Don’t forget to find us on Facebook! Not only do we share helpful resources, we do live videos of our upcoming events.
Christina and Wendy
Registration is now open for our last set of social skills classes before the Summer!
For some students, obtaining and utilizing good social skills do not come naturally. They move through their environment having a difficult time communicating and understanding more than just direct language-based interactions. For example, good social skills include sharing space with others and learning to regulate one’s own behavior to other people’s thoughts or expectations as well as using your whole body to understand what people are “saying” around you. For some students, these skills need to be taught.
We are offering three different sessions, each with a specific focus. We believe that empowering the parent/guardian is equally important in teaching social skills to a child. Please plan on staying for the parent session of your child’s class to learn what your child is learning and how to help your child at home. For session one and session two, teacher letters will be e-mailed weekly to each parent. This gives you the opportunity to share what your child is learning with his/her teacher and helps connect what your child is learning to his/her school environment.
All classes are held at 9700 Research Drive, Suite 132, Charlotte, NC 28262. The total cost for a six-week session is $225.00. To register, fill out the registration form and e-mail it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each group will have no more than 5 students so we can practice “thinking” about thinking as well as individualize for each child.
If you are new, we recommend beginning with the self-awareness, self-monitoring, and self-control class first. If you have questions about any classes, please feel free to e-mail us at email@example.com. You may be interested in reading about who could benefit from a social skills class here Who Benefits From Social Skills Classes? and Social Learning
Following the Think Social! model, children and parents will learn the differences between self-awareness, self-monitoring, and self-control. Students will learn about “hidden” social expectations in different environments, how behaviors are connected to emotions, strengthen imitation skills, how to gain self-awareness with individual behaviors, move into self-monitoring tools for shifting negative behaviors into positive ones, how to identify if a problem is a big one or little one, and learn how to use your whole body to listen. Each child will choose a personal behavior goal and learn tools to help create a shift in awareness and behaviors.
This group meets from 3:00-4:00
Theory of Mind is the way we understand and interpret our social world with knowing that other people have different thoughts, views, perspectives, and feelings. Following the Theory of Mind philosophy and merging the Think Social! Zones of Regulation, students will learn how to be more mindful of other people in their social circles. They will begin to make a connection between their actions and how others are feeling. Zones of Regulation teaches children how to become aware of their emotional state and gives them tools to get back into the “green” zone.
This group meets from 4:00-5:00.
This session is designed for open practice of the social skills that have previously been taught. We will create opportunities for the students to practice social thinking and executive functioning skills in a play environment. This gives us the opportunity to help each child individually navigate a challenging social scenario using their tools and knowledge from previous groups. Due to the level of individualization, instead of a weekly teacher letter, we will give our contact information to your child’s teacher and can facilitate open communication on skills their student continues to strengthen as well as get feedback on what skills need continued practice in the school environment.
This group meets from 5:00-6:00
Christina and Wendy
It’s SUMMER TIME! Let us help you implement the concepts you and your child have been working on during our group sessions IRL (in real life). These include flexible thinking, identifying expected versus unexpected behaviors, making social observations, self-monitoring and SO MUCH MORE! See below for dates, times, and places! The cost for each session is $90. Some locations have additional costs.
June 14, 2017 Frank Liske Park 10:00-12:00
June 28, 2017 Discovery Place 10:00-12:00
(additional cost- admission $13/child, $17/adult)
July 12, 2017 Spare Time 10:00-12:00
(additional cost- cost of bowling $8.99 plus shoe rental)
July 26, 2017 Freedom Park 10:00-12:00
August 9, 2017 Imaginon 10-11
Fuel Pizza 11-12 (additional cost- cost of food)
10:00- 10:20 Wendy meets with the children for a mini-lesson. Christina will meet with the parents/caregiver to go over the same information.
10:20-11:00 Wendy and Christina work with the children and model skills for parents.
11:00-12:00 We will offer guidance and support to parents/caregivers as they enable their children with learned concepts.
Babysitters, grandparents, siblings welcome!
To register, please fill out the following registration form and e-mail it back to us registration-for-summer-sessions-2017
No more than 6 children per session. At least 3 required per session.
Please e-mail us with any specific questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christina and Wendy
We wanted to share an opportunity that is coming up on March 13th in Greensboro. We are both attending this conference to keep ourselves updated on information to better serve as advocates. Please check out this amazing day training here http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/17.03.nc.htm
Let us know if you’re going and we’ll catch up with you there!
