So, working with the population that I did, anxiety was very common place.  My kids were mostly medium to high functioning aspergers with comorbidity out the ying yang.  So, almost every kid in my program received anxiety prevention services.  I mean when your kids freak out about schedule changes, strange noises, the toilet, kids "staring" at them, and rain, you really need this to function on a daily basis in a public school building.  And to be honest, I love running my anxiety prevention groups. My kids are usually incredibly attentive, which could be a factor of all the fun stuff we try to use.

We've been talking a lot about the itty bitties... the kindergartners and the first graders.  Well for my 2nd - 4th grade, I bumped up the group slightly.  We follow the same format - assessment, psychoeducation, and the CBT core.  But I added a few extra things.  Some of the 2nd graders (and lower functioning 4th graders), really liked Calvin and Austin.  So we continued with them.  But I found this program, called Camp Cope A lot.  Many years ago, I had purchased a program called "The Coping Cat", for kids with anxiety.  I really loved the program and my regular education kids did too. But I knew that my kids with ASD needed something with TECHNOLOGY.  I am not going to lie.  If it's on the computer, they would do it (I even used to videotape myself doing a lesson, which often would greatly increase attention!).  Anyway, this program, Camp Cope A Lot, is made by the same people, Philip C. Kendall, Ph.D., ABPP & Muniya Khanna, Ph.D. out of Temple University and University of Pennsylvania.  The previews looked great and I was fortunate to have a boss and program that had the resources to purchase it for my group.  I bought, I think, 10 licenses.  It's a program that you can essentially do one "chapter" each session or every other if you are using it as an adjunct.  I liked to do the lesson one week and then do a review of the concepts and a check for comprehension the next week.  Repetition was great for my kids.  They absolutely loved this program and I am not sure if it was because the main character, Charlie, was a cat or if it was because they could see some of themselves in Charlie.  Didn't matter, they asked to see Charlie and would problem solve "for Charlie".  The program also has a writing portion where the student adds in their own content.

Here's what the website site says about the program:

  • No formal training in cognitive-behavioral therapy required
  • Requires fewer therapists hours (approximately 6 hours per child for the 12 sessions)
  • Child-paced interactivities including problem solving, changing self-talk, and identifying somatic signs of anxiety
  • Downloadable (MP3) relaxation script
  • Includes a selection of videos of other children engaging in exposure tasks and using coping strategies
  • Includes a built-in reward system  
  • Contains all needed treatment materials
  • Comes with printable Coach’s Manual (treatment manual) and Go-To-Gadget (child workbook)

I really liked the short videos they included showing kids learning and practicing progressive muscle relaxation.  In my experience, this is a bit difficult to teach and reinforce, but this program has Charlie doing it and also kids on video.  I would recommend this program and my kids loved the reinforcer of being able to choose one of their "video games" as a reward when they got to a certain point.
Click on the image below to go to the website for more information.

Camp Cope A Lot is a great online program that uses a human like cat, Charlie, who is afraid to go to camp, as its main character.  Psycho education, videos, games and problem solving challenges make this a great addition to your anxiety prevention groups!

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