Observing schematic behaviour in young children can aid their learning

schematic behaviour

Tamsin Grimmer, author of Observing and Developing Schematic Behaviour in Young Children, describes the 12 common types of schematic behaviour in young children, and how recognising and adapting these schemas can aid their learning, development and play.

Have your ever noticed a child lining up their toys or spinning around in circles?  Or that a child is often more interested in a cardboard box, rather than the gift that was in it?  Perhaps you are perplexed by the toddler who repeatedly throws their cup from their high chair?

Children do many puzzling things and will often repeat these behaviours.  It is highly likely that these behaviours are schematic.  In my new book, Observing and Developing Schematic Behaviour in Young Children, I unpick the most common schemas and provide ideas of how to extend children’s learning based on their schematic interests.  I also consider children whose behaviour may be misinterpreted as challenging when it could simply be schematic. Continue reading

How does gender stereotyping really affect children?

 

Authors Ros Ball and James Millar co-run the popular Twitter account @GenderDiary, which they set up in 2011 to record all the ways their young son and daughter were treated differently by friends, family and even strangers in the street. Adapted from the account, their new book, The Gender Agenda, explores how this inherent gendering can affect the formation of children’s identities and provides gender non-specific resources for parents keen to challenge the stereotypical status quo. We caught up with Ros and James for a chat, ahead of the book’s release. 

We wouldn’t have The Gender Agenda without the @GenderDiary Twitter account, which chronicles the everyday examples of gendering that you encountered while raising your young son and daughter. What was it that triggered you to set up the @GenderDiary account in the first place?

When our son was born, nearly three years after we had a daughter we picked up that they were being treated differently in little ways. Not just the obvious pink cards and blue cards but the presents we received for them when they were born – our daughter was given a little fluffy white bear in a pink hat, our son received a green dinosaur baring its teeth. The subliminal message from the off was that aggression is for boys.

We were both paid up feminists long before we even met, hence James was reading Living Dolls by Natascha Walter, which was the big feminist book at the time, and that was the trigger for the project in that it mentioned ‘There’s a Good Girl’ – a 1981 book by German lawyer Marianne Grabrucker. James tracked down a copy on eBay and gave it to Ros for Christmas (probably the best present he’s ever given her in nearly 20 years.) Ros read ‘There’s a Good Girl’ and was totally overwhelmed by a feeling of “YES. This is how I feel. This explains so much of my ANGER.” It then seemed a really natural outlet to start writing it down, and since we were both fairly avid fans of Twitter already that seemed the obvious place to put it as you could share your thoughts, experiences and feelings fairly instantaneously and, as we were to discover, get feedback too.

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The Recovery Letters: Addressed to People Experiencing Depression

James Withey, a trained counsellor who worked in social care for 20 years, was diagnosed with clinical depression, attempted suicide and spent time in psychiatric hospital and crisis services where he developed the idea for The Recovery Letters. He met Olivia Sagan, Head of Psychology & Sociology at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, and a chartered psychologist and former counsellor, when she contacted him directly as she had seen The Recovery Letters website. Both keen to work together to do the book, and with the mix of academic backgrounds and personal experiences in mental health, it was a great match. 

In 2012, The Recovery Letters was launched to host a series of letters online written by people recovering from depression, addressed to those currently affected by a mental health condition. Addressed to ‘Dear You’, the inspirational and heartfelt letters provided hope and support to those experiencing depression and were testament that recovery was possible.

Below are two letters from the book:

Read letter one here

Read letter two here

 


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Simon McCarthy-Jones talks to Human Givens

McCarthySimon McCarthy-Jones, author of Can’t You Hear Them?, talks to Human Givens about what is known – and what has been ignored – in explaining the experience of hearing voices. 

The experience of ‘hearing voices’, once associated with lofty prophetic communications, has fallen low. Today, the experience is typically portrayed as an unambiguous harbinger of madness caused by a broken brain, an unbalanced mind, biology gone wild. Yet an alternative account, forged predominantly by people who hear voices themselves, argues that hearing voices is an understandable response to traumatic life-events. There is an urgent need to overcome the tensions between these two ways of understanding ‘voice hearing’.

