The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfactionResolved Spectrum College Transition Program — Not what it appears to be. Misrepresented. Huge disappointment.
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
Beware. Beware. Beware.
The staff is great, the program promising, but the director, Robin Sweet, (in our opinion, based on our experience---which we do not believe is unusual) is an overbearing egomaniacal autocrat, although she pretends to be so friendly, open and accessible when selling you into the program. She can very well ruin your child's experience and turn a possible positive into a definite negative.
Granted, the facilities are impressive and comfortable. Also, on the social side, our child got a lot out of the program. But, that is by virtue of being in the same nice place with others who have many of the same issues. Plus, as said earlier, the staff is great. Unfortunately, on the educational oversight side (interacting with the community college, having supports in place for academic assistance, etc.), Spectrum fell far short. There were other serious problems, as well.
Regarding the educational aspect, in a program such as this, no participant should fail a class. There is no excuse for them to not get at least a D if there was more interaction between the participant, the staff and the professors at the college. While our child was there we know of at least one child who failed a class they really liked and thought they were doing well in (as we understand). How could this be if Spectrum was truly helping students to TRANSITION to greater independence and competence?
Over promising and under delivering is Robin Sweet's M.O.. Lack of communication is her style, once you pay up. When courting you, communication flows freely. She is a very good salesperson, above all else. Her credentials may be somewhat impressive, but her career focus has been business and making money. Just research a bit and you will see.
You may note her husband/partner is a PhD. However, this advanced degree is in Business Education and is not relevant to a program like Spectrum. Also, he has little, if any, presence or involvement with participants and/or parents. He and his partner/wife just follow the money and, with regard to Spectrum, Robin calls all the shots. She'll do and say whatever it takes to be in control and make money.
She even uses her son as a selling point, saying he has Aspergers, which we believe is just part of the sales pitch.
Don't be fooled by the fact Spectrum is a non-profit. People who run non-profit organizations can pay themselves lots of money.
Robin, herself, has put program participants at risk by unethical and unprofessional behavior. Not keeping track of medications, etc. And medication management is one area where open communication and cooperation are key, but they are also sorely lacking at Spectrum. The last thing you want are medication mess ups with your child. Yet, they are quite possible at Spectrum, because of the communication lapses. That was our biggest concern and our biggest complaint, which put us head to head with Robin's intractable attitude of self-righteous control. This is, essentially, why our child is no longer there. Call it the straw that broke the camel's back.
Robin and the program apparently have no oversight by any outside entity/agency when it comes to how any individual child or family is treated. There is no intermediary, nor mediator between her and you. She calls the shots, and if you don't like it, your child may suffer dearly by being marginalized or even tossed from the program.
If she makes a unilateral decision, it is not able to be questioned nor countered by students, parents or staff. She is a very authoritarian dictator. Robin Sweet will tell you anything to get you signed up (like space is going fast, there is a waiting list, better act now) but will rarely respond to you (or allow the staff to, beyond a minimum) once you're child is on board. By the way, Spectrum has never actually filled the program once, since its inception. Talk of a waiting list is a ploy to get you to sign up NOW.
As a parent of a participant, communication directly with staff is frowned upon, but communication through the director to staff is often garbled, if delivered at all. Other special needs programs have communications liaisons. At Spectrum everything must go through Robin, and she is not exactly receptive nor responsive once you've signed her contract.
Your child deserves better than this. It's a real shame. Such potential to do the right thing. So close to doing it. But, Robin Sweet is more concerned about your money, and her ego, than your child. She comes off personable as heck when selling, but behaves like a tyrant (and/or a spoiled child) in the running of this program.
Our advice to parents is to look elsewhere. It's just too bad there is so little choice in programs for college age students with Aspergers. The problem is, she knows it and uses it against you at every turn.
One more thing, as parents of a former participant, we find it hard to believe Temple Grandin or Tony Attwood are really advisors. If I were you, I'd ask to see the minutes of the last advisory board meeting or, at least some proof that this is a real advisory board and not some people putting their names on a program they've been hoodwinked into by an autocratic, megalomaniacal, entrepreneurial, saleswoman.
Due to Robin's abrasive style, participant turnover is common and (of late) staff turnover has been a real problem.
Parents of young adults with Aspergers Syndrome, do NOT send your child to this program. If you doubt anything presented in this review, be sure to do your research and ask lots and lots of questions (and listen to the answers with a fair share of skepticism) before even considering giving Robin Sweet your money. Again, your child deserves better.