The COPE program is designed for those children who have difficulties processing, modulating and adapting to sensory information in such a way that it interferes with their ability to self-regulate, organize their behavior, and sustain attention to task effectively.
Certain children over-respond to sensation and this response can occur in just one area such as touch (finding clothing irritating, hating having their nails clipped) or sound (being frightened of the sound of public toilets or covering their ears in crowded rooms). Some children are highly sensitive to many sensory inputs.
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Goals of the Program:
- Give parents and children a framework (vocabulary and activities) to recognize arousal states as they relate to learning and behavior.
- Teach parents and children how to use self-regulation strategies in a variety of tasks and settings.
- Develop a sensory diet individualized for the child.
- Support parents in developing a cooperative relationship with teachers regarding the use of strategies within the classroom setting.
- Help parents and caregivers understand that a child’s behavior may not be a willful act, but may be his/her attempt to respond to the challenges of a particular environment, task or situation.
Conversely, other children seem to under-respond to sensory stimuli. They may not recognize gradations of hot and cold or seem impervious to bumps and bruises. They may be labeled “daydreamers” and are always half a step behind in following directions and getting organized. Or, in an attempt to wake up their central nervous system they are the children who are running all around and touching everything in sight. They are what call “sensory seekers” and this sensory seeking can exacerbate or mask itself as hyperactivity.
COPE is an 8 week, individual program that provides children and their parents with sensory and motor strategies designed to improve focus and attention, self regulation and behavioral organization. Any time a person’s level of alertness is too high or too low for a given activity, leaning and performing are greatly compromised. We all use sensory strategies to modify our state of alertness and arousal, although we are rarely conscious that we are doing so. Intuitively you would never tickle a frightened child to try and comfort them nor would you lower the lights and listen to soothing music to get yourself psyched up for your morning work out session.