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Understanding Behavior from the Outside In Children with Challenging Behavior: Strategies for Reflective Thinking. Linda Brault Early Childhood Consultant challengingbehavior@hotmail.com. Who Am I To Talk?. Early Intervention/Early Childhood Background

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Understanding Behavior from the Outside In Children with Challenging Behavior: Strategies for Reflective Thinking


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    1. Understanding Behavior from the Outside InChildren with Challenging Behavior: Strategies for Reflective Thinking Linda BraultEarly Childhood Consultant challengingbehavior@hotmail.com

    2. Who Am I To Talk? • Early Intervention/Early Childhood Background • Director of state-wide training and technical assistance programs • Parent of two children • Passionate about ways to help ALL children succeed

    3. Outcomes for Today • Explore how external and internal factors impact behavior and interactions of children and adults; • Examine adult emotional reactions to challenging behavior; and • Hear about strategies and tools that promote and utilize reflective thinking.

    4. Research shows that the main predictor of achievement is a child’s perception of “Does the teacher like me?” Sharing from Opening Activity

    5. What Do Most People Want? • One MAGIC workshop, tool, technique or strategy to make all the challenging behaviors disappear! • Me too! • But I haven’t found it…

    6. Reflective Thinking • Using reflective thinking can have magical results • When you stop, think, and then act, you can consciously and carefully apply the knowledge and experience you have gained through your training, education, and work with children

    7. Why Do They Challenge Us? • Behavior is Communication ~ What is the challenging child trying to tell us? • Children challenge us in order to communicate their needs • Primary need of all humans is to belong (fit into the whole) and to feel significant (be unique) • We want to belong by being valued for who we are uniquely Based on the work of Jane Nelsen, Positive Discipline ~ Page 94

    8. Hierarchy of Brain Development Abstract thought Logic Reasoning Attachment Contextual Memory Sexual Behavior Emotional Reactivity Appetite/Satiety Blood Pressure Body Temperature Motor Regulation Balance Heart Rate Breathing FOREBRAIN Cortex “Executive Center” MIDBRAIN Limbic “Emotional Center” HINDBRAIN Cerebellum & Brainstem “Alarm Center” Page 49

    9. Buttons in Our Brain Analytical Response Emotional Response Reactive Response Reflexive Response

    10. Buttons in Our Brain Analytical Response Emotional Response Reactive Response Reflexive Response

    11. Buttons in Our Brain Analytical Response Emotional Response Reactive Response Reflexive Response

    12. Buttons in Our Brain Analytical Response Emotional Response Reactive Response Reflexive Response

    13. What Challenges You? • Some behaviors “Push our buttons” • Behavior is in the eye of the beholder • Not everyone has the same buttons • Learn to use others forreflection and problem-solving

    14. What Do We Know About Challenging Behavior? • Children with challenging behavior are often our “canaries in the coal mines” • Systematically examining external and internal factors can help us understand how to address the needs being communicated through the behavior • When a child has a disability or special need, this may also impact behavior and/or perceptions of behavior

    15. Warning Label There is no direct relationship between a child’s intense temperament, neuro-developmental immaturity, and/or family problems and a child’s later behavior, but we know the more stresses children experience, the more help they will need to cope with the everyday challenges of growing up. Poulsen, M. K. in Project EXCEPTIONAL

    16. Examining routines/ schedules Smoothing transitions Behavior management Natural/logical consequences Positive discipline techniques Providing choices Teaching of social skills Consistency Using art or music Anticipating difficulties Choosing battles and more... Any of These Sound Familiar?

    17. Been There, Done That • Jot down a few words about how you feel when all of these good ideas don’t work • Is it any wonder we often give up at this point? • Adults often REACT out of these feelings causing them to miss opportunities to ACT out of a deeper understanding • Reflection can help you access your wisdom

    18. Are you looking for Blame or are you looking for Solutions?

    19. BRAULT Behavior Checklist • Behavior: • Reflect(Step back from emotions) • Analyze(Look at external and internal factors) • Understand(What is the behavior communicating?) • Learn(Gather more information) • Try something new! Page 6 in the book

    20. What Can Adults Control? We may want to control the child, but really we can’t What we CAN control may well influence the child • Program Elements ~ Environments and Curriculum • General Relationships and Interactions • Strategies with a Child in Mind • Child Characteristics (what we know about the child through observation and gathering information)

    21. Program Elements Strategies Start Here Child Looking from the Outside In Relationships

    22. Physical Environment Sensory Environment Stability of the Environment Program Element: Environments Page 11-20

    23. Group Size Room Organization and Arrangement Variety and Number of Toys & Materials Auditory Visual Tactile Emotional Physical & Sensory Environment

    24. Stability in the Environment • Staff turnover or number of staff that change each day • Changes in curriculum, room arrangement, etc. • Children leaving the group or joining the group

