The SCHOOLPROJECT: ”School as a Place for Learning, Development and Success”
The School Project ”School as a Place for Learning, Development and Success” aims to contribute to the development of evidence based working methods through implementing interventions and technological aids to facilitate learning for pupils with special needs, especially those with neurodevelopmental disorders. The interventions aim to increase psychological health, acknowledge individual strenghts and create an organisation where a pupil with special needs can succeed better in everyday challenges.
Interventions that the school project are working with and developing are: ”Nytorpsmodellen”, ”ASC-inclusion” and ”SKOLKONTAKT”. These three methods are examined separately but also as an intervention as a whole. The interventions aim to cover a large part of the everyday challenges at school, challenges that are central to learning and exist during class (e.g. structure and well defined tasks/goals) as well as during breaks and spare time (e.g. social interaction). The focus for the school project is to consider the individual and their parent’s needs and wishes. A key purpose of the school project is to implement methods in school since children and adolescents spend a considerable amount of time there together with peers. KIND has ongoing collaborations with a number of schools in and outside of the Stockholm area.
The Nytorp-model (Nytorpsmodellen)
The objective of the project “Nytorpsmodellen” is to increase students’ performance and active participation in school activities, through increased collaboration between parents, teachers and other stakeholders. The model has been used successfully in schools in the municipality of Salem in Stockholm County, and has also served as the basis for local guidelines in Salem concerning support for children with special needs.
The model comprises a number of tools and techniques aiming at creating positive encounters, predictability, structure, individual goals, motivation and quality of life for the student. The starting point for the process is an individual assessment, which has been shown to be important for the child’s motivation and attitudes towards engaging in the process to reach the goal.
ASC-inclusion - computer based interaction for children with autism
ASC-inclusion aims to develop a computer program that will assist children with Autism Spectrum Disorders to understand and express emotions through facial expressions, tone-of-voice and body gestures. This software will assist them to understand and interact with other people, and as a result, will improve their inclusion in society. This software aims to reduce several barriers these children are facing, by providing a tool that empowers children with Autism to develop an understanding of facial expressions and emotions, with minimal assistance. This tool will also help to reduce the risk of social exclusion for people with Autism. As Autism encompasses a spectrum of symptoms that vary in severity between individuals, the software can be customized to meet specific requirements, assisting users to recognize and develop their own facial expressions, tone-of-voice and gestures. The software developed will primarily assist people with Autism to improve their social interaction and communication skills, thereby increasing their quality of life and social inclusion.
The software will also assist professionals and family members to provide more efficient support to people with Autism. It can also be helpful for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and children who have been socially neglected.
Social skills training program - KONTAKT for school settings
KONTAKT is a manualized, structured group-based social skills training program for children- and adolescents with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD) between 8 and 17 years of age. (Link to English version of KONTAKT) The intervention is based on CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), observational- and model learning and other principles to facilitate development of communication skills, social cognition, affect awareness and social ability from individual as well as general goals. The group training consists of hands-on exercises and home work on communication, social skills, understanding about different roles in social interaction, understanding about verbal and non-verbal signals in communication, problem solving and how to establish a conversation etc. The children and adolescents train to initiate contact, to understand and follow social rules, to develop cooping-strategies for social situations, and to develop the awareness of one-self and others. A part of the school project is to adapt KONTAKT to a school setting where the participants train social skills with peers in a natural environment. The tools and methods of ”KONTAKT at school” aims to strengthen the pupil’s self-esteem, quality of life and functioning as well as social skills.