At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we take great pride in the superior care that we are able to afford to children and adolescents who are facing severe emotional, behavioral, and cognitive concerns. We have vast experience caring for children and adolescents who have autism, at all levels of severity. Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by persistent deficits in social interaction and social communication across multiple contexts, as well as by restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, and or activities. The symptoms of autism spectrum disorder cause children and adolescents to experience significant impairment in social, academic, occupational, or other crucial areas of daily functioning. While having autism can lead to a great deal of challenges in the lives of these children, there is help available that can help them learn to manage their symptoms, develop the skills needed to function appropriately on a daily basis, and ultimately lead healthy, happy, and productive lives.
Millcreek Behavioral Health has been a leading provider of behavioral healthcare and educational services to emotionally disturbed and developmentally delayed children and adolescents in the state of Mississippi for over 30 years. Maintaining our standing as the largest private provider of services to children and adolescents in the state, we strive to provide programming that emphasizes the individualization of treatment based on each child’s strengths. Our highly trained and qualified staff works towards increasing the self-esteem of all children who are entrusted into our care in order to build their confidence and increase their ability to successfully navigate through treatment. When children and adolescents come to us struggling with the symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder, we will do everything in our power to help them overcome their challenges while also teaching them the skills needed to embark on a bright and successful future.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Having a child with autism can present one with many challenges. It can seem overwhelming and feel physically and emotionally draining. It can also be difficult to try and figure out how you can best help your child. While the thought of placing your child in treatment can seem intimidating, in many cases, it can be the most beneficial option for helping your child develop the skills he or she needs to cope with his or her symptoms and function successfully in everyday life. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you explore viable options for your child:
- Fully educate yourself on autism spectrum disorder. The more knowledge you have, the better an understanding you will gain as to what your child is experiencing. This knowledge will also enable you to know how to report your child’s symptoms to mental health professionals, ensuring that they receive all the pertinent information needed to make an appropriate diagnosis and develop an appropriate treatment regimen.
- Keep records of your child’s doctor’s appointments, as well as his or her appointments with mental health professionals. Doing so will help you keep track of your child’s progress, allowing you both to celebrate even the smallest of successes.
- Arrange for your child to have a thorough evaluation completed by a mental health professional so that any presenting needs and concerns can be addressed.
- Research various treatment options that are available specifically for children and adolescents in order to determine which would be the best fit for meeting your child’s needs. Discuss those options with a mental health professional.
- Adhere to any treatment recommendations that are offered. The more actively involved you are in your child’s treatment process, the more positive the outcomes will be.
- Seek out support from other families who have children with autism. Many communities offer various types of support groups that can be of immense benefit in assisting you as you begin the healing process. Doctors and mental health professionals should be able to provide you with referrals for such support groups.
- Make sure to take time for yourself. It is easy for caregivers to become overwhelmed, but keep in mind that in order to best help your child, you have to be healthy yourself.
Why Consider Treatment at Millcreek Behavioral Health
While there is no cure for autism spectrum disorder, children and adolescents who are provided with appropriate care and treatment interventions can experience a reduction in the severity of their symptoms. Additionally, by engaging in treatment, children and adolescents with autism can develop the skills they need to not only boost their self-esteem, but to successfully navigate through life as well.
Residential treatment programs have proven greatly effective at offering children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder the thorough, intensive, and comprehensive care that they need. Depending on the severity level that each child is experiencing, there are two types of residential programming options that can be of great benefit: psychiatric residential treatment programs and intermediate care programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities. By entering into either program, children are entering into a safe, secure environment where they are monitored 24/7 by mental health professionals who can help them partake in various therapeutic interventions, while also teaching them the life skills, social skills, and coping skills they need to be successful. When children partake in these types of programs, their families are also afforded an opportunity to gain support and education on what their child is going through. Residential treatment programs can be a child’s first step towards a bright future.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we are dedicated to helping children lead healthier, more productive lives. By offering programming that places a strong emphasis on a child’s inherent strengths, our caring and compassionate staff tailors treatment plans to be individualized based on each child’s unique set of needs, as well as on the skills he or she already has in place. We strive to consistently encourage the growth of children’s self-esteem and enhance their level of self-confidence and independence by developing activities that are based specifically on each patient’s strengths. Each child’s treatment process remains malleable as we incorporate changes based on needs or challenges as they arise. We also place a strong emphasis on the educational aspect of treatment, keeping in mind the crucial role that education plays in a child’s development and on his or her future. At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we are devoted to consistently improving our programming by persistently addressing any requests, concerns, or issues that are brought forth in our patient surveys. Our patients are our top priority and we make it our sole mission to do all that we can to ensure their lasting success.
