residential school for a special needs child is not something parents take lightly.

While special needs residential schools are in critical demand, choosing care for a special needs child is one of the hardest challenges parents face. The Benedictine School, a nationally recognized, accredited and cost-effective educational living and learning environment for children and adults, is offering special needs parents guidance from its 50 years of experience helping students with developmental disabilities reach their full potential.

Considerations for special needs residential schools vs. mainstream classrooms:

1.    Are your child’s needs beyond the scope of a regular 9 am-3 pm school day? Most parents do not have the resources to provide for the individualized therapeutic consistencies at home that are key to a special needs child’s success.
2.    Does your child require round-the-clock access to care and intervention? It is often the combination of disabilities that make it difficult to meet the needs of a child in his or her home.
3.    Does your child require training in a setting beyond the mainstream classroom? It is essential to teach special needs individuals the most basic life skills and self-care.
4.    Is the developmental gap widening between your child and integrated peers? Often when school populations grow in middle and high school, previously well-integrated special needs children become school phobic or negatively affected by peer influences.
5.    Is your child engaging in self-injurious behavior (SIBS)? Danger to a child or others is a serious sign that he or she needs round-the-clock professional staff and programs.

Residential school evaluation tips:

1.    Is the program/school on the list of state approved educational and residential facilitates?
2.    What are the schools options across the life span? Are there options for continuum care?
3.    Are there an array of vocational training programs and opportunities in the community?
4.    Is round-the-clock nursing care available?
5.    Does the school meet your state’s requirements for staff/student and students/beds ratio?

“The decision to select a residential school for a special needs child is not something parents take lightly,” said Sister Jeannette Murray, executive director for the past 47 years and a founding sister of The Benedictine School. “But I speak from experience that the consistency a residential school offers makes a huge difference in the child’s development track and it saves families.”

The Benedictine School’s residential and day school services students ages 5 through 21 and currently enrolls 95 children. Located on 500 acres of farmland in Ridgely, Maryland, the Benedictine School’s classrooms, living quarters and staff – including special education teachers, therapists and medical personnel – offer students a loving, home-like atmosphere. Vocational and social activities are important at the Benedictine School, as students learn beyond the classroom, prepare for adulthood and discover ways to effectively manage their leisure time.

**Editor’s Note: Interviews available with Sister Jeannette Murray, executive director, and parents of Benedictine students.

About Benedictine Programs and Services
Located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Benedictine Programs and Services is a nationally recognized, accredited and cost-effective educational living and learning environment for children and adults with special needs. The Benedictine School, established in 1959 and managed by the Sisters of St. Benedict, is a fully approved, non-sectarian school for 95 children, ages 5 through 21, with intellectual disabilities, multiple disabilities and autism. The Benedictine Open Community Program serves adults ages 22 to 60+, offering community-based group-home living and vocational training. The Benedictine Foundation secures the financial resources needed to ensure the future of Benedictine’s programs, services and other activities.

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Jennifer Mirabile

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