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At-Risk Adolescent Protocol Experience
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Poster At-Risk Adolescent Protocol Experience

Clark Edmond, LCSW

Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 17, 2009
Location: Wildomar in So Cal located in the Temecula Valley of Riverside County.
No. 1 Posted on Feb 23, 2011 4:19 PM Profile | PM | Email | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
Hi All,
After returning to Oak Grove Center from a wonderful experience with the at risk adolescent protocol training in Valencia in January I applied some of the elements to working with a class of SED children ages 8-11 years. Yes I realize the protocol was designed for adolescents 14 -18 years, but because of the weekly meeting of this group I'm required to become creative and flexible with our drumming sessions. As such I wanted to see how some aspects of the adolescent protocol would work with this less developmentally developed group.

I have worked with this group all year so naming beats were altered to include more personal “likes” such as "Who is your favorite character in the movies?" I asked the children to provide a "sound track" to a scene they recalled from the movie. The group was then asked to join in with the individual. This was generally enjoyed by all with some difficulties due to negative attention seeking by a couple of members from the outset of the group today. In such instances support staff assists these members for a timeout in the room, but not in the circle. The members then have the opportunity to return to the circle when a polite request to me has been made and appropriate timeout behavior was observed. Firm, but fair limits are always required.

We applied inspirational beats to feelings and the children responded well to this exercises. I provided some additional feeling words on a dry erase board to enhance this process as the children often are limited in feeling words vocabulary.

The children enjoy Entrainment particularly when "call and response” sequences are used. In addition, I allow the children to take turns leading the group in this exercise to empower them and allow them to assume a leadership role.

Wellness exercises and guided imagery help to provide a calming mechanism at the conclusion of the circle. During this portion I teach body awareness and today we discussed how our bodies are affected when we are angry. Many children offered personal thoughts on this topic that were insightful.

In the Finale we reviewed what we had discussed/experienced and how body awareness could be used during moments of anger to Stop, Think, Act and Review (STAR).

The group has its good days and those that are more challenging, but generally they are responsive to the elements of the protocol. These benefits are evidenced in weekly observations of these children as incremental progress in social behavior, cooperation, sharing, self-expression, creativity, enhanced mood states and self disclosure.

I intend to "test drive" the tactile portion of the protocol with this group at our next meeting and will provide an update when time allows.

(Click the picture to view the original one)

Clark Edmond, LCSW, MPH
Novell & Novell Counseling
(951) 694-0695
Founder HeartBeats Drum Circles
Drums & Percussion
(951) 775-0032

Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 10, 2008
Location: NW Pennsylvania
No. 2 Posted on Feb 25, 2011 12:13 PM Profile | PM | Email | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
Thank you for sharing this and for the wonderful work you are doing. Using the protocol to meet the needs of individual groups is really the defining element. It sounds like you have skillfully adapted and scuplted a fit! In the eyes and on the faces of the ones we serve, dwells the reason we do it.

Healing Rhythms,


Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 26, 2011
No. 3 Posted on Oct 23, 2011 4:50 AM Profile | PM | Email | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
Thank you ,
I enjoyed your article. I work with kids of this age group and begin Health Rhythms AP tomorrow with quite a large group. I have one girl who is really pushing limits. She has a terrible background and the institution has not handled this well. I will be interested to see if this benefits her. She rarely acts out in my class but there is a terrible chance that she will hurt another child who quite stupidly baits her. Both kids are extremely manipulative and the school (As I see it ) has offered few consequences of meaning or importance to her.

This will be a large class. At the end of the week I have the start of another HRAP program with students from another school. Again bullying and expression are issues. The good thing about both of these sessions is that they run and I fine tune before my 'hardcore' group which is getting closer. It's good to see AP is being used a) with larger classes (thanks for your email too Margaret) and also in a Primary setting.
Steve of PlayworksOz

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