Apr / 03

The Therapeutic Benefits of Residential Treatment Centers for Children [IEP 022]

IEPcontent Podcast 0

If you’ve wondered about the benefits of residential treatment centers for children but haven’t had the opportunity to really investigate whether these programs could be helpful for your child, then this is a great episode. We’re joined by Jamie Murphy and Angela Johnson from Solstice Residential Treatment Center in Utah.

Full show transcript at the bottom of this post.

What We Cover In This Episode:

  • What is the function of residential treatment centers?
  • Why ensuring children are in the least restrictive environment is key
  • What is the Wilderness treatment program?
  • Do residential treatment programs differ from boarding schools?
  • How can parents support children when they’re struggling with various issues instead of brushing it under the rug
  • Can a child’s “deficit” be their superpower instead?
  • What does a typical day for a child at a residential treatment center look like?
  • Our guests share their favorite memories working at their RTC


COPAA ? Council of Parents Attorneys and Advocates

Wilderness Treatment Center 


Contact Information

Jamie Murphy ? Academic Director -jmurphy@solsticertc.com


Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/solsticertc/

Thank you for listening!

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Full Show Transcript

Vickie  Brett:                     Welcome to The Inclusive Education Project. I’m Vickie  Brett..

Amanda Selogie :             I’m Amanda Selogie. We’re two civil rights lawyers on a mission to change the conversation about education, civil rights, and modern activism.

Vickie  Brett:                     Each week, we’re gonna explore new topics, which are going to educate and empower others …

Amanda Selogie:              And give them a platform to enact change in education and level the playing field.

Hey everyone, we’re recording from Monterey Bay actually today, because we are at our yearly conference, special education conference for COPAA, so we’re up here for the weekend and we’re really excited to just be around like-minded people. We always get rejuvenated about new cases that are coming about, learn more about other agencies that are providing services for our kids, and just really collaborate with other attorneys, advocates, and families.

Vickie  Brett:                     You’re talking in acronyms again, in COPAA, Council of Parent’s, Attorney’s, and Advocates for people that are playing catch-up, that’s what we’re at. They host an annual conference of advocates and parents and attorneys, and they have a bunch of sessions on different things, and Amanda and I have been coming for, since we started our firm. You went before …

Amanda Selogie :             Yeah.

Vickie  Brett:                     … which is great. But, we have an exciting podcast today.

Amanda Selogie :             I mean look, Vickie  always says it [or great 00:01:34], but today it really is exciting, because we have some special guests, then obviously we’re up in Monterey, so it’s not our normal office venue.

Vickie  Brett:                     And they’re not from California, so that’s a plus too, because we’ve had just people, so you are our first out of state guest. We have Angela and we have [Jamie 00:01:52]. Say hi to everyone Angela and Jamie.

Angela:                               Hey guys.

[Jamie]:                              Hi.

Vickie  Brett:                     It’s great. We met Angela last year, and she actually works at a residential treatment center. Do you kind of want to explain what a residential treatment center is?

Angela:                               Sure. I’m actually gonna pass that one off to Jamie. We’re from Solstice, which is located in Layton, Utah, just north of Salt Lake, about 40 minutes. It’s a beautiful area right close the the mountains. We have, our kids get to go skiing almost every weekend in the summer ski, or it’s-

Vickie  Brett:                     Well, that’s nice.

Angela:                               In the winter, sorry, not summer.

Vickie  Brett:                     That’s not something you do in California definitely.

Amanda Selogie :             Definitely not.

Angela:                               Yeah. They get to go do outdoor-sy things, they get to go ride horses, all kinds of really cool stuff is built into our program.

So Jamie, go ahead and let them know what-

[Jamie]:                              Yeah.

Angela:                               … what an RTC is.

[Jamie]:                              A residential treatment center is for kids that are struggling just with different things in life, whether that be academically or struggling with parent relationships, or emotional things, trauma and whatnot, and the regular public school just isn’t working for them and the home environment isn’t working for them.

So then they come and stay at an RTC, where they get the help that they need. It’s a smaller, private school setting. They have individualized therapy, group therapy, family therapy. At our school, we also do the equine therapy, and they just work through this whole program and learn new skills and learn how to live the way they that need to live to be successful.

They’re usually with us for about nine to 12 months, and live there at the facility, and just get all the care and support that they need.

Amanda Selogie :             It’s kind of, for our listeners, it’s kind of like a one-stop-shop, kind of all in one, rather than piece-mailing a program between what the school district is providing you at a public school, what the parents are providing at home, maybe there have been therapies, maybe, in California we have our regional centers that provide some supports.

