School Struggles Are Real — Here’s How to Help

with Penny Williams

One in five children has a learning disability or attention issue that causes school struggles. In the U.S. alone, that’s approximately 56.6 million students (Educationdata.org). And yet, we continue with an educational system that is solely focused on conformity and compliance. It is built for your average student with little consideration for those that can’t succeed in that system, even though they are virtually required to.  My own son is one of those students and, despite a gifted intelligence, he graduated high school feeling stupid and worthless. He’s one of millions with a similar experience and that’s just not ok. That’s why I created the free, online School Struggles Summit. In this podcast episode, I’m sharing some of the amazing insights and strategies from the experts in the Summit. You have actionable strategies here in this overview and the opportunity to register for the Summit and learn so much more to help your struggling child or student have the opportunity to succeed in school (in their own way).

Thanks for joining me!

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Penny Williams 0:03

Welcome to the beautifully complex podcast, where I share insights and strategies on parenting neurodivergent kids straight from the trenches. I'm your host, Penny Williams. I'm a parenting coach, author and mindset mama, honored to guide you on the journey of raising your a typical kid. Let's get started.

Welcome back to the beautifully complex podcast. I am so excited today to be talking to you about the upcoming school struggles Summit. As most of you know, we've been doing online summits around parenting neurodivergent kids for several years now. And this is the first time that I am tackling the topic of school struggles, and what is happening to our kids, for kids at school, and what is not how misunderstood they are sometimes at school, how misunderstood they are sometimes at home with us as parents, and just lots of different ways that kids are struggling, what's causing those struggles, and then how we can actually really support and help them. That's what we're talking about in the summit. We're using all brain based science backed evidence based, different conversations. And that's the perspective that we're taking.

There are 30 experts joining me in the summit. And we have had just the most amazing conversations guys, the most amazing and helpful conversations, I truly believe that if your child struggles in school, or you're a teacher who has kids struggling in their classrooms, this is going to be life changing, this is really going to help. And as we know, it only takes one caring adult to change the life of a child. And sometimes kids don't go home to a caring adult. So our teachers play a significant role for many of our kids in that regard as well. But for our kids who do come back to a loving and supportive home, when they're neurodivergent, they really need a caring adult in that school environment as well. And we talk a little bit in some of the sessions about how to find that ally in the school, how to identify your child's person at school, that is going to be their sort of fallback, the person that they can go to whenever they need something, the person who's going to understand them, who's going to listen, who's going to get it, and be actually what they need. And that is so important.

So in this episode, I just want to walk you through some of the big aha cars that I've had, as I've completed all 30 of these interviews with these experts. And I want to give you some information that will give you some quick wins right away, you'll be able to take some of the strategies that I will talk about in this episode, and apply them to your kid your classroom and get some quick wins. I know that most kids are a great deal, at least have started back to school now as you're listening to this. So there are some things in here that can help if you're already struggling on that path. But I want to start really quickly with just letting you know a little bit about how the summit works. So it's completely and utterly free. If you want to listen to your watch all of the sessions during the event September 12 through 15th. So each of those four days, there are seven or eight sessions. They go live at 9am Eastern Daylight Time in the US and they are up for 24 hours. So you can watch all 30 sessions in those four days, absolutely free. The only thing that you have to offer is your first name and your email address so that I can email you the links to watch during the summit. That's it.

If you are not available during that time, if you don't have enough time to watch everything you want to watch. If you would like to own the session so that you can listen to them at your leisure or go back and reference some of them later when things come up that you aren't maybe struggling with right now. You can purchase a fast pass and that fast pass up to the start of the summit is only 87 US dollars. It's all 30 video sessions. In a searchable library, and this is huge because you can go in, log into your summit Fastpass and search a specific problem that you're having. And you will be taken right to the point in each session that mentions that. So you can get very targeted information at your fingertips. So you could search, let's say, behavior management, classroom management, you could come up with everything that we talked about every time we referenced that, in all 30 sessions, you could search for a homework not turned in homework battles, these are things that have come up again and again, and you will be able to get quick information that way, if you have that fast pass, you also get a bonus from every single speaker, you get some templates of different sample letters to use with the school, including an IEP overview of parent concern a lot, or a parent viewpoint of the current meaning of targets, and so forth in there, as well as some other things.

