Topic: Education

Finding our Way Back: How Trauma-Responsive Practices Can help us Face this Moment

There were moments during the pandemic when it seemed this time might never arrive. But day by day, week by week, children are returning to classrooms. Even as we face the future, it’s important to reflect on how we have all endured a prolonged period of stress. Over many months, we have experienced cues of life […]

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Supporting Behaviorally Challenged and Neurodivergent Students in Education and Special Education

“Davon”, a quiet and loving eight-year-old boy diagnosed on the autism spectrum, was placed in a special education class with ten other classmates. Unable to use spoken language, he employed a picture-exchange system to communicate. His teacher worked hard to determine what he needed or wanted, yet often Davon would wail loudly and move about […]

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School Refusal and the Power of Social Engagement

Eight-year-old Charlise struggled to get through nearly every day of third grade. She refused to go to school so often that her mother had to physically escort her into the car, and then into the classroom each day. All week, she complained of stomach aches brought on by anxiety. But at home on the weekend, […]

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

Revised May 10, 2021. I visited a kindergarten classroom to observe “Byron”, 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 […]

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What Makes an Education “Appropriate”? Building It on Relationships

Every IEP team should assure that a child has the chance to develop emotional regulation through trusting relationships. Without that opportunity, meaningful learning is impossible.

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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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Why are IEP’s so Stressful?

There are many reasons IEP’s can be stressful.  Here is a list of a few related to the emotional ramifications of the process on parents.  Please feel free to respond and add your own.  The implication here is not that school administrators and teaching staff ever intend to make IEP’s an adversarial process.  The reason […]

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