A lot of times we have so many moving parts and so many people interacting with the kid, where there’s not always consistency of strategies and implementation of things, and that can always lead sometimes, to issues. You guys are able to provide that consistency throughout the entire program.

Vickie  Brett:                     And just for our listeners, when we’re always talking about a spectrum of placement, under the Individuals With Disability Education Act, we want children in the least restrictive environment. We want to try as many supports and services as possible before we go to the right of that spectrum, which is a more restrictive placement of a special day classroom.

When the child’s needs are severe enough that maybe their behavior is an issue, sometimes then, the child moves to the right again, into what’s called a non-public school. We get very restrictive when we’re in a residential treatment center, because a lot of times the kiddos are living there. They’re not at home anymore, whereas in a special day classroom, they’re still in a general education campus, right. There’s still access to typical developing peers.

When we get into a non-public school, it’s just all children with special needs, so there’s no mainstreaming. But then we we get to a residential, or even a home hospital placement, those are some of the most restrictive placements. But it just depends, you know, I’m sure you see a lot of different kids with a lot of different issue-.

You guys just offered this placement for girls, correct?

Angela:                               Correct.

[Jamie]:                              Yes.

Angela:                               Yeah. We have girls ages 14 to 18, and we also do have, some of those kids are transgender from female to male.

Vickie  Brett:                     Oh, that’s really interesting. Have you been seeing that a lot lately, or you’ve kind of opened up and moved?

Angela:                               I wouldn’t say, we don’t see it a lot, but we do have a few kiddos that are like that.

Vickie  Brett:                     Mm-hmm (affirmative).

[Jamie]:                              Yeah, a few that go by the-

Angela:                               Yeah, we’ll use the male pronouns and male names and everything with them.

Amanda Selogie :             Both transitioning from female to male and male to female or just one way?

Angela:                               Just female to male.

Amanda Selogie :             Okay. And the age ranges that you typically have are?

Angela:                               14 to 18, so high school age.

Amanda Selogie :             Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Angela:                               We’re dealing with kids that probably have gone through the gambit of probably programs up until that point, they’ve been through a lot most likely.

[Jamie]:                              For the most part, we do have some that haven’t ever been into any program. A good portion of them go through wilderness very first and then they’ll come to us. But we do have some that come right from home, and there are times when those are some of our more difficult kids, because they’ve never been through anything like that before, and so we get a lot of pushback.

Amanda Selogie :             For our listeners, what’s the wilderness that you mention?

Angela:                               There are programs where the kids actually live outdoors for a month or two, just depending on what their needs are and how they work through the system. They live outside. They do a lot of hiking, they have therapists out there, they even get some school credit, just depending on the wilderness program. There’s just several different types.

There’s some in Hawaii, there’s some in Utah, it just kind of depends on what you’re looking for.

Amanda Selogie :             For listeners who might not, may be learning about residential treatment facilities for the first time, I know a lot of people are aware of what we would call boarding schools, or quote-unquote, we used to hear it all the time in the 90s, oh, you’re gonna be sent to military school, right?

Vickie  Brett:                     Yeah.

Amanda Selogie :             How is this different from that type of a place, because obviously like a boarding school you’re living on a campus, but it’s a very different situation than what you guys have, right?

Angela:                               I would say there’s a lot more structure at a residential treatment center, and the big piece is the therapeutic piece. We’re very big on relationships and teaching kids on how to have healthy relationships with people. With the peers, with the parents, with their teachers, how to navigate those relationships.

It’s not just about treating someone as an object. A lot of these kids come here and it’s worked. What they’ve been doing is working for years, so when they come to Solstice, the kids get pretty frustrated, because we are, we’re all relational, and they aren’t used to seeing people as people.

Vickie  Brett:                     And they’ve been ostracized, I’m sure, right?

Angela:                               Yes.

Vickie  Brett:                     There’s coping mechanisms, and I’m sure a lot of the girls, you know, may be cutting or any other type of just, the gambit right, that you guys see. And being able to break through, and Angela, you’ve shared with us before just some of those feel-good stories.

Angela:                               Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Vickie  Brett:                     Where you were able to really reach in. That’s what kind of, for us, when Amanda and I are going around, ’cause there’s a lot of vendors, there’s a lot of different agencies that are here, which is great for us, because we like to see what’s out there so that we know about as much as we can when we’re trying to help these parents is. Though oftentimes, how do you think people hear about you? Is it through just word of mouth, parents’ insurance companies? How do people fine you.

Angela:                               A lot it is through educational consultants, people that parents have contacted to help them when they’re struggling with what to do with their child.

[Jamie]:                              We also get some from word of mouth with other parents of how their child go through the program successfully, and then they hear somebody in their area is looking for something, and so we do get a lot of that as well.

