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Presentation 9: The schools we recommend Administrator

130 CALO Lane
Lake Ozark, MO 65049

CALO accepts:

  • Adolescents, male or female, between 10 and 18 years of age.
  • Adolescents who present with, and who would benefit from a program that focuses on issues of emotion, attachment and trauma and other related diagnoses with treatment interventions such as coaching relationships, transferable
    attachment, and experiential successes.
  • Adolescents whose primary diagnosis will indicate mild to
    severe psychiatric difficulty which has persisted for a period of 1 year or longer, has not shown significant response to less intensive therapeutic intervention and is not manageable in a less restrictive setting.
  • Adolescents who are not physically handicapped in such a manner as
    to significantly restrict the normal physical activity which is a part of
    the CALO program.
  • Adolescents who would not benefit from short term treatment at
  • Adolescents whose medical
    conditions do not require ongoing medical supervision

CALO does not accept:

  • Adolescents with a current
    confirmed and/or valid diagnosis
    of Conduct Disorder or who would
    fit the profile of Conduct Disorder and does not have a history of trauma or attachment issues.
  • Adolescents whose primary issue
    is drug and alcohol use/abuse.
  • Adolescents who are actively suicidal.
  • Adolescents who are actively homicidal.
  • Adolescents with a confirmed diagnosis of Anti-Social
    Personality Disorder or who
    would fit the profile of Anti-Social Personality Disorder.
  • Adolescents who are sex
    offenders or at high risk in this regard.
  • Adolescents who have a strong history of violence against
    people or animals (as determined during the Admissions Assessment Process.)
  • Students with a confirmed/
    valid IQ below 80.
  • Adolescents whose reality testing
    is so impaired as to render them unable to orient to place, time, person, or context.
Brief Description of Treatment Methodology

CALO is one of a few specialized residential treatment centers which have accumulated experience in the advanced methodology of remedial work with international adoptees who, at any given time, constitute the majority of CALO residents. CALO accepts adolescents - girls and boys - from 10 to 18 years old.

CALO focuses on treatment of children struggling with the aftermath of complex childhood trauma. It is a relational, attachment-centered program. Their treatment is based on the notion that development mediated by trauma results in relational, emotional, and physiological dysregulation of the affected child. The treatment goal is to teach a struggling adolescent how to build and maintain healthy age-appropriate and socially acceptable relationships with parents, peers, and "significant others" in the process of daily living and schooling.

CALO leadership and staff trainers have impressive credentials and base their innovative and intensive work on the modern understanding of the origins and consequences of repetitive trauma in children. The staff at CALO understands that the most effective and lasting emotional and behavioral change comes from a child's rewarding, consistent, and predictable relationships with adults and peers, from relations that are safe, nurturing, and empathetic. The ability to form a healthy relationship which can serve as the basis for other aspects of child's development is the goal of treatment at CALO.

Due to the specific emotional needs of these adolescents, punitive interventions, as well as forms of traditional behavior modification systems, are not implemented. In order to facilitate and internalize the change in a child, CALO staff puts all its efforts into creating what they call a "relationship milieu." This notion is rooted in the modern concept of social connectedness as the moving force and the goal of human behavior. Any disruption of this process at the early stages of a child's development is traumatic and bears lasting negative consequences which may disrupt normal socialization, education and overall functioning of a person. Thus the relationship is the main change agent: damage caused within a relationship must be healed in a relationship. In keeping with that general principle, CALO staff creates and utilizes a positive peer culture as modifying personal behavior factor. Via an adult's lead shared activities, group communications and non-verbal experiences (touch, gestures, eye contact, etc.) the all-important meaningful positive social experiences are accumulated by the residents, which make it possible to influence their behavior without any punitive measures.
Besides the many hours a student lives and functions in the "relationship milieu," they also participate in weekly individual, family, group, recreational, and canine therapy. These therapies are all designed to give the student skills, tools, insight, and awareness of trust and normalcy in relationships, which they practice in the milieu and then will transfer to their home life. The therapeutic methods include:

  • Group Discussion/Process (weekly, therapist led)
  • Individual Discussion/Process (weekly, therapist led)
  • Family Discussion/Process (weekly, therapist led)
  • Psycho-Educational Groups (multiple times weekly)
  • Multi-Modal (directed work, client-initiated work, expressive art work, etc - weekly)
  • Adventure/Recreational Therapy (including creative arts, - weekly)
  • Canine Therapy (daily)
The resident's motivation and compliance come from the implementation of physical safety, emotional regulation, and consistency. If a student becomes a safety risk to himself/herself or others then more "closeness" will be provided by the staff, as the staff to student ratio (1:3) allows for consistency of relationships and opportunities for connection. CALO implements socially inclusive "Time-Ins" versus isolative "Time-Outs." Closeness is a major intervention for developing the trust that authority figures are safe and reliable and that life doesn't have to be dictated by the fear of rejection and abandonment. This relationship with staff begins to spill over into relations with parents/guardians when they participate in weekly family therapy, family visits every 4-6 weeks, and get involved in parent retreats and seminars. Parents work in conjunction with the primary resident therapist to receive their own training on attachment, trauma, and the resolution of their own issues so they can be present and accepting of their own child.

A significant part of CALO's therapeutic approach is the canine program, during which the students take care of their assigned dog and learn to take their first steps in placing care and trust into somebody safe and non-judgmental, learning empathy without fear of being rejected.

CALO selects its residents carefully among those adolescents who would benefit from a program that focuses on issues of emotion regulation, attachment, and trauma and who could be receptive to treatment interventions described above. CALO works with adolescents who are a challenge for traditional therapeutic approaches, whose problems have persisted for a long time, who have not shown significant response to a less intensive therapeutic intervention, and who are not manageable in a less controlled setting.

Over half of CALO residents have IEPs with academic goals and appropriate academic interventions with planned empirically-proven (e.g. multi-sensory approach in reading) and technologically advanced methods of academic remediation.

Upon consistent evidence of emotional and behavioral change, parents, students, and therapists establish a plan for transition from the residential program and for the aftercare. The transition includes expectations for emotional and behavioral functioning, household and peer relation boundaries, scholastic and vocational requirements, and continued personal development (outpatient therapy, counseling, therapy groups, etc.) for the former resident. After the student's return to the family, therapists may perform in-home visits and meet with the child's school counselor, outpatient therapist, teachers, etc., striving to create accountability, sensitivity, and empowerment of the student within those environments and relationships.

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Last update on March 9, 2018