Everyone who registers for the summit free or buys a pass, you get our new brand new Manifesto of the neurodiverse classroom. And we've just completed this just in time for the summit, it's a great tool to post to remind you, it's a great tool to post in your classroom, if you're a teacher, or to gift to a teacher, if you're a parent, of a neuro divergent child. And it's just really amazing. It's all of those foundational beliefs that are so important to doing right by our kids who struggle in school. I'm also doing a follow up coaching call for all past purchasers in October, so we can go back and we can talk about how things are going, what you're still struggling with in school, what you have learned and what questions you still have, and all of that good stuff and just to show up for each other and support each other, which is super, super valuable. And you get a workbook and some other things, you can go to the website and, and read in great detail what those options are and what that includes. Lastly, we're offering a pro multi use paths for schools, nonprofits, and professional offices.

So a school for instance, could buy a professional license, and they could show it to every teacher, every teacher in their school can have access, every administrator, every staff member, and you could also host Parent Information nights, and share a session in those meetings with parents as well. So really designed to help you to reach as many people with this information as possible, because this is how we changed the educational experience for our kids who struggle in school. And I am so passionate about this topic. My own son, who graduated from high school almost two years ago now is just really starting to see some confidence back in him some willingness to put himself out there, he was really, really damaged and traumatized by his school experience, despite having a very educated involved supportive parents who sent 1000 emails and called hundreds of meetings. So it's really just so vitally important that we're changing the narrative around education for our kids who struggle. And that's what this summit is for. So to check that out, you can go to the behavior revolution.com/school-p after thebehaviorrevolution.com. And you will see the registration page, it's all the details, I encourage you to at least sign up for free.

I'm so happy that so many people are able to take advantage of this information for free. So I really hope that you'll do that. So now I want to dive into some of what we are talking about in the summit. Because it is really, really exciting stuff. You guys. There have been so many common threads in these conversations, building connectedness, building connection, building community and classrooms, slowing down for kids, asking questions, instead of telling our kids what to do. Instead of telling them how they're feeling. We're going to ask them questions and teach them to problem solve to regulate. Those are some big common threads that just kept coming up again and again and again, in these conversations, which is amazing. I want to just highlight a few more things that we talked about and some strategies from different sessions, so that you can get some quick wins now before the summit even starts, or if you don't even participate in the summit. Here's some strategies that will help you just from listening to this episode. I talk to Seth Perler about executive functioning and how to really support kids with executive functioning deficits. He gave us some sentence starters to use with our kids, so that we're asking questions.

And we're helping and supporting them to come up with solutions, rather than doing things for them, telling them what to do. So things like, wow, that sounds really hard. Tell me about it. I notice blank, and then you wait, you stop talking, I notice that this math is really tripping you up and getting you frustrated. Silence, wait for a response could be a long stretch of silence. But you wait for a response. Tell me more. What do you think when your child asks you, What should I do about this? How do I handle this? What do you think? Because so often, our inclination, as the adult in the room, is to tell them what to do, or try to help resolve the problem, right? We want to fix it for them. And by doing that, we're not allowing them to build skills, we're not allowing them to grow. We're not allowing them to gain independence and learn independence, before they're out in the world. And they fall on their face because they didn't learn it. Right.

So that was really, really important. Of course, that's talks about so much more valuable information. In his session, Luke and I, my son, Luke, and I did a session on school avoidance and refusal. And I have to tell you, that it was so powerful. Luke has struggled with school avoidance and refusal, he had struggled for eight years from fourth grade through graduation, he graduated almost two years ago, I learned things about his school of words and refusal yesterday, in recording this conversation with him that I did not know and all of those 10 years, that he wasn't able yet to reflect on, and understand himself.

And if he doesn't understand it, if our kids don't understand why they can't get themselves in the school building, no matter what anybody does, or threatens or, you know, pushes, then how can we expect that we can understand it, right. But Luke does provide so much insight into not only why it happened, and what's going on when your kid can't get in the school building, but also what the adults in the room can do to help, what is going to be helpful and what is not helpful. Because believe me, we went down the path originally, of all the things that didn't work, right, because we didn't know, we didn't know any better. We had to learn. There's so many kids that are struggling with school avoidance or refusal. Now, this is a great conversation. And it's a session that I really hope that you'll have your kids watch. You know, Luke wants to help other kids who are like him who struggled in school, or are struggling in school in the ways that he did. He really wants to change that experience, because it was so traumatic and hard for him.