Angela:                               The educational consultants are some of our biggest ones. We deal with them all the time.

Vickie  Brett:                     One of the things that we try to do with this podcast is obviously educating and empowering parents and families that have their kids in these types of situations, but it’s also about educating the general public, because we have so many stigmas around disability or mental health that are causing a lot of problems.

One of the things that we always like to talk about is how to reduce these stigmas. And when we look a kid who’s in the high school range that is having some mental health issues or emotional issues or issues with relationships, I think a lot of people see it as, well, they have a mental health issue, they’re always gonna be at that point.

Angela:                               Yes.

Vickie  Brett:                     They’re always gonna be at that level. Why are we spending so much money? Just lock them up in a hospitalization type thing. What would you say to people that are having those kids of arguments on how we really can support these kids, and they can become fully-functional adults when they get out?

Angela:                               Every time I hear people talk about that aspect, it really gets me, because there’s a lot of kids that have come to us and we have seen complete, total transformations in their lives, and we know that we have been some of that factor. A lot of it is on that kid. That kid has put the work in. But-

[Jamie]:                              Not just the kid, but the families too. It’s the whole family. [crosstalk 00:10:20]

Angela:                               The family as a whole, you’re right.

Vickie  Brett:                     It takes a village, we say that all the time, and you guys become part of that village.

Angela:                               Yes. It takes everyone. But just as far as addressing that, we think it’s easiest to just put them away and say, oh yeah, well, you’re not smart, or you have a disability, or you have this deficit. I think just a whole, everyone needs to start looking at these deficits as repellers, not as something that’s bad.

Amanda Selogie :             I love that.

Angela:                               So what, you have ADHD? So what, you’re slower at processing something? That just means you’re more thorough.

Vickie  Brett:                     Everyone has something. Yes, everyone has something, but we need to stop looking at them as these negative, with these negative connotations. Once we can start doing that, having everyone do that as a whole around that child, you’re gonna see that kids just make a whole 180 degree turn.

A lot of kids come into me thinking my whole job is to teach them organizational skills.

Amanda Selogie :             No.

Vickie  Brett:                     It’s not that. it’s to teach them to believe in themselves.

Amanda Selogie :             It’s so much more. I mean, we talk all the time about how it frustrates us when people focus on the negative and can’t see the kid for being a kid [first 00:11:28]. We always say look, what do you put on your resume? You put the things that you’re not good at? I’m short, I don’t put that I can’t shoot a basketball. I don’t do that, because it’s not, why would I, I put the things I’m [good at 00:11:38].

Vickie  Brett:                     I’m short, and I can shoot a basketball.

Amanda Selogie :             You know what? We’re not talking about that, Vickie . I was told in fifth grade I couldn’t play basketball by my sister because I was too short. So I left that dream a long time ago. But, I do regret it.

But at the end of the day, we really focus, in most people’s lives, they focus on what are they good at and they promote that. Even with social media we always put our best foot forward, our best self online. We’re never looking at the bad. We’re never looking at it. But then when we take these kids, we’re focusing on the bad and the negative, what they can’t do.

We really need to be able to have an opportunity to show them, no no no, you’re more than this, and it actually is a great thing. I love that you say it’s a super power, because I think we love about your facility when we’ve learned about it before, that you have that perspective that you could share with the kids.

I think when we look at making a difference in their lives and really turning them around, it’s number one. That’s one of the most important, because you need to get them to buy-in that they’re gonna do that hard work.

Angela:                               These kids come to us just so frustrated, and they’ve given up. They’ve seen people give up on them.

Amanda Selogie :             Mm-hmm (affirmative), right.

Angela:                               The school has given up. Parents are like, “I don’t know what to do with you.” And they’ve just given up on themselves. Being able to take that, and after they’ve been with us for a little while, it takes a little while before they can make the shift, and before they can start believing in themselves. But we give them so much support at the beginning, and just get them those little successes and they can start to see that, I can do something right.

And they just build on that and build on that until they’re just doing it themselves.

Amanda Selogie :             The point of the residential is not to send my child away, like I’m a parent that’s frustrated. It’s more so that structure, right?

Angela:                               Yes.

Amanda Selogie :             ‘Cause you are still focusing on the academic components.

Angela:                               Yes.

Amanda Selogie :             What comes [first 00:13:20]? Is it like the chicken before the egg?

Angela:                               Right.

Amanda Selogie :             How do you guys, what’s a typical day for one of your consumers, one of your students?

Vickie  Brett:                     Or is there a typical day?

Amanda Selogie :             Yeah, is there a yeah, I guess there would be.

