regulation ss

14 Mar: Regulate: Sometimes it is all you do

There are a lot of times I’m called into a situation with a dysregulated student. Even when teachers or paraeducators have a lot of training in behavior, they still aren’t always clear on what to say or do with a student who is severely agitated. When I’m working with a student in this state, my usual mantra is that all I’m going to do is work on bringing this student’s arousal level back down. This outlook helps me for a few reasons. First, I don’t have any expectation that I’m going to teach a lesson, win a battle, get some math done, get back on schedule, bargain, reason, motivate or do anything else with that student. Second, it allows me…

magic wand

06 Mar: The Magic Wand: It’s here!

Educators are often expected to fix almost everything. And there’s a one-liner educators often use about bringing their “magic wand” to a situation. Yeah, that’s educator sarcasm. But if there is a magic wand out there in working with students with emotional and behavioral difficulties, I have a guess at what it is – Managing your non-verbal communication!. Let’s start with the numbers. People get about 93% of your spoken message from your non-verbal communication: tone, rate of speech, posture, volume, facial expressions, etc. Students with a history of trauma over-rely on non-verbal cues to scan for perceived danger. In short, managing your non-verbal communication with students is as close as you are going to get to a magic wand!


01 Feb: “I’m Not Gonna Do It!”

I know, if you had a nickel for every time a student told you they “weren’t gonna do it” you would be retired in Maui right now. What’s a good response to this time honored student declaration? I think by now you probably know that “Oh yes you are!” is not always the most successful. Here’s a few others: 1. “What seems to be the problem?” – This, said in a curious tone (as if you completely did not expect the refusal) along with a helpful stance does wonders. 2. “Okay.” – Said with a nod and an inquisitive look (as if there must be more to the student’s statement that he is about to reveal) creates a nice awkward…