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The small hand made toys in the photograph were amongst those I used when preparing for the dissertation mentioned below


Aspects of the Development and Use of Small Toys in Making Therapeutic Contact with Young Children 1984


This was the dissertation which I wrote in 1984 while attending the Special Needs Course in (as it was then) Jordanhill College of Education


It had involved eight hours of observation in Notre Dame Child Guidance Clinic, the presentation of a sand tray and small toys to fifty children in three different settings; a nursery school, a primary School and a special school and a discussion of the pioneering work of Hermione von Hug Hellmuth, Anna Freud, Melanie Klein and Margaret Lowenfeld in developing the use of play with young children. Fifty photographs of the children's tray constructions, with comments about the sessions during which they were produced, were provided in an appendix


In locating it for the first time after many years I enjoyed reading some of the concluding remarks.


'A sand tray and toys will, of course, now become an integral part of the environment in my work in a Child Guidance Unit. I have no doubt of the extent to which this will be beneficial both for me and the children'


'As regards the reading associated with this enquiry, and the opportunity to observe at Notre Dame Child Guidance Clinic, I feel my professional perspective, knowledge and awareness has been changed, sharpened and deepened'


'I believe, like many before me, that given the appropriate materials and resources, children use them in their own special way to work at, work through and resolve many of their own problems and difficulties'


'Piloting the use of the tray and toys in these environments, and developing situations in which they could be constructively used in a therapeutic and beneficial way, will form a major part of my future investigation into the subject'


'If a little bit of the enthusiasm I have for the potential of this material can be converted into more effective work with children, then more than the leaflet which began this quest will have been miraculous'


'What I have achieved so far is merely the placing of a toe in the water. It is my intention, if at all possible, to take a swim in the ocean'


Scottish Education Department: HM Inspectors of Schools Report of an Inspection in February 1987


Marjorie Browning was the Inspector who spent time in the room. She is the only person who has ever been alongside me when I have been working with children and I considered it an honour. I had introduced the sand trays into my classroom immediately after completing the Special Needs Course and returning to the D


I was officially allowed to explore their usefulness for the children on the understanding that a boy who had been extremely unsettled over the preceding months joined my group. That boy was the child I refer to in Balancing as 'David'. At the time this was

sort of classroom and sand tray room combined


The copy I have of the original report contains only a brief reference to the room. It is 

quoted below;


'The assessment of progress in the play-therapy room was impressive. All activities were well documented, often by means of photographs, and these records were used to help to identify, explain and deal with the underlying causes of pupils' difficulties of whatever kind.'


Notes from and Eepsy Room


This was my first attempt to write up the work which was taking place in the Day Unit. I located the folder with the title on the outside but nothing inside. I am assuming it covered most of the concepts which were to be expanded on later in two longer and more coherent documents. These are named below. They were the forerunners of Balancing


Finding Out What's Already Known


Externalising the Unpleasurable; first steps towards a symbolic reconstruction


Yorkhill NHS Trust. Department of Child and Family Psychiatry

An Evaluation of Custtad for the Strategic Planning Group February 1997


Before commenting on the Evaluation which took place in Yorkhill, it should be noted that without the support of Andrew Dickson, the then Clinical Director, the door to the work being taken on by the Department would never have been opened. Others were to play a significant role in its acceptance and the move was undoubtedly assisted by the publication of the book Balancing the Request to be Good in 1995 - but he was the one who made it happen. And without its implementation in that setting, it is  unlikely that its use in South Lanarkshire would have been achieved


In the opening remarks, the Evaluation Document states that I was being employed by the Department of Child and Family Psychiatry at Yorkhill to utilise CUSTTAD in the assessment and treatment planning of children referred to the department for a variety of behavioural emotional and psychological problems; and that during this time I would be introducing other employees of DCFP to the technique, with the aim of enabling them to use the method to further the assessment of children and to enhance the quality of the service they provided - while building on their skills as child and family workers

The first paragraph in a section entitled Recommendations is quoted below: 

'The main value of CUSTTAD is as a diagnostic tool and as a means through which children can give expression to their ideas and concerns.  It is therefore a valuable resource which would enhance the quality of service provided by DCFP' 


Custtad in the Clinic; Two Years On


Mentioned elsewhere on the site this was one of two short papers which were also written during my time in Yorkhill:  

Responding to the Needs of Children with Emotional and Behavioural Difficuties; A Middle Path


This second paper is more of a proposal and it was prepared for Anne Rooney of South Lanarkshire in 2002. At a meeting in Knightswood, attended by Anne and Andrew Dickson, it was decided that the department would take on the task of setting up a Custtad facility and provide training for several workers from the Authority.


Support for Learning. Examples of Areas of Good Practice in Glasgow Primary Schools ( North of the River)


As the Custtad approach in the Clinic was being evaluated, I was spending time each week in the facility in Royston Primary School, Glasgow. Two documents associated with the work in Glasgow were produced during that time and they will be boxed along with those already mentioned


In the first of these, Support for Learning, Custtad received only a mention, but as a formal recognition of our work we appreciated it. It came about as a result of a visit to the Royston facility by two Special Education Needs Development Coordinators. In the booklet which was produced in 2000, the coordinators expressed the hope that the reader would find it 'a useful source of


The second document is commented on below


Custtad in Glasgow


The subtitle includes the words 'observations on an attempt to interest Head Teachers of Glasgow Primary Schools in the CUSTTAD'. And in the front matter are the words, 'As evidence of the gulf which can arise between aspiration and implementation, this project may well provide an excellent example'


Although in some respects this could be described as a rather disheartening enterprise, it was one from which we learned a great deal

We had obviously failed to adequately describe the kind of space which would be required to house a Custtad facility or to emphasise sufficiently the amount of time and effort which would be required to establish the approach during the initial phase of its implementation


We were however able to draw extensively on the experience and to make significant improvements in our subsequent presentations about the work


This document covers in detail the various visits and communications which took place on the road to the project's demise. If nought else it is an interesting read   


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