And he really will give your kids a sense of not being the only one not being alone. Knowing that there are other kids out there who have similar struggles. Just that tiny little piece will help immensely. But I think if you have a child who has school avoidance or refusal, watch that session, they are also going to probably understand a little bit better, what's going on for them, have some language to label it and be able to help you to understand it better so that you can actually be helpful to them in that situation. I talked to Debbie Steinberg coons about twice exceptionality and neuro divergent kids. And she gave so many great insights. And we talked a lot about a strengths based approach. And she equates that to a boat. So the wooden part of the boat is emotional regulation. The sale is the strengths and interests and the anchor, by giving support. We're lifting that anchor by supporting strengths and interests in nurturing and really leaning into that area. We're putting wind in the sails for our kids, right. So powerful. Debbie Rieber of tilt parenting and I talked about getting clear on your beliefs around school, because it's so hard sometimes to be the parent of a kid who struggles in school. It just is so hard.

And so we talked a lot about what can we do as the parent for ourselves. What can a teacher do when they're exhausted? And they have kids in the classroom who they Just feel like they're not reaching. They're not helping as much as they hope to. Then once you get clear on your beliefs around school, you you challenge that, right? You ask yourself, Where are the truths in that list? And what evidence can poke holes in some of our beliefs. And what we mean by that is like the belief that a child needs to have great grades in high school and go straight to a four year university in order to be successful. That is a common belief in our society. It is not fact based or evidence based, it is not true. Not every kid needs that to be successful. There are many people out there who are way more successful without a college degree, or without going right to a four year university outside of high school, more than a lot of people with college degrees. So we're just talking a lot about challenging those beliefs, and how that is your own stress management. And kind of the path forward for you on that journey is really hard.

Talk to Greg Santucci, about shifting from compliance to regulation. We need to reflect first and then react. We need Trust and Safety at the foundation, then we can work on regulation, then we can work on doing. If you have a child who can't do their homework, you have a child in your classroom, who isn't getting started isn't getting things done. First and foremost, you have to build trust and safety. The last thing you work on is the actual doing. It's shocking, right? It's shocking. But the last thing you work on is doing. And Greg really walks us through that so well. It's such a fun session as well. Kids don't want to be fixed. This was a common thread that came up in a few sessions. We want to help our kids, we want to make things easy for them. They actually don't want all of that overwhelming help. They don't want to be helped all the time. And they certainly don't want to be fixed. So the two most important things about school for parents and for teachers is number one, the relationship, the relationship with your child, the student teacher relationship, because everything is governed by that relationship. Again, it goes back to what we were just talking about with Greg Santucci session, you must first have trust and safety, that child must feel safe with you, around the topic of school are in the school building. Number two, your child's emotional and mental health. And really, those are backwards.

Really your child's emotional mental health should be absolute number one, always, if your kid can't get through homework without a tragic meltdown, and a lot of fighting with you do not do the homework. Period. It's okay to not do the homework people. I know you're told different, but it's okay to not do the homework. Not every day. I'm not saying never do homework. But if your kids having a horrible day, you're having a hard time keeping yourself together and regulated. You're escalating each other, and things are falling apart. And now your kids yelling I hate you. What the hell did you just accomplish? Absolutely nothing. Nothing, you accomplish nothing. All you did was make life a whole lot worse for everyone for a little while, right? Was that piece of homework that day? Worth it? What was the cost? And we talked about that a lot in these sessions too. At what cost? You have to ask yourself that when it comes to kids who learn differently and struggle in school, at what cost? Well, my kid gets good grades and they get their homework done. But they spend five to six hours every afternoon during homework when their peers are doing an hour. Is it worth it? Those are two questions you have to ask yourself, at what cost? And is it worth that cost? So often, the cost is too high, and it is not worth the cost. Those are your answers.

