The Mindfulness-based Awareness Training (MBAT) intervention was developed as part of a doctoral research project. It is a school-based intervention to support children and young people with Special Educaitonal Needs (SEN) and needing to develop skills for attention and emotional regulation.
It is a flexible specialised programme, designed for implementation within a school setting, with the involvement of parents and school staff, in particular the school Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) or Inclusion Manager. It is helpful if staff at the school have had some introductory training in mindfulness, such as a taster session or staff INSET.
The MBAT intervention focuses on three ‘target’ children or young people.
Here is an outline of the structure:
Step 1: Initial consultation with family and school staff in regard to the individuals concerned.
Step 2: Individual work with the ‘target’ pupils. During these initial interviews, a mindfulness questionnaire is completed and the person is introduced to a short mindfulness practice. A solution-focused approach is also used to develop targets around attention or emotional regulation in everyday life.
Step 3: This step involves running a small group, in which the three ‘target’ pupils are joined by 3 to 5 other pupils who may have some difficulties, but less severe ones. The selection of pupils is key and is therefore done in consultation with the school SENCo.
These sessions focus on five key teaching intentions:
- Feeling safe and curious to be able to experience new possibilities
- Experience ways to discover their embodiment
- Practice techniques to suport them in sustaining their attention in a kindly way to thereby cultivate observation of their experiences.
- Develop physical, langauge and metacognitve skills in being able to move towards acceptance.
- To find ways to sustain and personalise these practices in order to develop and grow compassion, for themselves and others.
Step 4: Review sessions with the ‘target’ pupils, to review the targets set in Step 2 and evaluate progress.
Step 5: Feedback to staff and parents. This step may include further training with staff and pupils.
The intended outcome is that the participants develop mindfulness-skills in a way that is relevant to them and directly applicable in their lives.
Holistic Education offers this intervention as part of its services for schools.
Training in mindfulness for school staff and other professionals is also available.