Transforms and remediates maladaptive patterns of behavior; builds internal motivation.
Builds common therapeutic language and can lead to skill acquisition when student is motivated.
Stabilizes behavior so that student can begin to engage in learning and start developing relationships with staff; builds external motivation.
Provides consistency and safety.
The Integrated Intervention Model is the framework in which Serendipity provides the environment for students to heal and to learn. It is our adopted model for conceptualizing, planning, and delivering care within the milieu of our therapeutic school. Succinctly, Serendipity’s Integrated Intervention Model requires recognition by all employees of context as a major factor in the manifestation and perpetration of maladaptive behaviors. This model requires both thoughtfulness and intentionality in responding effectively to the behaviors that erode the learning, relationships, and self-esteem of our students. Our hope is that each child within our charge can experience an environment in which they can “fail safely” and “succeed joyously.”
The founders of The Center for Integrated Intervention, Dr. Wilson and Cassandra Kenney, created the conceptual framework for the model. After years of consultation, Dr. Kenney and Serendipity staff members embedded the existing practices and beliefs of Serendipity within the hierarchal framework of the Integrated Intervention Model. The model allows for the intervention of maladaptive patterns of behavior through the lens of the three strongest theoretical approaches for helping children with social/emotional difficulties: Behaviorism, Cognitive Behaviorism, and Contextualism. The development and implementation of this model was driven by the need of Serendipity employees to select behavioral interventions appropriate for each child and each situation through a solid understanding of underlying principles.
In Practice at Serendipity
In practice, Serendipity incorporates all approaches within the model to shape every aspect of a child’s experience at school. Structure, Behaviorism, Cognitive Behaviorism, and Contextualism inform how expectations are communicated, the routine of school day, the physical arrangements of the school and classrooms, and how the individual relationships between our students and staff members are built and maintained. Implemented with fidelity, the model fluidly links all approaches and maximizes the efficacy of each, while also accounting for the limitations of each.
STRUCTURE: Structure is delivered through consistency and routines, supported by visual and environmental prompts. Regular pre-teaching of skills needed to meet expectations, and pro-active rehearsal of alternative or replacement behaviors help students experience success within the defined structure.
BEHAVIORAL: We manipulate antecedents and incentivize desired behaviors by using Behavioral approaches. Even with behavioral interventions, however, the context of each student’s individual history and world view guide the Behaviorism framework.
COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL: We teach social/emotional lessons in classes, small groups, and individually to help students gain insight into their thoughts, feelings, and how these impact behaviors by using a Cognitive Behavioral approach. Often, integrating Behavioral Interventions into the school day motivates students to initiate or sustain the difficult work involved in making meaningful change through Cognitive-Behavioral exercises.
CONTEXTUAL: Throughout a student’s enrollment, we put emphasis on the development of the therapeutic relationship. Efforts to establish trust and rapport are guided by each student’s Contextual Road Map. This is a companion document to both the Behavior Support Plan and the Treatment Plan. Based on clinical assessment, the Road Map communicates insight into a child’s world view, preferences, triggers, and learned coping strategies. Without this insight, the Behavior Support Plan would address behavior, but not the context in which the behavior occurs. Most importantly, the Contextual Road Map lists those interventions that are indicated and those that are contra-indicated based on a child’s clinical profile.
The strengthening of relationships made possible by understanding the Context of each child’s story then gives power to our Behavioral and Cognitive Behavioral approaches, thus making all interventions more targeted and effective. Each approach informs the others and, while one approach may be utilized more heavily than others at times, they are incorporated in pursuit of healing and learning for the children in our care.