Sunday, May 13, 2007


Two information pamphlets are made available to trainees. One is intended for colleagues; a smaller one is for parents. Most of the text for both is provided below.


CUSTTAD is a method of working with children which has been developed over a period of twenty years. The practice of CUSTTAD takes place with individual children in a room which has been specially resourced and dedicated for the purpose. It is particularly suited to children between the ages of five and eleven.

CUSTTAD draws heavily on some of the well tried and tested practices of art, play and child psychotherapy and places particular emphasis on the inter-related use of sand trays and a procedure called Talk and Draw. CUSTTAD is about creating conditions which are conducive to children sharing any concerns they might have - if and when they feel able or inclined to do so. And, having accessed those concerns, CUSTTAD is about making all possible efforts to support the child in the task of addressing them as speedily and effectively as possible.

The initial phase of CUSTTAD's development took place in one of Glasgow's two special schools for children who had been identified as having emotional and behavioural problems. It was supervised by Strathclyde Psychological Services and was included in an inspection by HM Inspectors of Schools in February 1987. The following comments are from that report:

'The assistant head teacher had, with the support of the child guidance service, planned, developed and was in the process of evaluating innovative and specialized therapeutic procedures which were based on creative expression and were designed to help all pupils deal with their personal problems.'

A full account of the work in that setting, entitled BALANCING THE REQUEST TO BE GOOD, was published by Free Association Books of London in August 1995. Concurrent with the preparation of the book a facility was established in Royston Primary School.

The second phase of CUSTTAD's development took place in one of the community-based clinics of the Department of Child and Family Psychiatry, Yorkhill NHS Trust, from April 1996 to April 2000. During that time over two hundred children were referred to the CUSTTAD facility from within the Department, for treatment and assessment purposes. An in-house evaluation of the work was carried out for the Department's Strategic Planning Group.

The aim of the evaluation was to appraise CUSTTAD's potential to assist with the assessment and treatment of children. It also covered issues of transferability as regards enhancing the skills of other employees in their role as child and family workers. Comments from the write-up include:

'The trainees' views on the benefits of CUSTTAD were extremely positive.' and 'The main value of CUSTTAD is as a diagnostic tool and as a means through which children can give expression to their ideas and concerns. It is therefore a valuable resource which would enhance the quality of service provided by D.C.F.P.'

Based on the work in D.C.F.P. and in Royston Primary School the foundations of a training program were put in place and that program has subsequently been continued in association with South Lanarkshire Education Department. South Lanarkshire will soon have CUSTTAD facilities in fourteen of their mainstream Primary Schools. The facilities will also be employed as part of South Lanarkshire's Integrated Children’s Services provision.

The training program is available to workers whose management at all levels can offer genuine top down support and can guarantee the required dedicated space or negotiate access to a CUSTTAD facility.

CUSTTAD is a non-profit making organization. Personnel involved in various capacities, in overseeing all aspects of CUSTTAD's implementation and development include a Consultant Child Psychiatrist, a Senior Family Therapist, a Senior Educational Psychologist, a Head Teacher, a PrincipalTeacher, and two Behaviour Support Specialists.


CUSTTAD is a way of working with children which has been developed over a period of twenty years.

CUSTTAD has been used in one of Yorkhill Hospital's community-based clinics, in two Glasgow schools, in a school in Midlothian and in several schools in South Lanarkshire.

CUSTTAD is particularly suited to children between the ages of five and eleven but some older and younger children also find it useful.

CUSTTAD's main purpose is to provide the setting and the support children need to sort out any concerns they might have.

No child is invited to use CUSTTAD unless their parents/carers have been told about it and they have given their permission. But it is the child who decides whether or not they will use a CUSTTAD facility.

When a child does have concerns CUSTTAD aims to resolve them as speedily as possible, with the child's involvement and with the assistance of their parents/carers. Other professionals may be asked to assist if required.

The name CUSTTAD is taken from the words the Combined Use of Sand Trays and Talk And Draw.

Anyone who would like copies please e-mail

Saturday, May 12, 2007


This picture was produced by a boy from Royston Primary School who had been having bad dreams in which the main protagonists were Dracula and Freddie Krueger. Superman was added as he continued to talk about his dreams and agree that he might benefit from NOT watching any more scary videos.


CUSTTAD is an acronym derived from the two core procedures of the approach which are called Talk and Draw and Making a Tray. More exactly it is taken from the words the Combined Use of Sand Trays and Talk And Draw.The name was devised in 1996 to assist with the write up of an evaluation of its use in a clinic setting.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007




Each Custtad facility uses similar furniture and materials but they are all meant to make it as comfortable as possible for a child to step inside -particularly for anyone who may have been hesitating about accepting the invitation to use it


This club was developed to help children who said they had a problem walking away from 'difficult' situations.

Further information on the club can be found at

The WALKAWAY web site is now also providing a piggy back for MORE CUSTTAD. This consists of an assortment of background information which is not available elsewhere.