I would say 80% of the time when it's hard. Those are your answers. It isn't worth it. It just isn't worth it. Because your kids mental and emotional health matters most. And your relationship with the kid matters most. Everything else will fall into place when those two things are good. Because as we talked about so much on this podcast, when we feel good, we're able to do good. And I'll tell you that's another thread through this whole summit is that we have to get kids to a place where they feel good and they feel safe in order for them to even physiologically be available to learn. If a kid is freaking out, acting out zoning out in school, are they learning? No, they're thinking brain is offline, their emotional brain, their survival brain has taken over, they cannot process and think through things. They are not learning. They are not learning, when they're acting out, freaking out or zoning out at school, it's so important that we understand the way our biology works. And our nervous system works and causes behavior. It is what governs behavior. So if I'm freaking out in the classroom, everybody around me is talking, I can't focus on what I need to get done, the teachers gonna be upset at me, because I'm not getting my work done, my mom's gonna be upset, now I'm gonna get a terrible grade on this, it's gonna tank my classroom grade. And I'm so sick and tired of this, and I'm tired of feeling like a failure. And I'm gonna get assaulted in the hallway after this class, and nobody's gonna sit with me at lunch. And I hate dressing out for PE and I don't want to do it. Ah, right, like holy cow.

And that's just a fraction. That's what I could just come up with, in an instant to share with you as a fraction of what's happening in some of our kids minds, at every moment that they are in the school building, every moment, some of our kids are having that kind of internal turmoil, and panic. Think about that, is that your kid, it was my kid. And I didn't know it for a really, really, really long time, we have to take the blinders off, and really see what our kids are going through is the only way to help them. Because the only way to help them feel good, and capable, and confident. And I'll tell you, you can't succeed in school, if you have zero confidence and zero belief that you can succeed in school, right? You know, my kid learned after a few years, I'm not gonna be able to succeed here. So I must be bad or broken, there must be something wrong with me. That is heartbreaking, you guys, it's so heartbreaking. And that's where that strengths based thread comes in, is that because they're getting so many negative messages, and they're feeling so incapable so often of doing what their peers are doing, we have to overwhelm him with the positive, right, we have to really hone in on those strengths.

Yes, we have to support the weaknesses. But it can't be about the weaknesses, it has to be about the strengths. And we support the things that they need support in, to keep them down that path of strengths and confidence and competence. That's the key. Again, I'm gonna say this 1000 million times in the rest of my lifetime, we have to feel good to do good. So important. I talked with Iris Chen, of unti, green. And we talked about just really redefining success, which we've talked about a lot on this podcast. And Iris kind of sets out a few things that we should really focus on in order to set our kids up for whatever success looks like for them. Right? Connection is first again, here we go. Connection is everything, people without connection, we can't be regulated. We know this based on the autonomic nervous system. Our behavior, we all in the behavior revolution program shows you the three different states of the nervous system. And the fact that the green state is the calm and connected area. That's what it takes to be regulated.

That's the regulated piece. Second for Iris is choice. So powerful. Again, we don't give kids any control over themselves. What does that cause a lot of anxiety, a lot of self doubt. And third, competence. So competence doesn't come until there's choice until there's connection until kids feel safe. And they feel like they can trust those around them. Right. We really have some very common themes throughout all the summit sessions. And it's amazing to me when that happens, and it always happens with every Summit. There's always some common threads that people talk about. In the sessions, and what that says to me is that these are the most important pieces. And these are the things that many experts know, work, know are helpful know are what we're supposed to be focusing on. And it's really powerful when you watch the summit. And you get those messages over and over and over again, because what's going to happen, it's going to stick in your head, it's going to stick and stay in your mind, and you're going to be able to act on it. And that is just so helpful. We want to mention to you that we have many neurodivergent speakers are experts in this summit, many nerve divergent speakers. And it's really important, there's about 25% of our panel is neurodivergent, in one way or another. So ADHD, autism learning disabilities, anxiety is represented by the adults who are giving you insights and advice.

And that is so super important. I consider myself neurodivergent. Because I have anxiety. Many people don't put anxiety in the neuro divergent bucket. But if you look at the definition of neuro divergent anxiety totally fits in that pocket. But I didn't have anything that made me struggle with learning, it made me struggle in the school environment, for sure. I was freaking out all day long every day in school, about social stuff, and really significant social anxiety. But I was able to get good grades, I was able to succeed in school. And some of that was probably fear based, which isn't great, but I was able to do it. And so for me to see, my wicked smart kid, not able to succeed in school was something that I had to really sit down and, and challenge my thinking on and say, okay, you know, I can see the kid could be really, really smart, and really verbally fluent, and still not do well in school, because they're expecting all of these other functions, all these other ways of output that my kid struggles with. And yours probably does, too. If you're here listening to this podcast, let's dive into some more sessions.

