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Welcome to Monday Email #14

I have spent longer composing this opening paragraph and trying to think of something witty and engaging than I have spent detailing the strategies and thought below which I plan far in advance. I fell into such a rabbit hole that I reached a point where I learned that the number 14 is an unlucky number in China because its pronunciation sounds very like "guaranteed death". So...there you go.

One Strategy for Behaviour

I am on a stockpiling mission of gathering and spreading strategies for dealing with anxiety. I think it is important that adults don't project anxiety onto children and assume they are feeling anxious or traumatised having gone through this pandemic. There is definite value, however, in having a range of interventions at the ready in case children are feeling this way.

A strategy that comes from cognitive behavioural therapy principles is "Think like a Scientist". This is a strategy for older children who would have the ability to be analytical and rational in their approach to anxieties that they may be facing. This approach encourages the person feeling extremely anxious to detail what they are afraid of, why they are afraid of it and then research and note the realistic outcome of facing their fear based on facts.

You set up a page to look something like this:

I would encourage teachers to use their discretion in using this strategy and basing their decision on their knowledge of the child and their personality. I have mentioned more indirect strategies that can be utilised and this is a strategy to keep in the pocket for higher levels of fear and anxiety.

This strategy is also useful for fears of going swimming and other common irrational fears that children face in school.

Latest article: What Michael Jordan Can Teach Us About Behaviour

One Strategy for Inclusion

The last few weeks, I have been recommending apps that help promote inclusion. Unfortunately today, I'm not going to give you as easy a strategy but I will give you an idea for an equally valuable way to promote inclusion.

Children with autism need to be prepared for big changes, new events and when implementing new routines. From talking to parents of children with autism, there is a prevailing concern about the difficulty of trying to get them back to school in September after such a long layoff.

I wrote an article about the 9 essential questions that children with autism want to know, these are:
  • What will I be doing?
  • Who will be there?
  • When will I be going?
  • Where exactly will I have to be?
  • How much will I have to do there?
  • What will I be doing after it?
  • What is the expected behaviour?
  • "What if..." scenario questions
To support children with autism in participating willingly and happily in returning to school, I would promote teachers using the next few weeks to collate a small story answering as many of the 9 questions above as is possible. These stories could be given to the parents to read with their child throughout August to fully prepare them for the return to school.

We have the time to take pictures of their new classroom, new teacher, corridors and yard. We can include the date or month they will be returning. We can talk about some of their favourite activities that they will be doing. We can talk about the basic school rules they follow. We can provide much of the information they want to know with the visuals that they benefit from massively. Parents can then use this story to deal with the "what if" questions that will arise from it.

This strategy can help increase the chances of a smooth transition. 

Sorry if I've added to your workload but I truly believe this to be a worthwhile exercise for inclusion.

One Thought

I think we all could admit that we have dealt with stress over the past three months. 

I set up my website and other platforms to spread strategies and ideas to deal with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties and hopefully make a small difference. If anyone has supported children that experience these difficulties, I would guess that you might admit there are degrees of stress in that too.

Research details two ways to deal with stress. There are direct actions techniques where we identify the source of stress, search for a solution and then apply it to get rid of the stress. There are also palliative techniques. These are aimed at relieving the stress we feel without dealing with the source. These are strategies like socialising, walking in nature, yoga etc. Essentially, you are switching off from the stress.

Neither style or technique is better than the other and both have their place. 

The question I asked myself this week as I dealt with moments of stress was;

"Which technique am I using right now to deal with this stress?"

I strived to either be taking direct action to deal with the source or I sought to use palliative techniques and switch off and relax. I'm avoiding the spot in the middle where I'm sitting around complaining and moaning where I'm neither dealing with the issue or switching off from it. It's worse than purgatory!

Just something to keep in mind when we face inevitable stresses and strains moving forward.

If you have read to this point, you must have found something of note here. I'd appreciate you sharing this email or the contents of it by screenshots, forwarding, social media or any means necessary and send people to to get their own. Thanks for the support.

Behave yourself,


P.S I have recently launched a course for teachers in New South Wales, Australia. The course is fully accredited and contributes 2 hours to their NESA registered professional development.

If you know any teachers in Sydney or anywhere in New South Wales, I would massively appreciate you sending them the link.


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