What is SPIN?

Your Child & Trauma

This trauma could be considered ‘BIG T’ trauma which could be from a serious event or experience, or ‘small t’ trauma which is initially overwhelming but maybe not be seen as traumatic.

The reality is that trauma is trauma, and trauma can cause concentration, self-esteem and emotional regulation difficulties.

Trauma can affect our memory, ie our…

  • Semantic Memory – The memory of general knowledge and facts

  • Episodic Memory – The autobiographical memory of an event or experience

  • Emotional Memory – The memory of emotions someone feels during the experience

  • Procedural Memory – The memory of how performing task without actively thinking

The Trauma Response

‘Fight, flight, freeze or fawn’ is a physiological response to a threat, where the person will fight, flee from the threat, freeze in some capacity or appease someone to avoid whatever stress has occurred. The ‘fight, flight, freeze or fawn’ mechanism is a way of letting off steam; a pressure valve that gives a break from whatever is causing the stress. They are reacting to the challenge at hand.

Cortisol is a ‘stress hormone’ in the body. Increased cortisol has been linked to depression and mental illness. Cortisol is released in response to fear or stress by the adrenal glands as part of the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ mechanism.

It can also interfere with learning & memory, lower immune function and increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, and has been known to increase risk for heart disease, among other things.1

Cortisol is like a pressure cooker. The more the stress, the more the Cortisol levels can increase. Too much stress can cause the cortisol levels to remain unusually high. One small stress point can then cause a person to boil over or erupt. This essentially is what happens when a child is in ‘fight-or-flight’.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the body that has been called the ‘happy chemical’. It is believed to help regulate mood and behavior. An increase in serotonin can produce good feelings of wellbeing and happiness.2 Many of the depression medications have Serotonin as their main ingredient.

Serotonin can naturally be increased through physical activity. It is not unlike a ‘runner’s high’ or what you experience when you are stumped by something and then get up and move around and you are able to solve what you are working on.

Being proactive in observing when a student’s cortisol levels may be increasing and building into the day breaks that build Serotonin is the difference between a student SPINning out of control or in the right direction.

This is why we have The Spin Cycle

The SPIN Cycle is the daily schedule that we have developed for our students at Robson Academy and, in a nutshell, it is: Work – Break – Repeat.

The SPIN Cycle is designed to assist in developing a cadence that helps children feel a sense of comfort and consistency, thus giving them the confidence to begin to overcome whatever challenges they are struggling with.

Work is defined as the school work that each student needs to do in a day. Breaks are activities that are designed to ease Cortisol build-up and build Serotonin back up in the brain.

The SPIN Cycle is designed to help get through the three “Brain T’sers” that most affect mood each and every day. These Brain T’sers are what we call Takeoffs, Triggers, and Transitions.

  • Takeoffs – Takeoffs are defined as the beginning of something new.

  • Triggers – Triggers can be defined as something that elicits an emotional reaction or response

  • Transitions – Transitions can be defined as changing from one state to another

When a student is accepted at Robson Academy, a SPIN ITP is developed for each student. This Individualized Education Plan (ITP) includes the elements of SPIN, which is an acronym that is comprised of the following:


Daily spiritual disciplines that keep a student grounded.


Physical action that motivates a student to keep moving forward.


Maintaining a consistent daily academic schedule


Food which increases serotonin or can be prepared in less than 10 minutes.

The SPIN ITP is used to develop a daily plan for each student, thus helping them experience calm, comfort as they navigate through their day and the daily Brain T’sers that may try to trip them up. 

Want to learn more?

Learn about ITP

How to Get Started

Step 1.


Fill out the form below and we’ll contact you to schedule a phone consultation to determine if Robson Academy is a good fit for your child.

Step 2.


We believe education is a mutual partnership. A face to face interview and facility tour helps us establish rapport and comfort level.

Step 3.


We create a plan together which includes individualized curriculum, therapeutic techniques, and family consultation.