All Kinds of News for November 08, 2017
Seven Stars, a treatment program and assessment center for teens ages 13-17, works with many young people who struggle to connect with others in social settings. The majority of students’ challenges revolve around social appropriateness and sensory issues, both of which can contribute to anxiety. Learning to regulate sensory needs first and then manage emotions is an important factor in developing better social awareness and social thinking.
Throughout their time at Seven Stars, students develop coping strategies to deal with sensory challenges and other reactions they have within a social environment. These strategies are developed on a case by case basis.
“If a student is struggling with sensory issues we help them develop a daily routine for meeting their sensory needs,” comments Justin Manco, Primary Therapist at Seven Stars. “This 'sensory diet' is developed based on their specific sensory needs. This sensory diet can include things like quiet time, exercise or stretching, rock climbing, listening to music, walking, etc. Fidget toys and noise dampening headphones can also help. Reducing sensory distress is an essential first step to managing anxiety.”
Another coping strategy utilized in some cases is known as frontloading.
“Before a student enters an environment that may trigger anxiety and socially awkward behaviors, we prepare them by describing expectations, reminding them of coping skills they can use, ways to ask for help, different ways to be successful, etc,” says Manco. “During therapy sessions, we practice how to react within these triggering situations and find ways to change behaviors if the student becomes dysregulated.”
If a student is feeling dysregulated and triggered by their environment, staff ask them to rate how their response feels on a 1-10 scale. “We want them to take a break to refocus, recognize where they are within that scale, and take time to regulate themselves,” comments Manco. “This can be done through mindfulness exercises or fidget devices.”
About Seven Stars
Seven Stars is a premier therapeutic program for teens ages 13-17 struggling with neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Learning Disorders (verbal or nonverbal). Seven Stars’ treatment model takes a revolutionary shift from normal therapy methods. By combining acute care stabilization, with residential treatment and academics, true multidisciplinary assessment and treatment, outdoor experiential therapy and positive psychology, Seven Stars therapeutic program understands, assesses and builds the confidence and skills of students struggling with neurodevelopmental disorders.