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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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When Trauma Underlies Challenging Behaviors: New Answers for Vulnerable Children

After years of struggling with infertility, Julia and Samuel finally decided to adopt. They were thrilled when a social worker called with news of a pair of brothers who needed a home. It took a few months of paperwork, but then they were elated to welcome home “Matt”, 3 and “Rett”, 2. Their new family […]

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What We Can Learn from a Seven-Year-Old’s Arrest

A Florida elementary school made national headlines after video emerged of a police officer hauling off a seven-year-old boy in handcuffs. According to reports, a teacher had scolded the child for playing with his food in the cafeteria and the boy reacted by lashing out at the teacher, repeatedly striking and kicking her. By the […]

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Freedom of Choice: Why Special Education Programs Should be Transparent About their Approaches

When parents enroll their children in a school, they often don’t realize they’re choosing not only a program, but a whole approach. I was reminded of this when I was asked to observe a little girl at a state-sponsored preschool for children with developmental differences. “Ana”, 3, was happily playing when she noticed that a […]

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Why Preschoolers Shouldn’t be Suspended or Expelled: Lessons from Neuroscience

Luke struggled to get through nearly every day at his preschool. The four-year-old had difficulty sitting still and following directions, and when teachers reprimanded him, he usually responded by hitting something or someone. The more they admonished him, the more disruptive his behaviors became. Finally, the school ran out of options and suspended him. His […]

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How Experiencing Joy Can Help Children and Promote Optimal Development

Joy is a powerful tool for solving childhood challenges and promoting brain health. Yet in our culture of doing, teaching, treating and pathologizing, too often we forget that when a child needs help, the first thing we should increase is joy.  This is certainly true in my own field, child psychology, in which we often […]

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The Secret to Helping Children Thrive (And It’s Not a Theory or a Technique)

I recently visited a kindergarten classroom to observe a child with “behavior problems.” When I arrived, the little boy was busying himself with an art project. He and his classmates were building towers out of cardboard box pieces. Everything seemed fine until a peer suddenly grabbed the glue from him, knocking his beloved project to […]

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The Essential Question to Ask Before You Discipline a Toddler

Susan was enjoying a weekend breakfast with her family when her three-year-old son, “Marcus”, suddenly hit his big sister. When Susan reached out to pick him up, Marcus abruptly threw his head back, knocking Susan in the mouth so hard that she bled. Susan was stunned, at once furious and confused. Why did her son […]

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A New Lens for Understanding Behavior Problems

Six-year-old “Yvonne” was an only child and the apple of her parents’ eyes. After she was diagnosed with developmental differences, they enrolled her in a preschool class that included typical children as well as those with special needs. She did so well that the following year she moved to a mainstream kindergarten class. Just a […]

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Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.23 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