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National Deaf Academy

Orlando, FL



Boys and Girls

Call admissions department for current tuition.

National Deaf Academy serves an extremely diverse, and at times neurologically complicated, population. Since opening in 2000, our clinicians have determined that a “quick and easy” classification of our frequently complex residents is both difficult, as well as counterproductive to the treatment process.

As a result, we do things a bit differently.

First and foremost, all residents are required by state law to be separated by chronological age, with children and adolescents housed and programmed separately from adults over the age of 18. The exception, of course, is in The Charter School, where class groupings are determined by each resident’s academic and developmental level of functioning.

No two residents are the same. Therefore, we prefer not to place residents into generic groups based on a general diagnosis. All clinical subgroups deal with issues relating to mood, behavioral control and optimal real-life functioning. The Treatment Team considers a wide range of clinical criteria, outlined below, to best determine the ideal group placement for each individual resident.

Clinical Criteria for Group Placement:
• Communication Style & Ability
• Developmental Level
• Cognitive Functioning
• Psychiatric Diagnosis
• Motivation & Cooperation
• Age & Gender

Following the Treatment Team’s review of the criteria listed above, the resident is assigned to the clinical sub-group best suited for their unique constellation of symptoms and strengths. Sub-groups typically have 4 or 5 residents, and every attempt is made to place them together in the same dormitory bedroom, with its own private bathroom. Specially trained staff members work with the same sub-groups over time, assuring consistency in treatment and familiarity between staff and patients.

The beauty of NDA is that the sub-groupings are not set in stone. In fact, the Treatment Team may opt to move a resident from one sub-group to another based on how they are doing at any given point in time, and in response to their changing needs. This provides us with an opportunity to adjust to the resident’s changes as they progress through treatment and to not leave them in a stagnant grouping when they are evolving. In short, what is appropriate for one clinical sub-group may not be feasible for another group.

National Deaf Academy - Residential treatment center and mental health care facility for deaf children, adolescents and adults located in Florida.

Admission to any of the clinical programs at National Deaf Academy requires a formal application as specified below. Ms. Renee Milsap and Ms. Elena Moore are available throughout the business day to answer questions, to assist with the application process and to discuss funding options. Once the background documents are received, the Admissions Committee will review the application with 24 hours in order to quickly provide the referral source with a formal letter of acceptance, or specific reasons for denial. If the individual or custodial parent wishes to proceed with admission our highly trained staff will help the referral source work with Medicaid, private insurance companies and other payor sources to secure funding. Admissions are scheduled based upon confirmation of funding and bed availability.

Required Referral Documentation:

• Psychiatric and/or psychological report
• Current List of all Medications
• Copy of Insurance or Medicaid Card
(front and back of card)
• Medical History
(including reports from recent physical, dental and eye exams)
• Copy of Birth Certificate
• Immunization Record
• Special Education Triennial Evaluation
• School Transcript
(for high school students)
• Social History
(if not included in psych evals)
• Developmental Ophthalmology Evaluation
(if visually impaired)
• Speech and Language Evaluation
(if receiving speech services)
• Audiological Evaluation
(if using hearing aids)
• Custody Order
(when necessary)
• Signed Release Forms Between NDA and Previous Providers/Schools

Affiliated with NDA is The Charter School at National Deaf Academy (CSNDA). CSNDA is a Florida Department of Education chartered public school. It is located on the campus of NDA. As such, the two organizations work as partners to simultaneously provide quality mental health care, and K thru 12 special education services to all NDA residents under 22 years of age, who have not graduated from high school. CSNDA is staffed with Florida certified Deaf Education Teachers who are fluent in ASL. The classrooms are intensely staffed with a 1:3 staff to student ratio. The school is open 12 months of the year and operates on a quarterly schedule.

The Charter School at National Deaf Academy is under the supervision of Rebecca Hilding, CSNDA Director. An independent Board of Directors works with Rebecca Hilding to ensure education of the highest caliber, in conjunction with intensive psychotherapeutic services. Specialized programming includes: honors classes, remedial education, literacy programs, adult education, pre-vocational skills training and a highly specialized classroom for Autistic, Developmentally Delayed and Deaf-Blind students. All students have the ability to learn and utilize modern technology through individual instruction in CSNDA’s state-of-the-art computer lab.

As an adjunct to academic services, Deaf and Hard of Hearing students also receive services from a certified audiologist, speech and language pathologist, school psychologist, physical therapist and occupational therapist. These services are prescribed, on an individual basis, and documented in the student’s Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). IEP meetings always include the custodial parent, as well as an assortment of educational and mental health professionals from both the student’s home school and/or CSNDA.

As a result of a grant from the Abel Trust, CSNDA has been able to introduce The Bridges Program into its curriculum. This program is designed to improve memory, coordination, attention span and sensory integration for the many Deaf and Hard of Hearing students with concomitant neurological disorders.

NDA recognizes the need to provide consistent and dependable services to all residents regardless of clinical presentation. Included among our regular services are:

• Daily Group Psychotherapy
• Daily Recreational Therapy (including off-campus outings)
• Daily Community Meetings
• Weekly one-to-one Psychotherapy Session
• Weekly Family Therapy
• Weekly Psychiatric Session

• Occupational, Physical and Speech Therapy (as required)
• Addictions Services and AA meetings (as required)
• Nursing and General Medical Care
• Independent Living Skills Training

In addition to our 24-hour team of Registered Nurses, a local pediatrician and Nurse Practitioner provide sick calls seven days per week. Rest assured that no seclusion or mechanical restraint is used at National Deaf Academy. NDA is proud to be accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals Organization (JCAHO).

National Deaf Academy takes enormous pride in our extraordinary campus. It has always been our belief that an aesthetically pleasing environment—especially for this population of visually sensitive kids and adults—is a critical piece of the treatment puzzle. Every inch of the National Deaf Academy facility has been renovated to produce a warm and inviting atmosphere, critical to the creation of a “home-like” environment.

In March 2005, we expect to open our state-of-the-art 10,000 square foot gymnasium and activity center. This incredible building will house a private movie theatre, student-run snack bar, arts and crafts room, climbing wall, exercise pavilion, four separate basketball courts, a volleyball court and an outside Bar-B-Q!

In 2004 the Florida Association of the Deaf awarded National Deaf Academy the Employer of the Year Award. National Deaf Academy employs a culturally and ethnically diverse group of professionals and paraprofessionals. Deaf individuals hold important positions throughout the entire hierarchy of the company, including therapists, teachers and supervisors. Graduates of Gallaudet University, Western Maryland College, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rollins College and many other colleges and universities are employed at National Deaf Academy. Several of the NDA staff have published books and/or articles in leading Deafness, Addictions, Education or Mental Health journals.

Residential Treatment Center


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