16-year-old Tiffany, who has a history of trauma and aggressive and self-injurious behavior, attended public school until 7th grade. Concerned that their daughter’s needs were not being met, her parents began looking for an alternative school that better understood her behaviors. Upon learning about Pressley Ridge Day School Johnstown, they advocated with their school district to send her there.

Tiffany has been a student at the school for four years now, and Tiffany’s parents couldn’t be more pleased. The highly trained staff understands Tiffany’s issues and have been able to adjust techniques to best suit her needs. Her parents work closely with Tiffany’s team – which includes a certified special education teacher, a behavioral health specialist, and a home community liaison – to ensure that she receives the most effective treatment possible, including full-time emotional support.

Tiffany’s father said, “The Pressley Ridge team has an open mind and have never judged. They work with her to develop her positive traits rather than focusing on the negative. She has formed positive relationships with the staff and her peers at the school because she can see that staff cares about her. At the public school, she was seen as a burden because of her behaviors, but here they understand her history and her diagnosis and are able to compassionately care for her.”

When the pandemic forced the students to abruptly adapt to remote learning in March 2020, Tiffany’s team remained in constant contact with her and her family. They kept her stable from afar through emotional check-ins to see how she was feeling and ensuring that she was prepared for classroom assignments. The change in structure and routine was not easy for Tiffany, but the consistent communication helped her to feel supported.

Since the Pressley Ridge Day School Johnstown’s return to in-person learning, Tiffany has made great progress in her behaviors and social skills. She can self-regulate through music and writing out her feelings and knows when to ask for time or walking breaks to process her emotions.

Tiffany’s team is proud of her progress and remind her daily how much she has grown. Although Tiffany has experienced a great deal of trauma in her life, the staff and her parents are amazed to see how deeply she can love others. When she is smiling and laughing, the joy spreads quickly to everyone around her.