So we have a session, each on some of these specific learning disabilities, we have a session on dyslexia, which is amazing, I learned so much about dyslexia and talking with her, we have a session on dysgraphia. And we have a session on math struggles and dyscalculia. And I will say, you know, these sessions, while we mentioned the specific learning disability by name, if your kid struggles in math, but they don't necessarily have dyscalculia, that session is going to help you. If your kids struggles with reading, but they don't necessarily have dyslexia, that session is going to help you so don't think you need the diagnosis to get something out of it. Any struggle at all in any of those areas. When we're talking about strategies in those sessions. We also have one on so processing speed with my partner in the behavior revolution, Sara Wayland. And we of course, have the session on executive functioning that I talked about. And we just really dive into some of those specific areas, so that you can understand why your kid is struggling in that way, and what is actually beneficial.

Because so often as the adults in the room, we make the assumption that we know what's going to be helpful. And so so often we are wrong, we are just flat out wrong, because we don't get it we don't understand it. We haven't learned the best interventions or strategies. And so this is gonna help you actually know what really works and is really helpful in those different areas. Talk to a Dana Abraham, who is amazing of lemon, lime and ventures and the calm the chaos workshop. And we talked about survival mode. When kids are stuck in survival mode. What does that look like? Why is it happening? How do we help them parents and teachers? How do we help them? And Dana gave us kind of this four part path for that. First, again, connection. Hello, almost every list or step by step strategy that any of the speakers gave us. The very first thing was connection. It is that powerful people. Our kids have to feel connected and they have to feel connection in order to do well. The second piece is understanding getting curious. We have to really dive deep. We have to question things we have to challenge our assumptions and our beliefs so that we're really understanding then empowerment. And then also and this is a big one. You holding it together.

We have to hold it together to you right. And sometimes that is super hard. Sometimes Times honestly, it's impossible. But we work on how to get to that place where we can hold it together so that we can really help our kids. And that is a vital piece that often, honestly, many experts even miss the fact that the parent is struggling. And we're interacting with our kids. So for struggling, we're affecting what's going on with the kid. And that is an important piece. I had a lovely conversation with Deborah farmer Chris, about introverts, which is near and dear to my introverted heart, and my introverted kids. And we really talked about how to help celebrate the accomplishments of introverts, introverts disappear, they don't get noticed, they don't get the recognition, because they sort of fade into the background sometimes, right, because that's often where they're more comfortable, but never really shone some light on introversion in a way that even as a 40, something introvert, I didn't see. And that's around really energy.

It's how much energy an introvert or an extrovert needs or can handle. And it's biology. You're an introvert or an extrovert based on your biology. So introverts are really sensitive to stimuli. And they need some quiet and alone time to sort of recover from when there's just a lot of energy in the room, right. It's a crowded or loud scenarios, stuff like that. So there's some correlations, there really between sensory and stimulation, and introversion, which is fascinating. And Deborah is a former teacher. And so she really talks about how we can celebrate introverts in the classroom, and how as parents, we can lift our introverts up and understand them understand that it's okay, that they don't put themselves out there as much maybe as an extrovert would, Caroline McGuire and I talk in her session on helping disconnected kids find social connection, again, about slowing down, you know, another one of those common threads, breaking it down, really going to what she called micro connections, and micro successes and wins. So taking it one step at a time, because it's struggling socially, you don't shove them into the group at a birthday party, right?

You know, you, you have to ease and you have to build the skills along the way. And really taking baby steps to do that is important. Also be kind and gentle. These kids are struggling, I feel like we shouldn't have to say this. But I think when we're so desperate to help our kids, we lose sight of some of these things, including just being really gentle with our kids, and letting them know that it's okay. And we're there to support them, teach them to pause and pay attention. We need to teach ourselves to don't we and the adults in the room, we need to teach ourselves to pause and pay attention. But we have to teach our kids that as well. When they get to the playground, they need to pause and pay attention, who out there is doing something they would like to do, who maybe is their age and would want to play with them. You know, my son used to run onto the playground and find he would be like four or five, and he would go to the 14 year olds or the 12 year olds, you know, the older kids on the playground.

