Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sue Scheff - Tips for Parents of At Risk Teens - Learning from my mistakes

Tips for Parents on Surfing the Internet for Teen Help Schools and Programs - Do you Need an Educational Consultant?

Internet Search – Many parents will use Search Engines to type in key words and search terms to describe their child. Unfortunately, in many cases, the parent will see the same group of programs/schools with different titles and descriptions, however leading back to the same organization. Parents that are not familiar with this industry can easily be misinformed. An example is a key word such as Military Schools. Are you aware that reputable Military Schools are not for at risk children? Please review

The term Spamdexing has been used when organizations will purchase many websites and URL’s all leading back to the same group. The vast number of key words and search terms, no matter what the issues, may all be filtered back to the same group. This can be very deceiving and detrimental when searching for the best placement for your child.This can be a farce and totally an attack on desperate parents seeking help. Some of the websites are owned by “parents” that actually gain free tuition by you enrolling from their website. Even though “full disclosure” is required, it is sometimes missing. In reading a site recently parent’s claimed a program had saved their twins lives. However the story read that the children are still in the program. If the children are still in the program, how do you know if it saved a life yet? They don’t, but they do gain a free tuition from if you enroll from their website ID number. With twins in a program, this must be costly.

Sponsored listings are sold to the highest bidders. It seems only businesses with large marketing budgets can afford to be seen in top spots. This causes many very good and qualified programs and schools never to be seen. Many, including Computer Consultants, frown upon this tactic and Internet Professionals that feel it is causing unfair solicitation. Unfortunately this is part of marketing and public relations, which can leave out the small people.Are you looking at websites that offer a Clearing House of Schools and Programs? Or offer to sell you a book? Do you think you are getting a qualified school and/or program since it is listed in the book? Did you know most times it is paid advertising?

So whom do you trust? It is very scary in this industry of children needing intervention. That is one of our main goals; to recognize who is qualified and who is not. We are not a clearing-house for programs; we do not have a large number of schools and programs that we have researched yet. We try to give parents a peace of mind with the programs we have researched and personally visited. No matter how much trouble your child may be causing, they are human and deserve to be in a safe and qualified environment. These programs that urge you to act now are not taking the time to fully evaluate what is needed for your child. They seem to assume that every child will fit their program. Please parents, step back from this and think, research and investigate.Does the Advertising look too good to be true?

Most literature and brochures are made up to be glossy and fancy to advertise as an answer to your troubled child. Some even send tearful DVD’s of parents that claim to have been rescued from their child. When a program needs to use these extreme measures to market and advertise, it is time to investigate and analyze where all the money is being spent. Remember to read the small print and recognize that many of the pictures were not taken at the facilities. Marketing people can also be good sales people. Reaching out to your emotions at a delicate time of your life with your child. For more Helpful Hints in researching please read

Do you need to hire an Educational Consultant? What about an Independent Educational Consultant? Why are they so much money?

This seems to be a very political group of questions. First, not many can explain their outrageous costs to an already expensive trip. In our research, Educational Consultants do not require a degree and do not need any qualifications. There are not any state or government regulations that they need to comply with. With this, most EC’s are a product of someone that has worked in the field of schools or programs, and there are some that are qualified. The game is figuring out the difference if you need one. We don’t appreciate these games when it involves our children.The Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) is a group formed to elaborate their proclaimed profession. They do have certain standards to meet within their own group, however they are not regulated or governed by any State or Governmental Offices. Some are very knowledgeable and quite impressive, however some are extremely self-centered. Most will refer to the same programs time after time.

This may not be the best case for your child and family. We have found that there are many politics that mandate their decisions into the same programs and schools time after time. With families that we have spoken with that used an EC, tell us their EC has recommended the same school or program as the previous family (most always starting with Wilderness). There seems to be a pattern here; We feel parents should realize just because they are paying a high priced EC, doesn’t mean they are getting the interest for their child in our opinion.

We are not saying that one should not hire an Educational Consultant if they deem it necessary; we are telling parents to do research, investigate and consider your child. In most cases, your therapist can be more beneficial to make a final decision in placement of a child. It can be helpful if the child’s local therapist can participate in helping parents make the most appropriate choice.
For the record, I am not anti-Educational Consultants, I have only witnessed time and time again that parents that used them seem to be lead down the same path, always starting with Wilderness Programs and then moving to a residential therapy program. It is my belief that these teens need consistency - starting and finishing at the same place.There are non-political Educational Consultants - it is a matter of taking the time to find them, as you have to take time and diligence to locate the best school or program for your individual teen and family.