Typically parents bring a daughter or a son to enroll at MA. On that day a new student, his parents, and the MA staff and students, have key tasks to accomplish.
For a new student, enrollment is a boggling series of friendly introductions: to senior staff, therapist, team-leader and mentor. In those first days a new student will receive a Student Handbook and an orientation, and his mentor will introduce him to the teachers, his team staff and other team-mates. The team-leader will check in a new student’s belongings, assign bed, and help her to join the team. Her therapist will set up a first individual therapy session and dedicate the first group therapy session to a warm welcome. At school a new student shadows her mentor until her Academic Advisor assigns her to her own classes. In the first week the Medical Director and Nurse meet with her to review medical problems and medications, if any.
For parents, enrollment involves a few equally-important tasks: an introduction to senior staff; a signing of consents, a delivery of records and a writing of checks; picture-taking; and a slow walk back to the car to help beloved child fetch a backpack and say fare-well.
While a son or daughter then goes off with team-leader and mentor to join a school and a student-body, parents stop in to provide base-line clinical ratings; consult with the Academic Advisor about classes and learning problems; meet with the Medical Director and Nurse to discuss health issues and medications, if any. And then they join the new therapist and clinical consultant (a senior clinician assigned to the team) for a relaxed conversation that is intended to help parents and key staff to get to know one another. The desired outcome of this final talk of the day is an incipient alliance, the start of a friendly collaboration.
At the end of the enrollment day, then, as they drive back over the ridge, parents should have a good feeling for the ranch community in which a beloved girl will now try to make herself at home. As they review the day, winging toward home, they should feel they know the leaders of the ranch community in which a much-loved boy will now try to make his way forward. In anticipation, even before they reach home to await that scheduled call with news from Montana, they should feel they already have a pretty good idea who will be holding the phone at the other end of the line.