I recently read an article I found on the internet that you wrote about Cedars Academy in Bridgeville, DE in 2007-2008. I wanted to give you some parental feedback from our experience at Cedars.
If Cedars offered what they say they do, it might be a decent program; however, the reality is that they don't deliver. My biggest concern is that other students don't experience what our daughter did and that parents don't waste their money. The Executive Director is a very good salesman, but in our experience, not a good leader and chaos was the norm at Cedars. In order to get anything done, we continually had to follow up with calls, e-mails, etc. to the director or his assistant and even then results weren't guaranteed. Communication to parents was almost nonexistent and lack of student supervision was also a problem.
One of the reasons we chose Cedars was for the built in psychotherapy as our child had recently experienced significant trauma. This aspect of the program was advertised greatly, however, the reality was far different. Cedars didn't even have a private area set aside for counseling sessions. Sessions were held in a building where other students could be and the cubicle was open at the top with no soundproofing. We recently asked for our daughter's records so we could start an SSI claim on her behalf and the Cedar's counselor told us "I have searched in vain for my records; apparently they were thrown out when my stuff was moved from my old office." We wonder where our daughter's private records are.
We find it interesting that Cedars is now advertising that it's a program to assist students with Aspergers. This is interesting as we didn't know anything about Aspergers and this wasn't a diagnosis for our child. Since our departure from Cedars have heard from other professionals that they suspect our child may have Aspergers. We researched on our own and plan to have our daughter tested.
Cedars did absolutely nothing to prepare our daughter for the future unlike what they promote as far as life skills, driver's ed, vocational training, test prep, etc. We thought this is what we were purchasing but it's not what we got. We asked about driver's ed numerous times and were told by staff that this wasn't possible unless the student was a Delaware resident. SAT/ACT test prep and career planning is also highly overrated. There was no cohesion on any of this and there were staffing issues that prevented the right amount of time and effort being devoted to this.
In our opinion, Cedars admitted too many unique individuals all with very different needs and the program lacked focus. Most of the students at Cedars have significant social skills deficits and the program did little to address this aspect. Staff turnover was also very high. Our daughter is in another non-Aspen program and the differences in the levels of service, therapy, communication and supervision are unbelievable.
Is this what $60,000 buys?
Alan and Maureen O'Neal