Peggy Chapman is the director at YALE School in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where she spearheads program development and special projects for multiple campuses. YALE School has 12 locations that provide educational programs for students with autism and other developmental disabilities. YALE School is part of Proof Positive’s Autism Wellbeing Alliance, a community dedicated to enhancing wellbeing outcomes for autistic people, providers, families, and caregivers.

Peggy also attended Proof Positive’s Learning Institute, a professional development workshop for a select group of leaders in autism services. At the Learning Institute, she enhanced her expertise in the science and skills of wellbeing, but you’ll want to hear it from her. Take it away, Peggy!

Hello! I’m Peggy, and I’m happy to share that my colleague and partner at the Learning Institute, Lauren Romano, has become a positive force at YALE School in spreading the science and skills of happiness. Her work is the model for introducing all of the YALE campuses to Proof Positive and spreading wellbeing to all of our educators and students with autism. One of the most compelling benefits of the Proof Positive framework is its universal design. The same wellbeing skills can be used across all YALE campuses with different populations, each with unique needs and abilities. Lauren’s pilot program showed that this structure and path to wellbeing can work for everybody, inspiring others to implement it in their programs. 

We’re also capitalizing on the launch of our new faculty website to spread the skills of happiness to employees around YALE campuses. We created a section linking to Proof Positive’s wellbeing skills and activities directly from The Huddle, our employee engagement gateway. Our goal is to help employees learn and access strategies to be well. And, newbies at YALE know they can go to leaders like Lauren to find out how easy it is to apply the skills of happiness. 

We genuinely care about our employees and want them to be happy! Happy employees stay and promoting skills of wellbeing is an effective strategy for staff retention.     

At our last orientation training for one of our premier programs serving young adults approaching the end of their special education entitlement programming, we highlighted positive psychology skills for faculty and staff. When we teach wellbeing skills during professional development, we empower, encourage, and motivate staff to equip their students to enter the complex and challenging world of adulthood armed with positivity.  

Parents love it, too. Educators often focus on deficits in Special Education because Individualized Education Programs and processes are systematically built that way. It’s refreshing for teachers to share what is going right with parents! 

For us, systematically implementing Proof Positive’s wellbeing skills is having a positive effect on the culture of our entire school. It’s true—when educators and service providers feel better, they can teach with energy, engagement, and enthusiasm, and they can connect more fully with their students and administrators. And when this happens, students are happier and more equipped to achieve their goals. Wellbeing skills are energizing, and skills like the PERMA+ Snapshot (a tool to measure the various elements of wellbeing) provide a framework for the overall wellbeing of the individual, the classroom, the school, and across our campuses. 

Promoting wellbeing skills is a strategy for educators to feel more effective as leaders and in their work. Applying the skills of happiness worked at our school, and they can work for you, too! 

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