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Brain Research Presentation

EDU 694
Classroom Environment
Carrie Galindo
Every classroom has one. A child with a short fuse,
a child who explodes at the drop of a hat, a child
who has a physical and/or verbal aggressive
reaction to the most common situations or
circumstances. Is this child spoiled, are they trying
to get their own way, outright defiant,
manipulating? Chances are, these children are not
spoiled, defiant, manipulating, or just trying to get
their way. According to Ross W. Greene, Ph. D.,
author of The Explosive Child, childrens skills
develop at different rates; explosive children are
delayed in developing the skills essential for
flexibility and frustration tolerance. Outbursts
then, occur when the cognitive demands outstrip
the childs capacity to respond adaptively.
Explosive children do not choose to explode
anymore than a child with a Learning Disability
does not choose to struggle with math or reading.

Children Will Do Well When They Can

Brainlock: What happens in a childs mind when they explode.
Pathways: Sets the stage for explosive behavior/Skills that need to be taught
1. Executive Skills
Shifting Cognitive Set: Shifting from one mindset to another
Organization and Planning: Developing a plan of action to deal with situations
Separation of Affect: Ability to detach emotional response from thinking skills needed
for problem solving
2. Language Processing Skills
Lack of vocabulary for expressing feelings
3. Emotion Regulation Skills
Explosive childrens cups are already full, one more drop and the liquid spills over.
4. Cognitive Flexibility Skills
Black and white thinkers, no gray area
Need to learn how to put themselves in the other persons shoes
Benefit from schedules, adults need to be flexible
5. Social Skills
One of the most important skills to learn
Difficulty processing social cues and connecting cues to past experiences

Triggers: Situations that cause exploding/Precipitating factors

Once you know the childs triggers, explosions become predictable!
Inflexibility + Inflexability = Explosion
Reward programs and punishments do not typically work with explosive children. The
child needs to be taught specific skills to increase opportunities for the child to make
good/right choices on their own before an explosion.
CPS Collaborative Problem Solving (Plan B)
Plan A: Imposing your will on child
You cant
You have to
Its my way or the highway
Plan C: Drop expectation in order to avoid an explosion, at least for now
This is not about giving in; its about being proactive in order to establish stability
Plan B: Mutual problem solving
Emergency Plan B used when the child begins to show signs of frustration
Proactive Plan B used proactively to prevent explosions
Steps for Plan B
1. Empathy
Repeat the childs words back to them
Ask simple questions like Whats up? to help child open up or explain concern more
This is the childs concern
2. Define the problem
This is the adults concern
Two concerns but only one real issue discuss both concerns till you both agree on
what the issue is
One issue = One solution
3. Invitation
Adult asks child if they have any ideas or potential solutions to the issue
Solutions must be: doable, realistic, and mutually satisfactory
Important not to have a predetermined solution in mind!
Some solutions require multiple conversations
At first, Plan B may be frustrating for both adult and child Practice makes perfect
Most common possible solutions
1. Ask for help
2. Meet half way/give a little
3. Do it a different way
Avoid the following
1. Speculation
2. Overgeneralization
3. Perfectionism
4. Sarcasm
5. Put downs

6. Ruination
7. Interrupting
8. Lecturing
9. Dwelling on the past
10. Talking through third person

The Plan B Classroom

Zero Tolerance = Plan A
We have to set an example
We cant have different sets of rules for different kids
Functional Behavior Assessment = Plan B
The Plan B Road Map
Goal 1: Discuss childs pathways and triggers
Goal 2: Decide which problems are to be proactively solved (triggers) and which skills
need to be proactively taught (pathways); assign roles for staff, parents, etc.
Community of Learners
Planned and unplanned group discussions to practice the 3 steps of Plan B
Teacher is a role model
Provide social interaction opportunities peer tutoring, cooperative learning, seating
Celebrate diversity
Class members get what he or she needs fair does not mean equal
Classroom expectation that they help one another
The Explosive Child and Autism
Explosive behavior is defined as having four distinct stages, followed by a clearly
defined recovery period. In addition, the physiological fight/flight mechanism is
triggered immediately prior to the explosion.
Stage 1: Starting Out
Stage 2: Picking Up Steam
Stage 3: Point of No Return
Stage 4: Explosion
Characteristics of children on the autism spectrum make them particularly vulnerable
to explosiveness, meltdowns, and tantrums. They also often have sensory issues that
make them anxious and agitated.
Teachers can use Plan B to help children with autism express angry feelings in socially
constructive ways
Teachers can help by listening without judging, evaluating, or ordering child to feel
Teaches appropriate
peer-interaction skills
language to express their feelings
Creates a safe emotional environment
Develops self-regulatory skills