Our approach to working with or caring for children (neuro-divergent or neuro-typical) is called the R.I.S.E.TM . This is a non-invasive and student-centered approach that places the child in the center and works around the child. It’s aim is to provide a child with a supportive environment tailored to their specific needs in order for them to grow and flourish in their own unique way.
The most important factor of the RISETM approach is building a strong, trusting relationship with a child. This is the priority and by using their strengths and their unique interests one can create a tailored supportive world around them.
The main components of RISETM are:
This, for us, is the most important aspect of this approach. Building trust with your student, loved one, client and so on is of the utmost importance. Once trust is built, a child is more willing to engage, interact and share. A child is also more comfortable and at ease around people they trust. The environment in which you work or care for the child is very important. It needs to be safe, where the child can feel calm. If this is not the case, it will be more of a challenge for the child to engage and enjoy what you may be trying to present to him/her.
Once a genuine bond is created, it is so much easier for the child to feel comfortable enough to express themselves and therefore grow. So in order for you to be a tool to help them on their way to success you need to be a trusted individual in their environment. How do you build this bond? Please see below.
One of the ways to start to build a child’s trust and form a genuine relationship is by getting them intrigued in you and what you are offering them. How does one do this? You use their specific interests. Most children have them. Whether they are neuro-divergent or not they all have specific interests (some more specific than others) that if used wisely can motivate engagement and intrigue with the ultimate goal of learning and growth.
Use what interests them to help them learn and grow. When you use what they are interested in, they will be more likely motivated and happy to engage with you. It is important to enter their world, find out what they like and use it to help them learn and blossom. Do not force them to fit into your box, your way or the way you think they should learn. Rather let them guide you and help you navigate their world so that you can be a vessel of change for them.
Another way to build trust and relationships with a child is by acknowledging their strengths, showing them you see their strengths and using their strengths to help them learn. We sometimes tend to focus on the weaknesses and try to “work on them” but rather we should focus on the strengths to help them overcome the obstacles. There are no weaknesses here, only goals to work towards.
When a child feels valued and acknowledged for their contributions (no matter how small) it will help them believe in themselves and also help build their confidence and self-esteem. When they feel valued and seen by you they are more likely to trust and like you.
This is a child-centered approach so it is important to focus the educational or therapeutic program around the child’s specific needs and learning goals. If a child is happy and doing what they like and capable of, they are more likely going to want to carry on learning. That is why it is important that a child has fun while they are learning and enjoys what they are doing. We do not force a child to fit into a standardized way of learning, it is very bespoke and specific to them.
We acknowledge that kiddos have immense amounts of energy and some neuro-divergent children may be seen as more active than others. There are reasons for this, the way their brain is wired will help explain these reasons. However, we will not go too much into detail here. It is important to release some energy and get the blood flowing before asking a child to sit down and work or concentrate. When working with a child it is important to make sure they have enough outlets for their energy whether its regular breaks throughout the day or sessions make sure you help them release that energy in a safe, fun and sometimes educational way depending on the activity.
It is recommended to start the day/session with gross motor activities and then include gross motor breaks throughout the day. This will keep those busy bees moving and active. This has so many all round benefits. Sessions/lessons using the RISE approach will typically start with an activity that involves moving around or exercise. Help a child “RISE” above and achieve their goals. This is a brief overview of the RISE approach to special needs learning or therapy. For more detailed information or training information please contact us.