• Autism Awareness and Acceptance
    by noreply@blogger.com (Psyched About School) on May 7, 2021 at 10:00 am

    In 1970, the Autism Society first designated April as Autism Awareness month to promote awareness about individuals on the spectrum. This year is significant because as of March 4, 2021, the Autism Society made the shift from Autism Awareness to Autism Acceptance. The hope is that this change will empower autistic individuals and their families. To promote both awareness and acceptance, this year’s campaign is “Celebrate Differences.” There are so many wonderful things to celebrate about individuals on the spectrum. One of the best things is that no two people on the spectrum are the same; each one is unique in their own special way. Although April is over, we want to continue this acceptance campaign and find out how WSFCS celebrates differences throughout the year. To that end, we surveyed a few of our staff and families to find out and here are some of the responses we got: Accepting people for who they are and not projecting my expectations or perceptions on them. - School PsychologistAcknowledging differences and accepting people for who they are. - T. Davis, Assistant PrincipalBy letting students know their differences is what makes them special. Never allow anyone to dim your light of your uniqueness. Jazmyn Holland, School CounselorGiving my students a voice by being their advocate every single day!  Hali Hicks, EC teacher Jefferson Elementary Recognizing, engaging with, and being present with every student I interact with. I believe every child deserves to feel confident and successful.Justin Marckel Assistant PrincipalRecognizing, embracing, and understanding that each individual student is unique.  I also try and help students build on those unique qualities to help make them stronger and more independent.  Hollie Hutchinson, MTSS Interventionist at Mount Tabor HSRecognizing the unique contributions of individuals, families, cultures and communities.  Mary Todd Allen,  Chief Program Officer for Exceptional ChildrenEmbracing the characteristics that make each person unique. - Parent and EC teacherWe celebrate differences by building upon the unique strengths of individual students.  We work to help teachers and staff recognize and support the potential in all learners .Jenny Gray and Karen Abbott,  WS/FCS Autism TeamNot only being inclusive but being open to different ideas, thoughts and perspectives that are different then mine. We have to work harder at not judging others...we have to remember that all paths are HARD...Gina Pruitt,  Speech Language Pathologist - Mt. Tabor/Wiley/Philo-HillI celebrate differences by getting a "double-shot of joy" at the most unique coffee shop here in Winston-Salem, Moji's.   Moji's isn't your typical around the corner coffee shop.  It is full of amazing, talented workers with different abilities.  This coffee shop strives to create a pathway of acceptance and opportunity for members of the community with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Having a cup of coffee from Moji's, for me, not only celebrates differences but also supports a local business who is dedicated to helping the members of the community find happiness with every cup.       Ms. Jessica L. Gwyn,  EC MAP Resource TA - Walkertown Elementary SchoolCherishing each unique child and helping them find their own individual "voice" with which to functionally communicate!  Lauren Strickland,   Speech Language Pathologist at Walkertown ESAcknowledging everyone has something to contribute. It's my job to help them find a way to share their voice.  EC Teacher Finding my child's nitch and helping them develop the skills to share it on our community.,  ParentAsking questions and listening to others so that I can learn more about them, Robin Fisher, Parent and School Social Worker. .Getting to know individuals, Instructional FacilitatorTeaching children that they are enough, just as they are and that they should be true to themselves.,  School CounselorNoticing, naming, and building off of student’s strengths as opposed to their deficits., School Social WorkerCelebrating a child’s interest and proclivities, while encouraging them to engage skills and take up subjects they’re either disinterested in or need to improve in.,  Kevin Garrity,  EC-Teacher AssistantWe as a family personally don't celebrate differences...we celebrate (not literally) times when people overlook the differences and treat our son with Aspergers the way all of us want to be treated. We celebrate when we see him talking in a group and we can tell that he feels accepted. We celebrate by focusing on the "I CAN" attitude, rather than the "I CAN'T" attitude. We celebrate that we are proud to share our experiences as parents of a child on the autism spectrum.  Kristie Touchstone, ParentBy embracing different styles of communication (verbal, nonverbal, gestures, signs, pecs, symbols),  Alexa McDonough, Speech Language Pathologist How do you celebrate differences? Please comment and let us know!

  • Social Emotional Learning: Flexing your Brain and Body
    by noreply@blogger.com (Psyched About School) on May 5, 2021 at 10:00 am

