Trainer Spotlight: Kate Barbaro

Q: How long have you been an Ukeru trainer?

I’ve been an Ukeru trainer for five years with Millcreek Township School District in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Q: What population do you work with? What inspired you to get into this field?  

 I primarily work with special education students in grades K-8.  Some of the classroom programs I supervise include Autistic Support and Emotional Support classrooms, and seven full-time Emotional Support classrooms K-12 that service our students who live in the Residential Treatment Facility within our district bounds.  I was inspired into this field because I love kids and have a gift of teaching them.  Along my path, I have had mentors who saw this in me and who were highly supportive and enabling of my work in this field.

Q: What part of Ukeru do you enjoy teaching the most and why? 

I enjoy teaching how trauma physically changes the brain.  I think that this part of the training is so interesting and really is an “ah-ha” moment for staff when we are teaching it.  This part of Ukeru really sets the groundwork for what Ukeru is all about:  having an understanding of and concern for the “why” behind behavior.

Q: What would you say to someone who is unsure about using Ukeru?

Even if there is only a chance this works, don’t we have an obligation to fully give it a try?  Don’t we have an obligation to try something better, something that doesn’t involve putting our hands on kids and risking re-traumatization, injury, and potential death?  BTW- it works!  Just look at our data!

Q: What advice or tip would you give to a new Ukeru trainer?

Practice presenting a lot before your first training.  Eventually it becomes second nature.

Q: How has Ukeru impacted your life?

It has given me a different lens to view behavior that I carry with me in all of my thoughts and interactions with others in my life.

Q: What is your favorite quote or a motto that you like to live by?

Favorite Quote:  “A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove.  But the world may be different, because I was important in the life of a child.”  (last word changed from “boy”)

–Forest Witcraft

Q: What three words would you use to describe Ukeru?

Caring, Comforting, Safety-inspired