KidsPeace Mesabi Academy in Buhl, Minnesota, launched a new program this week to meet the treatment needs of delinquent and non-delinquent males ages 12-17 who have IQs of 50-65, exhibit aggression towards others, demonstrate a need for a highly structured setting and/or require assistance with daily living skills. Youth are referred to this program with a court order that states, beyond a reasonable doubt, that they are delinquent and in need of treatment, supervision and/or rehabilitation and/or in need of services based on a CHIPS petition. Additionally, these young men: require more intensive treatment, have a repeated history of elopement from home or other treatment programs, have a repeated loss of impulse control requiring crisis intervention and stabilization, exhibit excessive social isolation or pathologically dependent interpersonal skills, present a risk to the community, have significant chemical health problems, associate themselves with anti-social peers, exhibit poor social and problem solving skills and have a criminal history. Recognizing that this population is severely underserved, Mesabi Academy associates designed this program to provide adaptive behavior, daily living skills, basic social skills, survival skills and general life skills knowledge to youth who are low functioning and require a more specialized approach toward achieving behavioral goals.

While in this residential program, the young men learn to replace maladaptive behaviors with adaptive skills such as self-imposed timeouts. They also learn living skills such as personal hygiene, laundry tasks and shopping for necessary items, as well as table manners and social norms, all of which will assist them in achieving lives that are as independent as possible.

This program has a staff to client ration of 1 to 4, which ensures that each youth receives excellent supervision and one-on-one interaction and instruction in this highly structured environment. The primary curriculum model is Skill Streaming, which is very effective with adolescents diagnosed with mild and moderate mental retardation and is effective in improving interaction and relationships in this population. Youth learn new skills in a group setting and then transfer and practice these skills in their living area, classroom and community.

Mesabi clinicians introduce new skills to these clients at a pace that matches their learning abilities and emphasize repetition in a highly structured environment. The youth are taught to utilize visual cues such as storyboards for each activity and depict their schedules in pictures and symbols.

For more information on this program or to make a referral, call 218.258.2274 or 800-25-PEACE, ext.2322.