Classroom teachers know them, Special Educators know them, and Principals know them. They are the kids we lose sleep over at night. The little boy who mysteriously develops a stomach ache every time it’s time to do math. The little girl who showed so much promise last week, but this week is back to having to be removed from class every day because she won’t stop crying or yelling. The child who sits with their teaching assistant all day refusing to do any schoolwork at all. Refusing to write because they “can’t”. The kids who act out, shut down, refuse to work, can’t be consoled. We know these kids.
Parents know them too. We take them to therapy, or hire an advocate. We worry that maybe they have to switch schools to make progress. We work hard to advocate for their best interests and we suffer with them when nothing seems to be helping.
What we have found at the connections model is that, although these kids may come with varied disabilities and diagnoses from ADHD to Asperger’s to Autism to ODD, they share common deficits in their ability to process incoming information. They lack the skills to help them navigate the classroom experience, and to understand and manage their feelings. The traditional methods of support do not serve to overcome these deficits.1
We believe there is a better way. We can help these children to learn the practical strategies needed to understand their own behaviors in real-time and the root of those behaviors in their own feelings. Further, we can teach them new strategies and behaviors to handle their feelings and thus reduce their anxiety and difficulty performing in an academic setting.