CSG Bogerman in Sneek

CSG Bogerman in Sneek

Deployment of AV1 for homebound pupils with anxiety disorders

Interview with Dilly Japenga, general support coordinator.

My task lies in organising and securing support within the school. We have seven departments, all with their own support. The departments work together in the general support of the school together with three appropriate education supervisors and one remedial educationalist under my direction.

Like every school, we also have an increasing number of pupils who are staying at home. Because of physical illness but also often because of an anxiety disorder, depression or other mental illness.

Our aim is to bring these pupils sitting at home with mental health issues to the 'Villa'. The Villa is a place just outside the school (old caretaker's house) where pupils with very diverse support needs are accommodated. The Villa operates a tailor-made programme for these pupils (from, say, one hour of attendance to build up to the whole school week ) under supervision.  

However, there are a number of pupils who cannot make the move to the Villa but would like to follow the education. Support like Teams, Zoom or the like is then not appropriate. This does not give the desired effect and is too much of a burden for the teacher. Nor does it promote social inclusion.

Through the use of AV1, we felt that we would be able to create a wonderful customised solution for our students. Hence our pilot with AV1, to find a solution for this group of students who cannot attend school. One example we used the avatar for was a student with an anxiety disorder. She had not left home for over a year, had been kept back, but expressed a desire to be educated. It was a requirement for her that she did not want to be visible in the picture.

Through the use of the school robot, the student feels part of the class again, and is actually part of the class again. There is social inclusion and does her a lot of good. She attends her classes, connects through the robot with classmates, students take the robot with them in social activities (going outside at break, to gym, or taking her to AH for a sandwich). She can indicate herself when she doesn't want to or can't participate in class for a while (due to fatigue).

In class, the teacher can just do his teaching, the little robot joins in (for example, she took oral test of German with two other students). Parents are very content with contact for their child, she blossoms after a lonely time. It also benefits (exposure) therapy. There is another dot on the horizon: visiting the Villa to take lessons there in build-up to taking lessons in the classroom. The use of this smart ICT set offers the students at home and school more than teams or something similar. We find that the social context in particular is very important for wellbeing, making the student feel better and moving towards school and outside.

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