Treat Needs, Not Behavior: Maslow for the Millennium

by Patricia S. Lemer, M. Ed., NCC, Chairman of the Board, Epidemic Answers Mental health professionals and schools often depend on a behavioral model to address emotional and learning issues. Programs such as 1-2-3 Magic, discrete trial training, time out and even tutoring reward positive behaviors and attempt to extinguish less desirable ones. An alternative way to approach problematic behaviors is to look for the underlying needs that drive them.  Let’s visit a third grade class, where I observed Emily, a mainstreamed nine year old with PDD-NOS. Emily wiggled and squirmed, walked to the water fountain, took a long drink, sharpened her pencil and sat down.  She tucked her foot under her leg, which dangled above the floor, chewed on her pencil, tapped it on the desk, and twirled it in her hair.  She stared hard at the visitor. “Teacher, teacher!” she called.  No answer.  Emily glared again, and then tried to make an arithmetic sentence using 8, 3 and…

School Strategies for ADHD

by Nikki Rosen-Lieberman, Ms., OTR, The Abilities Center, West Bloomfield, Michigan To ensure that your child gets off to a good start in the first days back at school, now is a great time to set up some new strategies. The rhythm of a child’s day starts at home, so take a close look at how your child’s day and your family’s day begin. These ideas may be helpful for school strategies for ADHD.  1) Know your child. Analyzing your child’s personality will help you develop a successful morning routine. Does your child have a hard time getting up in the morning? A few minutes for a short back rub, snuggle time, or maybe a song will payoff in the long run. This bit of attention may help the child be more alert and ready to handle morning tasks such as getting dressed and brushing teeth. Or perhaps your child is up and running, raring to go. This one may need…

How to Encourage Neurodevelopmental Movement in the Classroom

by Patricia S. Lemer, M.Ed., NCC, Chairman of the Board, Epidemic Answers A while ago, I observed Steven, 6-1/2, in a class of 12 students.  He has been identified as “unready” for first and second grade.  A lovely teacher directs the children, while an aide admonishes, “Sit still,” “Take your fingers out of your mouth,” “We’re not on that box,” and “If you can’t keep up, you’ll miss recess.” One child lies with his head on the desk.  Another taps her pencil.  The room is quiet. The teacher says, “We’re going to play “Find the Intruder.” On each desk is a xeroxed sheet with four items, one of which does not belong to the set.  On the blackboard, the teacher demonstrates the classification task by sketching an apple, watermelon, banana, and carrot. One student identifies the teacher’s clumsily-drawn carrot as an “ice cream cone” and says it doesn’t belong.  He can’t explain why. Another child mistakes the teacher’s ambiguous “cookie”…