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Strengthening Relationships with Parents and Families

“My child graduates from this program as a changed and better person.”

– O-School Parents
When it comes to your child, the professionals at the O-School respect your influence and your feelings.

You are committed to your child’s health and welfare, and the O-School values your insight and knowledge. While your child attends the School, we encourage your involvement as we seek to partner with you in rebuilding a path to success. The School’s goal is to facilitate your child’s progress while strengthening your positive family dynamic.

Parents and families stay connected in a number of ways:

  • Family therapy sessions occur on a bi-weekly basis
  • Parents receive regular calls and reports from their child’s treatment team, updating them on educational and therapeutic progress
  • Parents meet personally with their child’s academic and therapeutic teams, often together with their child, to collaborate on goals and plans
  • Parents and siblings are invited to attend many all-school social events over the course of the academic year
  • Parent teacher conferences, open houses and orientations are available throughout the year

FAQs | Questions and Answers for Parents

What is Milieu Therapy?

Milieu therapy is a comprehensive approach that seeks to treat the whole person by understanding and working with the dynamics at play with each individual, including internal and external forces. “Milieu” signifies an immersive approach to care, meaning that therapy to bring about positive change takes place in every interaction and decision made throughout the day — not just in formal therapy sessions. Learn More >

What is the make-up of the O-School student population?

The School’s student body tends to have a similar number of male and female students with some transgender or gender expansive students. The O-School is approved to work with students between kindergarten through the completion of high school, with the youngest age allowed being 5 up to age 21.

The O-School treats students who are experiencing extremely severe and highly persistent mental health challenges and other life disrupting symptoms related to the autism spectrum or other social and emotional issues. Our diverse population is inclusive, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, and includes students from Illinois, around the U.S., and internationally. Learn More >

What is the student to teacher ratio?

The average class size is nine students, with two teachers for every class. A base classroom, or homeroom, is assigned to each student. Groupings by content or subject occur throughout the day. Extensive support staff is also available throughout the academic day. Learn More >

What is the student to dormitory counselor ratio?

Four dormitories have 8 students in each, with 7 students living in a large open dorm room with one single dorm room attached. During awake hours, there are two dorm counselors for the group of 8, and overnight there is 1 awake adult for each group. Additionally, there is a group of 3 to 4 additional staff members to provide support when and where it is needed throughout the afternoon, evening, and morning. For the TLC dorm, which is focused on students transitioning away from the program, there are 2 TLC dorm counselors for the 10 students in that group. Overnight, there is 1 awake TLC dorm counselor as well.

How long do students typically stay at the O School?

The average length of stay is 21 months.

What are typical results for students at the O-School?

After graduating from the O-School, approximately 90 percent of students transition to a less restrictive setting, meaning they either go home to live with their families while completing high school or begin post-secondary education at a two or four year college or university. Learn More >

Do you offer medication management?

Yes, an on-site clinic operates weekly, and it is the School’s philosophy that using medications can provide a better chance for some students to use and benefit from the therapeutic milieu. However, the School’s goal — and that of consulting psychiatrist Dr. Louis Kraus — is to have each student on as few medications as possible, at the lowest dosage possible, and only for as long as needed to help treatment occur. Learn More >

How often will we participate in family therapy?

Family therapy for Residential and Therapeutic Day Program families is typically one hour, twice a month. For long-distance families, the School makes all accommodations possible to ensure that family therapy occurs on a regular and reasonable schedule, including the use of visual technology.

What type of supervision is provided during the night?

Supervision at the O-School is 24/7. A staff member is present and available in each of the dorms overnight, and additional support staff is also available if needed. In addition, there is an administrator on-call at all hours.

What support is provided during the transition?

At every team meeting, parents, students and members of the treatment team meet to review progress and plan for the transition from the O-School. While each student’s experience is unique, the goal of reuniting families and returning students to their home schools remains consistent and is the primary goal. This collaborative process ensures that the transition takes place in a thoughtful, timely and appropriate way.