Just Right State

The Just Right State (JRS) is being delivered as part of a programme to support the staff and young people at Atkinson to explore and develop self-regulation and co-regulation skills.  The programme is eight weeks long and includes exploration of individualised physical activities, the regulating properties of food, and self care strategies, all to support the ‘Just Right State’ for regulation, emotional wellbeing, and increased engagement in everyday activities.  The Just Right State is part of the Sensory Attachment Intervention approach.

It is being run with the whole staff team (in groups of six), recognising the vital importance of supporting staff’s wellbeing and regulation, and the regulation of the young people who are at Atkinson.    Working with young people who have experienced developmental trauma can lead to secondary trauma and burnout, and this is significant for staff working within the secure estate.  Research highlights the importance of supporting staff to develop strategies to mitigate their effects is vital to support them in their work with young people.  The programme also fits with the national initiatives linked to the secure estates programme which highlights the importance of focusing on staff wellbeing.

The young people will also be supported to engage in the programme, either individually, or as part of a group, now that the staff team are more familiar with it.  The JRS supports the acquiring of new patterns, recognising that food, daily care routines, our homes, and choice of leisure pursuits all deeply impact on our emotional states and behaviour. The neuro-sequential nature of the programme supports the ability to engage in higher level thinking, and the processing of trauma experiences.  The goal of the programme is to provide opportunities to enable individuals to regulate their emotional states, support higher levels of self and co-regulation, and the ability to utilise these strategies with the young people.   The whole staff team (care, education, the kitchen staff, and health and wellbeing team) is involved in the programme.   It is the multi-layered, integrated application of the programme that is key to its implementation and success.  Feedback from staff who are currently participating in it is extremely positive, including staff feeling they have more understanding of the resources to support the young people regarding their arousal states and ways to use these to support their regulation, as well as  helping young people to understand and manage their emotions using sensory and emotionally regulating strategies.