Adoptive parents Nicola and Kevin Woodall
Submitted by Flourish Fostering
Flourish Fostering, an Ofsted-rated ‘outstanding’ independent foster organization in Snodland, Kent, has become one of the first in the UK to pioneer virtual reality to tackle mainstream topics.
Antser VR has been implemented across the organization to improve adoptive parents’ skills in advanced subjects more quickly, providing a realistic 360-degree perspective of the child’s world and what can get them caught up. in charge.
Speaking about their first experience with VR training, foster parents embraced and welcomed the innovative training. Starting their foster home this year, one foster parent said: “One thing that stands out to me from the training is that you’re a toddler, sitting on the floor and you can’t move around.
“Mom and dad are there, dad comes up to you and yells at you, and you really feel the fear and the panic, and rationally you know you’re sitting in a room full of people and safe, but you’re turned off. It all takes so long that you forget and immerse yourself in the experience.
Adoptive parent couple Nicola and Kevin Woodall, who have been foster parents for nearly 15 years, said: “We understand a lot about the kids, their behavior and what they’ve been through, but virtual reality gives you a better perspective. When you look at children from their perspective and not as an adoptive parent, it’s a whole new world of understanding.
Sharon Hausrath, foster parent for over 11 years, said: “Even with a master’s degree in therapeutic placement and adoption, the virtual reality training has taught me something very new, and even though I’m highly qualified and knew a lot about trauma and neglect, I found the VR training provided a better understanding than any other training I’ve taken over the years ever has.
“Training with the perspective of a VR headset touches on another part of your learning. You are more aware of what situations should look like. Using the headset gives a different perspective and allows you to fully see different environments what it should look like as a child.
Virtual reality helps you better understand common topics often encountered as an adoptive parent. One foster parent said, “The training really lets you see why some children behave the way they do. They’re just communicating their trauma, which is different from saying it’s because of how they feel.
Designed to help increase understanding, awareness and empathy surrounding children who have had negative experiences, foster parents can apply VR training in their daily lives with their children.
Sharon Hausrath said: “The first VR movie I watched was called ‘Unborn Child’ and having had the experience of a child living in a house that had suffered this kind of trauma, it was very insightful.
“Your emotions are heightened by what it must be like for the child, as the VR headset puts you on his trail and makes you realize and understand how traumatic the situations children often find themselves in.”
In terms of recommendations, each foster parent said they would recommend to others and even to those in other professions.
Sharon said: “This training would be valuable for other professionals in the social care field and not just foster parents. Seeing these situations from a child’s perspective would provide so much understanding.
For first-time adoptive parents, Nicola and Kevin Woodall, said, “We have already recommended the VR training. We believe this will give new foster parents such valuable insight. This can be difficult because you are directly experiencing the trauma these children are going through, but it paints a very real picture of what they went through which is valuable for your training and understanding.
“We had conversations with our own foster children about our training and what we learned. We think it’s good for them to understand what we’re learning and how it affects us all.
“One of our children is particularly fascinated by training, even though it is really about her own life. It helps us all learn how we can do things differently to help each other, and that it’s a two-way street.
Learn more about Flourish Fostering here.
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