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The Problem with Taking Behaviors at Face Value

One of the misunderstood aspects of autism is that for some individuals, outward behaviors do not match inward intentions or thoughts. Decades ago, I learned from leaders in the field of ASD treatment how profoundly motor planning and praxis (everything from having an idea, planning motor movements, sequencing those movements, executing and then adjusting as […]

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Are Parents Considered the Experts of their Own Special Needs Children?

This has been a rough IEP season at my office.  Not because money is still tight and funding sources are scarce for special education services, or because these meetings can go on for hours on end, but because it seems parents are often not considered experts of their own children with special needs.  And when […]

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Presuming Competence: Part Two

Valuable information can be gleaned from autistic persons writing about their educational experiences.  A common theme arising from such writings is that all too often,  behaviors are taken at face value and competence is not presumed.  Because the neural circuits connecting the motor system to ideas or intention can be seriously impacted in autism,  taking […]

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Presuming Competence: Raising the Bar for Autistic Individuals (Part One)

Information about the processing differences in autistic children is streaming in from researchers and scientists. Two examples are Elyssa Marco, looking at the sensory processing differences found in children with atypical neurodevelopment, and Stephen Porges, studying stress responses in autism and other conditions.  Researchers are now weighing in on what autistic individuals have been asking […]

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Preventing More Violence

How many more deaths must occur before we take action to prevent future acts of violence in this country?  While discussion around limiting gun access is important, as a mental health specialist I can speak to the need for early identification of potential perpetrators. Our current methods of identifying and treating persons with mental health […]

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When Something doesn’t Feel Right

As a parent, you might experience confusion about your role in your child’s services.  You may feel that “pit in the stomach”, or “queasy feeling” when one of your child’s therapists makes a suggestion/comment that just doesn’t seem right. Because you have such a close relationship with your child, your weigh-in during these moments is […]

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Time to Re-think Treatment Techniques?

  Last week, at Bessel van der Kolk’s Annual Trauma Conference, the number of references to autism intrigued me.  While one would not necessarily expect to find those two words together in a conference, some of the underlying neurobiology found in trauma may be similar to children with autism, including weak or disconnected neural links […]

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Look at me!

Enforcing eye contact is a tricky endeavor in children with autism.  While gently taking a child’s head into your hands and asking him to look at you might seem innocuous, it actually can be very stressful. Parents and professionals alike need to consider the complexity of the brain networks in autism and make sure we […]

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Are you at Risk?

A recent study by researchers at the University of Illinois validates many other studies linking an increased risk of stress and depression experienced by mothers of young children with autism spectrum disorders (Jeans, 2013).  Fathers are at risk as well, however their symptoms may look different than those of mothers. This is somber news, and […]

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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