Intensive Treatment Program for Neurodiverse Youth

“There needs to be lot more focus on what a child can do, than what he/she cannot do.”

– Temple Grandin

Equinox Counseling and Wellness Center offers an Intensive Treatment Program (ITP) designed specifically to enhance the lives of youth living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), neurodiversity and other learning/social differences. We understand the levels of intervention and support that are necessary vary among families. Therefore, we make it a priority to thoroughly assess your needs, partner with parents to identify goals and work with youth to gain a global picture of his/her strengths and challenges. We work to keep families together while providing an alternative for local and comprehensive services within one agency.

Parents often enroll in our ITP after participating in years of varied types of treatment since their child was first identified with special needs. These may have included specialized school support, occupational therapy, Applied Behavioral Analysis, intensive home services and hospitalizations as well as out-of-home placement in a residential treatment setting. Parents share with us that sustainable success resulting from these interventions are often limited or have not produced the results they are seeking and that their child requires to experience success and confidence at home and in the community. We believe you and your child deserve better.

Uncovering the layers and creating change

Our Intensive Treatment Program focuses on key areas for growth identified by experts in the field of ASD, teachers, therapeutic professionals and family members who experience and observe deficits and challenges in different aspects of a youth’s life. There are layers of complex issues that impact youth—social, cognitive, emotional and developmental. Much like an onion, when we peel back one layer and learn new insights, we find more. We appreciate this in our young people and bring passion and years of expertise to bear when we determine how to best work with the “unique layers” of your child and how this relates to the overall development of teens and young adults.

Our Intensive Treatment Program is designed to address:

  • Personal Independence
  • Social and life skill development
  • Executive functioning deficits
  • Situational problem solving and coping
  • Emotional regulation
  • Safety in the home
  • Conversation and relationship skills
  • Fostering friendship development
  • Excessive computer and internet time
  • Behavioral acting out and replacing with effective forms of communication
  • Depression, anxiety or other mood related issues
  • Flexibility and adaptability to changes and “life’s ups and downs”
  • Perspective taking and empathy development
  • Transition to young adulthood

Through an individualized model that is designed to fit the specific needs of your family, teen or pre-teen our ITP creates common outcomes of positive change, effective solutions and sustainable progress.

Assessment – Our assessment process focuses on understanding what is happening with your family and how we can help. We want to get to know your child, important family members and you as parents or guardians. In addition to reviewing previous treatment and evaluation records our assessment process also includes visiting your child’s school, your hometown professional team, the educational consultant you may be working with and taking the time to really understand your strengths and goals as a family.

Partnership – We then partner with you to design a treatment program to address the developmental, emotional, behavioral and clinical needs of your family. Together, we will:

  • Identify your needs based on our continuum of care, which includes varying levels of intensity (low, moderate, high, intensive, and continuing care).
  • Develop a flexible course of treatment that can shift and change based on progress or concerns that may arise while your teen is working with us.
  • Determine the appropriate length of treatment. (The average is 12-24 months.)
  • Create a treatment plan and build our team of professionals that will work with your family.

Treatment Setting – We have learned that finding opportunities to practice skills in various environments, focusing on accountability to multiple relationships, problem solving in different situations and increasing overall feelings of confidence and competence will create sustainable positive change for not only your teen, but for your family as well. In addition to our office, we recommend venues and activities for therapy and social skills development that are unique and purposeful to your needs, including:

This is not an easy process, nor is it fast. We recognize that it takes commitment from each family member to be part of the change process. In return, we give you a highly personal experience with a team of committed, skilled and compassionate professionals that see your family as their utmost priority.

Learn more about the services include in our Intensive Treatment Program.

A weekly time to engage your child and find interactive ways to address important topics.

Paying attention to both the strengths and challenges in how your child communicates and relates to others, our therapists find creative ways to build rapport, gain trust and develop a strong therapeutic relationship with your child. On a weekly basis, sessions take place in the community or in your home to enhance generalization of learning. By expertly disguising how “therapy” looks, we watch independence, competence, confidence and positive behavioral shifts develop for our youth.

A time for parents, siblings and the youth living with ASD or related differences to have a voice within a supportive and structured environment.

Families commonly struggle on a daily basis to communicate in the home, express the impact of living with a family member with special needs, or simply get through a day without behavior issues. With support, compassion and expert guidance, our family therapist works in your home or office to enhance your life as a family, create sustainable change, and achieve the results you are looking for.

