How are parents involved in the program?
Parents are included in thinkSMART so that they can learn the skills alongside their child; subsequently, parents will be better able to support their child as they practice the skill throughout the week, as well as model skill use for them. At least one parent is expected to attend every session with their child.
Why is thinkSMART conducted in a group setting?
thinkSMART is conducted in a small group setting because many youth struggle with the same areas of executive function, such as long term planning, scheduling, motivation, etc. We use the group setting to aid problem solving and share experiences. Families will be exposed to novel problem solving skills that they can continue to use after the program. We also know that research supports group settings because groups allow for positive modeling of skill use, social reinforcement, and provide added support. Despite the program being offered in a group, participants receive individual feedback and help in their individualized areas of weakness, further contributing to improved executive functioning. We do not assume that this is a “one-size fits all” intervention and work hard to help families with their individual needs within the context of the program.
How much of the course is specific to diagnosis?
The program is not specific for a certain diagnosis, but is for anyone who has difficulties with executive functioning. We occasionally mention ADHD, anxiety, or depression because these things all affect executive functioning. There is a wide variety of developmental differences in each group, including those with no diagnoses at all. Please don't worry about any diagnosis or label being put on your child. The only "label" might be that they could benefit from help with her executive functioning, because we ALL have weaknesses.
What can we expect from a session?
Each session will cover skills and concrete strategies to help improve different areas of executive function, such as time management, planning, and task initiation. Mindfulness exercises are taught at the beginning of every session as mindfulness is one the most direct ways to increase executive function. We will also review skills learned in the previous session and discuss what teens and parents found to be easy or challenging about practicing the skills, allowing for a chance to problem solve when teens feel like they are stuck. During session, we will cover new skills and have both teens and parents come up with concrete ways in which they can be practiced throughout the week. Skills are illustrated and practiced in session through interactive activities.
How motivated does the child need to be to participate?
All of the teens are typically very high functioning (i.e., able to tolerate a normal classroom setting, behaviorally appropriate, and engaged). Typically, they are bright and capable, but are struggling to get assignments in, write assignments down, get started on tasks, are losing materials, etc. The teens just needs to be motivated to attend every session and do weekly skills practice that work to improve executive functioning.
Is the cost of the program covered by insurance? Is there financial aid?
The cost of the program is not reimbursable through insurance, and we do not offer financial aid at this time. We are considered an educational intervention, rather than a medical service. We do not use CPT billing codes (requiring a diagnosis) which are required for insurance reimbursement. As such, the entire amount is "out of pocket. We have had participants tell us that the program is considered "tax deductible" with a referral indicating that it was recommended, but we'd encourage you to ask your tax professional about what this might mean.
Is the program cost due all at once?
The program fee is due before the first session of the program at the time of registration. We also offer a payment plan that involves 2 installments which are due before the 1st session and before the 7th session.
What happens if I miss a session? Can I pay “per session” rather than the full amount?
We do not offer fee reductions because thinkSMART is offered as a full program, rather than "by sessions." We understand that situations that cause families to miss a session may come up, and we are happy to accommodate these situations so that the course can make the most impact for both teens and parents. Typically, we do not offer make-up sessions, but we are always happy to meet with families either before or after the session missed to debrief them on the skills learned and give them any handouts from that session. In the past, parents have attended sessions when their teen is unable to and have shared skills at home. We also send weekly reminder emails and review skills throughout the program since each session builds on the previous.
Do you offer thinkSMART sessions over the summer?
At this time, we do not offer thinkSMART during the summer; many of the skills that we teach are best learned when applied to school assignments, projects, papers, etc. These are habits that can only be reinforced with daily use, so doing the program primarily during the school months is the ideal setting to enhance skill acquisition.