Teaching students how to have belief in themselves

different yet beautiful

different yet beautiful

I travel around the country speaking about the developmental and behavioral challenges of children and teens. My purpose is to be their voice in order to help others understand and approach them with more compassion, empathy, and a willingness to work and think outside the box.

Now I find it funny that I do this because I was shy and reserved as a child and teen.  I didn’t want to rock the boat. I was mortified if a teacher or peer found fault with me in some way.  I even backed out of a school talent show with three friends, 2 days before the show, fearing that  people would laugh at me or boo me off the stage for not being able to sing well enough. My parents never had to give me a curfew because they KNEW I would be home on time and would make sure everyone else would be home too.

What changed?  I became so frustrated at how misunderstood children and teens with neurodevelopmental disorders were ( these are intellectual disorders, communication disorders, learning disorders, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, and motor disorders). My strong belief in right and wrong pushed me past my own social anxiousness into the classrooms, auditoriums, and conference rooms of the professionals who work with these youth to help them understand what science has been uncovering as to the “whys” of their behaviors.

I had to learn on my own by observation and analysis of good speakers (and now through the awesome mentorship of members of the National Speakers Association – NSA) how to present myself as an expert. I watched and learned about nonverbal language to convey confidence, even while the butterflies were banging in my stomach.

Now there is research to show how learning these nonverbal behaviors can indeed change how you view yourself.  Check out this TED talk about the research.  When you are done, I would like you to think about how to bring this knowledge to the classrooms of children with developmental and behavioral challenges. How can you help a child learn to see themselves in a more positive light? Provide them with opportunities to take chances since even failures are learning experiences, as long as we debrief afterwards in order to come away with more knowledge.

Want a copy of my free report on oppositional children?  Click here.

YouTube series on temperament


different yet beautiful

different yet beautiful

I have been receiving messages from my readers commenting on my YouTube video from 2011 (Patricia McGuire video 2011.AVI ) about their interest in temperament and how it affects children’s behaviors.  This YouTube video was actually put together as a demo video for meeting planners to see my presenting style. While I recognize that the quality is not studio perfect, the people contacting me felt that I was describing their children and their students.

Based on their requests I am going to develop a YouTube series of short videos on the temperament traits but also on the effect of those traits when put in the context of different neurodevelopmental disorders.  Oh, you want to know what a neurodevelopmental disorder is?  Good question!

Neurodevelopmental disorders affect one child in six. The disorders are;

  • ADHD
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Specific Learning Disabilities
  • Communication Disorders
  • Motor Disorders (such as Tourette’s Syndrome)

I would love to hear from you as I plan these videos out.  Just fill in this form to let me know.  I hope to have the first one done by mid-May.

Thank you so much.

Would you like a free copy of my report on oppositional children?  Click here.

Why have a label?

Labels are not bad or good.  They are a form of name. A means of being able to understand or know how to use something.  They help you understand what category they are in.  McDonalds, Nike,  oak tree, rose, alligator – they are all names or labels.

So why do so many people have problems with labels such as autism, dyslexia,  learning disabled, and ADHD?  There are definitions of these labels, books written on how to understand and help them, and a profile to make sense of the “whys” of their behaviors.

I have been told by parents and schools, that labels such as these limit children.  That they are not needed for providing help to children.  I have also been told that they are just excuses for laziness, poor parenting/or teaching, and bad behavior.  It seems to me that these are just other labels for the same problems, but with an entirely different set of interventions put into place.

I have also seen people accept these labels but not do anything to help children.  Instead they say that the children can’t help themselves, can’t achieve, can’t be encouraged to reach higher levels because they won’t be able to succeed.  I have seen that with children with Down’s Syndrome, who when moved to a different school or situation, then begin to learn.  I have seen the same with children in the autism spectrum, when interventions and strategies that have been shown in research to allow learning and achievement, are implemented and indeed these children do learn and achieve.

I see a label, or diagnosis, as part of that child’s profile.  Their profile helps the adults around them know where to look for understanding of how that child functions, processes, and interacts with their world. The profile allows the adults to develop interventions and strategies to help that child maximize their potential, not limit it.  The profile allows the adults to predict potential barriers and work around them.

Let’s embrace labels as a means of being better helpers to children. Let’s look at labels as means of helping children achieve despite neurologic wiring differences that make learning and succeeding more work than for their peers.  We all use labels.  Let’s just make sure we use them correctly and positively.