Social Learning

Recently, we read an article where a physician was quoted as saying kids do “what they can.”  This is very true whether we’re talking about children utilizing good social skills, reading on their grade level, or learning math facts.  It’s not a child’s “fault” that they are not understanding or implementing good social skills naturally.  However, as adults, we tend to have those expectations when it comes to social skills and then try to manage those “behaviors.”

If a child is struggling  learning to read, we teach that child unique ways to learn maybe through phonics, or blending patterns. If a child is struggling with concepts in math, we offer ways of support such as tutoring and breaking down the concepts until they understand the steps. Social skills really are the same.  In school a student will typically have to pull a card, lose a buck or sit at the quiet table. Teachers and administrators report that a child is struggling understanding and utilizing good social skills but the actual skills are not being taught or supported.

Just like special strategies can be implemented to teach a child to read, there are curriculums and specialists who can teach your child social skills. Both types of teaching express the importance of having a strong support network for your child as well as practicing the skills that are being taught.  When we are teaching a child phonics, we would then expect and set up situations where they are practicing the phonic skill. Social skills are the same in that, as children are learning how to “think” about thinking, having a support network of parents/guardians and teachers to help them practice the skills is necessary.

Our social skills classes are called Mindful Thinking for Social Expectations.  Our classes run six-week sessions with each session having a unique focus.  If this is your first time joining a social skills group or if your child has specific “behaviors” that you are unsure how to teach, we recommend beginning with our self-awareness, self-monitoring, and self-control classes.  We currently are teaching a session on “play” which includes how to enter and engage in play, how to read nonverbal language, and beginning to understand other people have thoughts and perspectives.  We keep our class sizes small so the students have the ability to interact and practice the social skills they are learning. This also enables us to offer more individualized instruction.

We also believe empowering parents is important. In conjunction to the student class, we have a parent group that meets at the same time.  The parents are learning information on the importance of reinforcing and practicing the skills their child is learning.

We also offer a teacher letter each week so we can connect with your child’s teacher. We feel this is an important piece so he/she can help reinforce the skills your child is learning.

This is a slow and deep process.  The focus of our classes are not about “managing” behaviors but rather teaching skills that begins to create a shift for students and parents.  Once these skills are learned, the students will be empowered to problem solve social situations that were once difficult for them.

We welcome any questions you have! If you would like to talk with us more about our classes, please reach out to us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

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And the Winner Is…

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.

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Wishing your families a Happy Thanksgiving holiday!

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

Middle Schoolers OTB (Outside The Box) Club

Please click here for the registration form registration-for-middle-school-otb-club

Middle school can be a challenging time socially.  It can be especially challenging understanding the “hidden” social rules, nonverbal language and all of the “grey” areas that exist.  Beginning in January, we will host a middle school hang out for teaching, learning, and practicing all of those grey areas in a fun environment.   The classes will be the second and fourth Friday of every month from 6:30-7:30 p.m.  Each class, of no more than ten, will be a diverse group of students.  The mixture of 6th-8th graders will be students who need to strengthen their overall social skills with kids who have strong social skills.  We feel it is important to be able to support this age range in more of a natural environment with peers so they can have help in bringing awareness and strengthen  self-monitoring skills to “grey” area situations.  For example, grey areas may consist of times such as losing a game, having someone being perceived as “cheating”, or knowing how to start and hold a conversation socially with a peer or group of peers.

The cost for each class is $20.00.  Upcoming dates are listed below. Registration will remain open unless a class becomes full.  Any full classes will be listed on our website. You may register ahead of time to reserve your child’s spot. You also have the option of registering the week of the class (as long as it is not full).

To register, please fill out at least one registration form found in the link above and e-mail it to us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.  We will send you a PayPal link to complete your registration. All classes are held at 9700 Research Dr., Suite 132, Charlotte, NC 28262.

Upcoming Dates:

January 13th

January 27th

February 10th

February 24th

March 10th

March 24th

We are excited about this particular group of classes as we help support our middle school children gain tools in being more successful socially in their natural environments! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to drop us a note at confidentsolutions7@hotmail.com.

 

With Appreciation,

Wendy and Christina

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Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA)

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 

 

 

 

 

 

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Friday’s Inspiration

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With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy