The Learning Project Primary

 

What is the TLP?

TLP is an intensive systemic behavioural intervention program for primary aged children. Our highly specialised multidisciplinary team of Psychologists, Learning and Educational Consultants, as well as Speech Pathologists work in collaboration to guide and support children and their families. The program aims to apply a systemic behavioural therapy approach aims to support social challenges and/or behaviours of concern. Learning difficulties can cause barriers for children at school and home. Our systemic behaviour modification program as well as our learning behaviour strategies can assist with these challenges. TLP attempts to work holistically with all the systems involved in the child’s life. This includes, the family, school, peers and the community which includes social activities and the professionals involved with the child and the family.

TLP is an intensive therapeutic program that runs for 4 hours per week. Each session focuses on utilising and consolidating behavioural strategies, as well as targeting learning behaviour and executive functioning in a stimulated learning environment. Children also participate in a comprehensive social skills curriculum that occurs organically throughout the day. For instance, group work, discussions, listening and collaborating as well as lunchtime play and a planned social skills session.

 

Rationale for TLP

The Learning Project Primary evolved out of the notion that learning can be made more accessible using our Inclusive Integration Model. TLP Primary’s Program is delivered by our highly specialised multidisciplinary team including Psychologists, Specialist Learning Strategist Educators and Speech Pathologists. The aim of the program is to support children through a model of inclusion, focusing on modifying children’s behaviour through emotional regulation techniques and strategies. Furthermore, we provide support with working memory challenges, assistance with executive functioning difficulties including planning, prioritising and completing their work. The TLP team also works with parents and where possible teachers, to formulate the learning practices and implement these support strategies at home and school.

We believe that when a child experiences success and a sense of belonging, learning takes place. We also know that academic behaviours are required for learning to take place. Some of these learning behaviours include task engagement and participation, maintaining attention, starting and completing set tasks.

When children find the core academic skills such as reading, writing and spelling difficult to learn, they are less likely to experience success. This can result in students becoming disengaged, affecting their ability to develop the academic mindset and behaviours required for learning. Additionally, if a student has difficulties with their executive functioning or processing skills, and/ or working memory, adverse behaviours of task avoidance and disruption may become even more problematic.
We understand that working with children with additional needs is complex and at times challenging. However, working with children with additional needs can be one of the most rewarding experiences that we as professionals can have. The aim of TLP is to work collaboratively with parents/carers and schools to set up a working relationship that will directly and positively impact the child’s life. Psychologists and teachers work together to support the students, teachers and the parents, whilst providing strategies that empower.

What sets TLP apart from other programs is the collaborative nature of working in a multi-disciplinary team who come together to plan, assess and evaluate student’s progress and response to intervention. The team meet at the end of each session and take time to evaluate and use this opportunity to assess behaviours through different perspectives including teachers, speech pathologists and psychologists. It’s working together to uncover where the gaps are, where the challenges lie, understand the functions of behaviour and think about what the strategies we need to utilise to go forward. During the session, psychologists are at the tables working with students, helping to teach the children under the guide of the educators. Educators plan to promote learning through specific strategies that target barriers to learning. Psychologists are present to step in and suggest, model and intervene with behaviour support, emotion management, sensory understanding and real time interventions to promote long lasting change.

Learning at TLP

Using our multidisciplinary approach to therapy, TLP assists children in primary school to overcome challenges to learning. In essence, we assist children to learn how to learn. This intervention supports executive functioning and learning behaviours by using a structured learning framework. Executive Functioning skills are critical components of ‘learning to learn’ but are not often explicitly taught at school. The learning framework is founded on building executive functioning skills that will develop the students’ learning behaviours, including their ability to maintain focus, follow directions, self-regulate, initiate tasks, organise themselves, and reflect on their learning and progress towards their planned goals. We also work on literacy skills, including speaking, listening, reading and writing. Through explicit teaching styles TLP assists children by increasing their participation and understanding in the following areas:

  • Handwriting
  • Early reading skills – including phonemic awareness
  • Vocabulary development
  • Sentence construction
  • Basic grammar and punctuation

Explicit teaching of executive functioning skills will also address and support the development of:

  • Prioritising work & being organised with their school work

Basic classroom routines including sitting on the floor, transitioning between tasks,

  • Getting organised – pencil cases, tubs etc
  • Remembering simple instructions
  • Developing attention skills to the task at hand; overcoming distractibility

Beginning tasks within a set time frame

  • Completing tasks within a set time frame
  • Commencing and completing homework

 

 

A Systemic Approach

The Learning Project adopts a systemic approach. This means working with the systems in a child’s life. Family, school, peers and community which includes professionals. TLP attempts to affect change by working together with each system.