Angela:                               Well, the very first thing that you ask is which comes first. How I kind of, I mean, you can answer that a few different ways. But how I view that is, we have a kid come in, a lot of times we see the successes happen first in academics, and that’s so cool that we get to be a part of every school day.

Amanda Selogie :             Yeah, that’s great.

Angela:                               And then they’re able to build on that. We work with their therapists every single day. I’m always emailing them, always texting their therapists. Each of our teachers are actually part of a team. We have four different teams, and each of those teachers are a team teacher and they’re in charge of certain kids, of part of their academics, but they also go into treatment team with everyone else, the psychiatrist, drug abuse counselor, the therapist, a clinical director.

[Jamie]:                              Amazing. I mean, just so many, just experts. Not even just experts, but people who care. Yeah, people who truly want to see them succeed.

When we have a kid that graduates the program, there are probably 60 plus people in that room. That is, we had one where we had probably 70 or so people in there.

Angela:                               And we get to go up just say how that kid has impacted us.

Vickie  Brett:                     Right.

Angela:                               Because they impact us as well.

Vickie  Brett:                     Oh, I’m sure.

Angela:                               It’s not just us helping them. They teach us just as much.

Amanda Selogie :             We always say it’s about inclusion first and about that opportunity, and then it’s the community that’s built. That’s everything that you guys are doing. Just how passionate you guys are-

Vickie  Brett:                     We love it.

Amanda Selogie :             Yeah, and we feel it.

Vickie  Brett:                     We love it so much.

Amanda Selogie :             That’s why we alway-, we love coming to COPA. Well, I mean, that’s really how we got into this field to begin with, is that these kids are so inspirational, right?

Vickie  Brett:                     Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Amanda Selogie :             They do have so much to give us. It’s not just about us giving to them.

Vickie  Brett:                     Right.

Amanda Selogie :             It’s both ways. I mean, I fist went to law school specifically because these kids touched my life in a way that I was like, wow. So many people, I just with that everyone in the world could experience that, right?

Angela:                               Yes.

Amanda Selogie :             Because if they could, then they would never think differently of these kids.

Angela:                               They would see the whole world a different way if they could just spend a few days where we are.

Amanda Selogie :             Yeah.

Vickie  Brett:                     We’re very lucky to be able to work where we do.

Amanda Selogie :             Yeah. We talk about it all the time. We work hard in what we do, but we also, we love what we do, because we do get to say that we-

Vickie  Brett:                     I thought you were gonna say, “We work hard and we play hard.”

Amanda Selogie :             I mean look, we do, sure. You guys follow us on social media you know that we do. But there’s something more to it when you have a job that’s fulfilling, that not only you feel like you’re helping others but that your life is being changed a little bit.

Vickie  Brett:                     This question is for both of you guys. How did you end up at Solstice?

Angela:                               By accident. Yes, it was-

[Jamie]:                              Total accident.

Angela:                               It was total accident, yeah.

[Jamie]:                              I never wanted to be a teacher.

Vickie  Brett:                     Wow.

[Jamie]:                              My dad used to tell me, “You should be a high school teacher.” I was like, “No. [crosstalk 00:16:27] No. Absolutely not.”

But, I was going into the sciences, and I just needed a part-time job, so I started as a tutor as a treatment center, and I just fell in love with treatment kids. These kids need somebody that cares about them that can understand and teach them on their level, in a way that they’ll understand, in a way that they’ll feel successful, and I just, I can’t do anything else. I tried, and I can’t do anything, I love it so much.

Vickie  Brett:                     Is that, your necklace, it’s a molecule?

[Jamie]:                              Yes, it is. My sister gave it to me for my birthday. It’s-

Vickie  Brett:                     We’ll have to take a picture if you don’t mind, so that people know.

[Jamie]:                              It’s dopamine.

Vickie  Brett:                     Dopamine.

[Jamie]:                              So that I’ll always be happy.

Vickie  Brett:                     Aw, that’s so cute.

Amanda Selogie :             I love that. Oh my gosh.

[Jamie]:                              She’s in neuroscience, so we’re both kind of science nerds.

Amanda Selogie :             That’s so cool.

[Jamie]:                              We have matching dopamine necklaces. I love it.

Amanda Selogie :             It’s so great. And then yeah, you just kind of fall into it-

[Jamie]:                              Yeah.

Amanda Selogie :             … and you’re just like wait, what? This is amazing.

[Jamie]:                              Oh I’m kind of good at this.

Amanda Selogie :             Right.

[Jamie]:                              And I really like these kids. I really like seeing the changes that they make. You don’t get to see that at public school. You don’t get to be so involved in their lives and what they’re going through and kind of be that, more of a mentor than a teacher for them.

