Friday, July 15, 2005

SENG Highlights: Parenting, Attention, and Self-Regulation

Some highlights from the SENG ( conference:

Judith Roseberry (President, California Association for the Gifted):
- Advice to parents - don't abdicate your role as parents just because your kids are smart. Don't be afraid to use your authority and have your rules respected.
- Empower your children with words, role plays, and socially appropriate behaviors. Allow them to question authority, but teach them socially acceptable ways like: "Mrs. Hill. Have I done something to offend you. You seem angry to me." Role play, and go with them, but have them speak for themselves.
- Teach your children certain phrases: "In my opinion," "What evidence do you have..."
-Support children in gifted programs who don't seem to be achieving - don't kick them out of the program, but troubleshoot
- To parents: "Don't ever let us teachers ever tell you that we know your child better than you..."

Paul Beljan (President of American Board of Pediatric Neuropsychology, Co-Author MisDiagnosis & Dual Diagnosis):
- Attention and Working Memory can be trained
- Don't just say, "don't do this" - give children a positive alternative - "don't do this, do this instead..."
- Dr. Beljan described a coaching and discipline program that he playfully called the 'Zen of Bean Sorting' - Children are given a calming and pleasant sensory task when they lose control or can't regulate their impulses. Privileges are suspended until the beans are sorted.
- "There's a difference between discipline and punishment."
- For time-outs, don't use a clock. Use the same words every time. "When you're quiet, you can come out."
- Scaffold situations so children can avoid catastrophic failure
- After tantrums or bad behavior, make sure the child rectifies any situation he created ("shows he has his rational mind back")
- Be careful how you talk. Be instructive with requests - "Put this in your room", not "Can you pick this up?"
- There were many more pearls...fortunately a book by Dr. Beljan is in the works!

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