Treatment Philosophy

Skills Assessment and Development

Developing a comprehensive understanding of each individual, their strengths and challenges, and the specific influences to their difficulties is a primary and ongoing component of treatment.  The Assessment of Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems (Greene and Ablon), along with supporting assessment tools, are utilized to facilitate this process, and to guide the treatment/intervention planning for each student.  Through this process a thorough understanding of strengths, resources and limitations is acquired and a plan to help develop skills and resources while not overwhelming one’s resources can be initiated.

The core skills that are focused upon throughout all HEC campuses include:  independent living/functional skills, academic skills, and the skills identified in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) (Linehan): Mindfulness, Emotional Management, Distress Tolerance and Interpersonal Effectiveness.

Trauma Informed Care (TIC)

When the environment is very overwhelming, as is often the case when a person experiences trauma, attachment disruptions, loss, domestic violence or abuse, the result can be significant impact on the development of the person’s skills and resources.  Exposure to those who have experienced these events has impact on others in the community.  A trauma informed environment requires an understanding of trauma and considers its effects, at the personal, individual and societal levels.

As trauma and loss are, at their core, violations of interpersonal connection, the HEC community focuses on developing healthy relationships with others.  Within these healthy relationships, motivation, healthy sense of self and connections to others and the community are developed.  Other primary intervention approaches from the TIC philosophy include psycho-education about trauma/vicarious trauma and its effects, understanding the influence of individual trauma histories, making meaning from these difficult experiences, developing self-awareness, developing skills and resources to manage more effectively, and proactively planning for safety.

Applied Behavior Analysis

For many students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Hillcrest utilizes Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), an evidence based practice that has proven to have a positive effect on the lives of people with severe forms of Autism.  Using ABA, staff provide individualized instruction that is integrated throughout the school program.  This instruction will help students learn new skills in a variety of domains including, but not limited to, education, social, self-care, communication and life skills.  All ABA programming is overseen by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.