We've spent a lot of time looking at patterns of behavior in our students. Why? The patterns have directed us toward the right research which has lead us to find the underlying common thread; Difficulty managing their emotions, or emotional dysregulation.
When you look closely, you'll see the common theme. You'll see that once we really treat the underlying issue of emotional regulation, the rest of the supports they need will be much more effective. It makes sense, right? When you are upset, you know you couldn't do a math problem or write an essay? Neither can our students. You also know that when you're upset, it's hard to listen to someone even when they are trying to help you. Our students feel the same way. However, that can all change once we support kids and help them begin to build new pathways to making lasting behavior change.
You can support ALL kids
We believe all kids can benefit from support managing their emotions. Some of students will need significant support while others less. However, what we have seen is that all kids can benefit from support in learning how to manage their emotions. All kids and families experience stress and difficulties in their lives. By teaching kids to understand that their emotions drive their behaviors, they can learn to understand how to manage difficult times in school, at home, and with friends.
kids who need more
We know these kids well. We worry about them and they keep us up at night. These are the students we talk about every week at our team meetings.
The student who argues and refuses to do any schoolwork. The student who showed so much promise last week, but this week had to be removed from class because she won’t stop crying or yelling. The student who mysteriously develops a stomach ache every time it's time to do math.
The students we support carry diagnoses ranging from ADHD, Autism, Nonverbal Learning Disability, or have Mental Health challenges like Anxiety or Depression. Some don’t have an official diagnosis, but nevertheless struggle to manage their emotions and their behaviors.
Have you ever thought, wow, these kids are similar? Different diagnoses, yet they all seem to share similar behaviors? Well we’ve thought the very same thing!
"We've seen that these kids all share an underlying difficulty managing their emotions. They share Emotional Regulation or dysregulation at the core of their deficits. Only by addressing the fundamental issue of how students manage their emotions, does academic, social, or even physical education take place."
Founder The Connections Model
Educational and School Psychologist
Can You Spot Any of Your Students?
It's Important to Accurately Identify our students to ensure they get support
I have a really hard time with transitions and sudden changes. Getting started and staying focused is really hard for me. You see me next to your desk, asking for help, or reassurance. I may ask to go to the nurse or call home. Sometimes, I argue with friends and classmates. When it’s all too much for me, I blow up and yell, or shut down and can’t do anything.
I’m incredibly conscientious about my work and my materials. I get upset when I don’t understand or when I can’t do something exactly as I think I should. I’m a perfectionist. I think about the future a lot. Sometimes, things get hard for me. You’ll notice me with my head down on my desk, or I’ll be in the nurse's office, or I’m absent, just stressing out at home
Jump Around Judy
You see me at my desk, and then you don’t because I’m across the room talking to a friend. I start an assignment and then stop; wander and talk. I’m really adorable and I know teachers like me. So I sometimes get away with stuff until it’s obvious I haven’t done any work, and can’t find any of my papers. Then, my mood changes really fast because it’s all caught up to me and now I’m totally overwhelmed.
Down and Out David
I do things slowly and that frustrates people around me. I look like I am having a hard time concentrating and getting started. It isn’t the work, it’s the things that I have in my head that make me think. I have friends, sometimes I don’t want to hang out with them. There are days where I really don’t want to do anything.
I am a great kid. I have friends, sometimes. I do my work, sometimes. But sometimes, and I never really know when, something is going to bother me and then, watch out! I know I frustrate my teachers, and my parents, and my friends. That bothers me. But I get angry, and frustrated, and anxious, and I can’t explain what I feel. So I just explode.
You can support ALL kids
What we believe is that all kids can benefit from support managing their emotions. All kids can, from time to time, have challenges managing their behavior in your classroom. In fact, what we have seen is that all kids can benefit from this support because all kids and families experience stress and difficulties in their lives from time to time. By teaching kids to understand that their emotions drive their behaviors, they can learn to understand how to manage difficult times with friends, family or in school.
A whole class approach to behavior does three things:
Takes a positive approach to behavior modification
Teaches kids that they are in control of how they behave
Removes the stigma associated with behavior issues by focusing on emotions, rather than the behaviors. ALL kids have emotions, not just the “frequent principal office visitors.”