Vickie  Brett:                     I love that. That’s-

Amanda Selogie :             And I get to make these girls love science too, on top of all of that.

[Jamie]:                              Oh my gosh.

Amanda Selogie :             I can imagine. How did you end up in doing-

Angela:                               Same thing. I just fell into it. I had a buddy. I had my teachings degree for a couple of years and didn’t use it. Finally, one of my friends was like, “You would be good in treatment. You would be such a good teacher.”

I was like, “Well, why?”

He’s like, “Just go try and see. Just see why.”

‘Cause he couldn’t really explain why. And five years later, I’m still doing it and we’ve built this really great special ed program at Solstice.

[Jamie]:                              It’s amazing. She is amazing at running this special ed program.

Amanda Selogie :             Well, I think when we first found out about your program, we were like, okay, how can we send all of our kids then, to be that kind of program, because it is amazing. Obviously we have boys that we represent as well, so we have to find that counterpart. We’re still looking.

Vickie  Brett:                     If you guys want to open up one for, no … a counterpart and a …

Angela:                               There actually is one back east-

Vickie  Brett:                     Oh, nice.

Angela:                               We have a sister-school.

Vickie  Brett:                     Cool.

Angela:                               We’re Solstice West. There’s a Solstice East in North Carolina. They just opened a boys program last year called Equinox.

Vickie  Brett:                     Oh.

Amanda Selogie :             Cool. Okay.

Angela:                               In North Carolina.

Amanda Selogie :             Okay. We’re gonna have to get more information on that.

Vickie  Brett:                     Yeah, we gotta get together. We all gotta get together. Tell them to come to COPA next year.

[Jamie]:                              Hey, we’re hearing rumors about where it’s gonna be next year. We’re really excited. Hopefully it’s true.

Vickie  Brett:                     Where?

[Jamie]:                              Well, last year we heard it might be in New Orleans.

Vickie  Brett:                     Nola.

[Jamie]:                              We are, my gosh, crossing our fingers that tomorrow we get the announcement, because … [crosstalk 00:19:16]

Vickie  Brett:                     Oh my gosh.

[Jamie]:                              … that would be so awesome.

Amanda Selogie :             If it’s not, we’ll make a correction. [crosstalk 00:19:18]

[Jamie]:                              I bet we could get Kyle to come out too.

Amanda Selogie :             Oh yeah, we will do a corrections corner.

Vickie  Brett:                     Oh yeah, because, I mean, I’m bad with geography, but I mean, it’ll be super close [crosstalk 00:19:25].

[Jamie]:                              Closer than California, absolutely.

Vickie  Brett:                     Well yeah, obviously. To be able to be in an environment where you’re able to kind of share the love and the passion for the children that you’re helping, and to see that. I just feel like the people that you hire, the experts that are there, they all, you have to have that X-factor. Both of you guys have it. That’s why we needed you on the pod and we wanted people to know. It’s a great introduction, because sounds scary, right?

Oh, residential treatment center, RTC?

[Jamie]:                              Yes.

Angela:                               Yeah. People tell us that all the time. It was like, oh, that’s so amazing that you work there at one of those kinds of places.

[Jamie]:                              Right. It must be so hard.

Angela:                               It’s like, and it is hard, it’s a very emotional job.

[Jamie]:                              It’s emotional, yeah.

Angela:                               It’s very emotional. But like I said-

Vickie  Brett:                     Well, what jobs working with kids is not? Right? You know?

Angela:                               Yeah.

Amanda Selogie :             It’s got its good and its bads. I mean, most jobs do too. But at the same time, the difficult part is, sometimes makes it all the while, right?

Angela:                               Yes.

Amanda Selogie :             It makes is so much better, because you’re making more of an impact then.

Angela:                               And people picture, when you picture an RTC residence treatment, the kid’s gonna be gone for possibly over a year. Picture great walls and just institutionalized, but we have log cabins.

Amanda Selogie :             Whoa. We didn’t know that.

Angela:                               I get to teach in a little log cabin with my own fireplace and everything. It is amazing, yep.

Amanda Selogie :             Okay well, now we really-, okay, so we told you when we met with you in October- [crosstalk 00:20:57]

Vickie  Brett:                     You need to come out.

Amanda Selogie :             We said we needed to … [crosstalk 00:20:59] said we were going to make a trip, and it-

Angela:                               You’re got to.

Amanda Selogie :             … these last … Okay, I can’t even tell you how busy these last couple of months have been, obviously. But look, we, it’s on our, hopefully we’re trying a two week span, and for our listeners, you’ll hear more about that later in the year, where we’re hoping to expand our operation a little bit more. Hopefully that’ll give Vickie  and I a little bit more time to go and see some of these great facilities, because we hear so much.

