Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
Special education students with learning disabilities are known to be at risk for developing emotional and behavioural problems. This can threaten students' school readiness and complicate teaching, requiring punishment which may lead to dropping out of school. In contrast, emotional problems are often underestimated and are likely to remain unaddressed. Unfortunately, solely using punishment strategies to deal with problem behaviour seems to be ineffective and only makes the problems worse. Previous research shows that programmes such as the School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support (SWPBS) can be effective at preventing and addressing external problems (i.e. behavioural issues). However, SWPBS lacks clear evidence-based interventions for dealing with negative emotions and internalizing problems (i.e. emotional problems). Therefore, the TIME-IN programme was developed as a school-wide healthcare policy, which extends SWPBS by also adding emotional support systems such as Emotion Regulation Training (ERT). TIME-IN aims to improve the inclusion of special education students with learning disabilities in the classroom by teaching adaptive emotion regulation strategies and by reducing externalised and internalised problems, which is also a key priority for Flemish government as part of recent educational reformation. The aim of this study is to test the effectiveness of the TIME-IN programme on children’s emotion regulation, behaviour and emotional well-being in special education children.
Who can participate?
Children aged 8-12 with learning disabilities, their parents and their special education teachers.
What does the study involve?
Participating schools are allocated to either receiving the TIME-IN programme or to continue as normal. Schools receive the programme if they display that they are willing and ready to implement it. TIME-IN is supervised by a school psychologist and follows a three level approach using proactive (creating or controlling a situation), preventive (preventing a situation) and curative (curing a situation) programmes. TIME-IN works to create a school wide plan to create a safe school environment and to determine student’s special educational needs. The programme also includes training on classroom management, promoting emotional awareness, coaching emotional regulating strategies (i.e. problem-solving) and repairing conflicts between teachers and children. Schools who do not receive the TIME-IN programme continue with their normal care. Emotional regulation strategies and school readiness of students are measured before and after the programme using questionnaires for teachers, students and their parents.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
A possible benefit with participating is that the programme may improve children's school readiness and prevent school drop-out. There are no notable risks with participating.
Where is the study run from?
MPI 't Craeneveld Oudenaarde (Belgium)
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
September 2015 to June 2015
Who is funding the study?
1. Educational Government (Belgium)
2. Special Research Fund Ghent University (BOF) University of Ghent (Belgium)
Who is the main contact?
Mr Henk Weymeis
Extending School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support (SWPBS) with emotional support systems: a non-randomized study testing the effectiveness of a school-wide health care policy TIME-IN in Flemish special education
1. TIME-IN improves special education children's adaptive emotion regulation strategies compared to a control group with no intervention
2. TIME-IN reduces both children's externalizing and internalizing problems compared to a control group with no intervention
3. TIME-IN reduces both children's externalizing and internalizing problems through adaptive emotion regulation
Ethical Commission of Ghent University Faculty of Psychology and Pedagogical Sciences, 22/9/2014, ref: 2014/45
Prospective controlled two armed non randomised study
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Non randomised study
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use contact details to request a participant information sheet
Children with learning disabilities, at risk for developing behavioural, emotional and academic problems (clinical sample).
Participating schools are allocated to either receiving the intervention or to the control group. Schools are allocated based on their readiness to implement the intervention programme and based on the implementation criteria such as sufficient awareness of need and motivation to get started with the implementation of a demanding school-wide programme. This is done through discussions with school boards. Control schools are chosen randomly selected from an ongoing study on school readiness in 18 nearby schools.
Intervention group (TIME-IN):
Participating schools implement the TIME-IN programme over nine months. This consists of 48 meetings, lasting a total of 122 hours. Five workshops of three hours and one two-hour plenary information sessions is devoted to the development and presentation of a school-wide charter and additionally three three-hour discussion sessions are held over the year to evaluate the schools action plan. Next, one plenary information session (three hours) is organised to discussion children's screening results and six workshops of three hours on the implementation of a school-wide quality assurance system is implemented: Action-Oriented Working in the Classroom (AOW). 30 teachers are trained about the programme through five three-hour workshops. The school clinical psychologist staff receive four workshops (three hours) to training outside classroom interventions. Finally two school-parent contacts (three hours) are organised to involve parents in the learning process.
Teachers are expected to enhance a safe classroom climate by formulating and visualizing positive behavioural expectations, practicing relational skills and providing clear instructions regarding the course content. Teachers promote emotional competencies using classroom emotional thermometers tools which enhance emotion identification by visualising different emotions and fostering emotional understanding. Students' special needs and adaptive emotion regulation strategies are improved by using a student reminder card. When aggressive behaviour or an emotional crisis arise, staff use the Life Space Crisis Intervention procedure in order to repair the conflictual relationship between teachers and child. Teachers support the children to cool down and receive assistance from the school psychologist.
Control group (Care as usual):
The control group does not receive any interventions and continue with their normal care.
School readiness is measured at baseline and at month nine (after the intervention) using questionnaires for teachers, students and their parents in a multi-informant assessment procedure.
Primary outcome measure
1. Externalizing problems are measured using the Teacher Report Form (TRF) at baseline and nine months
2. Internalizing problems are measured using the Teacher Report Form (TRF) at baseline and nine months
3. Depressive symptoms are measured using the Child Depression Inventory (CDI) at baseline and nine months
Secondary outcome measures
Emotional regulation strategies are measured using FEEL-KJ is measured using at baseline and nine months
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Special Education Children with learning disabilities between 8 - 12 years old
1. Children between 8-12 years old with special educational needs (SEN; i.e. children with a learning and/or a mild intellectual disability)
2. Their biological parents (father and/or mother)
3. Their Special Education Teacher
Target number of participants
T0: 100 participants T1: 100 participants
Participant exclusion criteria
1. Children, parents or teachers who do not consent to participate in the study
2. Children younger than 8 and older than 12 years
3. Children who are not primarily diagnosed with a learning disability (in Flemish education this is categorised as 'Type BA - special education')
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
MPI 't Craeneveld
Flemish Government Education
Koning Albert II laan 15
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
The protocol is currently under review; the results will be submitted later this spring at a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Also, publication of the results in an internal research report, to be available for all stakeholders (school district, school managing board, teachers, parents and students) is planned.
IPD sharing plan:
The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are/will be available upon request from Henk Weymeis (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Available on request
Basic results (scientific)