Behavior program expands into school setting

Officials with the Family Resource Centre are expanding their SNAP program by training teachers and school counselors. Program manager Charmaine Bush-Miller said the center has trained 60 teachers and 25 counselors since June to help increase access to the program.

SNAP, which stands for Stop Now and Plan, is a behavior modification system for helping children deal with social conflict and crisis. Children are taught coping mechanisms for controlling their emotions and thinking about consequences before taking action. Targeted at children with behavior problems, the Family Resource Centre adopted the program – which began in Canada – a year and a half ago.

Ms. Bush-Miller said the teacher training is an effort to address a shortfall in recruitment.

“We found a gap,” she said. “Our numbers were not where we wanted them to be.”

Working with the Department of Education, she said, the center was able to coordinate the training of school personnel. She said she is hoping integrating with educators on the ground will lead to more recruitment of students.

School counselors, she said, will also be doing some sessions with students in the classroom. Ms. Bush-Miller said she is hoping it will boost the success she says the program is already enjoying.

“From the reports our parents are bringing back to us, there’s been a significant change in how our SNAP boys are handling issues in school,” she said.

Materials for the program come from the Toronto-based Child Developmental Institute and consist of PowerPoint presentations, videos and training literature. Children in the program spend time role-playing in various problem situations.

In a news release, the institute’s Desiree Phillips said that exposing teaching staff to the SNAP methodology will give them an in-depth understanding of the program before making referrals. It will also help align the support for such students both in the classroom and in the Family Resource Centre’s program, she said.

“Educators, students, parents and caregivers will eventually come to have a shared language, goals and expectations when combating disruptive attitudes,” Ms. Phillips said.

The next session of the program is scheduled to begin Jan. 10.

Interested parents can call 949-0006 or visit www.dcs.gov.ky/frc/family resource-centre-programs.