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Teaching accountability and integrity to teens at risk

from At the Crossroads (ATC) Transitional Program in Washington, Utah

Students will often struggle transitioning from previous treatment, such as a wilderness or residential program, to another program or their home. It can be very difficult to make the adjustment from a highly-structure and oftentimes secure environment to one of more freedom and responsibility with less supervision.

One area where students often struggle lies in accountability and integrity. In an artificial environment, it is much easier to acknowledge a mistake and face consequences when one is watched constantly, rather than in a step-down program or in the home when one is oftentimes on their own and there is less supervision. Students will often not want to admit mistakes or struggles "because things have been going so well and I donít want to upset anyone or lose trust."

The beginning of a relapse begins with justifying not being honest and not being accountable. It is important to impress upon the young person the significance of being accountable for their actions; otherwise, no learning will take place and previous attempts at change will prove fruitless.

For example, our At the Crossroads program places a heavy emphasis on accountability and integrity. Students have to schedule their therapy appointments and go to them on their own; they are not permitted to miss therapy sessions and other appointments. If they do, they receive logical consequences, such as having to pay out of pocket a portion of their missed appointment fee.

At this stage of life, young people need direction in managing emotions and impulses in healthy and productive ways; oftentimes, they are not ready to make the transition home but would benefit from a step-down program as opposed to making the significant leap from a highly-structured to little-structure environment. Many individuals also need structure to assist them in making choices that work and demonstrate a respect for themselves and others. Learning how to acquire independent living skills, such as interviewing for and maintaining employment, being of service to the community, and understanding fiscal responsibilities, are all a salient part of necessary growth at this stage of life. Those involved with the ATC program believe that integrity and accountability are a crucial part of each of these goals.

At the Crossroads is a Young Adult Transitional in Utah program designed to help students gain a healthy and independent life away from their home environment. We work with students who are 18 years of age or older. You can reach them at:435-627-1788.

Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.


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