Caldecott Develops Therapy Services
Exciting developments within Caldecott’s Therapy Department are making a positive impact across all of the Foundation’s services.
Chris Bennett, Therapy Services Manager for the Caldecott Foundation, says, “We have been busy rolling out Individual Caldecott Therapeutic Plans for all children placed in Residential and Fostering and have been supporting staff in thinking reflectively regarding the key therapeutic targets for each child.”
The Caldecott School’s therapy team has also developed a range of group work programmes for children across the school age range, as well as a programme of coffee mornings for parents and carers.
“The aims of these sessions are to give parents and carers an opportunity to get together with other parents and to run training for them on a variety of topics”, says Dr Floriana Reinikis, Clinical Lead at the Caldecott School. “We asked parents and carers to propose what topics they wanted us to cover. The first one on ‘Dealing with Puberty’ was chosen by some parents.
“Our pupils have also been involved in the programme, as part of their learning. In the last session we had two students from Secondary serving cakes that they’d made to parents and carers, in order to meet their Catering and Customer Service course.”
Feedback from the coffee mornings has been positive, with the majority of parents and carers agreeing that sessions have been well-presented; have met their expectations and that they have learned more about the subject matter and new strategies to try.
Interaction with other parents on how they deal with challenging situations; the subject matter itself and suggestions for taking positive steps resulting from group discussion have further been cited the most useful aspects of the sessions.
Meanwhile a programme of case discussion meetings has been implemented in Caldecott Fostering, along with a weekly drop-in surgery for foster carers.
Clair Chamberlain, Registered Manager for Caldecott Fostering, says, “What our foster carers value is a consistent and safe psychological space in which, as a team, we can discuss and reflect on a child’s progress; their experiences; how the foster carers are making sense of and responding to the child’s presenting needs and what methods, tools and strategies they can use to promote communication and reparative, nurturing and secure relationships.
“In this way the fostering service is providing support to foster carers that is accessible, flexible, adaptable and proactive. Foster carers have already fed back that they value these helpful, regular meetings. We believe that this approach and our relational model of care can be thought of as providing our foster carers with a ‘secure base’ of their own.”
For all children in residential care, outcome measurement is being developed, including the implementation of the Boxall Profile. This resource for the assessment of children and young people’s social, emotional and behavioural development identifies the levels of skills that an individual possesses to access learning.
“Many children in school are insecure about their worth, often not able to articulate their feelings and as a result, do not get positively engaged in education and relationships”, says Chris Bennett.
“The earlier such children are identified the greater the hope of being able to address and remediate their social, emotional and behavioural difficulties by offering patient and supportive intervention and support.”
Furthermore a pilot study has taken place on the use of the ABAS – Adaptive Behaviour Assessment System – to track progress, led by Dr Julie Hobson.
“The ABAS is particularly useful for evaluating those with developmental delays, autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, learning disabilities, neuropsychological disorders and sensory or physical impairments”, Chris continues. “It can also be used to develop treatment plans and training goals, as well as document and monitor progress over time.
“Adaptive Behaviour development can be delayed by neglect and abuse, lack of opportunity, disorder, disease or injury – that’s why it’s important to measure AB in looked after children.
“We have learned from the pilot that there can be a wide gulf between developmental age and chronological age. Sometimes development is patchy and may reflect a disability and it’s important to know this, so that we can adapt our interventions. We must consider responsibilities for further assessment, to identify learning disability or specific learning difficulties.
“Developmental profiles are essential in designing interventions, both therapeutic and skills based – when chronological age only is considered, children may be grossly over-estimated and thus set up to fail. Decisions for children’s care therefore need to be based on developmental age. It is essential for this to be measured if children are to succeed.”
All the initiatives that have been implemented have the objective to improve the therapeutic care of individual children across the Caldecott Foundation and to offer strategic guidance to staff relating to the unique needs of each child.
“By standardising and structuring re-assessment, progress-monitoring and outcome measurement, we ensure that the latest empirical research and intervention for childhood trauma underpin our collation of data and evidence of progress”, Chris concludes.
“Through this, the Caldecott Foundation’s Therapy Team’s provision is targeted to the needs of individuals and groups, ensuring that excellent outcomes continue to move forward.”