And I would tell him, you know, the older kids don't want to play with you. It's a different thing. And they're, they're not gonna want to do what you want to do. But he didn't know rain. And so we talk a lot about just helping kids pause and really pay attention to what's going on so they can take the most successful action, right? And then again, focusing on strengths. She ended like so many, with focusing on strengths in my conversation with Michael Dolman about how your kid's going to be okay. He says to ask more questions. And this is another one of those common threads as we talked about the beginning. Ask more questions. Don't tell them don't do for them. Don't resolve it for them. If they ask you a question, it's okay to ask a question back. I remember when my daughter went away to college, and the very first weekend, she texts me and she says, How do I do my laundry?

And let me tell you we did laundry at home before. She had lessons on laundry. She knew how to do laundry. But she was overwhelmed. It was a new environment. The machine didn't look like our machine right But her inclination instead of trying to figure it out, which she totally could have done was to text me and ask me. And my response was, what do you need to do? First? I asked a question back. Because our kids need to be able to learn how to do things and be independent, they need to learn how to solve a problem, when the answer just doesn't come. And they need to build confidence through that. When we do everything for them, we send the message that we don't think they're capable. When we do everything for them. They don't feel capable, right. So important. And then also, Michael talked about being patient with yourself, as the parent, not everything is high stakes. I love that he said that not everything is high stakes. This is not brain surgery. So it's not an emergency.

You know, getting the math homework done is not an emergency, no one is going to perish. If that math sheet isn't done today, not everything is high stakes. Love it. Emily King reminded us that the child is the one we're all there for. As a teacher, as an administrator in a school, the child is the one you're there for you're there for the kids, you're there for the kids, parents, we're there for the kids, it's about the kids, it's not about us. It's not about us, I have to remind myself sometimes too, but I'm reminding you, it is not about us. It just isn't. We talk a lot in that session, Dr. King and I about stress response, regulated response, how to help kids feel safe at school, and how to really tackle behavior at school in a way that is compassionate and humanistic, which is so very important. Our traditional behavior management systems and schools are shaming, they are fear based. They are public, they are not okay.

And they're not useful. You know, in first grade, before we realize what was going on, and his teacher made adjustments for him. He was always on orange or red, his card was always on orange or red. And you know, when he would come up and say, I don't understand, I don't understand why all the other kids can get green or yellow every day. And I always have orange or red. I don't get it. And it was because that wasn't addressing the real root of the problem, right? Well, you know, you didn't walk in a straight line, you were jumping around and a lot in the hallway. So you got to turn your card, just turning his card help him to walk in a straight line quietly. No. And I'll tell you, we talk in a session or two about how kids shouldn't have to walk in that straight line quietly, they should take the opportunity to regulate as they walked down the hallway to get a break as they walked down the hallway. So that whole example is really not useful. But it's reality, right? It's reality in our schools. And that stinks. Noreen Russell, who have had on the podcast, several of these people in the sessions we've had on the podcast, talked about unconditional positive regard.

This is a term that I had not heard before, unconditional positive regard. That means that kids need to know that no matter what happens, we have positive feelings for them. We hold them in positive regard. Again, that's setting a foundation of safety. It's setting a relationship of trust. It's creating an environment where a kid can feel good. So they can do good. You know, my session with her is on connecting with students with learning challenges, or your child with learning challenges. And a lot of strategies to do that and why it's so important in order to do well in school, but at the start of it, the very foundation has to be unconditional, positive regard, tackled a really hard subject in the summit as well, school shootings.

I talked with Florence Anne Romano, about how to talk to your kids about school shootings, about their fears and their feeling of not being safe, like physically safe. Some kids have a harder time than others with this information. And then knowing that this happens in some places. Parents also have a really hard time with this right. I remember, sometimes I couldn't send my kids to school the next day after a shooting in our country. It's very, very scary. And it's a really tough thing to talk about. And it's a tough thing to navigate. We talked to a little bit about what can we do to change what's happening What can we do to try to affect change, to try to reduce these instances, and we talk a lot about connection.