A healthy adult role model in the community who exposes your child to new activities outside the home, recreational interests and ways to increase belonging with peers.

Mentoring provides, most importantly, a non-pressured, non-authoritative healthy adult relationship. Our youth with ASD and social differences thrive when given an opportunity to learn about sociality and creative ways to spend free time alongside an engaging and understanding adult. Through fun and active experiences, youth and families are taught about self-advocacy and life skills, social skills, connection to others and how to use community resources.

Therapeutic Care is an approach, a style, and a method that has been developed over the the last 30 years while working with severely challenged youth and teenagers. Therapeutic Care focuses on helping each child’s changing sense of self in three important skill areas: responsibility, relationships, and right choices. Therapeutic Care develops vital prosocial competencies for health through a tried and true experiential, active approach to learning. Youth in our care, involved with Therapeutic Care Services, learn to be more skillful thinkers, increase analytical problem-solving skills and ultimately develop goal achievement skills.

Therapeutic Care evolved through a comprehensive understanding of the important brain, body, behavior trifecta. We call it “sticky learning” – the kind of skill development that generalizes from relationship to relationship, from environment to environment and sustains or “sticks” over the long haul. Our active, experiential style focuses on teaching and practicing situational coping, flexible thinking, emotional regulation, increased communication, adaptable life skills, and distress tolerance in the moment—with the support of our caring staff present to guide, offer feedback, and coach in real time.

We utilize unique community and adventure venues for learning such as local parks, biking, pottery studios, rock climbing, rafting, art museums, hiking, and iron art sculpture studios to name a few.

Is an after-school program supporting young people as they strive to be successful in life. Every youth deserves a chance to reach for the stars. However, most kids would settle for feeling confident, smart, and capable in the face of daily challenges. To support this,Therapeutic Study Lab (TSL) is a multi-faceted group and individual process that synergistically supports all other aspects of each youths treatment within the Equinox program. The TSL program focuses on two important areas:

1) Teach and rehearse the ways to become more skillful thinkers, more emotionally regulated and learn pro-social behaviors of belonging and acceptance. Youth learn specific strategies for slowing down and thinking more thoroughly and accurately. TSL bridges the gap between cognitive behavioral theory and helping bring learned competence to life in the real world, at home, at school, in the community and within other social settings. During TSL, youth participate in group and topic oriented discussions, receive peer support, have focused time to work on structured goal-oriented assignments, and engage in projects specifically designed for each youth that assist in developing one’s sense of purpose outside of school and treatment. On any given day you might see kids independently focused on treatment work, in small groups working together to solve a problem, utilizing computers and video cameras to edit a current video project, or meeting with a particular adult receiving daily coaching and performance tips.

2) Assisting youth in homework or school related responsibilities that may be impacted by their emotional reactivity or conflict at school or home. While we are not educators, nor is this an academically oriented program, we have found that by bringing school into TSL, youth benefit in multiple ways. Youth demonstrate increased confidence, improved communication with teachers, greater self-advocacy, greater ability to cope with frustration, improved problem solving ability and, overall, begin to view themselves as capable learners.

One-on-one help to learn how to cope during times of high stress, anxiety and emotional outbursts.

Through Parent/Guardian Coaching, we can give you strategies for behavior management and support in coping. Parents have found that working with a coach is effective and necessary to learn and use the common language and tools our therapists use in treatment with their child. Parent/Guardian Coaching can take place via email, text, phone calls or set appointments. Our goal is to provide non-crisis based support throughout the week to help you deal with the high-risk, oppositional and challenging behaviors and attitudes of the troubled teen.

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Fan, active and unique group experiences that use the outdoors, group problem solving, and other engaging activities to keep young people up and moving while promoting positive change and insight.

Our life and social skills groups for youth on the spectrum, neuro-diversity and other learning/social differences give teens an array of tools, skills, and experiences that encourage pro-social development and self-discovery of independence in everyday life. These are special learning experiences where kids can participate in club-type activities with peers they can relate to and who share their interests, be themselves, laugh, play, make friends, and be involved! Along the way, they naturally learn and practice valuable social skills, competencies for health, situational coping, recreation and leisure development, peer friendships and the experience of belonging and fitting in.

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Want to learn more to get started?

Simply give us a call at 303-861-1916 or contact us to learn more about our Admissions Process.