Christina and Wendy
Our next free parent/guardian class on understanding the components of an IEP will be held on Wednesday, February 15th. Due to the needs of families, we have changed the time from 11:00-1:00. This will be a “drop” in time. Please join us during this time at your convenience and bring your questions. We are finding it to be most helpful for families to have the opportunity to ask individual questions about an IEP process or specific parts of an IEP. We still love to hear that you’re able to drop in! Please send us an e-mail to email@example.com. Classes are held at 9700 Research Dr., Suite 132, Charlotte, NC 28262. We look forward to seeing you!
Christina and Wendy
Advocate-noun. One that supports or promotes the interests of another.
Last night we had a big reminder. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they know. As the school year progresses, we have to continue to remind ourselves that, typically, people don’t want to hurt or cause harm to others. Oh sure, when sitting in meetings, we sometimes run across those who are stubborn or can only think one way about a situation. However, we have found that their intent is not to cause harm to our children. All of our actions and reactions are based on the story we tell ourselves about any given situation. Often times when others know our story and we try to understand their stories, our perspective shifts and we are able to compromise more easily.
Holding true to our mission, we view advocacy as helping the child. Through that, we work on listening to both sides at meetings and bridging the gap between the school and the parent. The focus remains on what is in the child’s best interest with what their current needs are.
Our hope is that school staff can see how lonely and overwhelming this process is for parents. Without meaning to, most schools have set up a us vs. you scenario. Teachers and administrators, when a parent walks in the door, welcome them. Invite them to sit next to you. Offer a hug or word of encouragement. During the meeting, be mindful of how you speak to the parents. Be careful not to talk down to or over their heads.Parents are the people on your team who have the most information about this child. If you feel you are becoming defensive, ask yourself why.
Our hope for the parent is they come in the meeting with an open heart. The teachers sitting around this table typically have worked with many different types of students. They have experience and knowledge of what’s typical at this developmental age and what is not. They know who your child is at school and in class in a way we, as parents can’t know. Honor their thoughts and feelings. Honor their expertise. When you begin to feel defensive, ask yourself why.
When feeling defensive, going back to what matters is important and that is the needs of the child. Not our adult agendas and stories. Putting those aside, we can focus on trying to see and understand the child’s story, their learning difficulties in school, and what he/she needs to “level the playing field” at school to have more successes. There is always a uniqueness about every child that needs to be celebrated and honored. We all need to be the village surrounding the child.
Wendy and Christina
How do you help develop your inner coach, that inner voice that is helping you in a positive way? It’s important to compliment yourself daily. Tell yourself what you have done well for the day. Do you help your child recognize what he or she did well in their day too? Taking a few minutes each day with your child to ask him/her what they did well with will help build that positive inner coach of recognizing their strengths and efforts. Making a shift in their thinking to see the beauty within themselves.
Christina and Wendy
Previously, we wrote a couple of posts talking about what to do if your child is struggling in school What Does the School Do if My Child is Struggling? and What Can I Do if My Child is Struggling in School?
We wanted to specifically touch on the option of a parent requesting an evaluation. According to IDEA, you do have the right to request an evaluation from your child’s public school. This letter must be in writing. The public school is responsible for providing and paying for any evaluation for any child who may need special education services. This link provides details http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/tests.evals.crabtree.htm. Another good reference can be found here http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/evaluation-2/
You also have an option of obtaining an outside evaluation and bringing it to your child’s school. Public schools must consider all private evaluations as part of the fact finding process for your child. Here is a link that details your rights if you choose to have an independent evaluation performed outside of your child’s school http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/test.iee.steedman.htm
We have prepared a simple letter requesting an evaluation to send to your child’s school. The words in bold need to be changed to add specific details such as your child’s name, areas of concern, date, etc. Remember, once you have officially requested an evaluation, your child’s school must contact you to set up a meeting to discuss your child’s strengths, areas of need/concern, interventions tried and the results of those interventions. Here is a link to a past post about what type of meeting you will have Know Your Forms-Referral For Help
Here is a copy of the letter if you would rather type it in a different format:
Dear (preferably addressed to EC Teacher and/or principal),
I have concerns regarding (insert your child’s name) in (insert specific area such as reading, writing, math, social). I have spoken with my child’s teacher, (name) and we have tried certain strategies to help him (or her). However, he (or she) continues to have difficulty in this area (or areas-be specific).
