TIP of the WEEK: Choosing a Provider

December 6, 2013

Making the decision to seek residential services for your child can be a difficult emotional process. Allowing your child to live, learn and grow in a PWS community, away from home can be one of the most loving and selfless things that a family can do. If and when you are faced with making that decision here is what to look for in a residential provider:

1. Are they active in national and/or international PWS groups? Does the agency participate in conferences or in any way further their knowledge by keeping up with the latest research and best practices? I can’t stress this enough. We are in the middle of an explosion of new treatments and practices, does the agency you are considering stay abreast of these?

2. How does this agency resolve conflict or disagreements with families in regard to treatment? Families are the experts in their children, they know them far more intimately than a residential provider but providers are experts in long term care and the steps needed to achieve goals and be successful. Are parents an active part of the treatment team?

3. Is the agency strength based as opposed to restrictive? Any PWS provider will restrict food access but aside from that, are there practices that allow for your child to achieve their potential using positive methods? Look for a program that increases positive experiences for wanted behaviors as opposed to taking things away for unwanted behaviors.

4. Are other parents satisfied with the care their child receives? This will be a large indicator for you when you are making this decision. Parents who feel comfortable and satisfied with the care their child receives is one of the biggest indicators of a good program.

5. Do they walk the walk? Ask for examples of strength based practices, ask for examples of success etc… Do not simply accept the words you are being told, ask for instances when these theories became practice. Ask how they approach challenging behaviors when the old PWS standbys did not work. A good program should be able to easily provide these examples for you.
6. Is the program nationally accredited? Have standards of care, best practices, educational excellence been rigorously evaluated by a recognized program? This is an indication that the program is reaching beyond minimum requirements and striving to meet higher standards for the individuals they support.
No matter what program you choose be sure to allow for an adjustment period where everyone is getting to know each other. It typically takes one year to adjust and that adjustment is almost always harder on family members than it is in the person with PWS. Keep open lines of communication and a very open mind. It is not unusual for challenging behaviors to increase before they get better. Stay involved as an active member of the team and be open to new ideas and practices. Always remember that we are all working towards to same goal- for your child to be the best person they can be.

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll
Manager PWS Services

You Should Also Read:
Top Ten Reasons Latham Excels in PWS Residential Placement

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