Read the interview here

 


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How to develop positive thinking in young people with autism by using Social Stories ™

” What Einstein was to atomic theory, astronomy, and math,
Siobhan Timmins is to Social Stories™ “
Carol Gray (founder and creator of Social Stories™)

 

Using the highly effective Social Stories™ model, Developing Resilience in Young People with Autism using Social Stories™ is full of ideas for coping with negative experiences and helping young people with autism, who are particularly susceptible to setbacks. In the following extract Siobhan Timmins introduces how to build positive thinking and then presents two Social Stories™ from her book called
Beginning to think in a positive way and Learning to think in a positive way.

 

Click the link below to read the extract

 

READ THE EXTRACT 

 

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How can so many faiths live peacefully together in a society?

Live well together

As the landscape of our society evolves and becomes ever more multi-cultural and ethnically diverse, one of the biggest elephants in the room has been how we will manage to inspire and create a harmonious society. With so many differing and distinct beliefs living side-by-side, it is sadly little wonder that there are increasing amounts of alienation, prejudice, discrimination, bigotry and racism. A darker, more sectarian society seems to have bludgeoned its way to the surface to exert its noisy influence on social media, tabloid press and sometimes even the national news.

Learning to Live Well Together engages with the issue, offering insights into forging strong relationships with those you have differing religious beliefs from, important for all professionals whose work is impacted by religious diversity. In this extract from the book Tom Wilson discusses ‘trust’, the issues surrounding it, and how to go about building it using his wealth of experience gained from work at the St Philip’s Centre in Leicester.

Click the link below to read an exclusive extract from Learning to Live Well Together by Tom Wilson and Riaz Ravat

Read the extract

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What can teachers and parents do to help children experiencing loneliness?

child lonelinessChild loneliness and its effect upon emotional wellbeing is becoming an increasingly explored topic, as shown by recent NSPCC and Child Line campaigns. But what can teachers and parents do to support children who are feeling lonely? And how can we help children to understand the difference between healthy solitude and loneliness?

In this extract from Julian Stern’s Can I tell you about Loneliness?, we met Jan, aged 11. Jan tells us about some of the things that can cause him to feel lonely. He explains what it means to feel lonely, and discusses therapeutic ways of alleviating this difficult emotion.

Read the extract

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Helping children to have a more positive body image

Body ImageChris Calland and Nicky Hutchinson, authors of Minnie and Max are OK!, talk about body confidence, how it can influence children’s self-esteem and what adults can do to help children have a more positive body image.

What does a positive body image mean to you?

If a person has a positive body image they are happy with the way they look and they accept and feel good about their body. Helping children to be positive about their bodies encourages them to be happy, healthy and confident. Having a positive body image makes children less likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety. It is a crucial part of mental health.

Do you feel that the number of children with body image issues has risen of late? What reasons do you feel are behind this?

Yes, unfortunately the number of children experiencing body image anxieties is growing rapidly and body dissatisfaction is being seen more in many really young children, even at pre-school stage. It is an issue which affects both boys and girls. Continue reading

Child Sexual Exploitation after Rotherham Book Launch

Child Sexual Exploitation after Rotherham

Understanding the Consequences and Recommendations for Practice

 Child Sexual Exploitation

TUESDAY 25th July 2017 – 13:00 – 17:00

Room 0026, Kingston Hill campus, Kingston Hill, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, KT2 7LB

Tickets: FREE

Register your interest and book your place here: HSCE-events@sgul.kingston.ac.uk

 

Join us for the launch of Adele Gladman and Angie Heal’s new book Child Sexual Exploitation after Rotherham, along with a special seminar featuring talks from a panel of experts including the authors and 3 guests. They will be presenting insights that bring up to date everything we now know about the impact of the cases in Rotherham on responding to issues of CSE in the UK and what this means for services working with children and young people in the future. There will be time for questions and discussion, as well as an opportunity to network.

