One Child in Six

xnormal distribution homework.uoregon.eduHave you ever noticed that the number quoted about high risk problems all seem to settle on or at one in six? This would mean that the vast majority of us live okay lives. But for those who live at the left far end of the bell curve, it means excessive stressors and dysfunction.

Here is a link to a recent article I published on LinkedIn, looking at the concerns of these children. Society sees these children as challenging since the stressors frequently lead to unwanted behavior and our feeling that we must control it.

Let me know what you think.

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.

30th Anniversary of A Nation At Risk

different yet beautiful

different yet beautiful

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the landmark report on education in the United States. It was the impetus for much of the education reform of the 80’s and 90’s.  Education Week looked at what has happened since then, which is shown in the infographics below from their article.

Several important things to notice are;

  1. Reading and math scores have barely moved
  2. Graduation rates have dropped and stayed low
  3. When adjusted for inflation, teacher salaries have barely increased since 1981.
  4. Public confidence has  dropped in public education

We have to make changes and it is not about directly holding teachers accountable, although they are part of the equation.  It is about recognizing that we knew so little about how a child’s brain worked then and know so much more now.  But, and this is a bit but, this knowledge is not being taught to our teachers, it is not being utilized in our classrooms, and is not becoming part of how we approach children both socially and academically. Schools were originally formed to provide children with the training they needed to be responsible, productive members of society. The focus has changed over the decades to just showing academic success. Employers are complaining that their new employees don’t know how to think for themselves, don’t understand how to organize, prioritize, and problem solve. The work ethic is missing. This is not about not doing homework, it is about not seeing a useful outcome from work put into an effort. If a child is struggling academically due to neurodevelopmental problems, which affect one child in six, production line education doesn’t work.

Let’s make a new 30 year plan to truly reform education to address how the brain works, how to understand and help the students that need more time, more one-on-one, and more variety in how they are taught.  Give the teachers the training and tools to do this, and then hold them accountable.

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

Where Are We Now: Looking at "A Nation at Risk," 30 years later