Want to learn more about The Academy of Physical and Social Development? Browse answers to common inquiries we receive from families and students in Newton and the surrounding area.

Part of our intake process is to find the right service for your child. Potential options include group, individual counseling or a consultation. For a group to be the best option, your child will need to be a match with an existing group’s physical, developmental and emotional composition as well as have congruent goals and needs. We do not arbitrarily place children by age and grade.

The maximum commitment to a group is 14 weeks. However, most children attend for the remainder of the school year once they begin, and many continue into the next year. Groups are very consistent and range in size from 2 - 7 members. We go to great lengths to preserve the privacy of the children. Therefore, we do not place children who go to school together in the same group.

Our strength-based model emphasizes what the children do well and highlights the positive contributions they are making. In our groups, the model is "learn-by-doing". Children will learn to communicate, problem-solve, negotiate and understand the causes and effects of their behavior by sharing a safe environment with other children.

We encourage parents to use the session time in a way that makes sense for them -- whether that means running errands or sitting in the waiting room working, reading or talking to other parents. We do try and preserve the privacy and confidentiality of the group members. Therefore, observation is not allowed. However, we encourage reaching out to your child's counselor for specific details on how things are going in the group and updates reguarding your child’s progress.

Groups are held Monday through Thursday afternoons at 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 5:00pm and 6:20pm. Group starting times may also be staggered slightly for space accommodations. Typically, the later into the day a group is, the older the children that comprise it will be. For example, the 2:30pm group is usually kindergarteners, while the 6:20pm groups are generally middle or high school students. To allow for proper spacing and distancing, groups may also be developed at alternative times to the examples listed above.

Most games at The Academy involve the group working together for a common goal. The success of one member depends upon the success of another. The more the group works together, the more success they will find. Problem -solving games in which the group must communicate and figure out a challenge (e.g., how to get from point A to point B without touching some of the obstacles in the way) are frequently employed. We also create team obstacle courses that can be used to work on a achieving a best for the time group, games that have staff members playing against the group, challenges that encourage children to push themselves beyond their self-imposed limitations and more.

Each activity is a tool for facilitating the growth of group members and their relations with one another. Counselors carefully select activities that they feel the group can master while effectively addressing the inherent social-emotional challenges the exercises present.

Our activities are designed to address developmental tasks such as social skills, self-confidence, assertiveness, responsibility, frustration tolerance, emotional management and a positive sense of self and self-esteem.

One way to describe the Academy is a place to meet new kids and try new activities as well as learn new and different ways to make friends. If you have used specific language with your child in discussing what is hard for them, you should use the same language. For instance, "You know how we have talked about it being challenging to go up to kids and make friends? Well, The Academy is a place that helps children learn how to do that -- and best of all, you get to play games while practicing."

Yes. We encourage a great deal of formal and informal communication. Parents attend our open houses throughout the year, have us collaborate with teachers and other professionals who work with your child (signed waivers required) and schedule conferences with leaders (one formal conference per fourteen-week period). Phone calls and check-ins when drop-off or picking-up are welcomed as well. We want to stay connected to you.

The average length that a child stays in the program is 1.5 years (about 60 weeks).

Generally not. However, under unique circumstances, if an individual clinician (not The Academy) is a provider, then limited reimbursement may be possible.