The Residential Treatment Institution Planina
The Residential treatment Institution (hereinafter referred to as »the institution«) provides social services in the field of education and upbringing for children and adolescents with behavioural and emotional disorders as well as those with mild intellectual disability, who are unable to attend a mainstream education.
The basic legal grounds for a children and adolescents admission are either a legally binding decision issued by a Social Work Centre or a legally binding corrective measure issued by a court of law.
Children and adolescents who are referred to the Institution exhibit the following disorders, which are diagnosed, detected and recorded (disruptive behavior is a symptom of various etiologies):
-behavioural and emotional difficulties / behavioural and emotional disorders
-callous unemotional traits
-extremely violent behavior
-mild intellectual disability
-initial stages of mental illness
The admission procedure is initiated by a competent social work centre’s application for a minor's admission. The Institution’s team of dedicated professionals consisting of the headmistress, counsellors, a nurse, a teacher and a special care worker review the application and request additional details if needed. With the parents’ permission, reports of past work from the appropriate social services are requested. A beforehand diagnosis is preferred, particularly with children or adolescents suffering from psychiatric disorders. If such diagnosis cannot be obtained, the minor may be hospitalized in order to establish a diagnosis and, if needed, prescribe medication, with the help of a resident child psychiatrist.
If so requested by the parents or a social work centre, a pre-tour of the Institution may be organized. The professionals will, at the event of such tour, explain to the minor and his/her parents, guardians or fosters the house rules and expectations, as well as the educational and other activities the Institution provides. The team focuses on any expectations the child or his parents/guardians might have as well as real opportunities to resolve the difficulties and help in general. The parents are specifically asked to assist in any possible way -except in cases in which the parents exhibit pathological behaviour (alcohol addiction, mental disorders, causing crime, abuses).
The Institution admits children with mild intellectual disability, severe behavioral and emotional disorders from the 1st grade of elementary school. When and if their elementary school program is completed, they may attend one of the three available short vocational upper secondary educations that the institution offers. Due to intellectual disability, severe behavioural disorders, suspicion of mental illness and other problems some minors cannot attend these programs-they do, however, have the opportunity to receive on the training programs. Literacy training is also provided when necessary. Roma children, prior to inclusion in an educational institution does not go to school, or even never went to school, despite the age of 10, 11 years or more. The population is composed of both genders, two thirds of the population being male.
In recent years, an increased number of minors with severe psychiatric disorders, behavioural and emotional disorders but with average and high intellectual abilities have been admitted. Due to their condition, they have been expelled from the regular educational programs and are now receiving their education in our institution. Most minors who attend our institution come from a low-income background, which usually includes domestic problems. They are faced with social exclusion, feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, oppositional behaviour and direct their feelings towards the Institution itself.
Many young people are experiencing a range of difficulties when they first come to the school, which are compounded by their disaffection towards learning, their negative attitudes towards authority and education and a history of interrupted education, including exclusion from mainstream schools. As a result of their difficulties they may have been out of school for long periods of time. Our aim is to enable students to acknowledge and cope with their specific difficulties and assist them in fulfilling their potential through providing positive full-time education.
Spatial and staffing conditions:
The Institution's grounds cover approximately 25,000 m², mostly consisting of meadows, forest, lawns, shrubberies and a fenced playground. The Institution's interior covers 2.500 m² and offers school gym (120 m²), classrooms, administrative and service rooms, workshops, practical classes and 5 residential units. There are 9 separate objects maintaining. All functional premises maintain teaching aids and accessories required to provide a comprehensive education.
The Institution and its living community employ 22 special care workers. The programs the Institution provides employ 10 teachers who work in classes and 2 teachers teaching practical classes. The team is composed of 2 counsellors, a psychiatrist and a nurse.
Capacity of the Institution:
The Institutions capacity is determined by the nature of the diagnosed disorders, particularly psychiatric disorders. According to the standards, a therapeutic group may consist of 4 minors -this means that the Institution provides space for 20 minors, divided between 5 distinct groups. The residential unit provide space for 8 individuals.
Educational opportunities in the Institution
This is the only such institution in Slovenia for minors with severe emotional and behavioural disorders who have also mild mental disability, which provides elementary education with adapted curriculum for children with special needs.
Those minors who successfully finished 9 years of compulsory basic education with adapted curriculum or finished 7th grade of compulsory basic education can enrol in short vocational upper secondary education.
Many of these minors are experiencing a range of difficulties when they first come to the school, which are compounded by their disaffection towards learning, their negative attitudes towards authority and education and a history of interrupted education, including exclusion from mainstream schools. As a result of their difficulties they may have been out of school for long periods of time. Our aim is to enable minors to acknowledge and cope with their specific difficulties and assist them in fulfilling their potential through providing positive full-time education.
