A bit of background
Mark Loveday is Head of Service at Chadsgrove School Support Services; a specialist advisory teaching and therapy service based in Worcestershire. One of the teams within the Service portfolio is the Pathways Team. This team focus on supporting pupils who are experiencing emotional based school avoidance back into education.
The team (and the TTS cat!) have 100% success rate of reengaging pupils with learning and back into school full time.
One boy and his cat!
The TTS weighted cat has been a huge hit at the Pathways Provision. The pupils are all fascinated by Charlie (that’s the cat’s name!) who spends the day lounging around the sensory area. Although a firm favourite with the staff and pupils, the team dog, for some reason, does not seem so keen on Charlie! Charlie not only gets involved with activities in the provision (often being decorated with arts and crafts!), but also goes out with the specialist teachers on home visits.
Although a firm favourite with all pupils, one young man in particular has really made a connection with Charlie. For the purposes of the blog, we shall call the pupil by a pseudonym: David.
David meets Charlie
David is a primary aged pupil who experiences emotional based school avoidance (EBSA). When the autism specialist teacher first met David, he communicated through a series of ‘meow’ cat noises. The specialist teacher knew straight away exactly who she needed to take out on the next home visit … Charlie! Charlie was a huge hit from the start, and helped the specialist teacher to not only build a rapport, but also to encourage David, when he was ready, to attend our specialist provision.
David is a highly sensory young man and often needs time where he can calm and regulate. Charlie is always there to help and we have seen a significant difference in David’s ability to self-regulate, with David now regularly accessing the sensory area and, with a bit of help from Charlie, successfully popping back out to reengage with activities when he is ready (often with Charlie sat on his lap!). David has even built Charlie a cat scratching post!
A wonderful resource
TTS have successfully managed to take an inanimate object, the weighted blanket, and create a character. This has been so powerful, not only enabling a young man to engage, but also to utilise a weighted resource to help calm.
Would David of engaged with purely a weighted blanket? Perhaps, however having Charlie is so much more fun!
Thanks TTS, we love Charlie!
With many thanks to Mark Loveday for sharing this blog with us.