Have you ever gotten annoyed at your partner, co-worker or your children? Of course you have. We all get a little out of sorts from time to time. That’s a normal reaction. But most of us have learned over time how to regulate our emotions and respond in socially acceptable ways. Many, if not most of the youth who come to New Hope struggle to regulate their emotions when they are told no, or past issues resurface, and these cause behavioral outbursts.
Now, let’s also imagine trying to get our emotions under control in a noisy environment with a lot of people around you. Hard to do, right? Don’t you just want to walk outside and be alone?
If you are familiar with residential settings, you know that it just isn’t done like that in most places. Staff are required to have close supervision because of safety reasons.
But our Recreation Department has done it again! Kudos to them for trying to make it a more natural way to help our kids self-regulate. Welcome to our outdoor calming area designed for recreation and clinical use. We are now able to offer a supervised quiet space with no distractions in a shaded area that has chairs and herb and flower boxes. There are also other materials such as an inflatable sand tray with kinetic sand, and fidget toys available to be checked out for calming purposes.
Every task done by the recreation department has a purpose, even if it’s fun. For our outdoor calming area, pre and posttest were completed to ensure efficacy, and information collected proved the space did in fact improve overall mood when only one resident at a time occupied the space.
And just so you know, this idea was developed by our own Dolly Williams (Recreation Therapy Director). Each Recreation Therapist Intern that comes to work at New Hope is given a project to complete, and Dolly worked with this intern to make this a reality for kids who are struggling. We thank you Peyton Taylor for your hard work on this project! You’ve added an invaluable tool to our staff and residents.