New Leaf Academy Therapeutic Boarding School for Girls Completes Specialized Training to Help Adopted Pre-Teens and Their Families

Share Article

The staff at New Leaf Academy recently completed an in-depth training on adoption issues and attachment issues among middle school girls, allowing them to tailor treatment even more closely to each student’s unique needs.

For some adopted children, feelings of grief, loss and abandonment can contribute to emotional or behavioral issues during pre-adolescence. Our goal is to help adopted girls and their families embrace the reality of adoption in a healing way.

The staff at New Leaf Academy, a therapeutic boarding school for girls ages 10 to 14, recently completed an in-depth training on adoption issues and attachment issues. In addition to treating emotional, behavioral and learning issues, the academy is now uniquely prepared to help adopted girls address any issues they may have surrounding their adoption.

The training was led by the Kinship Center, a nonprofit agency dedicated to the creation, preservation and support of foster, adoptive and relative families. The entire New Leaf staff, from executive management to support staff, attended five eight-hour training sessions to build a deeper understanding of the issues facing adopted families.

“We joined forces with the Kinship Center in order to develop a holistic understanding of the way adoption impacts everyone involved, including adoptive parents, children and birth parents,” said Robbi O’Kelley, MSW, LCSW, CADCII, Executive Director at New Leaf Academy, where roughly 30 percent of the students are adopted or being raised by someone other than a biological parent. “Because every adoptive family’s experience is unique, this training will help us be responsive to each family’s individual needs.”

Between the ages of 10 and 14, many girls start to wonder who they are and where they came from. Adopted children may begin to notice that they don’t look like parents or that they have different personality traits than their adoptive family, causing them to feel different at time when they long to be the same as their peers.

“For some adopted children, feelings of grief, loss and abandonment can contribute to emotional or behavioral issues during pre-adolescence,” said O’Kelley. “Our goal is to help adopted girls and their families embrace the reality of adoption in a healing way.”

New Leaf Academy is one of the only therapeutic boarding schools in the country that focuses on the pre-adolescent and early adolescent developmental stage and works to provide pre-teen girls with the experiences and skills they need to thrive. The adoption training has given the staff an even deeper understanding of this developmental stage, allowing them to tailor their interventions even more closely to each girl’s particular needs.

Some of the interventions that have been particularly helpful for adopted girls at New Leaf Academy include:

  •     Equine therapy and building bonds with bunnies, allowing girls to express themselves in non-verbal ways and engage in hands-on learning
  •     Occupational therapy
  •     Special attention to specific sensory needs
  •     An emphasis on meeting basic physiological needs, such as warmth and affection, before problem-solving and establishing consequences
  •     Cognitive-behavioral therapy, art therapy and other therapeutic approaches to help adopted girls develop positive self-esteem and a healthy way of thinking about themselves, their families and the world around them

“We are working closely with both students and their parents, through a series of teleclasses and a parent workshop on adoption, to improve the family dynamics and nurture close family ties,” said O’Kelley. “Because in the end, family is what this process is all about.”

ABOUT NEW LEAF ACADEMY

New Leaf Academy is a private boarding school for girls that specializes in meeting the developmental, social, emotional and academic needs of pre-adolescent and young adolescent girls. With individualized guidance from a staff of caring professionals experienced in working with pre-teen girls, New Leaf students start to define themselves, learn to have fun and improve their family relationships while fine-tuning the skills they need to successfully navigate adolescence.

New Leaf Academy is a program of Aspen Education Group, the nation’s leading provider of therapeutic education programs for struggling or underachieving young people. Aspen’s services range from short-term intervention programs to residential treatment, and include a variety of therapeutic settings such as boarding schools, outdoor behavioral health programs and special needs summer camps, allowing professionals and families the opportunity to choose the best setting to meet a student’s unique academic and emotional needs.

Aspen Education Group is a member of CRC Health Group, the most comprehensive network of specialized behavioral care services in the nation. For over two decades, CRC Health has been achieving successful outcomes for individuals and families. For more information, please call (866) 515-5202 or visit New Leaf Academy.

###

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Robbi O'Kelley
Visit website