Meeting the heterogeneous developmental and complex needs of the children in foster care present many challenges for the child welfare system. High rates of mental health, cognitive deficits, behavioral regulation, and socio-emotional issues within this population may limit the number of learning opportunities they receive, possibly exacerbating existing academic and social deficits. What is more, the complex developmental characteristics of certain children may interfere with evidence-based treatments’ effectiveness in targeting particular childhood mental disorders, or, may even preclude them from being considered for particular evidence-based treatments due to the treatment’s exclusion criteria. Rooted in the principles of physical education, the ECHO Social Skills Program was created to provide academic, social, and, behavioral and emotional management learning opportunities for complex needs foster children. The approach weaves evidence-based social skills programming with Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning domains, and is delivered within a physical education framework to optimize participant’s motivation, participation, learning, and success in developing newly acquired social skills. The program is thought to optimize children’s uptake of the program information by offering psychomotor, cognitive and affective components within every session, perhaps ensuring that each session taps into the individual learning strengths of every participant. A discussion regarding the description of the program’s therapeutic model and a review of some of the preliminary findings are included.
|Keywords:||Physical Education, Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning Domains, Children in Care, ECHO Program, Social Skills, Complex Needs|
PhD Student, Laurentian University, The Children’s Aid Society of the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
Supervisor, Access Assessment and Planning Team, The Children’s Aid Society of the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin, Canada