I would like to formally request an evaluation for my child to discuss his (or her) strengths and areas of needs in school. I would like to have a meeting within ten days of this letter to begin the process.
I can be reached at (e-mail address) or (phone number).
Thank you. I look forward to meeting and discussing how to help (your child’s name).
As always, if you have any questions about this process, please send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christina and Wendy
Thank you for all of your nominations letting us know how special and unique your child’s teacher is! We have enjoyed reading them!
The winner of the $50.00 Target gift card is Jennifer Flowers with Cabarrus County Schools. She is a first grade teacher who, according to her teacher nomination, has “demonstrated a positive, collaborative, supportive approach of care towards her student as well as the parents”. We are thankful for teachers like Ms. Flowers who are willing to go that extra step helping a child succeed.
Every teacher that was nominated will receive a hand crafted card of thanks.
Wishing your families a Happy Thanksgiving holiday!
Christina and Wendy
Every behavior happens for a reason. Sometimes, figuring out what that reason is can be difficult. There is a tool, however, which can be used. It’s called a Functional Behavior Analysis or FBA. This tool helps break apart a specific behavior into 3 steps.
1. The antecedent
2. The behavior
3. The consequence.
This tool helps identify why a specific behavior is occurring so a behavior intervention plan can be formed to positively intervene.
Step 1 begins with observation of the child in different settings. If the behavior is mostly occurring at school then you would observe him/her in at least three different areas throughout his/her day. It could be in their general education class, a “specials” class such as art, and maybe recess or lunch. When observing the antecedent, you are watching for what is happening right before the behavior occurred. For example, let’s say that you have a child that is hitting other children. You want to know why so you can come up with a plan to help this child be more successful in their school environment. While observing, you are going to document what happened right before he/she hit. Did someone walk up to him to ask him a question? Or perhaps, he saw a group of kids playing together and wanted to join? Maybe it’s a time of transition and he/she has to move from one class to another. Write it down. Document all of the things that occurred just before the behavior that you are observing.
Step 2 is documenting the behavior that you are specifically tracking. In the example above, the behavior was hitting. Although, it really could be any behavior. For example, I could track why a student doesn’t complete assignments, or has a tantrum during the school day.
Step 3, the consequence, refers to what happened directly after the behavior. Did the kid who was hit run away after asking the question? Did the student you’re observing get another kid’s attention in attempt to play with him/her? Or, did the student get out of doing a math assignment or avoid going to a specials class such as art?
Once all three steps are complete, you will look at your data and look for the pattern associated with the behavior. For example, you may see that the child is effectively avoiding art class or math work. Perhaps you will notice that the child wants to play with friends but doesn’t know how to enter play with his/her peers. Maybe you will see a pattern of the behavior occurring during times of transitions because he/she is unsure of what to do during those times.
Once you see the reasons why the behavior is happening, it’s important to come up with a plan on how to help the child. Bringing awareness of why the behavior is occurring to other people in your student’s environment is also equally important. For example, let’s say that I recognize the child above is hitting every time he/she has other children too close in their personal body space. I may decide that I let the child line up or pack up first. I give him/her the expectations clearly and in a helpful, non-judgmental way. Maybe I let the art teacher know that he needs extra space around him/her during art class. After developing a plan on how you will positively intervene to help this behavior, be sure to decide how it will be monitored. Who is responsible for each piece of the plan? Remember, when your child or student does not yet have awareness of this behavior, you will need to heavily support him/her to bring this awareness about in a non-judgmental way. Once recognition begins, then the child will be able to team up in helping monitor the behavior change. A child will not be successful if we only recognize the behavior and then expect him/her to control or change it independently. Tools must be implemented for the lasting success of the child.
Here are some links which will give you more information on FBAs:
This link gives more information on FBA. It provides simple and intensive FBA form and offers a behavior intervention plan. http://www.pbisworld.com/tier-2/functional-behavior-assessment-fba/
This link provides more information on FBAs. It has many forms from which to choose and several ways to look at the completed data. http://www.iod.unh.edu/APEX%20Trainings/Tier%202%20Manual/Function%20of%20Behavior/4.%20FBA%20Worksheet.pdf
With Appreciation ,
Wendy and Christina