Again, if everyone felt connected and wanted and cared for, we would have less of this happening. And it's a really good conversation. It's a hard conversation. It's a painful conversation, it's going to probably trigger some of you to watch it by just, you know, being fearful about school shootings, and that being your child. But it's got so much valuable information, I really hope you'll challenge yourself if it's hard to watch to watch. And Florentine is just a kind soul. And she really comes at this with love and compassion. And it's really, really helpful session. And of course, I have my Learn smarter podcast gals and friends, Stephanie Pence and Rachel cap in the summit, they've been on the podcast a few times before, I've been on theirs as well. They are so so knowledgeable as educational therapists. It's just amazing the amount of strategies that they have the resource toolbox that they possess, for helping kids who are struggling with learning and school, one of them said, and I can't remember which, but playing by the burden of potential, and that really struck a chord for me.

We have a plague, by the burden of potential, have stopped focusing so much on potential and focus on the here. And now, what's happening today. Why is my kid not able to succeed at this today? How can I support them? Why is my student not able to do this today? How can I support them? Well, yesterday, they had a great day at school, so they should be able to have a great day at school today. No, these challenges are in consistent. The nature of neuro divergence is inconsistency. So we have to expect some days are great, some days are terrible. A lot of days are probably somewhere in between. If your child did great yesterday, it does not mean they can do a great today. If that student with dysgraphia had amazing handwriting yesterday, it does not mean that they will be able to do it again anytime soon. It's the nature of what we're going through here in consistency. Natalie Burrell and I talked a little bit about stress and anxiety at school. She's a school counselor in high school settings. She's also a coach and founder of life success for teens.

She's been on the podcast a few times as well. And we talked a lot about how to understand what kids are going through at school and what she's seeing in schools, the level of anxiety and stress and the severity of what's going on these days. And one thing that stuck out to me was meet them where they are and honor what they need. So if they come to you, and they just need your presence, but they don't need to talk it out, and they're not ready to talk it out. Then you just be a quiet, calm presence. And that's it, honor what they need, and honor what they are showing you that they need. So often, again, we make those assumptions. And we don't know we're so wrong. So many times when we make assumptions, find out what they need, ask them what they need, and then honor that. Don't say, Oh, well, no, I really think you need this. Kids hate that. When we tell you. We hate that. I would hate that. If somebody said that to me. Or oh no, you know, I don't think you're really panicked. I think you just don't want to do this work. I think you're you're bored and math, whatever, right? None of that is helpful.

When we talk a lot about just being able to break it down and listen to that child or student, and then honor what they tell us and show us. We have a whole day on social emotional learning, social emotional wellness, because it's so important for kids to do well at school. So we're not just focusing on academics here. And I'll tell you, most of the focus is not on academics. I don't think we focused at all on academics. Actually, we may discuss it a little bit here and there, right, it comes up but the focus here is on the whole child. Because we know that again, if kids don't feel good when they come into the school building, they cannot learn they cannot do good. And there's so many factors at play. It's not just well, this work is hard for me. There's behavioral component, there's social, emotional, mental health. There's accommodations and services, we haven't even talked about that yet. We do talk about school meetings, getting accommodations and services, how to handle those meetings, how to collaborate between parents and teachers, and make it a team effort.

Because that's the way that we are most successful for our kids. And when we talk about feelings with kids, you know, we need to work on social emotional learning and growth at school, which we don't tend to focus on. But it's very easy to add that to your classrooms and do that for everyone. Because really, so much of what we're talking about here is for all students 90%, probably of the summit works for all students. So we're not asking teachers to change a lot of things for a select few students, were saying, make a shift for your whole entire class, make a shift for all the kids you teach, and it will benefit them all. Nadine, love it talked a little bit in our session about social emotional learning. Ask kids, what else are you feeling, they may be able to tell you one really general thing, probe a little deeper, if they're willing, in that moment, right? And do a check in every day, do a check in with your students.

When kids come into the classroom, ask them how's it going today, or, you know, for older kids, maybe every day, the first thing you ask them to do is do a self check in, maybe you put a prompt on the board for them, when they come in, they sit down, they do the self check in, maybe you check in with a student here or there each day and you check in with different students, but check in and also teach them to check in with themselves. It really helps kids feel cared for right and connected. If I'm asking you how you're feeling how things are going. And then I'm validating that I'm showing you empathy, we have just built connection and trust. Now that kid is going to trust that I care that I actually want to know, when I asked them something that I want to help them succeed, that I see that it's harder for them in certain ways. There is a second really hard, tough topic that I did cover in the summit, and that is suicide, and the correlation between school and suicide. And I'm talking with Jonathan singer, who is one of the foremost experts on suicide.

