Help SED Students: Troubled Minds Worsen During Troubled Times Like Hurricane Harvey

 

teacher classroom management blog

 

Troubled Minds Worsen
During Troubled Times:
How to Help Emotionally Disturbed Students

 
 

 

studentIf you find the current time period to be a turbulent time, consider the impact of the commotion on students with troubled minds. The impact can be considerable. Given the monster storm, Harvey, that is currently devastating a significant section of the United States, this article is meant to be timely help for anyone who works in the affected region. The article should still be relevant for anyone who works with severely emotionally disturbed (SED) students, or youngsters who struggle with anxiety, trauma, depression and fear.

Hello from Youth Change Workshops Director, Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. In this article, I’m going to cherry pick some of the very best interventions for severely emotionally disturbed  students and other populations who can be dramatically affected by turbulent times. If you want more than the handful of strategies included here, come to our Portland, Oregon Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop on October 12-13, 2017. In that professional development workshop, you will learn 200 more strategies to help troubled students, as well as those who act out, are bullies, disrespectful, truant and failing academically. Financial aid scholarships for the live workshop are available by making a quick phone call to us at 800.545.5736.

A quick shout out to Texas and Louisiana teachers, counselors and others affected by Hurricane Harvey:
We will welcome you free to our October, 2017 Portland Breakthrough Strategies Workshop, without any charge, if you are a teacher, counselor or other  youth professional from Texas or Louisiana with a work  address in the region gravely affected by the hurricane.
Email us your name and contact information to sign up for free. It is our attempt to give back to a region that has supported our workshops for decades.

Troubled and SED students often have substantial difficulty succeeding in school even during the best of times. During more difficult times, their performance and attendance can plummet. Here are some of our best methods to help emotionally disturbed, traumatized, depressed and fragile students who are struggling more as the world around them gets more turbulent.

 

help traumatized studentsStrategies to Help SED Students and Others

Affected By Turbulent Times

 

Become a Landmark

Being a troubled or severely emotionally disturbed (SED) student is kind of like riding a merry-go-round. For the child or teen, the world is kind of spinning around. To help, become a landmark so that the child doesn’t feel so adrift and disoriented. You can become the place to turn when the child’s anxiety, fear, angst or life events become overwhelming. As you become a reliable point of calm in the storm, the student may eventually learn to extrapolate that calm to other parts of their life. Be sure to specifically make these points with the student so they understand that yes, their world can seem to spin out of control, but you have to look for a place to shelter from the storm, and that place can be you and your classroom or office.

Look for the Helpers

Mr. Rogers, the TV children’s program host from years ago, always used to say in his most soothing voice: During times of chaos, tragedy and catastrophe: Look for the Helpers. It was a genius idea. By helping upset, troubled and disturbed students focus on the one part of the situation that is positive, it can reduce their fear, anxiety and trepidation. For emotionally disturbed students and other youngsters who struggle, the more their emotions are within a tolerable range, the more they can focus on school work. The reality is that all students will need the life skills taught in school, and that includes those who are living with violence, a weather-related catastrophe, family problems, mental illness and other life challenges. Assisting your SED students and others to self-soothe will reduce the amount of suffering they experience while potentially freeing up additional energy for school.

 

Find Their “Salt”

For troubled students, it can be hard to care about or work in school. The old saying that “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink” is the perfect illustration. However, what would get that horse to drink? Salt. See if you can find what is the student’s “salt.” It could be getting them excited about a career goal that requires education. It could be having them read about Maya Angelou and others who rose above tragedy and trauma to greatness. It could be helping them escape the world through music, poetry, art or literature. It can be using their exposure to fire fighters and police, to learn about becoming a public safety worker when an adult. If you can believe that all students have things they care about, your are much more likely to help students to identify those valued things, and then you can use those things to convince the child that education is a way out of the pain– and the best and fastest way forward to a better future.

 

Article Continues Below

 

teacher workshop traum

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Uncontrollable, Unmotivated and SED Students

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Article Continues Here

troubled studentTroubled Minds? Meet Mindfulness

By now, the Mindfulness “revolution” has probably reached your part of the world. Mindfulness is the ideal intervention strategy to offer students with SED, anxiety problems, depression and similar. One of the key elements of mindfulness is to help the student stay focused on the present. In this current moment, the child is safe, has been fed, and is warm and dry. Help the students to focus on what is happening right now and to avoid worrying about the past and future. That can sound like a tough sell but you can also use meditation techniques to make that goal more achievable. Meditation can consist of having the child breathe slowly, eyes closed (if willing), while focusing on nothing but the breath for just a few minutes. Countless studies document that meditation can reduce specific problem feelings like anxiety, fear and worry.