Yes, it’s some-, I will tell you this, 2018 we will make it there.

Vickie  Brett:                     Yes. That’s this year. [crosstalk 00:21:33]

Angela:                               We’re excited.

Amanda Selogie :             I know.

Vickie  Brett:                     Just kidding, just kidding.

Amanda Selogie :             It’s only March. We have many months left. We can make it happen. We did talk about we needed to go when there was snow, because Vickie  and I don’t see snow often.

Vickie  Brett:                     Yeah, I know we don’t in Ca-

Amanda Selogie :             I mean, we can drive up through the snow, but I would imagine it’s very different in Utah.

Vickie  Brett:                     Yes.

Amanda Selogie :             One of the ways that we kind of like to close a pod with a guest is, and I kind of eluded to it before. If you guys, and I know I’m putting you on the spot a little bit, but a feel-good story if you can. Obviously without using names or anything like that, but if there’s a student that kind of sticks out to you or a feel-good story just about what you do, I mean, the log cabin thing, I don’t know how you’re gonna top that. But, that’s how we like to end it.

Because, you’re experience and parents that may be listening or people that just don’t even know anything about an RTC. Once they hear that story you’re, they’re like oh wow, it worked. That’s what, we need that more. If one of you-

Angela:                               I’ve got a few-

Amanda Selogie :             Oh good.

Angela:                               … kind of rattling around in my brain.

Amanda Selogie :             Good, good. Tell us all. Tell us all.

Angela:                               Some of my favorite kids to get are the ones that, I’ll look at them the first couple of times and in my mind I’ll think, how in the world are we going to be able to help this kid. Nine months later something happened.

We had this kid that came in. She just wasn’t open to anything. She was so angry all the time. Her therapist described it as she was melting on the floor. She would cry-

[Jamie]:                              It would always be in my classroom.

Angela:                               She would just collapse into a puddle. [crosstalk 00:23:10]

[Jamie]:                              Oh, I just can’t. Oh my God.

Angela:                               She would just, or sometimes she was so angry she would just sit there and just wouldn’t reply to anything. Her grades were, they were tanked. She and I, I get to work with each kid every single week, one-on-one. I get about 20 to 30 minutes. For each kid in my class, I have one to four kids in each of my classes, and I get one-on-one time. We would talk about that, and every time, she’d just be like, f you, I hate this place.

Then something clicked. I’m not sure if it was in English class or in science class, but there was something where she was like, “I really could make a difference if I just turned things around. And you know what? I’m gonna be a teacher. And you know what else? I’m going to be a special education elementary teacher.”

Amanda Selogie :             Aw.

Angela:                               This was probably about five months in. It had been a while of her-

Amanda Selogie :             That’s a good chunk of time.

Angela:                               Yes.

Amanda Selogie :             I mean that resistance.

Angela:                               Yes.

Amanda Selogie :             And that anger.

Angela:                               And it sometimes takes that long. But you can’t give into them.

Amanda Selogie :             Yeah. But, what that shows you is that it’s a strong-willed person who could do so much with her life.

Angela:                               Yes.

Amanda Selogie :             Because she has the determination, and just drive it in the right direction.

Angela:                               Yes. This student kept working with me. Then she had one quarter where she finally got all As. She was just like, “I can do this. I really am capable.”

And it was because of her, a lot of times we have students that say, “Oh, it’s because of you, Angela.” Or, “It’s because of you, Jamie.”

But, it’s because of that kid. She was seeing, it’s me, I can do it. She graduated from our program and also from high school in January. She ended up going, we have a step-down program, which is like a mile west of us.

Vickie  Brett:                     Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Amanda Selogie :             Oh, okay, cool.

Angela:                               It’s a house where they just kind of get to learn other skills without being in an [crosstalk 00:24:59] …

Amanda Selogie :             Completely immersed. [crosstalk 00:25:00]

Vickie  Brett:                     It’s a little less restricted.

Angela:                               Right.

[Jamie]:                              More, yeah.

Amanda Selogie :             Like a halfway house kind of thing.

Angela:                               They get dating privileges and things like that.

Amanda Selogie :             Cool, yeah.

Angela:                               She went there and she ended up, they have a level system there as well, and she just barely, about a week ago, graduated that program too. I was able to give a recommendation for, I think it’s some kind of a school for her to do some kind of an aide thing in elementary.

Amanda Selogie :             Okay, cool.

Angela:                               She got a job like a week later.

Amanda Selogie :             Wow.

Angela:                               She’s already hit the ground running.