And I will tell you that he showed some charts that were shocking, the correlation is real. And you will find out about that in that session. It's harder to really give you the impact of it without showing you his graphs. And so I hope that you'll watch that session to really get that information. But I can tell you that there is a strong correlation, there are certain times of the year where suicide numbers and kids and teens spike. And it relates to the harder times of school and being in session at school. It's profound. And it's something that we really need to know. And then we need to find a path forward. And we do talk also about you know how to talk to your kids, and how to know if a child is at risk. All of those things as well. Really something that every single parent should watch, it's information you need to have. And you need to know the signals and what to look out for and how to help your kid. Last session I want to highlight a little bit here is with Sam Parmer Lee, who was a special education teacher in a self contained behavioral classroom, and is now shifting into a consultant role throughout her school district. But she is number one, take a humanistic approach to behavior. And I cannot agree more with that. We must take a humanistic approach to behavior.

And oh my god, the amount of things that would change in our culture, in our society, not even just focusing on kids and kids who struggle, it would profoundly change so many things we just have to see through and beyond them behavior. And, of course, you know, I'm passionate about this. We have the whole behavior revolution now, and the regulation kit and course and it's really the key, in my opinion, to changing things on so many levels, but also really to changing things. experience for our kids who are different and differently wired and so misunderstood. And she gives such great insights into how to humanize students who have behavior issues, and to how to see past that surface behavior. And she reminds us to ask kids, how can I support you? You know, I've always been a big proponent of asking our kids how I can help you. But I love that she changes out help for support, how can I support you, because again, we're talking about raising independent problem solvers. Right. That's what our end goal is for kids and students. And so asking how we can support them, just gives the feeling that we know they can do it, we have confidence. And now I know you can do it, I just want to know how I can support you. So you can do it, right. It's just totally different. And I love it. And I was not able to highlight every single session.

This episode is now an hour. And I know that is a big ask, for those of you who are listening, I know many of you cannot find an hour to carve out in one day. But I hope that you'll find little bits here and there. So you can get to the end here. And get all of those good nuggets of knowledge and wisdom that I've highlighted here. And I super hope that you will join me for this summit, so that we can change some kids lives and change some parents lives and change some teachers lives right and affects all of us. Again, you can go to the behavior revolution.com/school-p P for Penny P for podcast. And you will get all the details you can register right there, you can register for free participation, you can purchase your Fastpass, which is at an early bird price again of $87 us through the end of the day, September 11. And then it goes up to 127 through the summit. And then the summit is not offered anymore, once it is over. And don't forget, we have the Pro pass for any professionals listening, parents, you can gift it to a school, if you have the means to do so it would be amazing for the schools to get this information, it would change your kids experience and many, many others like them. And you can also gift a pass to a friend relative or teacher this year, which we haven't offered before. But I think it's so powerful for a parent to gift this to a teacher and say,

Hey, I know that my kid can be challenging, I know that they're complex, they're learning difficulties can be a real challenge. But here's some stuff that's really going to help. And it's going to help you too. And it's going to help all the kids in your classroom and really approaching it from that standpoint of I want to help you which we do, I would have loved to have been able to help every one of my son's teachers, that would have been amazing. If I could make life easier for all of them to make educating and caring about all of our kids a little bit easier, less of a struggle and a burden. That would be amazing. If you buy a fast pass for yourself, you can actually gift a fast pass to a teacher at a discounted rate. So not the same cost is less to do that. And of course, you could just buy a fast pass for a teacher or a relative as well. So, so many options there. But again, I just want to reiterate, you can absolutely participate 100% Free, not one penny spent and get all the screen information. So I really hope that you'll take advantage of it. And I will see everyone on the next episode of the podcast. Take care.

Thanks for joining me on the beautifully complex podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and share. And don't forget to check out my online courses and parent coaching at parentingADHDandautism.com and at thebehaviorrevolution.com

Transcribed by https://otter.ai