Help Others

Studies often document that when children and teens in pain turn their attention to helping others, they feel better themselves. So, this is the perfect time to have your students create and implement a project to benefit those affected by Hurricane Harvey. This effort can become the perfect way to teach your fragile and troubled students that “helping others helps you too.”

Bloom Where You’re Planted

For students whose difficulty appears to be long term, teach them to “bloom where they’re planted.” For example, if a child is likely going to remain in difficult conditions in the Hurricane Harvey flood zone for a while, teach the student that they can go through the experience the “hard way” or the “easier way.” They can be miserable the entire time or they can look for anything positive. For example, the student may miss their home that is now unlivable, but they may really like living with their cousins and having someone to play with all the time. Teach students to keep looking for that positive among the negatives and once they find it, to focus on it. This intervention strategy can help some students avoid sinking into prolonged, deep depressions. Many recent neuroplasticity studies have established that it is possible through effective thought management to reduce the amount of depression a child experiences while building up the brain pathways that focus on the positive. Physical activity combined with talking, thought management and mindfulness is a potent combination that can definitely help over time. Without  these evidence-based techniques, students are statistically quite likely to continue to struggle emotionally and to worsen over time.

 

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    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

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    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
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An Expert Explains How to Manage Students with Oppositional-Defiant Disorder

 

oppositional-defiant disorder help

 

An Expert Explains
How to Manage Students with
Oppositional-Defiant Disorder

 
 

 

O.D.D. workshopOppositional Defiant Disorder is a mental health diagnostic term that can be applied by a mental health professional to describe some severely misbehaved youth and children. Although this youngster may be a real handful to manage, this diagnosis is an infinitely more hopeful and workable one than Conduct Disorder, which can appear similar.

I'm Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. and my work in the trenches, and years of training teachers, counselors and juvenile justice staff have helped me to learn a lot about Oppositional Defiant Disorder, also referred to as ODD.

help with O.D.D.In our workshop, even many mental health professionals confuse the differences between oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD). Although there are similarities between these two types of seriously misbehaved youth, some of the ways you work with these kids differ dramatically. In fact, many methods that are essential to work with ODDs are not just ineffective, but dangerous with CDs. The most common example of this is character ed, which tends to make the CD's behavior much worse.

We covered CDs and ODDs in articles in the 2nd and 3rd issues of this Behavior and Classroom Management Blog, but here's a very quick recap. So if you're not a subscriber to our blog of educational articles on behavior and classroom management strategies, here's some of what you've been missing. (Sign up for the blog here.)

 

 

Recap


Oppositional Defiant Disorder
vs
Conduct Disorder

ODDs probably have a conscience and remorse, but neither of these seem to be much in evidence. CDs are considered much more severely disturbed, and much more likely to engage in extremely dangerous and/or problematic behavior. By definition, CDs lack meaningful relationship capacity.

Here's a pop quiz to test your knowledge. Don't worry, the answers are below.

These questions capture some of the most common misconceptions and questions we constantly hear in our workshops about these two types of hard-to-manage youth. However, the brief answers provided here are absolutely no substitute for mastering how to effectively and safely work with severely acting-out youth and children, so be sure to come to one of our workshops around the country. (We even still have $84 half-price scholarship work study slots open in most of the cities if you're on a budget.)

teacher online coursesOr, you may want to purchase one of our instant download ebooks like All the Best Answers for the Worst Kid Problems: Conduct Disorders if you want more information immediately. If this information is new, you can actually find that your class and group management problems can rapidly improve as a result. You can be reading our ebooks in less than 60 seconds, and they cost just $15. If you do not do well on the quiz, the reality is that you are much more vulnerable to continuing safety and effectiveness concerns.

Here's the Quiz on
Oppositional Defiant Disorder vs
Conduct Disorder

1. Animal abuse is particularly characteristic of… ODDs or CDs?

2. Evoking remorse is a strategy that should only be used with…ODDs or CDs?

3. There has been a big increase in the number of kids diagnosed as…ODD or CD?

4. ODD leads to CD…or does CD lead to ODD?

Article Continues Below

 

teacher workshop on oppositional defiant students

 

Schedule Your On-Site Inservice Workshop Now

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Learn 100s of Strategies for Work Refusers, Violent,
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Article Continues Here

Answers:
Quiz on
Oppositional Defiant Disorder vs
Conduct Disorder

 teacher online courses

1. Animal abuse isn't a litmus test for CD, but some mental health experts believe it almost could be. Animal abuse is tightly correlated with CD.

