Topic: Challenging Behaviors

A Nurturing Alternative to Calm-Down and Time-Out Rooms

Rose’s parents and teachers were concerned about how to help her find success in kindergarten. Sometimes she went with the flow but at other times Rose fussed so much that she disrupted the whole class. Then her teachers devised a plan that everyone thought would help. They designated a small, separate section of the classroom […]

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What Causes Oppositional Defiance and Challenging Behaviors?

We can shift our mindset from viewing ODD as manipulative behavior to seeing it as an indicator that the child’s physiological state has shifted to distress, leading to fight or flight behaviors.

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Ain’t Misbehavin: Understanding Challenging Behaviors from the Inside Out

Challenging behaviors are not always intentional misbehavior. We have to understand the meaning behind them in order to best support each child.

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When the Tantrums Won’t Stop: Understanding the Impact of Sensory Triggers

“Alicia” was an active, talkative four-year-old, but even the smallest change in her morning routine could throw her into fits of whining, crying, and hitting. If her mother tried to put her in a top other than one of two soft, light-blue t-shirts she preferred, Alicia screamed and sobbed wildly. Just being in  crowded restaurants […]

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Attention Seeking for a Purpose: Understanding Behaviors in a New Way

This post explores a new way of viewing attention seeking behaviors.

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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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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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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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Redefining Oppositional and Challenging Behaviors

One of the goals of the Profectum conference  last month was to help parents and professionals expand their understanding of challenging behaviors in children. Connie Lillas described an optimal state of mental health as the “green” zone, a zone of calm awareness which supports learning and communicating.  Connie and I emphasized how important it is […]

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