NATSAP Members to Present at Fall IECA

Ray Estefania, MS, LMHC, CAP, CIP, ICADC will be presenting in New Orleans this year at the IECA conference along with Maureen MacConnell from Red Oak Recovery. The presentation is a master class titled “Complexities of Addiction and Mental Health Care in Young Adulthood” on Nov. 5 at 10 am. We look forward to seeing you in NOLA!

Mac and Estafania

7 Things You Might Not Know About Spectrum College Transition Program

Spectrum College Transition Program

  1. We are co-ed.
  2. We offer a 12 month program, for students who are not ready to return home, and an Academic Year Program, for students who are able to go home for 1 and 2 week academic breaks.
  3. We work with LGBT students.
  4. 100% of our population has Asperger’s Syndrome, and is considered academically Twice-Exceptional.
  5. We are the first Asperger’s Fraternity house in the United States with a Sorority being established this year!
  6. We are a small, supportive program, and only accept 12 students.
  7. Our students either attend Community College, Vocational Program, Internship, or Job!

To see a short video highlighting Spectrum College Transition Program’s Fraternity house, click here:



In 2015, NATSAP started a “Spotlight on our Member Programs”, where we focused on one Member each week and highlighted them on our Social Networking sites. NATSAP recently started our new feature: 7 Things You Might Not Know About (Program Name)!

Let’s showcase what makes our programs stand out! Send your 7 bullet point list of what makes your program unique to as well as any pictures that you would like to share.

Letter from the Mother of a New Leaf Academy Grad


I’ve been asked by a few NLA staff how Ella is doing, so thought I’d write a summary. Please feel free to pass this along to other team members. Thank you!


Ella is doing really well. I’m so amazed at how she’s been able to transition from tiny NLA/Young School to a public, co-ed high school of 650 with class sizes around 30 students. Currently she is finishing up her sophomore year, and has maintained a solid GPA. I definitely believe the great education she received at Young School gave her the foundation and skills to be successful in a large school setting. She’s always found math and science to be a challenge; as a result we sought out a tutor for these subjects. Ella willingly attends and benefits greatly from weekly 2-hour tutoring sessions.


The tools Ella learned through her NLA therapeutic experience have helped her get through many challenging situations… many of them at home as we all work through life together! She has been making really good choices as far as friends and activities. I let her know often that I’m very proud of how she has adjusted to life here. It is such a change from NLA. Since her August 2015 graduation, we have been able to stick with our NLA home plan, with just a few adjustments. It has been a valuable guide in terms of technology expectations, curfew, bedtime, etc. Ella continues to work on maintaining respectful communication with us and her brother. But this area is much-improved from before NLA and she is much more receptive to our feedback and consequences.


Ella’s NLA soccer experience definitely sparked an interest in the sport – for which we are very grateful. She is now in the middle of the girls’ high school soccer season, practicing 5x a week and competing in regular games. She is holding her own on the JV squad (a very strong, competitive team), while keeping up with school, chores, and an active social life. She continues to care for her bunny, Amanda. She has developed a number of friendships, some new and others previous to NLA. She dated a young man (also a soccer player) in the Fall which lasted a few months. It was a good opportunity for my husband and I to formulate dating expectations. She’s “hung out” with a few other boys since then, but nothing serious yet. (That’s OK with us!)


Over Spring Break, Ella participated in a lifeguard training course. I was really proud of her dedication— it was 30 hours of intensive training. She learned CPR, how to use an auto defibrillator, and all kinds of water rescue techniques. Although she didn’t obtain the certification (she didn’t pass the written test), the experience gave her a great foundation for future certification, if she wants to try again. She’s quite anxious to get a part-time job, more than anything so she can begin saving up for her own car. (For Ella, and most teens, CAR=FREEDOM!) At this point, however, she does not have a learning permit, so it will be a while before she is driving on her own.