Types of Treatment Offered at Millcreek Behavioral Health
At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we strive to offer excellent customer service to everyone with whom we come in contact. We pride ourselves in our quick response to inquiries and referrals, and our admissions staff works diligently to ensure that a smooth and timely transition into our care is offered for all potential patients. Once children have been admitted into our psychiatric residential treatment program, they will partake in a number of therapeutic interventions that are tailored to meet each of their specific needs, while simultaneously enhancing and building upon the strengths they already possess.
For children who have autism spectrum disorder, Millcreek Behavioral Health offers two types of residential programming options: our psychiatric residential treatment facility (PRTF) and our intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF/IID). When children come to us with autism spectrum disorder, the severity of their symptoms ranges greatly. Depending on the severity level with which a child is faced, the appropriate residential program will be determined. Children who are at a higher functioning level can benefit from participating in the PRTF program, while those who are a lower functioning level can benefit from the ICF/IID program.
Children and adolescents in our PRTF program are offered the following therapeutic interventions as part of the care afforded to them:
Medication management: In some cases, the implementation of psychotropic medication may be beneficial in helping to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder or of a co-occurring mental health condition. Such needs are determined on an individualized basis. We have board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrists on staff and on call 24/7, as well as psychiatric nurse practitioners and family physicians who are available to meet any needs that our patients may have. Children are seen at least once each week for medication management.
Individual therapy: Individual therapy sessions are designed to be a time for children to meet one-on-one with their therapists in order to track treatment progress, discuss any concerns or challenges they are facing, and work on individual skill-building. These sessions occur at a minimum of once each week, but most patients benefit from additional sessions, as determined based on need or when requested.
Group therapy: Group therapy sessions occur at a minimum of three times per week, but are typically held more often. All group sessions are individualized based on the needs of the children present, but common topics of discussion include anger management, coping skills, relationships, independent living skills, trauma, and patient/student rights. Additionally, for patients facing substance abuse concerns, groups are held that will specifically address the concerns unique to those present in these children.
Family therapy: At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we recognize how important family involvement is in a child’s healing process and therefore hold family therapy sessions at a minimum of twice per month. We also afford children the ability to make phone calls or visit with their family on a regular basis, ensuring that all family involvement is individualized in order to promote the most positive interaction possible for our patients and their families.
Education: All patients attend our onsite school Monday through Friday from 9am-3pm. All classes are led by Highly Qualified Licensed Teachers and classrooms have a student to teacher ratio of 10:1 maximum. There is at least one therapeutic aide present in all classrooms and one-to-one aides are provided for children when academically necessary.
Experiential therapies: In order to provide a fully holistic approach to treatment, we offer a number of additional therapeutic options on top of the traditional therapeutic methods. Such options include:
- Recreational therapy (held daily for all patients)
- Music therapy (including individual music and choir dance)
- Art projects
- Fitness club (intensive fitness programming is offered along with nutritional education)
- Walking club
- Book club
- Gym time (including activities such as flag football, volleyball, etc.)
Children and adolescents engaged in our ICF/IID program are afforded the following interventions as part of their overall, comprehensive programming:
Medication management: We have board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrists on staff and on call 24/7, as well as psychiatric nurse practitioners and family physicians who are available to meet any needs that our patients may have. Children are seen at least once each week for medication management.
Education: All patients go to school from 9am-3pm each day. Classrooms are designed based on evidence-based practices with tasks and education that is more focused on daily living.
Family education: Keeping in the mind the understanding of how important family involvement is in a child’s healing process, we offer family education services, including medication education and management, also well as behavior management. All family involvement is highly individualized in order to promote the most positive interaction possible for our patients and their families.
Daily living skills are taught and reinforced on a daily basis in order to ensure that children develop the tools needed to successfully manage life outside of treatment.
Community activities occur on a regular basis in order to encourage community integration.
Additional services that are offered on an ongoing basis, as needed, and as determined by a patient’s individualized treatment plan include:
- Language / speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Recreational therapy
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we understand how intimidating the end of treatment can be for many children and their families. For this reason, all discharge and aftercare planning begins at the time of admission. Appropriate discharge criteria is created for each patient depending upon his or her needs and treatment goals. Once that criteria has been successfully met, the patient’s treatment team works with him or her as the next, most appropriate level of care is determined. Aftercare planning includes recommendations from the patient’s treatment team for medical, educational, and psychiatric services. Our staff will do everything in our power to ensure that the transition back into a less restrictive setting is a smooth and comfortable one for all parties involved, knowing that the most important thing is that your child continues to be successful.