29 May: Let It Go

Let it Go by Dr. Will Henson I was recently consulting at a school on the Oregon coast. A student was sent to the office because he was extremely dysregulated and was causing problems in the class. I knew this student was often highly reactive to small problems and I had consulted with the principal about him many times. It was apparent he was not ready to talk and process what happened, so I ended up playing a card game with him. After our first game, he wanted to play another, so I said, “Okay, but only if you do something for me.” He looked suspicious, but I explained the plan as follows; “If I play another game with you,…

13 May: Teaching Social and Emotional Skills

Teaching Social and Emotional Skills A person’s emotional world is governed by the limbic system. Academic learning processes like analysis take place in a person’s neocortex. Research shows that the limbic system learns best through three processes:(a) Motivation(b) Extended Practice and(c) Feedback So let’s talk about what this means for the teaching of social and emotional skills to kids: The standard academic sit and get approach isn’t going to be very helpful in helping kids learn social and emotional skills. Social and emotional skills have to be learned and ingrained in the neurotransmitters and neural pathways of the limbic system. Here are a few things to keep in mind when teaching social and emotional skills: (1) Create Intrinsic Motivation: Make…

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30 Apr: Regulation: The Most Important Skill of All

Regulation: The Most Important Skill of All There are a lot of important social and emotional skills that kids (and adults) need in order to do the core tasks of life: be happy, make good choices, deal with difficult situations, succeed at school and work, form lasting relationships (and so on). But of all the skills people need, there is nothing more important than the ability to self-regulate. In our videos and materials we talk a lot about how regulation is about more than just emotions.  Regulation includes the ability to manage one’s: * attention (being able to direct and sustain attention the right things) * emotions (being able to feel feelings and manage them without over-reacting to them) *…


23 Apr: Paraeducator Survey – We want to hear from you!

Calling all PARAEDUCATORS! We want to hear from you! We know what a critical role you play in our schools, and we want to make sure you have the tools you need to be successful. Your responses to the below 3-minute survey will be compiled into a report that can be used to help communicate your training needs to your district! Complete the survey and be entered to win a $50 Amazon gift card*. *You must have a US school email address to be entered. Complete the survey here:


15 Apr: 5 Second Interventions

5 Second Interventions by Dr. Will Henson I spend a lot of my time training staff and consulting to districts about challenging behavior. In almost every training I get the same question which is some version of this: “How do I find the time in my busy schedule to do all these behavior interventions?” It’s true that many interventions taught today require a lot of time of the educator. We are told to make plans, check in, teach skills, help the student evaluate their progress, stop and listen (etc…). Many of these require between five and fifteen minutes – or more! So in this post I’d like to talk about four interventions that take only between 1 and 5 seconds….

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10 Apr: Better Together: A Trauma Informed Approach to SEL Guide Available

Although they are commonly thought of as two separate initiatives, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and trauma informed practices support student growth more effectively when they are implemented together. SEL and trauma informed practices have many conceptual and practical similarities. At the same time, each has unique components that can help make the other more effective in helping students learn and grow. As educators look for ways to more effectively support student growth, there is logic in considering SEL and trauma informed practices not as separate or competing mechanisms, but as practices that work better together.  This guide provides examples of ways SEL and trauma informed practices, implemented together, offer a more powerful and comprehensive support for student growth than either can…

EdWeek Interventions

02 Apr: Why Aren’t Our Behavior Interventions Working?

Why Aren’t Our Behavior Interventions Working? by Dr. Will Henson If you missed our recent webinar with Education Week on this same topic, please check it out here. In this post, I’d like to discuss one of the key reasons why school-based behavior interventions work. As educators, we like interventions that make logical sense. It makes sense that: (a) If you do something right, you should get some kind of reward (b) If you do something wrong, there should be some type of consequence (c) If something goes wrong, you should come up with a plan to fix it (d) If you have consistent trouble in an area, you may need to learn some new skills to help you do better….


18 Mar: Trauma Informed Series Exercises – Week 7- Relationship Builders

WEEK SEVEN: RELATIONSHIP BUILDERS by Dr. Will Henson Relationships are a critical component of working with kids who have ACEs. Kids who have ACEs take longer to trust adults and need more repetitions of positive adult interactions to help them succeed. So pick a kid. Any kid. You may or may not know they have ACEs. This week, you are going to have three positive interactions with that kid each day. Maybe it’s listening to them talk about something they are into. Maybe you are going to give a few more compliments, notice some more of their appropriate behavior, or just say hello. Three times a day. One week. And you have to mean it. You can’t fake a relationship!…

EdWeek Interventions

11 Mar: Answers to Questions from our recent webinar, “Why Aren’t Our Behavior Interventions Working? Using Trauma-Informed Approaches to Enhance Interventions”

Questions and Answers from “Why Aren’t Our Behavior Interventions Working? Using Trauma-Informed Approaches to Enhance Interventions” Education Week Webinar with Dr. Will Henson. Thanks again to everyone who attended the Education Week webinar on Tuesday, March 5.  If you missed it, you can watch the recorded version here! And special thanks to all who submitted questions. We had so many good questions come in, but were only able to answer a fraction of them on the webinar. If you don’t see your exact question here, it’s because we combined a few similar questions.  If you’ve since thought of something else, please send it to and we will do our best to answer it as well. Thanks again! Dr. Will Henson…

Trauma-Informed Solutions

11 Mar: Trauma Informed Series Exercises- Week 6: Predictability

WEEK SIX: PREDICTABILITY by Dr. Will Henson Students who have experienced adverse experiences in childhood do not like surprises. A key element of a trauma-informed classroom (or any trauma-informed environment or interaction) is predictability. Here are a few things you can do to provide predictability: (a) Create a consistent schedule (b) Inform kids about changes ahead of time (c) Pre-teach and prepare kids for new experiences or material (d) Post visual schedules and reminders (e) Keep your behaviors and responses consistent. This week I want you to pick one way that you can be more predictable from the list above. Spend some time thinking about how you are going to do it. I would advise you overdo it a little…