2019

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17 Dec: Holiday Break Wellness

Holiday Break Wellness  by Dr. Will Henson Since I started working in the world of education, and especially since diving deep into trauma-informed practices, I have realized the importance of educator wellness.   Education is a relational business, one in which we don’t just bring our skills, but ourselves. We can’t fill the needs of students if our own cup is empty. Our ability to be whole and healthy is at the heart of how successfully we educate.   Despite what the holiday season is supposed to represent, it can often be synonymous with stress. You’ve got two weeks off! Let’s talk about how to use it.   Here are three tips for being well this season: If you can follow these…

Change your mindset!

09 Dec: Educators: Three Helpful Mindset Shifts

Educators: Three Helpful Mindset shifts More and more, educators are encountering challenging student behaviors. While we may be making progress in identifying students who need extra support, and providing services for these individuals, educators can still get in their own way when it comes to addressing challenging behavior. A lack of recognition about the way that Adverse Childhood Experiences influence behavior can lead to undesirable outcomes. Here are a few unproductive ways I sometimes hear educators use to try to resolve challenging behavior: What will he (or she) work for? This and other variations of thinking “we just need to find the right motivator” is an unreliable approach. Children with behavioral issues can not suddenly acquire the frontal lobe functioning…

05 Dec: Questions (and answers) from the December 2nd webinar with Oregon Education Association

We had a great webinar this week on Behavior Interventions with OEA. During the session, Dr. Skip Greenwood shared 8 effective Intervention Stategies to use with students. We hope you found it helpful. There were a number of questions posed during the webinar that we were not able to address before the end of the hour, so as promised, Dr. Greenwood has answered them below. Even if you didn’t attend the webinar, you might appreciate Dr. Greenwood’s answers. Thank you! Q: What about kids with trauma that are always at high emotion- when is the right time to engage with them? A:  The first step in working with students with ACEs (or any other students that appear to run with…

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25 Nov: Cell Phones in Schools: Yay or Nay?

By Dr. Will Henson Many schools today are debating whether or not to allow the use of cell phones.  Some schools enforce an “Off and Away” policy for the building, while others leave it up to the individual teacher & classroom. Some schools even allow students to have full access to their phone at any time.  In my experience as a special education consultant, cell phone use at the secondary level is a major problem.  It is especially a problem for our most impacted students who have academic and emotional struggles.  Having the phone makes it too easy for them to check out and regulate themselves through distraction, instead of focusing on their education.  Getting kids off their phones, let…

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12 Nov: 60% of Educators Have NO Training in Trauma-Informed Practices

60% of Educators have NO training in Trauma-Informed Practices. By Dr. Will Henson I’ve been working with kids with challenging behavior for 28 years. I use trauma-informed practices because they are the most effective intervention I’ve found.  As a consultant, I’ve gone to this almost exclusively and moved my client districts toward this. I often wonder: why isn’t everyone using this approach? A recent study showed that while 63% of educators had been trained to use PBIS, and 52% had training in de-escalation strategies only 27% of educators had training in Trauma-Informed practices (another 13% were unsure if they had). Meanwhile, data shows that up to 45% of students in school today are reporting the critical level of 3 or…

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29 Oct: What Does Being “Trauma-Informed” Really Mean?

What Does Being “Trauma-informed” Really Mean? By Dr. Will Henson I was recently asked to consult on the case of a young man with fairly severe behavior issues.  When I arrived to meet with his school team, they described to me a student who had a substantial trauma history. I asked if they knew what Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) were, and if they had been through trauma-informed training. The team said they had been through training, which consisted of a book study, and they felt that everyone was well-versed in trauma-informed practices. Then they handed me the student’s behavior plan. Nothing in the plan reflected trauma-informed interventions. None of the responses, none of the proactive strategies, and none of the…

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14 Oct: The Importance of Presence: Trauma Is Automatic

By Dr. Will Henson If you don’t like snakes, and I show you a picture of a snake, what happens? Your arousal level goes up – Your mind senses a threat and prepares the body for fight or flight. This process happens automatically before your rational mind catches up and tells you that it’s just a picture.     In fact, studies have shown that if you show people pictures of snakes at a speed faster than the eye can see their arousal still goes up. The unconscious mind senses the danger where the conscious mind doesn’t. The point is that your students who have had traumatic experiences can easily be triggered by things and not even know it. Imagine a student; Being told she is going…

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10 Oct: Questions and Answers from Dr. Henson’s Recent Webinar

Questions (and answers!) from the Using Trauma Informed Care to Enhance Behavioral Interventions in Schools webinar  by Dr. Will Henson Thanks everyone for attending our webinar Why Aren’t Our Behavior Interventions Working?Below are a list of questions submitted to us before and during the webinar.  If you don’t see your question here it may have been similar enough to another one that I lumped it in with a different answer. You can also email questions to me at willhenson@drhenson.org. Can you dive a little deeper into what co-regulation might look like in the classroom? Yes!  And by this question, I am going to assume that you mean in the classroom with 25 other kidsaround and lots of things going on.  Co-regulation does not have to be a…

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30 Sep: Manage Energy, Not Behavior

By Dr. Will Henson The term behavior management is ubiquitous in education. However, great behavior managers don’t manage behavior – they manage energy. When they are working with a behavior that is unwanted, they don’t focus on changing that behavior right then and there. Instead, they direct their energy to the tone and mood of the situation. Since most challenging behavior is intense, rapid, reflexive, and survival oriented, most responses need to be regulatory instead of confrontational. If you’re having trouble with challenging behavior in your classroom try this: Present a calm and focused energy yourself. Keep the tone and mood of the classroom positive and feeling safe.  If you start with that foundation, you can move on to academics and changing students’ behavior much more easily….