Why are we burning out all the professionals who help our kids?

pediatric profiler pictureBelow is the link to an article written by a relatively new teacher (about 5 years in the classroom) who lists all the things that she has done for her students and all the struggles they have experienced during her tenure.  She is strongly considering quitting the profession but wants the policy makers to understand why.

This burnout is not just occurring in the schools.  If you ask any of the professionals whose passion is helping children and adolescents, you will year the same issues, the same frustrations, and the same hopelessness about how we, as a society, are letting down our youth.

Love, Teach: What I Wish I Could Tell Them About Teaching in a Title I School

Please start a conversation here or among your colleagues about what she has said and what we can do, both at the grassroots level and at the policy level to turn this around. One thing is certain, we need our “in the trenches” professionals to be part of the conversation and solution, not just the ones who have to live with the “wisdom” of others.

Understanding sensory overload

pediatric profiler pictureIn a general population the prevalence of sensory processing disorders is 1 in 20 according to literature by Lucy Miller OT. When you talk about the autism spectrum disorders, this number goes to much higher levels although an actual prevalence rate has not been determined due to the controversy about the reality of the disorder.

While not everyone believes in a sensory processing disorder (also known as a sensory integration disorder), their is belief that there can be significant sensory processing deficits for individuals in the autism spectrum and ADHD. This is important because sensory issues can and do affect how well these children and adolescents tolerate their environments.  The more overwhelmed they feel, the less they will be able to interact with their environment.  Some may run away, some may lash out, and others will just shut down where they are.

I found this video on sensory overload that I think will help others “feel” for just a couple of minutes what it feels like to be in a situation where processing is impaired due to too much information coming in at once.

When I talk about Never Assume, like in my book, I am referencing the need to really find out what is behind the behaviors we notice.  We need to take the time to think about various possible reasons that are triggering a fight or flight response in the child or adolescent.  By truly understanding the source(s) of the behaviors,  we can begin to develop empathy and interventions to improve the quality of life for him.

Next time you find yourself getting upset at a child for inappropriate behavior, please take a moment to consider a why other than “Because he is a brat” or “He is just trying to ruin my day.”  You will be surprised by what you come up with and how that changes your response/reaction.

How to decide whom to help

pediatric profiler pictureHave you ever come upon someone who needed help that you didn’t know?  Or even someone you knew but felt was somehow different? Did you stop to help?  Or did you avert your eyes as you veered away?
This video shows what happened as a social experiment using two individuals: What would you do? One looked like a businessman who fell while trying to use his crutches along a busy street.  The other was a homeless man who also fell while trying to use his crutches on a busy street.  How did it make you feel to see the difference?
Did you know that this same type of scenario occurs in schools every day with students who are seen as lazy, unmotivated, disrespectful, etc.  Having talked with over 3000 of these students in the last 30 years, I have heard their frustration of feeling like they are not being listened to.  That they are discounted by teachers and sometimes parents because they are judged on appearances.  They feel that no one actually tries to understand how they are struggling, how they are trying but not succeeding academically, socially, or in everything they try to do. 
Next time you see a child, adolescent, or student not achieving, will you take a minute to just stop and ask how you can  help.  Assume that they don’t want to fail, but rather need support to succeed.
Can you do it for them?  Please?
Pat

Using Imagination to Help Children Understand Their Feelings

pediatric profiler pictureI have worked with approximately 3000 children and adolescents over the last 30 years.  The vast majority experience anxiety and depressed moods due to their struggles and challenges with development, learning and behavior.
I have found that using imagination to help them see their emotions in a more concrete and literal way helps them to begin the journey to self empowerment and understanding.
I want to share a YouTube video that demonstrates this concept.  I have seen it a few times since it came out and it has never ceased to resonate with me in how parents and children/teens could feel less overwhelmed if they could envision their emotions in a way that would allow others to help them.
I hope you find this video inspiring. The Black Dog.
Send me feedback on what you think or who you would like to share this with.
Pat

Smart is Dumb

pediatricprofiler:

I always enjoying reading Robert Whipple’s blogs because our views on how to lead are so similar. And those that know me know that I refer to Detective Columbo frequently as a model of how to work with children and adolescents, rather than the way today’s TV cops interrogate suspects. So much more information is gained by softly leading others to insights, than by trying to ram it down their throats. And believe it or not, sometimes others, including our children and adolescents do have good reasons and ideas.