Educational programs in the Institution
Basic education with adapted curriculum
Pupils attend 9 years of compulsory basic education with adapted curriculum for children with special needs.
Upper secondary education-short term vocational programs
Short vocational programmes take two years and end with a final examination. Upon completion, students are qualified for independent fulfilment of simple vocational tasks which are carried out in accordance with standardised work procedures and appropriate instructions.
Adolescents may enrol three programs of short term vocational programs. Adolescents can enter in any of these programs also during the school year.
The Institution collaborates with local high schools:
- Šolski center Postojna
- Srednja gozdarska in lesarska šola Postojna
- Biotehniški izobraževalni center Ljubljana
Practical lessons for the short-term vocational upper secondary programs take place in workplaces. The process is implemented in practical training workshop and training program work. There are qualified teachers of practical subjects and skills and master craftsmen, who participate in workplace training. For practical lessons in school workshops, students are organised in groups of up to 6 depending on the nature of the lesson.
Students can develop acquired knowledge and skills, work habits and practical training to work with the employer.
- DEPARTMENT OF INTENSIVE TREATMENT
- On 1 Sep 2012, the DEPARTMENT OF INTENSIVE TREATMENT was introduced at the Residential Treatment Institution Planina, which in addition to the educators - teachers also employs a specialist of psychiatry and medical technicians. Intensive and mutually co-ordinated educational & medical treatment represents a novelty in the Slovenian territory and we are currently the only institution offering this programme.
- Indications for admission of children and adolescents into the department of intensive treatment are: minor mental development disorders, diagnosed mental disorder (illness), behavioural and emotional disorders, extremely dangerous and threatening hetero-aggressive behaviour.
- The benefits can be short-term and long-term. The short-term benefits are that the educational & medical treatment of the aforementioned children and adolescents contributes to a significantly decreased number of hospitalisations at the secondary and tertiary health-care levels meaning that our children and adolescents require hospital treatment merely for additional diagnostic purposes, treatment management and observation. Hospitalisations due to abandonment or rejection of treatment, regressive behaviour as well as auto and hetero-aggressive behaviour are no longer necessary. Prior to the introduction of the medical service to the Residential Treatment Institution Planina, adolescents suffering from combined disorders often received insufficient psychiatric treatment, which - after varying lengths of psychiatric hospitalisation in hospital departments - usually ended with dismissal and further exclusive educational treatment at the Residential Treatment Institution Planina. Because of their extremely dangerous hetero-aggressive behaviour, children and adolescents were often hospitalised in closed wards of psychiatric hospitals together with adult patients. There are numerous long-term benefits. Prompt, professional and appropriate actions make it possible for the children and the adolescents to have an opportunity to learn to take care of their own health, to control their emotions and behaviour, and to gain an ability to act intentionally in the future. Tolerant and supporting environment with appropriate incentives and planned conditioning enables operationalisation of more appropriate responses and contributes significantly to the overall rehabilitation. Ongoing management of health risks and problems has a positive long-term effect on the health of high-risk groups of children and adolescents.
- Doctrinal positions: The relevant and modern doctrine from international and national expert environments has been adjusted and transferred to the institution's level, where medically trained staff with it previously acquired expertise acts in accordance with the guidelines that have been prescribed for these types of mental disorders and behaviours in other environments - medical, rehabilitation and educational institutions.
- Additional qualifications of the medical staff: The medical staff is trained in early identification of hetero and auto-aggressive behaviour, which may - without prior de-escalation techniques - escalate to aggression of a higher magnitude and may consequently threaten the adolescent in question, his/her environment, other adolescents as well as surrounding objects. The medical staff at the Residential Treatment Institution Planina devotes its entire expertise to such cases and are able to - through early detection - halt outbreaks of aggression and other outbursts, and protect them from unwanted events thereby avoiding the need for involuntary hospitalisation. The medical technicians have also included educational groups for educational & medical work among the relief techniques. With these groups we wish to achieve a higher level of health awareness.
