Sunday, December 30, 2012

Unsolved Problems

It's time....time to stop focussing on the behaviour and start solving those problems (or, at least, identifying them....).
Okay, let's identify those problems, so we can start the New Year solving them!

Remember (as I've explained in previous posts), challenging behaviour is not "the problem". The problem, or unsolved problems, are examples of times when a child's lagging skills are making it difficult to respond adaptively to specific demands. Challenging behaviour is an indicator that your child is lagging skills.

I know...I keep saying I'm going to write about collaborative problem solving and then I start writing about something lagging skills.

Be patient with me a little while longer.

You ask your child to do his/her homework and he/she has a meltdown. What expectation is the child having difficulty meeting? The problem is that he's not doing his homework (note: the problem is not the difficult behaviour). When identifying the unsolved problem, keep free of challenging behaviour and adult theories and try to be specific. He has difficulty doing his homework after school, before supper, after supper? Does he have difficulty with all homework or just math, english, science? Is it the writing, reading? So these are some of the skills he may be lacking. Dr Ross Greene has a worksheet for writing down those unsolved problems and identifying some of your child's lagging skills; the ALSUP. Print it out and start using it. As I've identified in this paragraph, there may be a lot of lagging skills behind each problem.....don't worry about it. As you (and your child) solve the problem, the lagging skills will be taught indirectly.

So write your list.....all the problems you want to help your child solve. Dr. Greene suggests you choose at most 3 unsolved problems to work on at one time, beginning with the problems that are the most severe and the most frequent. I would just start with one and as you solve that one, you can tackle the next. You've identified the unsolved problems!

In my next post, I will have you find the Plan B Flowchart and help you with the steps of the collaborative problem solving technique!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Three Options for Solving Problems

So I'll get right into it....

You've asked your child to do something and he has a meltdown. What do you do?

Well, first you need to understand that you're child would do well (would do what you asked) if he could....okay....this one is a hard one....especially in the heat of the moment. But things aren't always what they seem. The most important theme of Dr. Greene's model is the belief that if kids could do well they would do well. In other words, if the kid had the skills to exhibit adaptive behavior, he wouldn’t be exhibiting challenging behaviour. If you haven't looked at Dr. Greene's "Lives in the Balance website" really should. Here it is: The website explains that "the definition of good parenting, good teaching, and good treatment is being responsive to the hand you’ve been dealt." Okay, so you're understanding that "Challenging behavior occurs when the demands of the environment exceed a kid’s capacity to respond adaptively". Clearly, your child does not have the capacity to adequately respond to your request (or demand....whatever it is you need him to do). Great...but the kid is having a meltdown....ah!

What are those three options for solving problems?
The site says....."There are three ways in which adults try to solve problems with kids: Plan A (which is unilateral problem solving), Plan C (dropping the problem completely), and Plan B (that's the one you want to get really good at)."

Let's look at Plan A: Well, seeing there is a meltdown, Plan A definitely didn't work!

Plan A requires handling a problem or expectation through the imposition of adult will. So if your child isn’t meeting a given expectation, you respond by imposing your will; saying things like, “No,” “You must,” or “you can’t”....that's Plan A and it will greatly heighten the likelihood of an explosion.

So we move crisis management....defuse, de-escalate, keep everyone safe. And this is probably where we would implement Plan C. Yes, drop your expectation. This is where the book, "Loving What Is" by Byron Katie can come in handy.....

At the moment your child is having a meltdown, you pick yourself up and perform emergency Plan C, you drop your expectation. It's Okay. For children that have a mountain of problems, you may want to drop many of your expectations. And use proactive Plan C; create a list of "issues" you've all agreed will be dealt with in the future.

But how will we deal with these issues in the future? This is where we use Plan B: The Collaborative Problem Solving Approach. You will have to identify your child's "unsolved problems". What skills is he lacking that precipitate the challenging episodes? Then choose two or three high-priority unsolved problems you want to solve. Now you're ready for Plan B! What the following video from LivesIntheBalance.

I'm going to have to leave you here. I know we're not ready for Plan B yet! In my next blog, I will help you identify those "unsolved problems".....and then you can start Plan B....

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects at least one in twenty children. Children with SPD don't process or experience sensory information the way other typical children do; therfore, they don't behave the way other children do. They struggle to perform tasks that come easier for other children. Consequently they suffer a loss of quality in their social, personal, emotional and academic life.

The Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation is dedicated to continue their research into the knowledge and treatment of SPD, so that, as Lucy Jane Miller writes in her book "Sensations Kids", "the millions of sensational children currently "muddling through" daily life will enjoy the same hope and help that research and recognition already have bestowed on coutless other conditions that once baffled science and disrupted lives."