The Apex Regional Program provides specialized academic, and mental and behavioral health services for students who present with social, emotional, and behavioral disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and dual diagnosis. The program provides students with an academic curriculum aligned with the Iowa Core and a variety of individualized mental and behavioral health intervention services. Services are provided in a natural classroom setting with a student to staff ratio of 4-to-1. We are dedicated to supporting students and their families in the least restrictive learning environment and committed to preparing them for successful return to their home and school environment.
The theoretical basis for services includes the following:
Our goal is to help each student reach his or her fullest potential, experience success, and have choices in their future. Parent and referring school staff participation is encouraged, as we recognize the parents, families, and schools as being paramount to each child's long-term success. We are committed to providing parents and school staff with the knowledge and tools necessary to support the child in achieving success in their home and school environments.
At Apex we offer a wide range of services in an effort to meet the needs of each and every child and family. We conduct a thorough assessment to ascertain functioning level, identify goals and objectives, and implement an individualized treatment plan to best meet identified goals. We recognize that each child and family has different strengths and areas they want to improve, and we tailor our interventions accordingly. Our goal is to help each child reach his or her fullest potential and experience future success.
The initial assessment conducted by Apex is a functional assessment. Functional assessment of a child's behavior is the systematic evaluation of behaviors and environmental events to determine the possible function of targeted behaviors. Through this process, we are able to identify initial target areas for intervention, potential sources for reinforcement, and potential barriers to learning.
The purpose of the functional assessment is to determine what the "function" of a behavior is for each child. For example, functions may include escape, avoidance, attention or tangible reinforcers. The therapist will analyze antecedents (that is, what happens shortly before the behavior occurs that appears to trigger the behavior), behavior, and consequences (that is, what happens shortly after the behavior occurs that appears to encourage the behavior), in the development of treatment protocols.
The functional assessment serves as the template for development of behavioral interventions. Understanding the function of behavior allows our professional staff to determine how experiences and interactions in the environment affect children's behavior and to target change as indicated. The goal is to reduce interfering behaviors and replace them with alternative, socially acceptable behaviors.
At Apex, we take a holistic approach in working with the children in our care. In addition to our school program, we offer individual and family therapy, group therapy, and psycho-educational groups. We encourage all children and families to participate in therapy services while in the Apex program, as well as during the transition process back to the student's referring school. A Licensed Mental Health Counselor will be available on a daily basis to provide mental health services as deemed necessary.
We ask that all other individual and/or family therapy services be suspended throughout the duration of a child's enrollment at Apex in order for us to ensure continuity of care between mental and behavioral health, and alternative academic services.
We work closely with each child's family and referring school staff to develop and/or implement each child's individualized education plan. This plan is based on each child's strengths, skill deficits, functioning level, and family and school agenda. During the initial phase of functional assessment we take into account all factors that influence the way children behave and interact with others in their worlds. Our goal is to teach children more functional and socially acceptable ways to interact in their environments allowing them to reach their fullest potential and ultimately experience success.
Throughout a child's time in the program, we systematically assess a child's progress, review treatment strategies, share these results, and re-evaluate treatment plans. Treatment plan implementation is supervised and monitored regularly to ensure that each child is receiving interventions as designed.
Apex is committed to fully supporting each child and family during discharge or transition to the child's referring school. To this end, a transition goal is identified at the start of services and progress toward that goal is reviewed on a regular basis. Formal reviews of progress toward the transition goal are conducted on a monthly basis. We will work with all individuals involved with the child to ensure open communication, successful transition, and continuity of care from one environment to the next. This collaborative, team approach including frequent communication and multi-media exchange of information about effective strategies for each child facilitates a more effective transition with greater likelihood of sustainable effects across time, individuals, and settings.
At Apex, we strive to work as a team with schools, parents, caregivers, physicians, and other professionals or service providers working with our children. A comprehensive care plan is developed, in collaboration with team members, outlining all services and treatment interventions. We will communicate significant changes in children's treatment status and request information from other members of the treatment team. We believe that open communication regarding treatment progress among team members allows all of us to incorporate effective strategies across settings.
Staff supervision, development, and training are critical components of the Apex model. All direct care staff receive comprehensive, competency based training prior to working with children and support and supervision with treatment implementation on a regular basis.
Treatment integrity is extremely important to the success of our program. To this end, treatment team meetings are scheduled at a minimum of one-time per month. It is highly recommended that one parent attend these meetings to ensure consistency between the school and home environments. During these meetings, a child's progress is reviewed, and strategies are shared to encourage continuity between home and school.