Benway School is a private special needs school that provides education and ancillary therapeutic services in the same environment. This strategy of providing therapy and education facilitates communication between therapists and educators that are often disrupted when they are not combined. This approach also offers families the opportunity to participate in their child’s academics and therapy in the same building.
Our therapeutic staff consists of Licensed Clinical Social Workers who have extensive clinical backgrounds and experience working with children, adolescents, and families. Our clinical social workers have worked in various settings such as mental health outpatient programs (IOP and PHP programs), private therapeutic schools, hospital settings, residential treatment facilities, rape crisis centers, substance abuse settings, children’s mobile response, and stabilization services, and child welfare. The staff has been trained in individual, group and family therapy using different treatment modalities. Our team is also trained and equipped to provide crisis counseling/intervention and refer to higher levels of care for stabilization.
Our collaborative model is effective because all educational and therapeutic staff work together as a team. Our ongoing communication allows for higher awareness of our students’ needs which enables us to be more proactive rather than reactive to student difficulties. The Benway clinical team and teaching staff meet on a daily basis where student progress is evaluated, academic difficulties are assessed more quickly, and social and emotional issues that contribute to classroom performance can be addressed immediately. The close working relationships among our staff allow us to discuss our student's academic, social and emotional needs in a more timely manner.
Each student is assigned a therapist and receives weekly individual therapy as per their IEP. Individual therapy can occur more frequently if needed. Our thoroughly trained staff provides ongoing evaluation of
student needs and provides intervention options designed to meet each student’s level of need.
Elementary and Middle School students receive group therapy on a weekly basis. High School students receive psychoeducational and process-oriented therapy groups throughout the school year. Our therapists work on specific skill sets and address each student's experiences both in and out of school. Some of the areas we address are social skills, anger management, conflict resolution, self-esteem, mindfulness/relaxation, stress management, and peer relationships. Group provides students with the opportunity for socialization such as relationship building, peer support and the development of appropriate peer interactions.
Family involvement is a key component of our student's success in school. Family support services are provided for our students with the goal of actively involving the families in their child’s education and collaboratively developing goals at home, in school, and within the community. It allows the therapist to work with the student, family, and outpatient/in-home service providers on any ongoing struggles or conflicts that are occurring at home. Parent-child conflict, behavior management, and stress management are just some of the areas we cover with the families we work with.
Our school recognizes the need for ongoing learning and therapeutic growth, and for this reason, the clinical team meets with an outside consultant on a monthly basis for training and consultation. The clinical team receives monthly instruction for clinical growth and to develop effective and creative interventions to assist our student population. The focus of training is twofold; for the therapists to gain
self-awareness while examining the dynamics and situations that are impeding our student's growth, and to assist our students with their relationships and improve their connections with others. Training incorporates an understanding of trauma and best practices to meet the needs of our students.
Coordination of Care at Benway School:
We understand and value the importance of coordinated care. Many of our students are involved with wraparound services ( “Wraparound is a philosophy of care with defined planning process used to build constructive relationships and support networks among students and youth with emotional or behavioral disabilities and their families. It is community-based, culturally relevant, individualized, strengths-based, and family-centered”). We strongly believe in maintaining relationships and ongoing communication with our student service providers through regular in-person meetings and phone calls. This collaboration is critical to our student's and their family's growth and success.
Benway Fitness Program (Burpees at Benway):
The clinical team and teaching staff at Benway observed that the middle school students were struggling with focusing, staying on task, and following directions. Not only were they not progressing academically, but socially they were not getting along with each other, and relationships were severely impaired. The middle school class was in a crisis state, and we had to address this. The clinical team reviewed this with our outside consultant Ms. Paula Ochs, LCSW and it was suggested that we implement an exercise program for our students to release their energy at the start of the day. In addition to the benefits of physical activity, another goal was to help the students with group cohesion and build positive relationships with each other through a fun, meaningful exercise program. The exercise program was very successful as evidenced by the students participating, and we observed through data collection that their acting out behaviors decreased significantly. The student's points before the exercise program were compared to their points after the exercise program, and there were major improvements. The students started class focused; they followed directions and their relationships with each other improved. The exercise program was led by Ms. Lillie Coleman, LCSW who devoted her time to working out with the students four days per week for 30 minutes each session. In addition to Ms. Coleman’s daily exercise program, she facilitated having a professional exercise trainer come into the school to work out with the students. The students enjoyed this program and requested that it continue for the next school year. The fitness program will run for the 2018-2019 school year."
Our counselors take an active role in each student's school life. From their award winning program Burpees at Benway to the Weekly Incentive Breakfasts where they encourage students to do the right thing to earn a catered breakfast. Students work hard to be a part of the exclusive breakfast club. Some of their favorites are: Chicken and Waffles, Pancakes and Bacon, Bagels, McDonald's and Dunkin Donuts.