Introduction to the Cool Kids Programme
Cool Kids is a programme of carefully designed progressive sessions that was designed by an OT who specialized in Sensory Integration in order to support the children, and in directly the families, on their journey to develop their sensory pathways.
Who is Cool Kids for?
Many of the children who have joined Cool Kids could say yes to at least one of the following at the start of their journey-
- I find it difficult to concentrate
- I find it difficult to look, listen and remember
- I am a messy or fussy eater
- I often fall over, or knock things over
- I chew my cuffs and collars
- I find it difficult to control my emotions so I often present with challenging behaviours.
What is Cool Kids?
The activities in the Cool Kids programme are structured into a 25 session programme aimed at building the motor skills and integrating the neural messages from the eight senses of children with sensory processing disorder so that they can develop in physical activity and improve their ability to modulate their arousal levels. For some children, progress to the next stage may take longer than for others, some may therefore need to repeat activities from earlier sessions several times before moving on. Cool Kids is a structured course which helps children to catch up on their foundation skills; it takes the children through the stages of development, starting with working on their backs (supine), tummies (prone), sitting, kneeling and then standing. From then work is done on balance, bi-lateral movement (crossing over from left to right sides, and vice versa) and co-ordination. Each session is run by a coach on a 1:1 basis at a cost of £20.
Does it work?
Numerous children who have continued through the programme have celebrated great things-
Teachers have noticed they;
- enjoyed the activities
- listened for longer and their concentration improved
- displayed more confident behaviour
- had better poise
- fidgeted less and kept ‘on task’ for longer
- developed better motor control.
Parents have noticed;
- improved behaviour
- improved ability to help themselves in uncomfortable situations
- new foods eaten
- improved bladder control
- improved concentration/ sustained play
- improved interaction with siblings
- wearing of clothes, hats, gloves that were previously unbearable
- increased words/ sentences, improved speech and language
Children have noticed;
- improved concentration
- improved handwriting
- able to eat more food types
- less anxious
- able to wear different clothes
- more able to do activities and sports.
In addition to helping the children in controlling their response to sensory stimuli the programme has also helped some children who have difficulties with listening and language development as a result of fluctuating arousal levels. For some children this foundation scheme is not sufficient and they can then join our waiting list for 1:1 SI therapy.
What would I expect at a Cool Kids session?
Cool Kids is run to enable the children to feel successful, comfortable and happy, adapting the activities to the child’s interests, to enable them to enjoy the sessions and make developmental progress (recognising they may struggle a bit to begin with). Some early sessions in particular may involve a lot of child led running around and little obvious engagement with the programme – please don’t worry about this, your child is doing what their body needs and over time they will engage more, however the coaches are also used to getting parts of the programme in when the children are doing this. The words of Jean Ayres, a well-known SI specialist, run at the forefront of Cool Kids sessions-
“When you start doing something that feels good to you, keep at it as long as you can, within reason.
Repetition is important in reorganizing the brain.
Also, if what you are doing feels good, it is probably making things work better.
On the other hand, if what you are doing makes you feel uncomfortable, back off and do the same thing more slowly, more carefully, or more simply.
Try to push yourself a little when you feel uncomfortable, for you are working in an area that needs development, but don’t push yourself so hard that you make yourself sick or feel dizzy for more than 2 minutes.”
A simple assessment of the children’s physical abilities (crawling, jumping etc) and their writing and drawing (of themselves) takes place at the beginning and end of their attendance.
What would I need to do?
COOL KIDs is not a drop and go programme; parents will be expected to work with their child and a coach in order to develop their understanding of the programme and continue to support their child by regularly using the activities at home.