by Michael Collins, of Level Therapeutic Educational Consulting
“Truth is like a lion. You don’t have to protect a lion. Let it out and the lion will protect itself.” -Charles Spurgeon
As a vetted professional within the circles of national therapeutic schools and programs, I take countless calls during all hours of the day from parents asking for help for their children. Like the parents calling, I take each and every one of the calls seriously. Unfortunately, not all intake calls favor the number one objection – Program Cost.
It’s no secret that the right therapeutic plan for your child can be expensive. Not being able to afford placement, however, is a drawback that can be overcome with the right perspective. Unfortunately, that perspective usually comes late in the game for many parents – after they’ve spent countless out-of-pocket dollars – and after they finally reach out to speak with a Therapeutic Educational Consultant.
The typical parent scenario that I witness most often follows the pattern below:
- Parents face a challenge with their child (i.e. a learning difference, a mental health issue like anxiety and depression, a substance use disorder, or a combination of the three).
- Parents don’t always know what they don’t know so they start as close to home as possible which involves talking with their extended family about the issues, talking with their child’s school; networking locally to eventually find the name of a local therapist that specializes in their child’s most prominent need.
- The above phase involving family, friends, school, and local therapist support can go on for years – always with the hope that ‘things’ will get better, and sometimes they do.
- For the families who don’t witness progress, those parents face the daily obstacle of walking on eggshells with their child. Parent’s tip-toe around triggers and, unfortunately, feel like the family hierarchy has changed so much so that their child is in charge rather than the parent(s). Sometimes, unfortunately, this stage leads to their child having such an episode that it leads the family to a behavior hospital setting and/or to a disruption in the house so big that something larger than local support needs to be considered.
- Finally, after much escalation with their child at home and after many dollars spent on therapeutic services that haven’t fully worked, parents search the internet to research other options and to find support. Parents, and rightly so at this stage, feel helpless – like they don’t know whom to trust anymore. By this time, parents have trusted so many people that they aren’t confident there is a solution for their situation. Parents try calling programs on their own, only to become frustrated that they aren’t getting called back or that they aren’t asking the right questions.
- After much disappointment, either trying to find treatment on their own that doesn’t work or dealing with a situation with their child that warrants expertise that they don’t have, parents eventually find a Therapeutic Educational Consultant to talk through their current situation. By this time, parents are tired, scared, and, sometimes, clean out of money.
Whew! If the above scenario sounds like your situation then please keep reading! It may not feel like it, but there is hope for your child/family and there are ways to afford the necessary treatment plan.
First, one of the largest money-saving items you can invest in, wherever you are in your therapeutic process, is by finding and hiring a Therapeutic Educational Consultant. In almost all cases, the consultant’s fee will save you from spending money unnecessarily and the relationship will free you from the mental expense you experience by trying to find the best treatment on your own.
The role of a Therapeutic Educational Consultant as your chief advocate and case manager is to navigate the current uncertainties you’re facing into a path of certainty. The right vetted professional can handle both the emotional side of your situation without allowing those emotions to make unnecessary or unwise decisions that can cost families more money in a space that is already expensive enough.
Your Therapeutic Educational Consultant should:
- Preferably be a member in good standing of the Therapeutic Consulting Association, or a reputable governing association that monitors professionals referring to therapeutic programs.
- Actively be touring and auditing therapeutic programs within their niche area of expertise – specifically, programs that support mental health issues, learning differences, and substance abuse disorders.
- Have an active client list and references for current or past clients available for your questioning.
- Be able to quickly understand your situation and match your child with the best organization and therapeutic team.
- Most importantly, be independent. Meaning, our Therapeutic Educational Consultant works for you and does not solicit or accept compensation from any school or program.
Without a doubt, the right Therapeutic Educational Consultant is a professional that serves at the privilege of your family. In most cases, you’ll know on your first call if there’s a client/consultant relationship worth retaining and, if there is, it’s my personal opinion you won’t regret the insight, guidance, counsel, and emotional support the right professional will provide.