A Th.Inc.Room® is part of a whole school approach and will only be fully effective as such. It aims to meet the needs of children or young people failing to access school fully for a range of social and emotional reasons. It is a specially allocated and developed room that offers a more comfortable and nurturing environment. It has an allocated key worker (a school member of staff) who is trained in the use of low-level therapeutic approaches, and then supervised and supported.
The Th.Inc.Room(R) combines therapeutic, nurturing and educational approaches.
The latest neuroscience research shows that the emotional brain develops in response to the nurturing a child receives. Absence of nurturing and ‘good enough’ parenting affects brain development which can result in social and emotional difficulties which manifest themselves in both externalising behaviours (disruptive and aggressive behaviours, attention seeking, poor attention and hyperactivity, inability to cope with change) and internalising behaviours (withdrawn, poor relationship skills, lack of confidence, victims of bullying, self harming behaviours). Research also shows that the brain remains ‘plastic’ for longer offering the opportunity to redress missed opportunities. Providing a nurturing environment, a therapeutic relationship and certain creative activities provides a second opportunity to develop the emotional brain.
Transformative Play/Creative Therapeutic Approaches
Children and young people use play and creative activities to work through any issues and experiences that are preoccupying them and/or causing them emotional distress. By providing children and young people with the opportunity to participate in transformative play/creative therapeutic activites you enable them to cope better with life circumstances and therefore to access school more effectively.
Research on Emotional Literacy shows that it is the level of emotional skills we have that determines our success in life (professional and personal). It also shows that these skills can be taught. Therefore, by the focussed teaching of emotional skills we equip children and young people for life, increasing their chances of experiencing well-being and fulfilment.
The Th.Inc.Room (R) Approach
By combining these approaches we both address children and young people’s underlying emotional needs, and teach them the skills they need for life. Where this is provided early enough we can prevent the development of more serious social and emotional difficulties, and enable our pupils to become successful and productive members of society.
In summer 2007 in a sample of 8 Th.Inc.Room schools, 168 children accessed a Th.Inc.Room intervention. 79% of them showed a reduction in their total difficulty scores with an average improvement of 12%.
In the academic year 2009/2010 data was collected from 5 schools (all supported by the eQe Supervision and Support package).159 children accessed a Th.Inc.Room intervention. 78.5% showed a reduction in their total difficulties score with an average improvement of 10.71%.(Goodman’s Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire)
Th.Inc.Room (Therapeutic Inclusion Room) Training Course
This is now part of our Level 3 in Mental Health and Therapeutic Approaches in Schools – a NCFE Customised Qualification.
Inclusion is a top priority and strategies to promote this are effective. For instance, the innovative Th.Inc.Room where children receive one-to-one to help with emotional difficulties, has helped to reduce the number of recurring exclusions.