Wediko Children's Services
|Founded||1934 by Dr. Robert A. Young|
|Focus||Providing therapeutic services and programs for children, families, and schools|
|Key people||Executive Director Harry W. Parad, Ph.D.|
|Slogan||"Restoring Hope Together"|
Wediko Children's Services is a non-profit organization which provides therapeutic and educational services to children with serious emotional and behavioral problems and their families. It was founded in 1934.
Wediko provides residential treatment, consultation, and school-based therapeutic services to children and families struggling with complex psychiatric profiles and disruptive behavior. Wediko treats children with disorders that include, but are not limited to, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), reactive attachment disorder (RAD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Asperger’s syndrome, and nonverbal learning disorder (NLVD).
Wediko is the oldest therapeutic summer camp for children struggling with emotional, social, and behavioral disabilites. The Wediko Summer Program was started in 1934 by Dr. Robert A. Young. The initial goal was to provide a “fresh air” experience for children from the city whose behavior negated other summer options. For the next five years, the program ran at any site available for rental in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. The program was suspended at the beginning of World War II and was reorganized in 1948. Wediko moved to the present 450-acre (180 ha) campus in Windsor, New Hampshire, in 1954. In 1980 Wediko established its School-Based Services working with students, teachers, and school personnel in schools in Boston and surrounding communities. In 1990 the Wediko School was started as a year-round residential program.
Wediko Summer Program
The Wediko Summer Program is a 45-day residential treatment program for boys and girls, ages 7 to 18, struggling with emotional, behavioral, and learning barriers. The Summer Program is located on a 450-acre waterfront campus in Windsor, New Hampshire. The environment is structured to provide a predictable, consistent, and normalizing atmosphere. Building on each child’s strengths and relying on a safety net created by staff, children are encouraged to take risks, make mistakes, and meet challenges they have historically associated with failure. Wediko clinicians work with families to identify and address family issues and to make plans to support each child’s summer accomplishments at home and in school.
Before the summer program begins, the staff at Wediko receive background information on each child from their parents/guardians, therapists, and teachers. This information provides the groundwork to devise a customized plan for each child based on his or her specific needs in terms of their emotional, social, and academic pursuits. As cited in her book, “Behind the One-Way Mirror,” Fishman describes how one clinician went through this process, and came up with a treatment plan for a child who felt unsafe and often coerced. Fishman (1995) noted that “the words safe and unsafe, like appropriate and inappropriate, are Wediko-speak: while adult observers may soon tire of them, for the kids they are easy to understand and comfortable to use.” The clinicians identify and target the children’s strengths and weaknesses, and devise a therapeutic treatment plan to work on improving both. The entire process that Wediko staff and children go through over the course of the summer program has been the subject of many psychological researchers, such as Katharine Davis Fishman.
Along with daily therapy and structured activities, the children participating in the Wediko Summer Program receive educational services for a few hours each day at “Think City,” the scholastic portion of the program. As Fishman noted, “the point of Think City is Wediko’s understanding that competence in school is fundamental to children’s mental health; teachers aim to have the children think about school as a place where they can do well.” 
The Wediko Summer Program aims to help improve the quality of life for each child and their family based upon their individual situations. This means not only working with the children in the New Hampshire setting, but also working with the families in family therapy sessions. As Harry Parad, longtime Wediko clinicians and current Executive Director explained to Fishman (1995), ‘if we’re not working with the family, any progress the child makes during the summer, the child has to figure out how to incorporate into the family and that isn’t realistic.’ For Wediko, working with both children and families is essential to the success of their program.
Wediko School-Based Services works with children, their families, and their schools in over 21 schools located in six cities. Wediko clinicians provide therapy (individual, family, and group) in schools and in a small outpatient clinic. Collaborating with families, schools, and other service providers, clinicians are able to assist children in all the important contexts in their lives. Since 1997, Boston Public Schools have contracted with Wediko to run a therapeutic summer school program for special education students. Wediko also offers training seminars and workshops on topics such as positive behavior interventions and supports, trauma-sensitive schools, and whole-school improvement. In September of 2011, Wediko expanded to New York City to provide school-based services with children and families in New York City public schools.