Originally posted on :

Dud ManagerIn his famous program, “Effective Negotiating,” Chester A. Karrass, makes the observation that, in negotiations, often appearing dumb is a great strategy.

The idea is that acting naïve causes the other party to fill in some blanks with information that may ultimately be helpful to you in the negotiation.

Conversely, acting as if you know everything is usually a bad strategy, because you end up supplying too much information too early in the conversation. This habit gives your opponent in the negotiation a significant advantage.

As I work with leaders in organizations of all sizes, a similar observation could be made about leadership. Being dumb is sometimes smart, and being too smart is often dumb. Let’s examine some examples of why this dichotomy is a helpful concept.

To make enlightened decisions, leaders need good information. It sounds simple, but in the chaos of every day organizational issues, it is sometimes…

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Let’s Make This the Year of Understanding Children and Adolescents

pediatric profiler pictureHere we are, standing on the threshold of a new year.  What will it bring us?  What will it bring the children and adolescents in our communities?

I have been working with children and their families for approximately 30 years.  One theme that occurs more often than I want to hear is that “They (children/adolescents) have to learn to respect us (the adults). We won’t show them respect until they show it to us first.” Where are they (children/adolescents) supposed to be learning this respect for others? From the adults in their lives, of course. Unfortunately for many children and adolescents, they have never seen it modeled and if they see it at all it is in the form of fear of others that lead to following rather than relating.

This style of interaction has roots back to the times of Colonial America when most parenting was called Authoritarian, meaning that children obeyed due to love and fear of their parents. Blind obedience was expected or else they would receive the wrath of the belt or switch. This form of parenting is still used although child services frowns on it since we now provide children and adolescents with protection from physical punishment, which includes belts and switches. This then leads to a verbal equivalent where the child is repeatedly torn down emotionally to then be built to be an unquestioning follower.  Some children, those who have temperament profiles that need to understand “why”, are frequently victims of repeated emotional abuse because they can’t simply do what doesn’t make sense.

This style of adult-child interaction is also seen in many schools, with examples being the Zero Tolerance policies where there is not room for understanding what led a child to respond or react in a certain manner.  Frequently there are very valid reasons, which left unaddressed result in a much worse outcome down the road, when this student decides to get vengeance on those who punished with no regard to the torture he may have been receiving from others until he finally stood up to them.

Look at the child abuse statistics from one year ago (1/2/2014).  30% of children who were abused became abusive parents. If you asked children in school how many of them felt that they were verbally and/or emotionally abused, I would expect the number would be high, although they aren’t seen as a significant part of the statistics listed on that site. The abuser may be their parent or parents, but it is just as likely to be a teacher, administrator, or another student. These interactions influence and model for the child how to interact, if not with all others, at least with children, thus keeping the cycle going.

2015 for me will be a time for increased speaking for children.  I will continue to travel the country explaining the hows and whys of children and adolescents in the hope of creating change in adults who influence children.  Help me do this. Share my brochure with others to bring training to parents, teachers, administrators, and others who routinely come in contact with children and adolescents.

 

Thank you and Happy New Year.

1 in 6 pediatric profiling brochure

Rip Up The Agenda

pediatricprofiler:

These 6 steps are crucial whether you are dealing with children and adolescents, teachers, colleagues or significant others. Please share with those you know and would benefit from this piece.

Originally posted on :

All I needOne of my friends in the consulting business wrote an insightful article entitled “Throw Away Your Integration Plan.” The friend is John Pancoast of Acquisition Solutions, a firm that helps organizations achieve more effective mergers or acquisitions.

His article was about having the flexibility to know when the plan you drew up before a merger was announced should be abandoned for another course of action based on some unanticipated development.

The main idea makes sense to me. No original plan can anticipate everything that is possible to happen, especially in a multifaceted endeavor like a merger.

Sticking religiously to an a-priori version of the path forward will produce suboptimal results at best and may even be disastrous.

It is not just mergers and acquisitions where we need the flexibility to change a plan based on new information. We deal with the need for flexibility in every area of our lives.

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