Interview with Pamela Capriglione of Capri Support.
Tell us a bit about yourself and/or your organisation.
I am Pamela and I am an experienced teacher who specialises in supporting pupils with additional needs, specifically pupils with a diagnosis of autism or pupils who are currently awaiting an assessment for autism. My experience includes Early Years, Primary, Post Primary, Special Educational Needs and working with adults. I have 17 years experience within the education sector and have also held senior management roles within Education providing advice, guidance, and support on autism.
I have held several autism positions such as; a Specialist Teacher for Middletown Centre for Autism, Advisory Teacher and Assistant Advisory Officer for the Education Authority’s Autism Advisory and Intervention Service and an autism specialist teacher and manager for Lewisham and Lambeth County Councils.
As an experienced teacher, facilitator, and trainer I advocate for the autistic community. My passion is driven to ensure that the individual needs of the person is met by providing them with the strategies and support required to enhance the daily life of themselves and their families.
I am passionate about creative learning and incorporate this into my everyday work. I am a certified and experienced LEGO® Facilitator and a Trainer of LEGO® based methods and approaches, e.g. SIX BRICKS and DUPLO®: Play and Learn (Play Box) and Brick Club.
I strongly believe that the value of creative play is underestimated as it is important to enable people to deal with the stresses and strains of everyday life. Play can be valuable in enabling us to recover from traumatic situations, allowing us to express ourselves in a creative way.
I am also extremely passionate about supporting the mental health and well being of children and young people and as a fully qualified Advanced Drawing and Talking Practitioner I strive to ensure that the mental health of pupils is fully supported. As such I deliver intense 1:1 and group therapeutic sessions. I want you to know that help is available
How well have you/your organisation adapted to the pandemic?
Capri Support has been able to continue to support families, children and young people through online sessions and workshops for Autism Support and also online therapeutic sessions with Drawing & Talking Therapy. We have also been able to deliver certified training to professionals during the pandemic. We also have a dedicated informative, advice, and support website, www.caprisupport.com where a detailed information booklet on the services which Capri Support offer can be accessed.
What key needs are becoming apparent and/or are likely to arise this year?
There is a great need for support for families and schools in relation to autism, especially for schools and families of children who are currently awaiting an assessment for autism or who are beginning their assessment journey. Currently schools and families can only access hands on support from health and education if there is a confirmed diagnosis. This is adding a lot of stress, anxiety and emotional drain on schools and families through what is already a stressful time. Capri Support offers to support schools and families to provide hands on support for these children and young people as no person so struggle to receive help and support.
In addition to this Capri support offers Drawing & Talking Therapy which supports children 5+ right through to adulthood. Drawing and Talking has now established relationships within the mental health and well-being sector. It is an intervention which is intended to complement the work of CAMHS, this is extremely important as the waiting lists for CAMHS are lengthy, this in turn will enable those who would otherwise go untreated to get the help they need before problems become entrenched. This can be delivered on a 1:1 basis or through small group interventions.
We also offer Professional Certified Training focusing on the benefits of learning through play, specifically through the use of LEGO, which is endorsed by the LEGO Foundation. LEGO is an educational tool which everyone, regardless of what age you are will gravitate to. Spreading the word of this new ‘recipe for learning’ is essential to ensure that every child, school and organisation takes up this new learning initiative.
Capri Support offer parent workshops which provide parents the opportunity to learn through play themselves. This is important as it will empower them and give them the confidence to introduce play activities that will give their child the steppingstones and skills needed for lifelong learning. Too many children now are beginning formal education lacking the skills needed to succeed, these have been lost a long the way as we as adults have forgotten how to play. These workshops not only enable the parent to learn new skills, but they will have fun and in turn this will have a positive impact on their own mental health and wellbeing.
Finally Capri support also offer mindfulness classes, these workshops are suitable for children 4 – 11 and uses yoga concepts, mindfulness, meditation, play, mindful craft, affirmations, mantras, breathing techniques, relaxation, guided meditation and movement to encourage and promote self-regulation, grounding, self-awareness and nurturing. In doing so it will educate children in emotional intelligence, how to understand and manage their feelings and emotions. These workshops are more important then ever as many children if not all will have been impacted by the lockdown. It is vital that children and young people have access to these workshops it is imperative to their mental health and wellbeing. Ignoring this will have a major impact on their mental health and academic wellbeing.
OFFER: What support are you currently offering and are you open to members of Community Network NI and/or the wider community making contact?
Capri Support offer free consultations to families, schools and organisations. We also offer discounted rates for schools, groups and organisations to access training through affordable discounted rates.
If you would like to avail of this offer of support, please follow the link below and enter “Capri Support” in the first field.