Families – TLP offers a weekly parent intervention that focuses on establishing and implementing clear boundaries, consequences and rewards in the family life. We work with parents to understand their child, including their behaviours and any diagnoses. Parents have access to a drive where all observations and strategies formed by therapists and educators are collaborated and shared. Weekly attendance where possible is advised as it is highly beneficial in affecting change.
Learning – TLP offers children a learning environment with immediate access to therapists that can support the child to identify and label their emotions when faced with academic challenges. In addition TLP provides support to address their needs. TLP attempts to deliver structured learning interventions that focus on learning behaviours to achieve academic outcomes.
Social/Emotional – TLP aims to help children understand, label and manage their emotions. We strive to teach each student to understand the impact that their behaviour has on others and ultimately on themselves. We live in a social world and interactions with others, conscious or not, occur at all times. We provide tools that can assist students to develop interactions that are appropriate and essential in the promotion and maintenance of healthy relationships with both the peers and the adults in their life. Weekly planned social skills are delivered as part of the program, however social skills are practised throughout the day as support is given and appropriate behaviours are modelled and scaffolded. It is important that these social skills are practiced at home and at school in order to enable these skills to be generalised to other social environments.

 

On Track Therapy Group – The Learning Project-Primary’s Inclusive Behaviour Systemic Model*

Support for Students

TLP supports and assists children with ASD, ADHD, learning difficulties/disorders as well as children displaying severe anxiety, school refusing and challenging behaviour presenting both at school, home and in the community, including but not limited to Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

The team at On Track Therapy Group recognise that not all children with learning difficulties, social/emotional problems or other behavioural disorders share the same core characteristics/presentations. Our program works individually with each child, their family and their school to identify, assess and remedy the barriers each child encounters in their learning environment. This is achieved through a structured behaviour program, learning strategies and interventions, a weekly parent group as well as providing schools with an opportunity to collaborate and share resources, ideas, strategies and interventions provided by the team at On Track Therapy Group.

Some of the most common barriers to learning that children display at school are:

  • Perfectionism – fear of failure, unwilling to try, worried about how they will look if they get something wrong;
  • Inability to ask for help (especially when they don’t know what they need)
  • Rigidity – a student’s inability to be ‘flexible’. This often leads to them becoming fixated, which makes the ability/choice to move on, start or complete tasks and negotiate with peers and adults far too difficult.

Challenging behaviours that children demonstrate at school all serve a purpose and function resulting in them either avoiding set tasks, the class/group plan or being unable to learn due to emotional distress. Some of the most common functions of behaviour include:

  • Severe anxiety – often presenting as oppositional behaviour, violence and volatile behaviour, absconding, harming self or others, disrespecting the learning environment, conduct disordered behaviours
  • Avoidance – school refusal, tactics to avoid work (leaving space, toilet breaks, sharpening pencils, disrupting others, excessive daydreaming

In addition, if a student has difficulties with their Executive Functioning (commencing, tasks, prioritising, organising and completing tasks), processing skills, and/or working memory, adverse behaviours of task avoidance and disruption can become even more problematic.

Challenging behaviours that children engage in at home also serve a purpose and function resulting in them either avoiding set tasks, getting their own way and having their demands met and resulting in a power struggle between parent/carer and child. Some of the most common behaviours include:

  • Yelling and screaming
  • Volatile and aggressive behaviours towards family members and property
  • Avoidance/withdrawal
  • Refusal to complete tasks, chores and simple requests for cooperation
  • Excessive use of preferred activities including I-Pads

Note that non preferred tasks can often act as a trigger, hence at TLP we work on behaviour modification as a preventative strategy rather than simply reacting to the behaviours of concern.

TLP is an intervention that aims to support children with social/emotional difficulties by developing their skills to be able to function in a learning environment, at home and in the community.

To find out more information on The Learning Project Primary view our brochure here or contact On Track Therapy Group 98331120 or info@ontracktherapygroup.com.au

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