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Lead TIS practitioner
Impact of TIS (therapeutic) approach Impact of the TIS Approach
We starting supporting a learner with high levels of anxiety. He has a diagnosis of ASD and had just experienced his parents separation, where his sister and Mother had left to live in a different house, leaving this young chap to live with his Dad in the family home. He was on a CP plan too, so a high ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) score.
Having displayed challenging behaviours and become a school refuser for the previous 9 months, this learner reluctantly joined our school in Sept 2017. Staff were not even allowed to say the school’s name, only referring to it as ‘our school’ never his, such was his anxiety around it.
Using a TIS Approach, from our TIS Practitioner, alongside specialist Autism support from our ASD Champion, he was initially supported 2:1 in his Dad’s car in our school car park!
The team worked on building trusting relationships with him, a ‘we are here for you no matter what’ approach. Starting with 3 x 2 hour visits a week, staff provided activities that built trust and explored/talked about emotions, there was lots of using WIN, I wonder….I imagine…I notice. Staff concentrated on his areas of interest and developing healthy attachment through the use of PACE, remaining, Playful, Accepting, Curious and Empathic even when he displayed behaviours that were challenging.
By the first half term he was in an outside learning environment, all be it in the school car park! Dad was able to leave for the whole 2 hours. There was cooking, Art, story telling, water fights, gardening and Treasure hunts –which encouraged a peek into the school playground at the inviting swings!
A couple of weeks after half term the first tentative steps were made into school itself. He was supported in our TIS room and started to slowly explore school and even, occasionally spend time with other learners. By the end of his first term he was attending 4 mornings a week for 3 hours and coming in via transport with an escort.
Over time we were able to reduce his support to 1:1 and introduce new members of staff, with one becoming his Available Adult for the past year. A year on and he now attends full time, although he comes in a little later and leaves just a little before the end of school. He is attached to a class where he can work with his class mates regularly. He swims and goes out into the community to the local library, he has even attended whole school Assemblies. His world has become larger and all areas of his life have improved.
The impact of the TIS Approach has had a dramatic effect on this learner and on other staff who may have been unconvinced of this sort of approach. A truly positive and effective experience for all involved. He says of his initial time at school, ‘I was scared and I did not like lots of people and lots of noise….’ Now he says, ‘I do lots of great things at Nancealverne, like I went on the best trip ever, I like science and I like reading….’ The attachments he has made in school are positive and long lasting.
Sue Wilkinson - Lead TIS practitioner for the Trust (2019)