4 Elements of a Credible Adventure Therapy Program for Your Teen with Executive Function Deficits

Finding the right wilderness adventure therapy program for your teen can be an overwhelming process. However, once you find and enroll your teen in the right program, many parents find their child has become less stressed, more adaptable, and better integrated in social situations as a result of the program. To find success, it is crucial to look for the following four elements of a wilderness adventure therapy program:

  1. Program adability
  2. A multidisciplinary approach
  3. A variety of experiences
  4. Emphasis on basic functioning skills

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The Power of Experiential Learning in the Wilderness

Some students with Nonverbal Learning Disorder, ADHD, and Autism Spectrum Disorder are of above average intelligence, and they may be academically successful. On the other hand, they often experience social alienation because of their impulsivity or inability to interpret social cues.

In our last blog post, we discussed how experiential Learning can be a powerful tool in these situations, allowing a student with an executive function deficit to safely experiment with social interactions. For adolescents in particular, this kind of opportunity at such a tender age can offer an individual insight into how to connect with others. For students who struggle making social connections, providing a safe, nurturing environment to experiment and learn can change the course of their lives.

The struggle then becomes: how to best implement Experiential Learning in the daily lives of individuals with severe ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Nonverbal Learning Disorder

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What is Experiential Learning and How Can It Help Your Child?

Experiential Learning refers to non-traditional education that involves, essentially, learning by doing. The process, developed by psychologist David Kolb, requires the student to have a hands-on experience, reflect on the results of that experience, and then to apply this reflection to the lesson again. It typically requires the student to select the area of study for the lesson, and then leads to a “transforming experience” resulting in the creation of a very concrete understanding.

The reflection time during and after the exercise allows the student to connect the lesson to daily life, in addition to finding ways to practically implement their new learning. This process is often facilitated by an educator who asks the student questions, such as: (more…)

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