Direct compare: Heritage School and Logan River Academy
Please note: Since this was written, Heritage has changed its name to "The Heritage Community" and defined Peers Academy, Elevate Academy, and Launch Academy as having more distinct identities within The Heritage Community. In addition, Heritage is studying the potential benefits and drawbacks mixing genders in some classrooms. Note added February 14, 2018.
Both programs offer significant learning support for those in need of it while offering academically challenging courses for students for whom academics is a strength. At Heritage, two school buildings, one for males and the other for females, keep education gender specific. At Logan River it is co-educational. Neither has a widespread practice of having their students attend a nearby public school, but that would be more likely to occur at Logan River.
Both programs divide their students into separate groupings as to gender and presence or absence of difficulty with social cues, as would be the case with students on the Autism spectrum. Heritage also separates into older and younger, which Logan River does not. However Logan River is less likely to include a large number of students who would fall into the ages of Heritage’s younger groupings and does consider age in treatment planning and activity choices.
At both of these programs the separation into socially challenged (mostly autism spectrum) compared to neurotypical is a relatively new approach. It appears that Logan River wants to see a formal Autism Spectrum diagnosis; Heritage appears to have a slightly broader interpretation of "socially challenged." At Logan River, the two options are called ESSENCE (socially challenged) and Foundations. At Heritage, they are Peers Academy and Elevate Academy. We think the separation between Peers Academy and Elevate Academy may be more rigid than between ESSENCE and Foundations. The separation at Logan River may be little or no more than a difference in curriculum, although we think more is involved than that. The difference at Heritage seems more profound with separate clinical director and the word “Academy” being made part of the names of the separate programs. However, at Heritage the “village” setting means that students from the different “programs within the program” are likely to encounter each other casually while such encounters tend to be programmed at Logan River.
Community involvement and normalization
Heritage has a self-contained campus, with almost anything a person in treatment could want, right there. Logan River has two large buildings at its primary location. We suspect each of these is larger than any single Heritage building. At Logan River, a few smaller buildings (Tavasi and Maple Rise Academy) are scattered about with none within walking distance. This leads to Logan River being very careful to find very creative ways to help their students to intersect with people and activities in the larger community.
Logan River has been operating a transition program for boys who have made significant improvement in the program and now need to face more challenges of the real world. That part of the program is known as “Tavasi.” Logan River also has a separate house for students 18 or 19 years old who have not completed high school. While some transition support is naturally built into this, it is more about program completion separated from younger residents according to Utah law. Heritage is actively working on developing more sophisticated transition services both at its site in Provo and involving distance support back home. They project an announcement in January 2017. Currently, Transition services at Heritage are individually determined. They may include employment on campus or off. We hope to report these here when announced.
Spiritual/ Religious support -- Heritage offers what we believe is the most sophisticated spiritual/ religious support program anywhere. Logan River, consistent with what is common in this business will assist their students in getting to religious services of their own faith if requested. As is true at most programs in Northern Utah, LDS (Mormon) volunteers from nearby churches will go to the Logan River campus for support of LDS students. Rabbi Benny Zippel is available to Jewish students. Rabbi Zippel only interacts with students pursuant to arrangements made directly with parents. LDS volunteers do not access non LDS students unless by request and prior parental approval.
Corporate Status We give both Heritage and Logan River high marks for putting their students/ residents first. Logan River Academy is a Limited Liability Corporation, while Heritage School is a 501 (c) (3) not for profit corporation. Heritage functions as a mission driven non profit entity. Logan River is investor financed and expects a return on the investment. However we have not seen evidence that either facility compromises care in order to enhance its financial position. The last time we checked Heritage's published daily rate was a bit higher than Logan River Academy although they are probably too close to each other to be a deciding factor. However Logan River may be more open than Heritage to giving some families a rate adjustment to allow some families to get services they can afford. We strongly recommend that families of limited means with a son or daughter who might benefit from these programs, talk to both programs regarding what these programs might do to accommodate the need.
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Last Update September 18, 2016, except for dated note in bold italics at top of page and name change at top if this page reflecting name change at Heritage.