By Jen Willis, Communications Consultant, Berry Street – Take Two
Not much is known about Elle’s* first year. Her Mum has severe mental health problems and has lots of problems with drugs and drinking.
Elle was removed by Child Protection services from her mother around the time she turned one.
Her father immigrated from Asia. Growing up we suspect he experienced significant trauma during the long civil war in his country. Elle’s father didn’t know about Elle until after she was removed and placed into foster care. When he found out, she went to live with him together with his new partner Trisha.
Continue reading “Playing to her strengths”
by Toni Heron, Senior Occupational Therapy Consultant, Take Two – Berry Street
Berry Street’s Take Two service has recently undertaken a three-year Occupational Therapy research study assessing the sensory processing patterns of the children and young people we work with. The results are partially what we expected, but there were some surprising findings also. Continue reading “Helping children regulate their bodies and their minds”
The PRTF School do what most neurodevelopmentally and “trauma” informed education programs do, by providing frequent “brain breaks” for their children. Essentially this is where they step down from academic learning and engage in some form of somatosensory activity such as playing outside, water play, sand play, play doh, calming corners with sofas, bean bags, blankets and soft toys etc.
They do this routinely, repetitively and frequently. Having access to a staff member dedicated to leading these breaks and co-regulating the children in between them worked a treat as well.
You know maths and mathematical concepts is a difficult gig at any school, let alone a classroom of children struggling with emotional, social and behavioural difficulties.
Immediately on entry into the room, she invited the children to the front of the class and had them all stand or sit around her as they preferred. Each child was given a piece of paper containing a number, each child read their number out aloud. The greater than symbol was drawn on the board and there was minimal question and answer time to ensure that everyone understood the concept of the greater than symbol.
Then engaging the students in an activity based process, moving them around she asked them two by two (based on those most engaged in the moment) to identify their number and stand either side of her – as she held the greater than symbol.
The student’s task – to put themselves in the right spot – who’s number was greater than the other. Each student excitedly took their turn and much celebration was had as each pair got it right…Read more about Greater and Less Than – Lessons in Learning through Movement here at, Chelle Taylor’s blog My Creswick Fellowship Tour.
Edited version of a post written by: Michelle (Chelle) Taylor, Clinical Psychologist and NMT Consultant, Take Two Program.
Cal Farley’s is a one of a kind service. It is one of America’s largest privately-funded child and family service providers, specializing in both residential and community-based services at no cost to the families of children in their care.
Cal Farley’s operates like a small town – hosting a chapel, fire station, its own bank, post office and independent school district, activity centre etc. Many of the staff live on site, and at capacity, Cal’s can have up to 260 children and young people at a time. Residential homes are staffed by 2 sets of house-parents, the lead house-parents and relief house-parents.
Neurodevelopmentally informed interventions/activities include:
- Individual Therapy
- Play Therapy
- Art Therapy
- AAT – largely equine based including colt and filly training and Rhythmic Riding
- Adventure Therapies – Ropes Courses, Kayaking, Trail Rides, Challenge course
- Computer Lab
- Robot and other electronics programs
- Rodeo skills
- Agriculture workshop
- Mentoring of younger children by older children
- Capacity for vocational training and part time employment
All this is embedded in a community where relationships serve as the key to success. I had to remind myself that this was a service for children and young people who had mental health, emotional and behavioural problems, because often what I saw seemed just like any ordinary community. The importance of relationships whereby the kids were positively supported, contained and nurtured by multiple adults in their daily experiences was evident in the way the children and young people conducted themselves in the community. I’m not saying that there were no challenges, but on the whole the adults in this community do a wonderful job of creating a relationally rich environment filled with amazing activities, “interventions” and opportunities.
If you work in the child and welfare sector and ever find yourself in Amarillo Texas – look Cal Farley’s up and see if you can visit – it’s nothing short of impressive and it’s folk are just downright good people who are absolutely and only in this for the best outcomes for kids.
Read more about Sandhill Child Development Center here, at Chelle Taylor’s blog My Creswick Fellowship Tour.
Edited version of a post written by: Michelle (Chelle) Taylor, Clinical Psychologist and NMT Consultant, Take Two Program