Topic: Social Emotional Learning

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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Why Being a Happy Mom (or Dad) is a Gift to Our Children

Mother’s Day always transports me back to my days as a young mom, juggling my psychology practice with the activities of our household: three young children, a wonderful husband, and a rambunctious dog named Lacy. With all three girls active on their soccer teams and their dad serving as coach, we sometimes needed a spreadsheet […]

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Children’s Mental Health: Everyone’s Responsibility

Amelia’s parents contacted me because of a problem in Kindergarten. Her teachers reported that she often began to cry around lunchtime, and when they asked her why she was crying, she couldn’t answer them.  They tried to distract her, and even offered her a trip to the class “store”, (stocked with fun prizes) if she would […]

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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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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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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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