Author Topic: Vantage Point, Utah (Aspiro)  (Read 5472 times)

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Offline physics_gal

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Vantage Point, Utah (Aspiro)
« on: August 28, 2010, 04:56:38 PM »
Their web site (remove the spaces):
http: //www. vantagept. org/home

What do you think of this program? Does anyone have experience with it?

The web site is very "positive"-oriented, with lots of talk about how kids will learn "self-efficacy" and stating outright that they don't try to "break" kids.

On the other hand, some really troubling signs...

--Average cost seems to be around $30k, a huge amount of money
--Parent communication is limited; one letter a week, and the kid has to be approved to make phone calls--censoring is very possible
--Some of the activities described include things like hiking... high altitude, long distance; enjoyable for me but I walk a few miles every day for fun; these kids may not be
--They include "primitive living skills" as an activity... red flag for me.
--They accept a wide variety of problems... this inevitably means that the gullible, socially clumsy autistic kid will be in with the charismatic class bully...
--There's no mention of accredited school being available. This is a long-term program; there really should be, or the kids would fall behind academically. The only useful education they seem to get is half a credit of English.
--There are some grammatical and spelling errors on the web page.
--The program seems highly physically demanding; a 10 mile hike mightn't be bad, but three days in a row, with a heavy backpack?... With teens who may very well be unused to walking even one mile, and constantly outdoors? There seems to be potential for abuse here, but whether it's exploited is the question...

I'm asking about this because I want to know whether I should be worried about being associated with this program... I have friends who have been victims of institutional abuse, and have experienced some myself, and do not want to do anything that could possibly make the problem worse.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: August 28, 2010, 07:51:15 PM by physics_gal »

Offline psy

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Re: Vantage Point, Utah (Aspiro)
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2010, 05:48:58 PM »
I would worry about being associated with any program.  You can be 90% sure that a program is relatively safe but you can never truly be sure.  That being said i'd say the #1 red flag is the communications thing.  There is no legitimate purpose for such action that justifies the risk it creates.
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Joel

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Edited: Wednesday, October 06, 2010
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2010, 05:52:55 PM »
Edited: Wednesday, October 06, 2010
« Last Edit: October 08, 2010, 02:09:38 AM by Joel »

Offline Pile of Dead Kids

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Re: Vantage Point, Utah (Aspiro)
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2010, 06:41:28 PM »
First off, welcome to Fornits.

Censoring isn't "very possible"; it's what's happening. Phone calls are monitored, bet on it.

Your post can be summarized as "Hmm, it looks like there might be a fair chance of a kid being abused. Should a kid be sent there?" Are you really typing that? Whose kid is this, anyway? (That's the normal reason people ask questions about programs on Fornits, unless you're planning on being associated with them in some other capacity. In which case, consider infiltration.)

Your name is physics_gal so you probably have some concept of experimental procedure. No reliable studies have been done showing that these places actually work. Every time a new "study" pops out of the woodwork, it turns out to be sponsored by the programs, of dubious quality, results cherry-picked or pulled from thin air, etc, etc. The closest anyone has ever come to an overall study is probably this (Government Accountability Office).

Also, just an FYI: if they kill him, his name's going on the list.
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Offline physics_gal

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Re: Vantage Point, Utah (Aspiro)
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2010, 07:46:36 PM »
Is there somebody I can PM about this stuff? I don't want them knowing who's making inquiries.

And yeah, I'm well aware there's no proof these programs work. I think that just about any program that doesn't take place in "real life" or do anything to repair the family system is going to be useless for anything other than crisis stabilization. I think residential treatment in general, whether the clients are disabled, mentally ill, or "troubled teens", has too much of a power differential between the staff and the clients to be a useful treatment method beyond the limited (and again, ideally very short-term) application of resolving suicidal crisis or preventing dangerous situations resulting from psychosis.

I did put down "physics gal" for a name, and that's my main focus, but I've studied psychology quite a bit... think of me as a bit of an all-purpose nerd.
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Offline psy

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Re: Vantage Point, Utah (Aspiro)
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2010, 08:08:35 PM »
Quote from: "physics_gal"
Is there somebody I can PM about this stuff? I don't want them knowing who's making inquiries.

Sure.  Go ahead and PM me.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
Benchmark Young Adult School - bad place [archive.org link]
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"Our services are free; we do not make a profit. Parents of troubled teens ourselves, PURE strives to create a safe haven of truth and reality." - Sue Scheff - August 13th, 2007 (fukkin surreal)

Offline Che Gookin

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Re: Vantage Point, Utah (Aspiro)
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2010, 10:40:35 PM »
A repair of the family requires the entire family being present to sort through the family dynamics. Shipping junior or barbie off to brat camp isn't going to help the family learn to work together and more importantly learn to respect each other.
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Offline physics_gal

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Re: Vantage Point, Utah (Aspiro)
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2010, 01:58:19 PM »
Thank you guys a whole bunch for your advice (you especially, psy). I'm doing some more research now about the problem of "troubled teen" abuse. I've already studied institutional abuse somewhat; this seems like more of the same, only "justified" because the kids are somehow "bad"... Note the quotation marks, as it seems that the worst these kids were guilty of was being foolish and young and making mistakes. Nobody deserves the kind of treatment I'm hearing about, whether they are disabled, mentally ill, or a "troubled teen"... and the lack of accountability related to taking kids out to the wilderness for "therapy" quite frankly scares me. The potential for abuse seems huge even when intentions are good; and when they aren't... you get tragedy.
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Offline Ursus

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Re: Vantage Point, Utah (Aspiro)
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2012, 01:53:29 PM »
Quote from: "Aether"
Bump for relevance, on my part that I should mention the censoring aspect of the program-- I don't know what may have changed since I left (or how different it was before I got there), but when I attended the only form of communication that wasn't limited was through letter-writing; "Dr." Day was insistent that while mail was monitored for protocol/safety measures, nothing would be censored so as to promote the sense of radical honesty and openness between attendees and their parents.

Needless to say, phone calls were an entirely different story due to the potential for prime time manipulation (in layman's terms, they were wary of the emotion that could be conveyed through voice rather than writing); as a friend in program pointed out to me, "What are you going to do with a letter, put in parenthesis "crying deeply?!"

 :eek:
Just how honest do you think this forced and/or strenuously recommended "radical honesty" can possibly be ... under the conditions orchestrated by a program?
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Offline eaglet

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Re: Vantage Point, Utah (Aspiro)
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2012, 02:42:51 AM »
The "Proficio" thread ends with Kimbal DeLaMar's (kids-WRA-Aspiro) latest venture "Bestnotes" viewtopic.php?f=9&t=27534&start=45  
I think that the "therapeutic" encouragement of "honesty" is a way to get material for blackmail. While they control the medium of communication they are collecting ammo.
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Offline Ursus

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Re: Vantage Point, Utah (Aspiro)
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2012, 12:08:48 AM »
Quote from: "eaglet"
I think that the "therapeutic" encouragement of "honesty" is a way to get material for blackmail. While they control the medium of communication they are collecting ammo.
I'm sure that's not how program apologists would choose to describe it! :D

But... the way you put it is, in fact, what frequently ends up happening.

A perhaps sobering qualifier worth mentioning: Due to the duress of coercion or the spell of idealistic fervor, whichever the case may be, that so-called "ammo" is often not real, or is distorted and taken out of context, or is sometimes even consciously fabricated by the target in question.
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