As parents and teachers, we often struggle with how to deal with the symptoms of learning challenges in children. We want to help them succeed, but it can be challenging to know how to handle certain behaviors. One method that has proven to be effective is using the word “brain” when addressing these behaviors.
When a child with learning challenges exhibits a behavior that is inappropriate or distracting, it can be easy to simply scold them or tell them to stop. However, this approach doesn’t necessarily help the child understand why they acted the way they did or how to prevent it from happening again in the future.
By using the word “brain,” we can help children understand that their behavior is a result of the way their brain is processing information. For example, if a child yells out something inappropriate, we can say something like, “wow, your brain let that out. Let’s tell it to put the gate back up and be mindful of what is appropriate to say based on where we are.”
This approach has several benefits. First, it helps the child understand that their behavior is not a result of a personal failing or a lack of self-control. Instead, it frames the behavior as a natural response that can be modified with practice and awareness.
Second, it helps the child learn to identify their own triggers and thought patterns that lead to the behavior. By understanding how their brain is processing information, they can learn to recognize when they are about to act impulsively and take steps to prevent it.
Third, it provides a concrete strategy for managing the behavior in the moment. By counting to three and making sure their “gate” is back up, the child can take a moment to pause and reflect before acting.
This approach is particularly effective for children with learning challenges because it is simple, concrete, and based on an understanding of how the brain works. It helps them develop self-awareness and self-regulation skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.
Of course, this approach is not a magic bullet, and it may not work for every child in every situation. However, by using the word “brain” and focusing on self-awareness and self-regulation, we can help children with learning challenges better understand and manage their behavior.
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