- The tasks of the medical staff: In addition to de-escalation techniques, the medical staff at the Institution is also responsible for the regular taking of prescribed medical therapy, its proper application and assessment of its effects. It is also qualified to manage the side effects of the treatment. The continuity of the medical service at the Residential Treatment Institution Planina is an important element which - in addition to exhaustive documentation - shows all activities of the medical service at the institution, which is available around the clock and therefore covers all parts of the day, that show the specific dynamics of the intensive unit's operation throughout the day, as the adolescent outbreaks in the intensive unit are prevented by avoiding difficult situations, which are foreseen in advance as its number, time and duration are regularly recorded in the medical documentation. On the basis of the documentation, a plan is later formulated through which we attempt to avoid the aforementioned situations. Activities of the medical service at the institution also include advanced escort duties to various diagnostic examinations and therapeutic procedures, where technicians carry out a proper hand-over of adolescents and clarify to the other competent medical staff the adolescent's problems. The adolescents therefore find themselves in the care of trained staff at all times; the staff is available to them night and day for any kind of problem they may face. The medical staff is also responsible for proper diet by taking part in the preparation of the menus that contain foodstuffs from the food pyramid thereby helping us to manage the adolescents' body weight which is also important for their health, well-being, self-image and it reduces the need to medical services in the long run. They are also indispensable at personal hygiene where special attention has been paid to dental hygiene.
Life in the Institution:
Children and adolescents live in five separate houses, near the Institution’s main building. Each provides space for 4 individuals or more, depending on their diagnosis. During the day, each group is accompanied by three educators in turn. Two educators are responsible for the residents of each unit during the night. Modern standard in separate houses accommodation provides a great deal of privacy and security, including the individuality and needs of each child and adolescent. On the other hand, children and adolescents learn to be important contributors to the community.
During the week, life of the minors enrolled in the institution closely resembles one of most children during their educational period. The day begins at 6.30am: getting up, taking care of personal hygiene, breakfast and cleaning of a minor’s bedroom all take place before starting classes. After lunch, minors have some time devoted to leisure activities, talking and certain assignments. During their assignments time, minors are accompanied by two special care workers, who help those with mild learning disabilities to complete their assignments. The evening is devoted to leisure. At 10pm it is time to rest. During the weekend, when most individuals visit their family members, life in the institution is much more relaxed. Individuals are permitted to sleep in and spend the day in various activities. Much attention is given to the development of healthy eating habits.
Extracurricular activities and educational-adventure projects
Although pupils and students, as well as all employees together every year celebrate a school successes in all these programs, numerous adventure-pedagogical projects can add even more pleasure and positive experiences of hikes, tours and guidance in nature, cycling, horseback riding, music activities with a therapeutic focus, fashion shows, art activities, various sports projects, exhibitions, articles, fun quizzes, etc.
Parent and Institution collaboration:
Working together with the parents of the minors is an important part of the educational process we provide. Twice a year, parents are invited for an informal meeting, in which the children put on a short play or a similar form of entertainment. After this takes place, there is a series of informal and relaxed consultations with the educators, teachers, special care workers and the Institution's counselling service. This keeps the parents appraised of their child's progress and problems as well as any significant developments in the way the Institution functions. Once a year, the parents are invited to take part in consultations with the professional staff, with whom they collaborate in preparing individual education programs for their child. If the parents, for any reason, can't attend these consultations, they can always contact the Institution by phone. Our cooperation with Social work centres enables us to organize home visits. Self-help groups for parents have proven themselves to be the most beneficial and successful type of cooperation. These once a month meetings of parents with substance abuse problems, managed by two social workers provided several parents with the opportunity to find new efficient ways to manage their problems.
Cooperation with other institutions:
- Social work centres
- University Children’s Hospital- Department of Pediatric neurology in Maribor and Ljubljana
- Psychiatric hospitals
- Ministry of Health
- Human rights department
- Ministry of Justice
- Ministry of Internal Affairs
- Faculty of Arts
- Faculty of Education
- Faculty of Social work
- Various primary and secondary schools
- Various sport-related establishments
After finishing education in Institution Planina:
After finishing the basic education with adapted curriculum the Institution provides, an adolescent may continue to stay in the Institution and attend one of the short term vocational upper secondary programs. When a minor finishes his or her basic education, a meeting is called in which various options are discussed, depending on every minor’s ability. When a student completes the short term vocational upper secondary program, he or she has an opportunity to attend a vocational secondary education school.
An Individuals remission is discussed beforehand, so that an individual may know where he is going. Certain individuals whose mental condition deteriorates during their stay at the Institution, and who require further institutional care, are referred to an institution by means of a claim or a proposal presented to a referral commission (parents, legal guardians, educational facility). A percentage of individuals, usually a single individual per year, are transferred to the correctional institution.
- a professional and humane approach,
- cooperation with the parents and various external institutions,
- treatment of individuals exhibiting psychiatric disorders,
- therapeutic work,
- social skills education,
- various sport activities and competitions,
- opportunities for musical creativity, a house band and music therapy,
- various creative activities,
- emphasis on individual achievement and personal development
- spacious, well resourced learning environment,
- small teaching groups,
- we offer a range of specifically constructed programs targeting various areas of an individual's personality
- Work experience in managing issues specific to the minor demographic