The Wediko School is a year-round residential program which provides therapeutic and educational services to boys, ages 6 to 21, with complex psychiatric, behavioral, and learning issues. The Wediko School is located on the same campus as the Wediko Summer Program in Windsor, New Hampshire.
A varying range of publications, dissertations, and presentations have been based on studies at Wediko, reaching researchers in personality, developmental, and clinical psychology, as well as practitioners in school and mental health settings. Publications have been reprinted in the Year Book of Psychiatry and Applied Mental Health (2003), The Reference Guide to Counseling Children and Adolescents: Prevention, treatment, outcomes (2000), and American Psychological Association journals including the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
A central theme of the research is that children's behaviors, and more broadly their personalities, cannot be understood without attention to the interpersonal contexts in which they are embedded. Research at Wediko beginning in the late 1980s led investigators to advance a “contextual” model of traits that conceptualizes personality as patterns of ‘if...then’ links between social contexts and children’s responses to them.
In the news
Wediko has received numerous awards, including a 60 Year Service Award from the Massachusetts House of Representatives and a Day of Appreciation from the City of Boston. The National Institute of Health has recently awarded Audrey Zakriski, Professor of Psychology at Connecticut College, $184,900 to facilitate data collection on at-risk youth during Wediko’s 45-day Summer Program.
- Time Magazine - Behavior: Retreat for the Troubled
- Fishman, Katharine Davis (1995). Behind the One-Way Mirror. New York: Bantam Books. pp. 468–469.
- Fishman, Katharine Davis (1995). Behind the One-Way Mirror. New York: Bantam Books. p. 467.
- Fishman, Katharine Davis (1995). Behind the One-Way Mirror. New York: Bantam Books. p. 479.
- Research at Wediko Children's Services
- Wright, J. C., & Mischel, W. (1987). "A conditional approach to dispositional constructs: The local predictability of social behavior". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 53 (6): 1159–1177. doi:10.1037/0022-35184.108.40.2069.
- Wright, J. C., & Mischel, W. (1988). "Conditional hedges and the intuitive psychology of traits". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 55 (3): 454–469. doi:10.1037/0022-35220.127.116.114.
- Wright, J. C., & Dawson, V. L. (1988). "Person perception and the bounded rationality of social judgment". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 55 (5): 780–794. doi:10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.1680.
- Shoda, Y., Mischel, W., & Wright, J. C. (1989). "Intuitive interactionism and person perception: Effects of context-behavior relations on disposi¬tional judgments". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 56 (1): 41–53. doi:10.1037/0022-3522.214.171.124.
- Shoda, Y., Mischel, W., & Wright, J. C. (1993). "The role of situational demands and cognitive competencies in behavioral organization and personality coherence". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 65 (5): 1023–1035. doi:10.1037/0022-35126.96.36.1993.
- Shoda Y., Mischel W., Wright J. C. (1993). "Links between personality judgments and contextualized behavior patterns: Situation-behavior profiles of personality prototypes". Social Cognition 11: 399–429. doi:10.1521/soco.19188.8.131.529.
- Shoda, Y., Mischel, W., & Wright, J. C. (1994). "Intra-individual stability in the organization and patterning of behavior: Incorporating psychological situations into the idiographic analysis of personality". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 67 (4): 674–687. doi:10.1037/0022-35184.108.40.2064.
- Mischel, W., & Shoda, Y. (1995). "A cognitive-affective system theory of personality: Reconceptualizing situations, dispositions, dynamics, and invariance in personality structure". Psychological Review 102 (2): 246–268. doi:10.1037/0033-295x.102.2.246.
- Time Magazine - Behavior: Retreat for the Troubled