I journeyed to beautiful Charlotte in North Carolina to spend the week with my colleagues at Alexander Youth Network (AYN). AYN’s main campus or headquarters, and the home of its Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) and one of their Day Treatment Programs, is located on a picturesque 60 acre property with buildings nestled in a woodland area with open grounds and recreation areas for their clients. This campus also houses facilities including a gym, indoor swimming pool and cafeteria.
AYN is a non-profit community based organisation receiving funding from fees for services (medicaid, insurance and the like) as well as contributions from individuals, corporations, foundations and government agencies. AYN serves children ages 5 to 18, who are referred from hospitals, physicians, parents, schools and from state and county organisations such as department of social services and juvenile justice. AYN serve over 7000 children each year.
AYN provide an array of mental health treatment for serious emotional and behavioural difficulities including: diagnostic and outpatient services, community based programs, multisytemic day therapy, therapeutic foster care and an onsite, 36 bed psychiatric residential treatment facility. The idea being that children, young people and families accessing their services can move from service to service with established working relationships of trust within the one organisation. Added to this is the strong grounding the staff have in child development, trauma, attachment and neurodevelopment as a core component of their orientation and ongoing training.
AYN offers services such as:
- Individual therapy including EMDR, play therapy, sand tray and an awesome play room furnished largely by donation and financial grants
- Art Therapy including pottery and their very own kiln
- A ropes course for adventure therapy
- A Labyrinth
- Occupational Therapy with a motor and sensory furnished room including a swing and tunnels.
- Physical Therapy
Edited version of a post written by: Michelle (Chelle) Taylor, Clinical Psychologist and NMT Consultant, Take Two Program