A Turning Point in Education?
My mid-life career choice was education. The choice coming after many successful years in the fashion business and then having my good fortune tank for a number of reasons. The perfect storm! Fashion is a mercurial business and as Heidi Klum repeats as a moderator in the galvanizing show, Project Runway, you’re in one day and out the next. So being out, I simply chose to go back to school and earn a degree in Education. It was a long shot from being a fashion journalist and then owner of a lingerie company where I manufactured in Hong Kong. Certainly, not as glamorous but fulfilling in different ways. In retrospect, it was a good choice with different rewards and challenges. Now, I have spent 20 years as a teacher of gifted and special education, and have just lately seen our educational system spun around based on the current crisis. This, in the long run, might be a blessing and here are some thoughts espoused by me and a fellow teacher I had the good fortune to work with while I lived in Scottsdale… Read more
The Gift of Giving
As a part time reading and resource instructor for elementary and middle schools, I have to admit that I’ve often used bribery as a means of getting a child to try harder or to finish an assignment. It even works with high school kids to inspire them to get to the finish line albeit for that group the prize has to be worth the effort. Older kids are more selective and can be very cynical. They weigh their options before jumping in and aren’t easily seduced to produce by a pretzel stick, gold star or a pass to sit with a friend at lunch! I can safely say that many teachers use this type of positive reinforcement: work and you’ll be rewarded with something to eat or with enough checks/points/emojis accrued you can go to the toy chest and pull out something shiny and plastic for your delectation. Of course, this strategy often works but I got to thinking that in a perfect world, the greatest gift we can give our children is not just to give them ‘things’ for striving to do something requested and/or expected, but to share with them how you feel about their doing something well. … Read more
Strategies to Help Disorganized Kids
More often than not, I speak with a parent who finds going through their child’s backpack a depressing and a frightening thought. I completely resonate with those emotions as the contents of back packs are sometimes like looking into a black hole! Within it may be a homework assignment due the previous week, a book report that was due the previous quarter, crumpled papers with illegible hand-writing, flyers for the parent to address, not to mention crumbs of cookies from the B.C. era. I’ve certainly experienced this with my students when I see a struggling student and I’d bet that most parents at some time have seen examples of this.
Parents and teachers need to understand that disorganization is an outgrowth of a neurodevelopmental profile and that the challenges include attention processing, disorganization of space and materials such as the desk, locker and gulp, backpack… Read more
Probably the most important skill your child can learn to succeed in the 21st century is to be in-distractible. That’s a tall order in today’s digital age when technology seduces many of us into diverting from what we should be doing.
According to a Stanford University psychologist, there are two kinds of people in the world; “Those who let their attention and lives be controlled and coerced by others and those who proudly call themselves in-distractible. Most kids use technology between 5-10 hours a day. At school, if in middle to high school, kids are probably using computers at least 3 to 4 hours a day and then for many, there is all those hours to play with technology after school. The hours on some type of screen just seem to fly by and time becomes irrelevant for many. Let’s face it, kids love video games and if left alone, they would have no problem at all spending an entire day gaming with a program like Minecraft. Therefore, when many parents ask their kids to get off their phones, X-Box or computers because they’ve been using them for an inordinate amount of time, there are many disputes. Even Bill Gates limits his children’s screen time.Read more
Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave
If you’re like me, you have to keep reminding yourself that the wolf is NOT at the door. With all the horrific stories in the media and the stresses in our world today, it’s no wonder we are having moments of not functioning well. If you’re like me, you might go to bed, reliving the stressful incidents of the day and perhaps the economic, political or environmental issues that affect us either directly or tangentially. Some of us can create incredibly dark scenarios in our minds because we live in a complex world where all our buttons can be easily pushed.
Children certainly push our buttons and we often don’t know how to shake off the negative emotions we are left with. It’s a rich territory when we look at the landscape of our thoughts and this applies to situations which cause anxiety between parent and child or even with our partners. In order to have more harmony on a consistent basis one needs to do it gently and gradually. ‘Ask and It Is Given’ is a New York Times bestselling book written by Esther & Jerry Hicks. It is a book I highly recommend and is about us “asking” and being answered by All-That-Is. That may sound like a riddle but the book is primarily about how whatever we’re asking for, ie: harmony in family relationships, is being given to us and there are ways to ask and then receive. As most of us will admit, we do create our own reality and no one else does! We create our own reality in any given situation even if you don’t understand how we do it. For that reason, we often create by default. As Esther and Jerry Hicks tell us, “When you are consciously aware of your own thoughts and you are deliberately offering them, then you are the deliberate creator of your own reality.“
You ask through your attention and through your desire. You don’t have to use words. You just have to feel it in your being. By paying attention to your emotions, you can understand every experience you are having whether good or bad. Read more
Conscious Parenting- Dealing with Defiant Children
Below is the checklist of a young teen whose disorder should be tracked according to intensity and repetition. In my case, the student exhibited all but one of the descriptors seen below. Not knowing the background of this student because he was relatively new to my class, and didn’t have an IEP there was no way I could tell if there was some type of trauma in his life that triggered the actions. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and reacted according to how I’ve been trained. Certainly, aggressive behavior such as he exhibited could be excused due to trauma. Otherwise, there are ways to deal with it. Here is the list which seems to characterize an ODD child/teen.
- Oftenloses temper
- Argues with adults and authority figures
- Refuses to comply with adult requests
- Blames others for his mistakes
- Deliberately annoys people
- Is easily annoyed by others
- Is angry/resentful and spiteful/vindictive.
Sound like someone you may know?
Please see information below as I found it most helpful and I think you will too.
If a person exhibits four or more of these behaviors for six months or longer, he/she would likely be diagnosed with ODD, unless there was an alternative explanation. For example, if the individual has experienced. trauma such as the death or ill health of a caretaker, or if there’s another disorder or condition at play. The most important factor to consider is frequency and intensity. All kids exhibit some of these behaviors at some time, but not to the extent of an ODD child. ODD may develop at any time, over time, and may be secondary to another diagnosis. Read more