Residential Family Life

Residential life is an integral part

of Brehm’s educational model

Brehm’s daily structure allows students to feel more confident and comfortable with how each day will unfold, which is the foundation of our decades of success. Students begin their “home away from home” daily routine with a family style breakfast, followed by school and recreational activities. Dinner time means a healthy dinner in the dining hall, then chores, free time, study hall, and one more period of free time followed by lights out.

There are 3 boys dorms and 2 girls dorms. Each student is supervised by two dorm parents and multiple assistants.

Brehm’s family-style living environment, with the oversight and direction of our highly experienced Brehm leadership, fosters countless, real-life, “teachable moments,” which in turn promote more responsibility and independent thinking. Students learn both the social skills for interacting with other people and the independent living skills needed to live as happy productive individuals.

The following practical life skills are taught by the residential staff (dorm parents, dorm parent assistants, and tutors):

  • Laundry
  • Personal hygiene
  • Food prep
  • Daily chores
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Room cleanliness
  • Time management/creating schedules
  • Utilization of strategies
  • Money management
  • Social skills/making friends

The skill sets are reinforced for each student with guided practice, supervision, and feedback.

The residential program conducts weekly social-skills training in the dorms, which focuses on skill acquisition and addresses real-life issues. Students gain skills in problem-solving, conflict resolution, expression of feelings, and coping strategies.

Study-hall activities are planned and organized using Brehm learning strategies to complete homework assignments. Specific group-study activities are arranged when appropriate.


A healthy breakfast menu is served in each of the dorm kitchens daily. Lunch and dinner meals at Brehm are prepared on campus and served fresh in the school dining hall. Brehm’s dietitian works to ensure a healthy school nutrition environment.

Brehm knows that good nutrition for students can lead to better academic performance, prevent childhood and adolescent health problems (such as iron deficiency, low calcium intake, dental caries and obesity), and improve behavioral problems. Establishing healthy habits now lowers your child’s risk for future chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Children who learn to live healthy, live longer, more productive lives.

Brehm also meets the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, by offering a salad bar that provides a variety of green, red and orange vegetables and fruits. Students are encouraged to fill half their plate full of fruits and vegetables before filling the remaining half with the lunch or dinner offered. Brehm offers low fat milk and yogurt with every meal; students are encouraged to choose low fat dairy foods more often in order to meet their calcium needs. The kitchen staff is helping by including more whole grains and seafood to the menu and cooking with less fat and added sugar. Brehm offers:

  • Lean meats – Each day there is at least one lean meat choice: skinless chicken breast (baked or grilled – not fried), vegetarian (meatless) entrée or low fat cold cuts.
  • Fruits and vegetables – Each day, the salad bar features fresh berries and other delicious fresh fruits and vegetables. When canned fruits or vegetables are provided they do not have any added sugar or salt. Hot vegetables are served seasoned – not buttered.
  • Whole grains – Grains will fill a quarter of your child’s plate with at least one serving of whole grain rich food, like whole grain pasta, bread or brown rice. These are seasoned – not buttered.
  • Milk and dairy products – Low fat varieties of milk are offered at every meal. In addition, the salad bar offers low fat cottage cheese and yogurt.
  • Other foods – Low fat or fat-free dressings, sour cream, gravies and other condiments are used when available. Proper products and cooking methods reduce the amount of saturated and sodium provided during lunch and dinner meals.

Brehm hosts discussion groups where students talk about nutritional topics over lunch every Friday. Brehm instructors and SLP’s are often found talking and eating with students in the dining hall.


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