Complimentary refreshments will be made available, as well as a chance to buy Child Sexual Exploitation after Rotherham at a discounted rate.

There are limited tickets available for this event so please book your place early to avoid disappointment.

About the Panelists/Speakers…

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6 Top tips on how to facilitate good interaction with older adults

top-tips-facilitate-good-interaction-older-adults

Robin Dynes, author of ‘Positive Communication: Activities to reduce isolation and improve the wellbeing of older adults’ provides some tips you can use to help facilitate good interaction with older adults and create a friendly environment

 

  1. Take any health and cultural issues into account

Age related health problems such as the onset of dementia, hearing loss, speech problems and the effects of medications can complicate understanding and the ability to communicate. Be aware of any difficulties individuals may have and take these into account. Make adjustments to any activities to allow for different mental and physical abilities. Even in today’s enlightened age many older adults, and, indeed, young people, have difficulty reading and writing. Find out all you can about the person you are supporting and adjust your communication methods to suit. This includes learning about their cultural background and what is or is not acceptable to them when communicating. For example, in some cultures it is disrespectful for younger people to make direct eye contact with an older person. In this instance it may be prudent to sit slightly to one side, keeping your eyes lowered but so the person can see your expressions, rather than facing the older person when talking.

 

  1. Use simple direct language

Avoid complex sentences. Simple sentences are easier to understand if the person has hearing or cognitive deficits. Express complicated thoughts or instructions in short sentences. Be patient, pause briefly between sentences and allow time for the person to take in what you are saying. Be prepared to repeat what the person has missed. Literal language is easier to understand than idioms or metaphors. Express one idea and message at a time and keep them in a logical order. For example: ‘We will go for a walk now. Later, we can have tea.’ Is better than ‘We’ll have tea when we come back from our walk.’ Use direct questions: ‘Did you bake a cake this morning?’ rather than ‘What did you do this morning?’ The more precise you are, the less difficulty the person will have understanding. The challenge is to simplify your language without talking down or being patronising.

 

  1. Speak clearly and make eye contact

Take care to articulate your words and speak clearly. Pronounce each word carefully rather than mumble or slur your speech. Look directly at the person’s face. Adjust your volume and pace, adapting it to the needs of the person. There is a temptation to shout if the person has hearing difficulties or when repeating something to emphasis what you are saying. But remember there is a difference between speaking clearly and shouting. Shouting is disrespectful and shows your impatience, speaking clearly at a suitable volume and pace shows respect.

 

  1. Watch your non-verbal communication

Be aware of your body language. A tense, worried or impatient expression will communicate anger, impatience or frustration even when speaking in a calm voice. A calm, relaxed speaking style will help keep the focus on the conversation without making the person feel anxious. A high-pitched voice usually communicates stress and a slightly lower pitch will help you sound relaxed. Make your facial expression match the message you are communicating.    

 

  1. Be a good listener

Older people often need time to retrieve a word they are looking for or to express what they want to say. Rather than supplying words, give the person time to think of their own expression or find another way of saying what they want. Not always easy to do, especially if you are busy. Remember, nobody likes to be interrupted or have words put into their mouth. Also avoid calling attention to any verbal mistakes the person makes by correcting them. If you have understood what is being said let the wrong words pass by. Observe the person’s tone of voice, facial expression and body language to help you interpret what they are saying. Check that you have understood correctly. For example ‘Am I right in thinking that you would like ….’

 

  1. Choose a suitable environment

Older adults often find busy environments with background noise difficult. It makes it hard to concentrate and difficult to hear what is being said. Eliminate background distractions including the radio and TV. Choose a quiet space for your activity or conversation. Make sure you have the person or group’s attention and they are not focused on completing another task.

 

Finally, not all older people have hearing or other communication problems. Many have very good mental and physical health and communicate without any difficulties. Use only methods which are appropriate to each situation and person.

 

Robin Dynes is a counsellor and freelance writer who has worked as a Social Inclusion Officer for Skills and Learning. Robin developed an outreach curriculum to meet the needs of people with disabilities, older people and other vulnerable people.

 

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