We work with schools with children who are adopted, fostered or in challenging circumstances supporting children’s emotional and sensory needs. By working with parents, carers and school staff we can make sure the the children receive ongoing support even when our project has finished. We run a project for Primary Schools based on Theraplay® Sunshine Circles (small groups and/or for the whole class) but also incorporating sensory activities and using snacks to support sensory regulation. Theraplay® describe Sunshine Circles as “an evidence-based, social-emotional development group with adult-directed and structured activities. The adult leads playful, cooperative and nurturing activities. Sunshine Circles create an atmosphere of fun, caring, acceptance and encouragement that leads to better social, emotional and even cognitive development.” Following training in Sensory Attachment Intervention we are able to incorporate an element of sensory activities into the approach and to support school staff in learning how to help children to regulate themselves.
Parents learn how to regulate their child from sensory and attachment perspectives. The aim of the programme is to enhance parents' awareness of their own engagement patterns and how this impacts on their child's emotional states. It also addresses the underlying reasons for behaviours. Parents first complete a sensory-attachment profile questionnaire that looks at the survival, sensory, and attachment behaviours of their child. They learn about; the different levels of self- regulation (physiological, sensory, emotional, and cognitive); the regulating effects of food and activities; and how to create an enriched environment that is tailor made both for them and their child's sensory-attachment needs.
This course has been developed using approaches such as Sensory Attachment Intervention, the Just Right State Programme, Theraplay® and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy and Practice (DDP). The sensory regulation element has been built on our work with schools, practitioners and adopters. Other sessions are based on the Foundations for Attachment training course by Kim Golding which was devised specifically for those caring for children whose capacity to emotionally connect has been compromised as a result of attachment problems, trauma, and loss or separation. We will also draw on our knowledge of DDP and parenting with PACE, and our experience of supporting children and families.