Looking forward to summer, Ella is very excited about attending the Fine Arts Camp she’s been going to for a number of years. She’ll be taking a variety of art and acting classes. There is also a week-long soccer camp led by players from Brazil which I’m hoping Ella will attend. She may get a part-time job, but if this doesn’t work out, I’m hoping to arrange a few different volunteer options for Ella to gain experience and keep busy.


Long-term, Ella has expressed a desire to study psychology in college. This in part could be due to her NLA experience.:) Where she will go and what kind of post-secondary school remains to be determined as we get a little closer to her graduation date. Looking back on her time at NLA, Ella has previously told me that she misses the girl camaraderie. She also misses some of the staff that she grew close with. And – she misses the Bend sunshine! It’s very possible that Ella will want to come back for a visit in the next year or two.



We have lots of great stories to tell. It’s time we told them.


NATSAP has begun highlighting the stories that we have received from parents and former students. Please send your stories to and as always feel free to peruse the Journal of Therapeutic Schools and Programs for the hard data that we love so much.

Midwest Regional Conference

Abbey Resort


We want to remind you of a few upcoming deadlines for the Midwest Regional Conference!


Call for Papers 

If you are interested in presenting at the 2016 NATSAP Midwest Regional Conference, the Call for Papers deadline for receipt of proposals is July 1, 2016.


If you plan on submitting, please complete the application in its entirety, including the following:

  • An abstract of 300-500 words prepared specifically for this request of papers.
  • Please include a brief summary (100 words or less).
  • A copy of your curriculum vitae or resume, including a short (4-6 line) biographical statement.
  • A list of prior presentations to regional and conferences for the last two years.

For more information, please read this document.

Excellence in Service Awards

The awards will highlight the amazing front line staff, therapists, teachers, nurses, etc. that make our programs so great. Submissions include a paragraph about what makes the staff amazing and a picture of the staff at work. Anyone may submit nominations for these awards at this time to NATSAP Director of Conferences, Darnella Parks or Conference Committee Co-Chair Denae Green


Please let us know if you have any questions! We are looking forward to hosting the conference at our new location in Lake Geneva this year! We hope you can join us!



Big Location Changes to the Midwest Conference!

Abbey Resort

This year the NATSAP Midwest Regional Conference will be held at the Abbey Resort on the shores of Lake Geneva. The conference will begin on Tuesday September 13th with a welcome reception and the full conference will begin Wednesday September 14th.

Join your colleagues as they listen to accomplished speakers and stay current with the latest trends in residential treatment, wilderness therapy, and therapeutic schools. The Call for Papers is now available and we are currently accepting nominations for the NATSAP Excellence in Service Awards. The Excellence in Service Award is a wonderful opportunity to highlight the amazing front line staff, therapists, teachers, nurses, etc. that make our programs so great.

Preregistration will be announced shortly as well as the schedule for program tours.



Pine River Institute Turns 10!

pine river institute

One-of-a-kind program turns 10!

TORONTO, Ontario, June 6, 2016 - On this day in 2006, the first student and family made the trip up the long and winding driveway at Pine River Institute (PRI) near Shelburne, Ontario; a road more than 300 young people have since taken with their families.

They arrive to us at a time of crisis in their lives, struggling with addictive behaviours and often concurrent mental health issues. Pine River is a family-centered residential program based on the developmental needs of adolescents, and grounded in best practices for substance abuse treatment for youth. It is the only treatment centre of its kind in Canada, and is accredited by the internationally recognized Council on Accreditation (COA).

Over the past 10 years that single student has become 29 beds funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care via the Toronto Central LHIN, with others joining them on a fee for service basis. We have honed the program with a consistent vision and approach.  Pine River has attracted a group of passionate and supremely talented staff. And thanks to PRI’s commitment to research and evaluation, we can show that our approach works for a large majority who complete the program.

Our program is unique in Canada; we combine wilderness experience, residential treatment, education, and aftercare, with a strong emphasis on family work. Every phase of the program is individualized, and length of stay is variable.

–Vaughan Dowie, CEO Pine River Institute

To learn more about Pine River please visit

Barb Jessup

Director of Communications (and Pine River alumni parent)

Phone: 647-824-1560