Ukeru shares benefits for Berkeley, Jefferson County schools

This article, featuring Grafton’s Ukeru division, originally appeared in the Journal News.

Ukeru, the only restraint-free crisis management system that is currently being utilized in 42 states across the U.S and in Canada, is also being used in Berkeley County and Jefferson County schools.

David Dilly, assistant superintendent of special education, explained that Ukeru is new to Berkeley County Schools. He heard about the program at the West Virginia Association of School Administrators meeting in October last year. He and Michele Tost, special education director, investigated the program and became interested in Ukeru because of its trauma-informed care and conflict resolution.

“The Office of Special Education was also looking for more tools for our staff that use non-restraint techniques that allowed both the staff and the students to be safe,” Dilly said.

Berkeley County Schools is running a pilot of Ukeru in some of the autism and behavioral disorder programs this year.

“We will have nine members from OSE trained to be trainers who will go out and spend time in autism and behavioral disorder programs and train those staff members with hands-off techniques for interventions in the classroom environment,” Dilly said. “We felt that this would be best due to the unique nature of each classroom, which blends well with Ukeru’s approach, which is student-centered, trauma-informed and data-driven, with each plan of care as unique as the person it serves.”

Kim Sanders, chief operating officer at Grafton Integrated Health Network and president of Ukeru Systems, is one of the inventors of Ukeru and has been with Grafton for 33 years. In her opinion, the best part about Ukeru is that it offers an understanding of basic brain development and education around the prevalence, causes and symptoms of trauma.

“We then meld that together to explain how trauma affects the brain and what can be done to create trauma informed environments that are ideal for learning and teaching. In instances where proactive means do not work and verbal deescalation is failing, we offer a physical technique of defensive blocking to keep everyone safe,” Sanders explained.

Read the full article here.