Introduction

The Calm Moments Cards provide user-friendly information on how to recognize stress reactions in children and youth and embed simple evidence-based strategies to promote emotional well-being throughout the school day.

The program is free and downloadable on this website by clicking here.

Who can use these? Any school personnel including teachers, para-educators, therapists, counselors, etc. The goal is to help all adults become mental health promoters.

Why are they Needed? Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent diagnosable mental health disorder among children in the United States with 50% experiencing onset by age six.2 Feeling anxious during the school day can lead to restlessness, difficulty concentrating and irritability, leading to challenges in academic and social performance.1

Orienting School Personnel

Whole School Implementation

Who should lead whole school implementation of the program?
Ideally, occupational therapy (OT) practitioners can take the lead in implementing the Calm Moments Cards (CMC) program because of expertise in activity-based services, mental health, sensory processing and activity analysis. However, if an occupational therapy practitioner (OT or OTA) is not available, other skilled school personnel (e.g. school psychologist, nurse, counselor) may take the lead in implementing this program in their school.

Major steps for how to implement this program:

Calm Moments Cards

Each of the 17 Calm Moments Cards are located below. The following user-friendly information is included on each card:

  • Situational Stressor (e.g. Test Taking)
  • Triggers – possible causes of stress and anxiety related to the situation (e.g. student has difficulty reading directions on test)
  • Thinking Strategies (Student Positive Affirmations, Positive Adult Responses, Activities)
  • Focusing & Calming Strategies (Movement Poses & Breathing, Activities)
  • Sensory Strategies (touch, taste, movement, visual, and smells that may be calming)
  • Teaching Moment (Simple evidence-based explanations supporting the use of the activities and strategies listed on the card)

Calm Moments Cards

17 Calm Moments Cards (click the link below to download an individual card)

Research Outcomes

During the 2015-16 school year, the Calm Moments Cards program was implemented by Sarah Kolic, OTR/L, Alisa Deininger, OTR/L and Denise Young, COTA/L in two school districts1 in northern Ohio. Susan Bazyk, PhD, OTR/L served as the lead researcher along with assistance from her OT graduate students.2 Following Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from Cleveland State University, 93 school personnel were recruited and participated in the study.