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Top-Down and Bottom-Up Behaviors: Understanding the Critical Difference

Did you know that there are (at least) 2 different kinds of behaviors? Most people don’t. I didn’t, even after years of college, training, and earning a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Most graduate programs in mental health, education, social work, and medicine don’t yet consider this dichotomy important enough to teach or train about. But […]

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Why We Misunderstand Behaviors in Autistic Children— And How We Can Get It Right

An Indiana school recently made headlines after one of its special education teachers presented an autistic fifth grader with an award for “Most Annoying Male” at a school ceremony. While the incident was unfortunate in many ways, perhaps most disturbing was how it revealed that even people who work closely with such children can utterly […]

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The Two Life-Changing Qualities That Make Teachers Extraordinary

In my job as a clinical psychologist and as a mother, I have repeatedly observed two qualities in extraordinary teachers: * They provide a warm, calming presence and regulate their own emotions. * They are relationally connected and engaged with their students. It’s not difficult to see what a difference a good teacher can make. […]

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Childhood Trauma: Understanding Behavioral Challenges as Survival Instincts

This is a blog post I never wanted to write. In light of the tidal wave of neuroscience research, I had hoped that by now the fields of education, mental health and juvenile justice would change the way they view and support children and teens exposed to trauma. That hasn’t happened yet. And while I’m […]

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How To Cut Stress in Kids’ Transitions from School to Summer

The end of the school year can ban bring both fun and challenge for both parents and children. Some parents find it easy to transition their children to beloved and familiar settings such as local summer programs, day camp, or sleep-away camp.  But others experience stress and scramble to find appropriate options for their children […]

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Why Being a Happy Mom (or Dad) is a Gift to Our Children

Mother’s Day always transports me back to my days as a young mom, juggling my psychology practice with the activities of our household: three young children, a wonderful husband, and a rambunctious dog named Lacy. With all three girls active on their soccer teams and their dad serving as coach, we sometimes needed a spreadsheet […]

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When a Child Cries, Ignore the “Experts,” Not the Tears

Every parent knows how difficult it can be to watch your child burst into tears. Your instinct is to do whatever you can to bring comfort and calm the child. But in my work as a child psychologist, I sometimes observe behavioral interventionists suggest a different reaction for the children they work with, including those […]

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Why We Misunderstand Traumatized Children’s Behavioral Challenges and How We Can Do Better

By the time he turned eleven, “Luke” had consistently displayed such challenging behavior that he had been kicked out of four foster homes. Finally, a social worker placed him with parents who had been trained in a program that focused on behavior management.  That placement was also unsuccessful, and he landed in a residential school […]

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Moving Beyond Autism Awareness and Acceptance

According to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), “autism acceptance” shouldn’t be limited to a specific day or month. Rather, it should be an ongoing, collective effort to  create a world that values, includes, and celebrates all kinds of minds. As a child psychologist who has worked for decades with families of children on the […]

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Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.22 hours ago
School's starting here, and it's a perfect time to think about those behavior charts, clip charts, and "change your color" charts. Thanks Dr. Emily W. King, Child and Adolescent Psychology for giving us food for thought! #Education #specialeducation #Beyondbehaviors #SEL #Socialemotional #childstress #childbehaviors Parents
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.2 days ago
If you parent or work with children with behavioral challenges or autism spectrum, this interview on NPR show Lifestyles shows how we can better support classrooms and our communities. Hope you can listen and comment! #behaviors #Specialeducation #Autism #neurodiversity #education #traumainformed #childwelfare #Beyondbehaviors #IEP #specialneeds #ODD
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.5 days ago
This new post explains why we can do away with the blame- game in helping children with behavioral challenges. #challengingbehaviors #mentalhealth #beyondbehaviors #polyvagaltheory #ODD #Positiveparenting #specialeducation #childwelfare #ACES #conductdisorders Psychotherapy Networker
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.5 days ago
Powerful tip from Tina Payne Bryson & our local treasure, The Center for Connection. When you move your body into different positions, you activate emotions, thoughts, and feelings associated with that posture. Add playfulness while doing this! Ask your kids to show you what their bodies look like when they feel brave — have them actually strike a physical pose. Standing brave helps us feel brave or take 2-3 minutes to assume a floppy noodle posture, or an octopus, or any other posture that is super floppy and relaxed. Hold it for a couple of minutes.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.2 weeks ago
Do you know the difference between top- down and bottom- up behaviors? If you’re a parent, teacher, provider (or know a child) understanding the difference is so important. #parenting #socialemotionallearning #childwelfare #ACES #Beyondbehaviors #Education #Specialeducation #Fostering #Positiveparenting #Traumainformed