At Risk Students


Special Needs

Families who have children experiencing emotional or educational problems face special and often complicated challenges. They may benefit from professional assistance in making a variety of critical decisions.

Every family’s situation is unique. Often, families are uncertain and worried about how to proceed. An educational consultant can help the families find appropriate programs that will meet their specific needs.

David S. Parker has spent more than 25 years working with youths in a variety of capacities, and has developed exceptional expertise in the assessment and placement of children-at-risk. He regularly visits programs throughout the country and follows developments nationally to keep abreast of new programs and strategies in education. Mr. Parker works with a broad, diverse network of educational and therapeutic professionals to make the best possible resources available for client families.


All placements begin with an initial assessment. David takes the time to get to know the family and, in particular, the student. A thorough assessment process allows David to gather the information he needs to outline an appropriate plan of action.

The assessment process includes a consultation with the child and the parents and a review of all academic records and testing. It may also involve consultation with the child’s therapist or school teachers and administrators. The objective is to gather all pertinent facts and a history of the student’s behavior, achievement and emotional health, through both formal and informal means. If additional testing is required, the student will be referred to a therapist with whom David maintains close affiliation.

Placement and Programming

Once the assessment process is complete, alternative plans and placement options are discussed with the family. Short- and long-term goals and objectives are outlined. Short-term interventions, such as a wilderness treatment program or home stay combined with tutoring, may be necessary to facilitate change. A short-term program may also be used to provide time to arrange for a longer-term solution.

Many factors are considered in making suggestions for programming, but it is our general philosophy to suggest the least restrictive educational environment possible. David will speak with administrative personnel at targeted programs to ensure that all recommended placements are appropriate and available. Families are then directed to websites and Admissions offices, and references for the recommended programs will be provided.

Placements and services offered may include:

  • Crisis Intervention
  • Therapeutic Wilderness Programs
  • Traditional and Alternative Boarding Schools
  • Therapeutic Boarding Schools
  • Residential Treatment Centers
  • Drug/Alcohol Programs
  • Eating Disorder Treatment and Aftercare
  • Extended Clinical Assessment Facilities
  • Referrals to other specialists
  • Long-Term Commitment

A consultant’s role should not end with placement. David Parker stays in frequent contact with the program and the student. He acts as the child’s advocate and will often visit the program to observe progress first-hand. He will continue to consult with the family and their support team, and will help plan for the next placement or the child’s return home.

Under special circumstances, it is appropriate to hire an attorney or educational advocate to either protect the rights of individual students, approach the local school district for funding or to intervene with hearings or the courts. We work closely with a number of well-established attorneys and educational advocates who specialize in legal defense and special education law.