If you are a special educational needs co-ordinator, a form tutor, a primary class teacher, a youth worker, a support assistant and you are concerned about the isolation of young people you know with a disability or difference, then this is the book for you. If you are a parent of a child labelled disabled, it is likely that you already know the difficulties facing your son or daughter in achieving the breadth of friendships and relationships that others take for granted. This is the book for you. You may also be aware of your own need, as an adult, for support and perhaps have a wide circle of friends upon whom you can rely. The work described here will help you reflect on this need and consider ways in which you can strengthen these relationships.
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‘This book has been based on Canadian Research and offers a simple but well-tried and tested solution/technique to help with re-integration into main stream classroom for children with behavioural problems.
The "Circle of Friends" technique is based on inclusion rather than exclusion and works by looking at the problem the child has in their social life and by involving their classmates to help them rebuild their social circle. This ultimately leads to the child learning more appropriate social behaviour, which will enable them to get on better with their peers. Obviously this in turn helps them to rebuild a peer group relationship and to continue to work on problems that will lead to more acceptance and inclusion rather than exclusion from these groups.
Using step by step directions on how to set up a "circle of Friends" case studies and examples/templates of handouts which can be used both by parents in the home situation and by others who work with or care for the children out of school activities and well as being used in school. This helps to reinforce the technique across all aspects of the child's life which essential for optimum consistency and effect.
The authors bring the "circle of friends" technique in an easy to read and well set out and written format. This gives everyone who reads this the encouragement to use the technique to its full potential. Therefore giving the child support, encouragement and help to integrate back with maximum chance of success for acceptance and friendship.
Ideal for use in all schools especially with those children who are on the verge of exclusion.’
Caroline Hensby - adders.org
‘This book has been written by practising educational psychologists who are deeply committed to the inclusion of all pupils in mainstream schools. It begins by looking briefly at the idea, rationale and origins of Circles of Friends, which Colin and Derek define as:
"… an approach to enhancing the inclusion, in a mainstream setting, of any young person (known as the ‘focus child’), who is experiencing difficulties in school because of a disability, a personal crisis or his or her challenging behaviour towards others. (This approach) works by mobilising the young person’s peers to provide support and engage in problem-solving with the person in difficulty" (p.4).
The authors continue that it is for all people - including educational psychologists, teachers and youth workers - who work with youngsters who are labelled and marginalised in various ways. "Ultimately", they say, "it is a book for everyone because at some time in our lives, all of us are likely to have needs that are not typical" (p.4).
Beyond the two introductory chapters, the book systematically and thoroughly outlines the processes involved in establishing Circles of Friends from ‘Getting Started’ to examining the ‘Circle in Action’. Further chapters consider the issues of teacher and pupil outcomes, case studies, the theoretical basis of Circles of Friends and FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). Based on the authors’ extensive professional experiences, these chapters are full of sound practical advice for those wishing to adopt this powerful strategy. The book concludes with a comprehensive and up-to-date appendix of additional resources, including video material and internet websites, to which the interested reader might turn for further ideas and information.
As a whole, the book is written in a lively, non-technical, engaging manner with numerous cartoon-style illustrations and it is highly recommended reading for all people who are professionally involved in trying to help children with relationship difficulties.’
Professor Helen Cowie
School of Psychology and Counselling, University of Surrey Roehampton
Read Review of our 'Creating Circles of Friends' book by Association of Educational Psychologists