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When Children Act Out: “Seeking Negative Attention” or Needing to be Seen?

Decades ago, when I was in graduate school studying child psychology, I was taught that children often do things to get “negative attention.” At my clinical training sites, it was common to hear things such as, “Oh, Johnny is creating drama to seek negative attention” and “The best strategy is to ignore him.” When I […]

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The Power of Hope from Childhood Professionals

Several years ago at a professional training I conducted on parental stress, an 80-year-old mother raised her hand to share an insight. A psychologist and mother, she explained that she had a 50-year-old son with special needs. “Everyone told us to institutionalize him,” she said, “that he would be functioning at the lowest levels, and […]

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How We Help Children When We Practice Mindful Acceptance

Recently I experienced a difficult moment with a young client—and gained some insight in the process. In the midst of a session in my office, something triggered the 8-year-old boy into a “red zone” and he suddenly burst out yelling and screaming. His mother and I had seen this happen before, and we typically reacted […]

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The Body Tells the Story: The Promise of Sense Technology in Supporting Vulnerable Children

Improving the well-being of children and families is a priority for Dr. Rosalind Picard, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who studies “affective computing,” which uses sense technology to increase individuals’well-being using new ways to understand and respond to emotion. Dr. Picard has developed wearable sensors that reveal an individual’s level of cognitive, emotional, […]

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ADHD or a Natural Need to Move?

Rodney came from a family of athletes, so it wasn’t surprising that he was physically active from the time he was a toddler. Tall and strong, he crawled for just a couple of days before he learned to walk, and, soon after, run. Rodney thrived at his preschool, where children could freely move between the […]

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When Sensory Over-Reactivity Underlies Behavioral Challenges

Grant, age four, was asked to leave two preschools because of misbehavior. With tousled brown hair, big brown eyes, and a playful spirit, he both charmed and confused most of the adults in his life. He had such difficulty following directions that his teachers had to reprimand him every few minutes. They described him as […]

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It’s Not Just What You Say But How You Say It: How Early-Intervention Professionals Can Support Parents

Sitting on my office couch, Shawna let out a sigh. “We need help,” she said, barely getting the words out before she began to cry. Her face was gaunt and she had dark circles under her eyes. Over the next hour, she explained what had led her to seek my help. Shawna and her husband […]

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The Expectation Gap: When Do Toddlers Have Control Over their Behaviors?

Toddlers are wildly and wonderfully unpredictable. One minute, your little girl might be happily conversing with you, and the next, she’s out of control, rolling on the floor in agony because she can’t have that cupcake she just spotted on a TV commercial.  For parents, this seemingly unpredictable lack of emotional control can be exasperating […]

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When Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) Underlie Problem Behaviors

Four-year-old Wyatt was struggling in preschool, suddenly defying directions, and demanding more attention than usual. Nap time became a particular challenge. He would slither on the floor, trying to avoid his cot, in the process disturbing others trying to sleep. Frustrated, his teachers would ask him to stop bothering others, giving him few minutes to […]

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Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.3 days ago
Momentum!! I'm loving how far Phyllis Steinberg Fagell's post is going to shift the lens. We need not fear bad behaviors, we can learn from them! #Resilience #SocialEmotionalLearning #PositiveParenting #ChallengingBehaviors #BeyondBehaviors
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.3 days ago
Yes, let’s talk about this! And with all due respect let’s talk about how we are defining “preparation” to teach our special ed kids..If we continue to accept the status quo children will continue to be punished and required to undergo compliance training rather than having their Neurodiversity — including their behaviors— properly appreciated and understood. Thanks Edlyn Peña, Ph.D.-Autism Researcher for sharing. #neurodiversity #Beyondbehaviors #compassion
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.5 days ago
My talk about the power of relational safety at the SSP gathering in Florida. It was a professional audience, highlighting Dr. Porges' transformative works, and why I wrote #BeyondBehaviors. #SSP #ProtectiveFactors #SpecialEd #SpecialNeeds #ChallengingBehaviors #ACES #Resilience #Traumainformedcare #Occupationaltherapy
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
The Polyvagal Theory and the Power of Relational Safety
Dr. Delahooke's presentation at the 2019 SSP Gathering in Atlantic Beach, Florida. The Polyvagal theory and the concept of neuroception of Dr. Stephen Porges...
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Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.1 week ago
Recently--at yet another meeting where a child is accused of "seeking negative attention", I'm reminded of this post. Most vulnerable children don't act out to seek "negative attention". They don't. That's not how the brain works. #resilience #beyondbehaviors #relationshipsfirst #behaviorshavemeaning #SelfCompassion
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.1 week ago
Such a fun conversation about our kids-& ourselves-with Dr. Robyn J.A. Silverman