Innovation Through Deeper Understanding
Innovation does not always refer to shiny new technology or dazzling devices; sometimes, it refers to a deepening of our understanding and a new approach to carrying out our work. At PEP, we consider our adoption of the Neurosequential Model this type of innovation. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, here. Let’s start from the beginning.
It All Starts with Re-EDucation
When Rico Palotta, PEP’s founder established the agency, he chose Re-EDucation, or Re-ED, as its guiding framework. This philosophy, which still informs every aspect of our work, embraced three key concepts, which were revolutionary for their time – and in many ways still are:
- Positivity. This is the notion of intentionally putting the focus on the strengths and assets of a child rather than on what needs to be corrected.
- Ecology. At PEP, we are not working in support of just the child, we are working in support of their entire ecology, from their home to their school to their community.
- Teacher-Counselor. To make a difference in a child’s life, you do not necessarily need special training. Any “decent adult” can “show up” for a child, which is why at PEP, all staff within the organization are known as teacher-counselors.
Sanctuary: Committing to Trauma-Informed Practices
Re-ED’s architect, Dr. Nicholas Hobbs, often said, “We must reinvent ourselves every day in our work.” So, we lived that. While we have always been a trauma-sensitive organization, this commitment was strengthened in 2009 when we adopted, and eventually earned certification, in the Sanctuary Model. Sanctuary is an organization change framework that acknowledges that working in service to young people who experience trauma, impacts the people who work with them and the organization as a whole.
The Neurosequential Model: Innovation Via Deeper Knowledge
Following the adoption of the Sanctuary Model, we knew what trauma looked like and how it impacted our kids and our agency, but we knew we needed to implement practices to help support this understanding. And that’s where our latest innovation – adoption of the Neurosequential Model – comes in.
Founded by Dr. Bruce Perry, the Neurosequential Model is a brain- and neurodevelopmentally-oriented framework that isn’t an intervention but a way of intervention. The Neurosequential Model emphasizes what it calls the three Rs: Regulate, Relate, Reason. And it works. That’s why you’ll see evidence of the Neurosequential Model everywhere at PEP – from rocking chairs in classrooms that encourage patterned, rhythmic movement to individual sensory bins. It’s not about pulling out some tactics during therapy sessions. It’s about incorporating neurodevelopmentally appropriate strategies into our everyday work.
Today, PEP is proud to have dozens of practitioners who have completed training certification in either the Phase I Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) for clinicians or the Neurosequential Model of Education (NME) for educators. In addition, a new cohort of educators and clinicians have begun training to achieve their certifications in the coming months and three of our clinical leaders have completed NMT Training Certification through the Phase II level. As the only agency in the region to achieve this level of certification, these credentials set PEP apart and ensure that our work is truly neurobiology-informed and developmentally sensitive.
Philanthropy Makes a Difference
Like so many of our other stories of innovation at PEP, our achievement of these certifications is only possible because of philanthropy. When you make a gift, you fuel a future of hope for our young people, allowing PEP to build on their strengths and to serve as their refuge in times of need.
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