To view this page ensure that Adobe Flash Player version 11.1.0 or greater is installed.
DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET • How can we reach out to this family successfully, especially if they are hard to engage? How can we help them begin to access the help they and/or their child need in a way that feels safe and supportive to them? Getting Specific Before Getting to Work If the answers to question sets like these were easy to come by, books like this wouldn’t be necessary. Each one requires exploration, and each is discussed in the following chapters. Attending to their content starts us down the road to change, helping us “get specific” about a youngster’s overall situation and “get to work” with approaches that are tailored to her unique needs. That’s what starts to happen after the drop-in group’s meet- ing about Gabrielle. As is so often the case at the beginning of the progression from reflec- tion to action, our drop-in group notes information connected to many of the categories just listed. But as is also common, a few content areas take precedence in our discussion. In this case, we focus partly on key areas of developmental mastery with which Gabrielle is struggling, and how teachers can find effective ways to teach her the skills she lacks. We also take note of some worrisome interactive patterns that have emerged in response to her skill deficits. Those patterns, we surmise, appear to be putting her emotional well-being at risk: she’s starting to see herself as an out-of-control “bad girl” rather than a delightful child with some impor- tant things to learn. The group poses many questions about life at home as well, and Julia leaves with a commitment to reach out further to Gabby’s mother, Beth. I have a chance to visit the classroom about two weeks after that meet- ing. Julia tells me that she’s become even more aware of what a big role Gabrielle’s trouble regulating energy plays in what has been going on. As a result, she and her team have come up with some new ideas about how to break down and teach that developmental skill, step by step. As just one example, they’ve been running some group games that help children use their minds to direct their bodies to slow down. Gabby and her class- mates have been moving to music using big, fast motions and then little, small ones. They’ve played games in which they dance and then freeze, or run fast and then walk slowly. They’ve pretended to be quick-moving eels alternating with leisurely sea turtles, too. The teaching team hasn’t just been working on energy regulation. They’ve also realized that Gabrielle’s oppositional behavior stems in part From Reflection to Action COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 11