Emma Goodall

Interoception as a universal design for learning strategy to support well-being and engagement in learning in education for all children and young people

Presenter: Emma Goodall,  Manager Disability & Complex Nees, Department for Education South Australia

Workshop Presentation

Children thrive at school when they are supported to attend, take in and process information, and interact positively with peers and educators. Children who are disenfranchised can struggle to emotionally self-regulate, and experience higher rates of disengagement and suspensions as well as poorer learning outcomes. A program in South Australia is indicating that teaching interoception skills to all students can positively influence their engagement and achievement in the classroom, and shift a school’s culture to being more pro-social.

This workshop will give a brief overview of interoception and its role in emotional cognition, expression and regulation. Interoception, the conscious perception of internal body signals, tends to be atypical in people with developmental disabilities, mental health disorders, trauma, intergenerational trauma and chronic stress. Participants will learn how to implement a range of interoception activities to support well-being and engagement in schools and other contexts, such as justice, mental health and aged care.

Participants will then be introduced to two practical tools to use with children and adults to support the development of self-awareness and connectedness in a positive and non-judgmental manner. These tools are being used in over 150 schools and preschools across South Australia as well as schools in New Zealand as a universal design for learning strategy. Participants have shown improvements in interoceptive awareness over time, and demonstrated more effective self-regulation and pro-social behaviour.

Professionals who understand the people they are working with can effectively support their well-being and engagement in learning.  The activities and practical skills learned in this workshop are equally applicable in the home, and can be used by families.