2. Most mental health experts, though not all, believe that the heart of being a CD is having no heart or conscience. Therefore, evoking remorse in a CD won't work, and could make things much worse. Getting that conscience "in gear" is often central to working with ODDs.

3. There has been a big increase in all manner of severe emotional problems over the last few years, especially in younger children. No study has yet revealed the explanation for this general increase but CDs and ODDs are part of this trend. CDs are especially increasing in number, so it is more important than ever to understand this problem and to learn basic mental health terms and concepts even if you are a teacher, after-school program worker, principal, court worker or other professional or para-professional who didn't really sign up to work with the most seriously disturbed youth and children.

4. ODD does not morph into CD, nor does CD change into ODD. Sometimes a child will be diagnosed as ODD but the therapist may really suspect CD. Because CD is such a serious diagnosis, clinicians are often very deliberate and slow to formally apply that label. This is an appropriate amount of care, but to the non-clinician, it can appear that the child must have changed from ODD to CD, when what really happened is that the clinician was finally able to make a definite determination of CD.

Key Strategies for

Oppositional-Defiant Students

Here's some key strategies to use with ODDs. Remember: Most of these won't work with CDs, and can make the problems worse!

  • Skill Training: Teach the youth to properly manage his or her fist, mouth and actions. This is critical– especially if the child doesn't get this training at home: kids can not use skills they haven't been taught.
  • Relationship-Based Approaches: Developing a bond with this child can yield results.
  • Activate the Conscience: It is critical to evoke remorse and regret for problem behaviors.
  • Consequences Count: They are just one part of the solution but shouldn't be overlooked. Offer consequences as soon as possible. Be careful about second chances or lightening the consequence.
  • Problem Peers: ODDs get into plenty of trouble on their own and need no help from CDs to engage in misbehavior. Keep ODDs tracked to positive peers. Limit their contact with CDs.
  • Observe for CD: If you are not a mental health professional, consult one if you feel that your ODD child is so seriously and extremely misbehaved that he or she should be examined for a possible CD diagnosis.

LEARN MORE: You've just read only a small portion of the information that youth professionals need to safely and successfully work with oppositional-defiant youth. Come to our workshop or visit more of our huge web site to get more of the key information and strategies you must have to work with one the most difficult-of-all youth. It is truly a matter of ensuring safety and enhancing your effectiveness with your most uncontrollable youngsters.

ODD workshop Our Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth Workshop courses (live and online seminars), plus our books and ebooks can stop the confusion, misinformation and uncertainty about how to consistently and successfully manage severely acting- out youngsters.
 

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    Reprint or Repost This Article
     

    Bring the Breakthrough Strategies Workshop to Your Site

    Help Unmotivated, Failing, Troubled and Unmanageable Students

    teachermissYou have students who struggle. We have solutions for students who struggle…so your job doesn’t have to be so difficult. We have cutting-edge strategies to manage group and classroom management problems like behavior disorders, trauma, disrespect, bullying, emotional issues, withdrawal, substance abuse, tardiness, cyberbullying, delinquency, work refusal, defiance, depression, Asperger’s, ADHD and more.

     

    Schedule the Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Workshop to come to your site. This is the one professional development inservice that produces results, results, results. Call 1.800.545.5736 now. This surprisingly affordable inservice also makes a terrific fund raiser. College credit and 10 professional development clock hours are available. Your staff will finally have the more effective, real-world tools they need to work with today’s challenging, difficult youth.

     

    Contact us now, and begin solving your worst “kid problems” today. Call 1.800.545.5736, or email.

     

    Working with Troubled Students Doesn’t Have to be So Difficult
     


    Behavior & Classroom Management Problem-Solver Blog Articles

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    Library of Congress ISSN: 1526-9981 | Youth Change, Your Problem-Kid Problem-Solver
    http://www.youthchg.com | 1.503.982.4220 | 275 N. 3rd St; Woodburn, OR 97071
    © Copyright 2019, All Rights Reserved | Permission granted to forward magazine to others.