Success in Spark Academy comes from a robust caregiving team supporting, comforting, teaching, and simply put - being there for your child. Our team understands neurodiversity and is able to provide the atmosphere, interactions, and skills that support your child towards their most healthy and effective self.
Neurodiverse treatment works best with a constant, steady drip of practiced skills toward a well-regulated child. Students who feel safe, steady, and cared for thrive in our holistic caregiving system of teachers, therapists, and daily coaches who understand them and urge them toward their potential.
Establishing a strong relational attachment is the first step in guiding our students toward the development of self-regulation in their brain and body. Nowhere is this bond more crucial than with their daily caregivers within the residential setting. To bring about habit changes and rewiring of the brain, consistent, repeated interactions over time are essential. Therefore, at Spark Academy, we maintain a low 1:3 Coach-to-Student ratio, ensuring that each student receives dedicated care, immediate attention, and ongoing coaching in real-time. Every student's journey at Spark begins in a Foundations home, where they are welcomed by a team of supportive coaches who become like family, guiding them towards enhancing their regulation skills. Within these dorm-style residences, students engage in a daily routine that combines both productive activities and enjoyable moments. We emphasize skill-building and track progress on a daily basis, ensuring that each student has a clear and well-defined path to success.
Students in Spark Academy have grappled with the overwhelming challenges posed by their unique neurodiverse brain and body systems, as well as the ongoing struggle to find their place in a world not designed to accommodate them. This sense of overwhelm experienced by your child can be understood as a form of complex trauma.
Therefore in Spark, we approach neurodiversity through a trauma-informed lens, with a strong focus on attachment, self-regulation, and ultimately, competency. Our approach is guided by the principles outlined in "Treating Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents: How to Foster Resilience through Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency" by Blaustein, M. E., & Kinniburgh, K. M. (2010).
At Spark, each student is paired with a primary therapist who also serves as your family therapist and treatment leader. This experienced clinician possesses in-depth knowledge of your child, your family dynamics, and assumes the role of guiding the entire caregiving team. Beyond therapy, it is their responsibility to offer valuable insights into your child's behavior to coaches and teachers, facilitating the creative implementation of personalized growth plans within the team.
Conventional talk therapy may not be the right fit for every student. That's why at Spark, we leverage the splendid surroundings of the Heritage Community campus where we are situated. Adventure therapy, equestrian-assisted therapy, performing arts therapy, and more provide diverse and engaging alternatives for our students.
Clint Peterson, PMHNP-BC is the primary prescriber for Spark Academy students, working alongside the Heritage Nursing Center, and he is beloved by all. Board certified as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Clint brings a wealth of mental health experience to Spark. He says “I have the same foundational philosophy as Spark - I am not content with the status quo. I am continually looking for ways to improve things - and now neurodiverse treatment. Period.”
It's a regular sight to spot Clint actively engaging around campus, immersed in conversations with students and staying connected with our treatment teams. Here at Spark and within the Heritage community, our prescribers are integral to our culture. They are full-time employees, not contractors, and Clint's daily interactions, laughter with students, and his willingness to walk and talk with those in need exemplify his unwavering commitment to staying closely connected with your student's treatment team in an ongoing and meaningful manner.