Re:Start is an intensive family programme that helps where a young child shows developmental problems or emotional and cognitive dysregulation. These problems can include, but are not limited to, autism. Re:Start helps parents and infants to build upon their strengths and to find new ways to relate to one another.
Each Re:Start intensive program works with one family full-time over a period of around three weeks. There are usually four sessions each day, Monday to Friday, generally starting at 10am and finishing at 4.30pm.
As with all of our work, our aim is to help the infant to reach his or her full potential. To do this we work with the whole family to create an environment that encourages the infant to engage with parents and siblings. Our aim is for the infant to respond normally and to enjoy family relationships.
We also agree specific objectives for each child with the parents, based upon areas that the parents are finding difficult or worrying. These objectives can be reviewed and varied during the course of the treatment.
While intensive treatment is being considered, we may meet with the infant and family for several assessment sessions. We may also require a formal diagnosis of the infant and a mental health assessment of the parents. The purpose of this thorough assessment is to ensure that our approach is best suited to meet the needs of the particular child and family.
The assessment also enables us to arrive at an individualised treatment plan that will address the infant’s specific needs.
Each program is individually designed to meet the needs of that particular infant and family. Amongst the commonly included elements are structured play therapy; music, art and speech therapies; and individual and couple therapy for the parents. We also make use of informal opportunities to help the family to learn new ways of relating to the infant, for example, through outings to local shops or by preparing and eating a meal together.
After the treatment
We recommend that weekly support for the child and the parents continues for up to a year after the intensive treatment. This can take place at our clinic or we may be able to arrange support from suitable professionals nearer to the family home. Parents sometimes wish these follow up meetings to continue beyond this time, perhaps with a reduction in frequency.