History of Success

Nya’s Story

“Underneath Nya’s self-injurious behaviors and aggression, we saw potential,” says Chris Johns, a teacher at The Richardson School. “It was our job to bring that potential out.”

Nya’s father is a member of the United States Armed Forces and relocated from Georgia to Wisconsin with his family. Nya had struggled at the Georgia school she had attended for children with special needs. Her parents had begun to wonder if their hopes for Nya were simply unrealistic.

Nya needed to wear a helmet to prevent self-injury. She was in and out of behavioral health clinics and could communicate only with simple noises. Over time, her aggressive behaviors escalated, eventually requiring one-on-one supervision. Simple activities, like walking, were nearly impossible without staff assistance.

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Nya’s parents were hoping The Richardson School would provide a fresh start. The Richardson School is a therapeutic day school focused on the needs of children, adolescents and young adults with significant disabilities and behavior disorders. With four campuses of The Richardson School, and two other day schools in Wisconsin and Indiana, ORP operates a total of four day schools serving the daytime educational and treatment needs of children living at home.

Nya’s needs were extreme, Chris says. “Her sensory needs were beyond anything I had ever experienced in my career, and we needed to create a solid plan if Nya was going to progress.”

Nya’s family sat down with the professional staff of The Richardson School. Together they decided on a set of specific goals. At the top of the list were: better communication, less aggression, and fewer instances of self-injurious behavior.

“Setting expectations is so important,” Chris says. “Every single staff member, every single day, needs to be on the same page. That consistency, combined with patience, respect, and a nurturing environment is the key to success.”

The Richardson School relied on photo-based communication and speech therapy to help Nya communicate. Slowly and carefully, the staff helped Nya reduce her dependence on sensory pacifiers.

The hard work has paid off – Nya has blossomed. Self-injuries have gone down dramatically, her mood is better, and she can use photographs to express herself. And she loves school! Each morning, Nya waits at the window for The Richardson School van to pick her up, and she doesn’t want to leave at the end of the day.

LaTanya, Nya’s mother, is thrilled with the progress that Nya has made.

“As a family, we are blessed and fortunate to have our child thriving in a safe, compassionate school environment.”

According to Chris, the sky is the limit for Nya.

“Her incredible progress in such a short period of time is nothing short of amazing. I’m very proud of her.”

 

A History of Success

For over 30 years, ORP, Inc., the parent company overseeing nine separate service divisions, has made a difference in the lives of individuals who face a broad range of challenging disabilities and disorders.

The advent of The Richardson School came from the same vision shared by all of ORP’s Family of Companies—to be the provider of choice for people with disabilities—and to provide innovative services and settings to meet individual needs. The Richardson School was developed in response to local school districts seeking an alternative and a therapeutic day school option, within the local community, to effectively educate and treat students who previously struggled in more traditional school environments. The Richardson School is committed to this vision, and to the success of the students it serves.

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