Vickie  Brett:                     Great.

Angela:                               She’s going to college in, I don’t know, I think in the fall as well.

Vickie  Brett:                     Great.

Amanda Selogie :             Oh my God, a job, yeah, already has job experience, already going to coll-, like has her sites set.

Angela:                               Yep.

Amanda Selogie :             By the time that she had graduated, she had been with you for what, a year or how long?

Angela:                               Well, probably just over a year. Probably about 13 months.

Amanda Selogie :             Okay.

Angela:                               She was one in the beginning where were just like, this girl’s gonna kill herself.

Amanda Selogie :             Well yeah. Well, I mean, the way, five months- [crosstalk 00:25:56]

Vickie  Brett:                     That’s such a turnaround.

Amanda Selogie :             That’s a long, I mean, I’m sure you’ve cracked some of those eggs a little bit sooner than-

Angela:                               Oh yeah.

Amanda Selogie :             … that. I could only imagine just-

[Jamie]:                              Yep. She was a tough one at first.

Angela:                               Yeah, the more difficult ones are probably about five months. Some are really willing to change within a month.

Vickie  Brett:                     Wow.

Angela:                               But it’s just, the tough ones are the ones that I really like to get.

Vickie  Brett:                     Well, they stick out in your mind. [crosstalk 00:26:20]

Angela:                               You see such a change. It’s amazing.

Vickie  Brett:                     I want to just think of how many kids that she’s gonna touch their lives-

Angela:                               Yes.

Vickie  Brett:                     … now that she’s going into this field.

Amanda Selogie :             The experiences that she had that she can share, and she’s like, “I know, I know where you’re at.”

Angela:                               I’ve been there.

Amanda Selogie :             Yep.

Vickie  Brett:                     Yes.

[Jamie]:                              And that’s, that is such a huge thing, I think, for these kids, to feel like, oh, I can connect with someone.

Vickie  Brett:                     Yes.

[Jamie]:                              I have, there’s a common ground there.

Vickie  Brett:                     Do you have one that you could think about? I know that was a shared one, but-

[Jamie]:                              Yes. Mines actually not from, the one I had in mind wasn’t from this treatment center that we’re at now, it’s from a boys one I used to work at. This kid was, he was pretty tough. He was very, very depressed. We called him Eeyore. He had been addicted to drugs and [inaudible 00:27:07] [crosstalk 00:27:07] suicidal.

Vickie  Brett:                     This, the self-medication right?

[Jamie]:                              A lot of it, yes.

Vickie  Brett:                     Where you …

[Jamie]:                              And I’ve been in touch with this kid since being in our program, and he right now, I won’t go into everything that happened with the program and all of that. But just, he was in a rough place. Now he’s a project manager for Red Cross and he’s married and has a little kid.

Amanda Selogie :             What?

Vickie  Brett:                     Wow. Oh my gosh.

Amanda Selogie :             No.

[Jamie]:                              Yep. In Atlanta. He’s on the news there, when they have the tornadoes and the hurricane coming through, and he’s just doing so well. It makes me so proud.

Vickie  Brett:                     That’s amazing.

Amanda Selogie :             That just takes a special type of person, to deal with the chaos. But when you experience that in your own life and you overcome it, and you can look somebody in the eye and just be like, this too shall pass, that is so powerful.

Angela:                               Yep.

Vickie  Brett:                     So powerful.

[Jamie]:                              Wow.

Amanda Selogie :             Oh my gosh. That was so, oh my God, that’s like … I feel like such a proud mom with all of these kids.

Vickie  Brett:                     No, right. It does.

Amanda Selogie :             It’s like-

Vickie  Brett:                     It’s amazing.

Amanda Selogie :             It’s like, oh, you’re my baby.

Angela:                               Yes.

Vickie  Brett:                     Right.

[Jamie]:                              This is, I mean, this is the big reason we love COPA so much, ’cause we get to hang out with ladies like you who are amazing.

Amanda Selogie :             Yeah, that’s the, we always say this as the idea behind the Individuals With Disability Education Act or the IDEA, right, is like, that the core of it is, we want productive members of society.

Vickie  Brett:                     Yep.

Amanda Selogie :             Five years ago, or whenever he first came to you, anybody would’ve written him off-

Angela:                               Yes.

[Jamie]:                              Right.

Amanda Selogie :             And just been like, [crosstalk 00:28:36] you know, you’re gonna end up, the school-to-prison pipeline is very real, and that could’ve happened to him.

[Jamie]:                              It could’ve.

Angela:                               Yes.

Amanda Selogie :             And now look at him. He’s married, he has a steady job helping people, and has a little kid that he’s gonna, with his experiences, embed in them all the tools that I’m sure you taught him.