    25. Stability at Home • Children who are experiencing a lack of stability in their (home) environment are at increased risk for developmental and emotional difficulties • These children’s families need help to address these problems • And these children need positive experiences to help them cope with the negative stresses they cannot avoid Poulsen, M. K. in Project EXCEPTIONAL

    26. Developmentally appropriate, interesting and challenging Balances quiet/active Balances indoor/outdoor Appropriate expectations for self-help skills Schedules and Transitions Program Element: Curriculum Page 22-34

    27. Age Appropriateness(child development & learning) Social & Cultural Context Child, Family & Community Individual Appropriateness(strengths, interests & needs of each child) Developmentally Appropriate Practice Plus National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)www.naeyc.org

    28. Personal Enjoyment Positive Respectful Relationships with Adults and Children Temperament and Learning Styles Values and Beliefs Culture and Language General Relationships Page 35-60

    29. Neurons to Neighborhoods Sound Bites A child’s earliest human relationships affect later childhood relationships and provide the building blocks to future development

    30. Positive Characteristics • A consistent, nurturing, emotionally responsive primary caregiver • An understanding of child development and how children learn • A view of a child’s behavior as an expression of how the child copes with the world • The acceptance of the “urgency” of a young child’s needs • An emotionally balanced caregiver which allows a child to predict adult behavior Poulsen, M. K. in Project EXCEPTIONAL

    31. Group Management and Guidance Prevention of Problems Problem-Solving Communication with Family Members Support from Colleagues Strategies with a Child in Mind Page 61-91

    32. Relationship Strategies • Communication with Family • Home/Family Connection • Sharing Concerns • Support from Colleagues • Taking Time to Reflect • Learning from Others Page 83-87

    33. Culture influences every aspect of human development and it is reflected in child-rearing beliefs and practices Neurons to Neighborhoods Sound Bites Page 52-55

    34. Typical Developmental Stages Communication through Behavior Temperament and Learning Styles Specific Behavior Culture and Language Individual Differences Child Characteristics Page 93-114

    35. Confidence Capacity to develop good relationships with peers Concentration and persistence on challenging tasks Ability to effectively communicate feelings such as frustrations, angers, joys Ability to listen to instructions and be attentive What Behavior Do We Want? Social & Emotional Skills Ron Lally

    36. Social & Emotional Competence • Social and emotional competence is essential for school readiness and success • Social and emotional competence is developed through relationships, initially with their primary caregivers, then through day to day interactions Ron Lally

    37. Being Intentional • Focus on what you want a child to do • Acknowledge and encourage that behavior • Praise is alright occasionally, however, it tends to increase external motivation • Acknowledgement and encouragement build internal motivation

    38. Identity Formation • Each young child has a question to ask ~ Who am I to you? • The way the child gets responded to is how the child gets the answer • If the child is seen as delightful, then the child will see themselves as delightful...

    39. How It Feels To Be Me A perspective by Robyn Brault

    40. Forming Identity • What messages did Robyn receive from the teachers around her? • What can we learn from Robyn’s experiences?

    41. How a caregiver views the child influences how the caregiver interacts with the child which influences who the child becomes.

    42. Support as a Strategy • Support from Colleagues ~ It takes TIME and it is worth the time • Reflection and Sharing • Owning mistakes • Miss-takes are wonderful opportunities to learn Page 115

    43. Behavior is Communication It is important that caregivers interpret [challenging] behaviors as signs of stress and an inability to cope rather than indicators of “willfulness” or defiance... Children would prefer to deal with their world in effective ways. But children who are living with extreme stress may not have learned easily from prior experiences. They may need to be taught and re-taught simple social expectations other children learn naturally. Poulsen, M. K. in Project EXCEPTIONAL

    44. Behavior is Communication So what is the child’s challenging behavior trying to tell us?

    45. Sorting Out Behavior • Challenging Behavior: Sorting it Out, Developing a Plan • BRAULT Behavior Checklist • Review for a child • Share with partneror team • Work with the family

    46. Take Action! • What will you do with your new ideas? Use the Action Plan! • Research shows that using an idea within a week helps the information to stick • Sharing your plan helps you take action

    47. You must be the change you wish to see in the world.Mahatma Gandhi

    48. Resources and Ideas From • Children with Challenging Behavior: Strategies for Reflective ThinkingBrault & Brault, CPG Publishing • California’s Map to Inclusive Child Care (web links for behavior) www.sonoma.edu/cihs/CAmap • Positive DisciplineJane Nelsen www.positivediscipline.com • J. Ronald LallyCo-Director, WestEd Center for Child & Family Studies • From Neurons to NeighborhoodsShonkoff and Phillipshttp://books.nap.edu/books/0309069882/html/index.html • Marie K. Poulson,University of Southern California (USC) • Project EXCEPTIONALKuschner, Cranor and Brekken • Resilience Nethttp://resilnet.uiuc.edu • Division for Early Childhood (DEC)www/dec-sped.org