Vickie  Brett:                     That is funny.

Amanda Selogie :             Yeah, I love it. Well, we are so happy you guys decided to come on.

Vickie  Brett:                     Yes. Thank you so much. If people are interested in learning more about Solstice, or they want to contact you just for feedback, what do I do? I’m in a situation, I’d like more-, or in the alternative, if they were going through school and they’re thinking they may want to become a teacher like you guys, how can they contact you.

[Jamie]:                              My email.

Angela:                               Yeah, that’s right.

[Jamie]:                              You can email me. I’m Jamie Murphy. I’m the academic director at Solstice. My email is jmurphy. J-M-U-R-P-H-Y at SolsticeRTC.com

Angela:                               And then you can also just check us out on the internet, www.SolsticeRTC.com.

Amanda Selogie :             Awesome. We’ll have it in the show notes as well, so that people, if they didn’t jot it down if they’re in their car driving, be careful, don’t-

Vickie  Brett:                     Oh yeah. Don’t drive down, we will get it to you. Don’t you worry.

Amanda Selogie :             We’ll put it in the show notes. We’ll put it in the show notes.

Angela:                               And we also have a Facebook page too.

Amanda Selogie :             Awesome. Ooh, we’re gonna, I don’t know if we’re already connected on Facebook, but we will-

Vickie  Brett:                     Oh yeah, we will-

Amanda Selogie :             We now will be.

Vickie  Brett:                     We will be, and then we’ll tag. [crosstalk 00:30:02]

Amanda Selogie :             I’m so chopped we will be.

Vickie  Brett:                     We’ll do a post.

Angela:                               Yes.

Amanda Selogie :             We post about our episodes, so we’ll tag you guys in it when it launches.

But, for our listeners, thanks for checking in this week. We are in COPA for the next couple of days, so we might have a few more episodes from COPA with some other special guests. You’ll hear those as the weeks go on, and just keep on keeping on, doing well, doing what you’re doing. Why are you laughing at me?

Vickie  Brett:                     Do what you keep on doing.

Amanda Selogie :             The whole point is where trying to educate people, and we’ve gotten so much good feedback of people who have heard our pod and are doing what they need to do to learn more for themselves. Either it’s their kids that they’re working with or they’re at a school or a teacher or whatnot, and they’re learning more too. Because like we always say, we’re learning every day, we are not experts in all areas, we’re always looking for more information.

I feel like that’s the important thing for everyone to kind of keep that in mind as well.

Vickie  Brett:                     Yeah, I mean, if you’ve enjoyed this episode, please share with a friend, and if you haven’t already subscribed, subscribe. Because, then, when the episode drops on Tuesday, you don’t have to do anything, it’s just sitting there waiting for you to listen to us.

Amanda Selogie :             And if Vickie  finds you on the street, she’ll probably just take your iPhone if you have an iPhone and put it on there, because she’s done that before.

Vickie  Brett:                     It’s like, Amanda doesn’t have an iPhone, so she’s like, put it on there. [crosstalk 00:31:28]

Amanda Selogie :             I [inaudible 00:31:27].

Vickie  Brett:                     You subscribe. You hit subscribe.

Amanda Selogie :             Look, she said it’s some easy button, it’s easier. Apparently it’s easier to subscribe on an iPhone then on an android.

Vickie  Brett:                     Listen, if you have an-

Angela:                               It is.

Vickie  Brett:                     Right. If you have an iPhone, you already have preloaded your podcast, and then you just go into your, you just click on it, and then you just put Inclusive Education Project, and we’re the first ones that come up. Then you just hit it, and then you subscribe, and then it’s amazing, and then you hear us every week and it’s so much fun.

Amanda Selogie :             And if you’re like me and you’re not an Apple person, it’s still easy, you could go to just your radio or Google Play, you could also find us on our Website, IEPCalifornia.org, or of course, as we always say, on Instagram or Facebook, because we try to post as often as we can. I know some weeks we’re not as good as others.

But, keep following us, and keep shooting us that feedback that if you have an interesting topic that you’d like to talk about, or if you are a listener and you have some interesting information to share and you’d like to be a guest, please send us an email or message us on Facebook or Instagram.

Vickie  Brett:                     Oh my God, everybody’s gonna want to be on now. Why’d you say that? I’m just kidding.

Amanda Selogie :             You know what? Welcome it, like we talked about.

Vickie  Brett:                     We do welcome it. Thank you so much Angela. Thank you so much Jamie for your time, we really appreciate it. Thanks for listening. We will talk to you guys later. Bye.

Amanda Selogie :             Bye.

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