     By Guest Blogger, Deci Yahya, SBS Teacher at Bolton ElementaryWhen I started my first year teaching last year in the SBS classroom, I knew that I wanted to incorporate plenty of social emotional learning into my curriculum. I wanted my students to feel like our class was a safe space where we were a family. At the beginning of the year, we began using the Calm App in our classroom. It provided soft background music and a variety of calming backdrops for our board that we left on while we worked during the day. As I began exploring the app, I found that it had yoga instruction for specific age groups, including school aged children. Most of my students were not familiar with Yoga or Meditation and I wasn’t sure how they would respond. We tried it out in our seats a couple of times and the students showed a lot of interest so I invested in some yoga mats for the class with some money that was donated to our school. Pretty soon the students were requesting Yoga and meditation as part of our SEL instruction in the morning. They could name the different poses, talk about meditation, and had their own personal favorite videos and activities. I found that this time in the morning where we all got to stretch our minds and bodies together not only helped with emotion regulation, but also helped us grow and bond as the classroom family I had wanted to be. We could celebrate together when someone did a stretch well, we could laugh together when someone got off balance or a pose had a funny name, and we could plan together for how we would tackle more difficult poses and activities.As a first year teacher, this also provided me with a much needed time during the day to regulate myself. If we were having a particularly hard day, we would all stop and do a short 5 minute meditation together. While it was beneficial to the students, it was also especially helpful for me. I got 5 minutes to get myself together so that I could provide the support that they needed to help them regulate their emotions and complete their assignments. Recently teachers have heard a lot about building relationships and incorporating social emotional learning into the classroom. For some it may seem like another task added to the endless to do lists we have as teachers, but it is mutually beneficial for students and teachers to include this in planning and instruction. I notice a difference in my students and myself when we are able to do activities like yoga, zones check ins, and social emotional learning together in the morning. We are able to be honest with each other about where we are emotionally during the day, and the supports we need to help us have a good day. Just like I encourage my students to be open about the zone they are in to help them and I figure out what tools they may need to help them regulate and grow their brains that day, I am open with them about my zone for the day. If I am having a bad morning, I tell them that. At first they were surprised, but now they chime in with suggestions of tools they like that I can use. We work as a family to understand that we are all humans that have good and bad days and we sometimes need help to help us be the best that we can be. Whether its yoga, having class outside, listening to books on social emotional learning, or just doing a short check in in the morning to assess the climate in the classroom that day, social emotional learning in the classroom has been incredibly helpful for me and my students as I have navigated being a 1st and 2nd year teacher and we have all navigated the pandemic together. I look forward to expanding the SEL activities we do in the classroom and helping myself and my students grow into the best people we can be.&nbs

  • May is Mental Health Awareness Month
    by noreply@blogger.com (Psyched About School) on May 3, 2021 at 12:51 pm

     May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a month designated to bring awareness to mental health and promote healthy social-emotional development.  Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. Throughout the month, we encourage you to help spread awareness on this important topic. You can do this by participating in our social media campaign by showing us how you practice self-care! Take a #selfcareselfieWSFCS and post it to your Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter accounts. We also encourage you to get your green on daily to show your support.  Schoolpsyched has invited guest bloggers from the WSFCS to share important information on this topic throughout the month. We will hear the perspective of a teacher, a student, a parent, and a specialized support staff member. We have much to learn from each other on this important topic, so we are looking forward to hearing their stories.&nbs

  • SPP 127: School Psych Sistahs: Women of Color in School Psychology
    by schoolpsychedpodcast on May 2, 2021 at 4:57 am

    SPP 127: School Psych Sistahs: Women of Color in School Psychology #psychedpodcast​ would like to thank MedTravelers for sponsoring this episode and our endeavor to bring psychs quality PD https://www.medtravelers.com/schoolpsyched #psychedpodcast​ is so excited to have a conversation with Kierra Fulmore, founder of School Psych Sistahs! School Psych Sistahs is a nonprofit organization that supports… Continue reading SPP 127: School Psych Sistahs: Women of Color in School Psychology

  • Conference Update & Presentation Guidelines
    by ISPA Web on April 29, 2021 at 8:29 am

    We look forward to welcoming you to the 42nd Annual Conference of the International School Psychology Association which will be held in a HYBRID FORMAT this year in Nicosia, Cyprus! As the conference dates are approaching, we would like to share with you some important information. CHANGE OF VENUE FOR THE ONSITE/IN-PERSON COMPONENT OF THE CONFERENCE ISPA 2021 [...] The post Conference Update & Presentation Guidelines appeared first on ISPA.

  • Careers in Counseling and Psychology
    by ISPA Web on March 30, 2021 at 12:44 pm

    Free webinar 2nd of april. Join us for a special seminar designed to provide guidance for current undergraduates or mid-career individuals seeking new direction. Learn about jobs in clinical psychology, behavioral research, mental health counseling, school psychology, school counseling, higher education, and related fields. Meet our graduate students, knowledgeable and accomplished faculty and staff members. [...] The post Careers in Counseling and Psychology appeared first on ISPA.

  • Building Hope
    by noreply@blogger.com (Psyched About School) on March 24, 2021 at 2:30 am

    According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, hope is defined as the following: “to cherish a desire with anticipation.” The pandemic has handed us many losses - death of loved ones, missed milestones/celebrations, and irreplaceable family time. Amidst these losses, it might be difficult to look forward to things.  Several months into the pandemic, I found myself in a hopeless state of mind. This new way of living seemed permanent. My fears related to the virus had overthrown any hope I had. I couldn’t see the end to the virus and the isolation. Hopelessness is linked to the deterioration of our physical and mental health. I was having frequent headaches, joint pain, and obsessive/anxious thoughts. Due to these connections and gentle prompts from others, I knew that I had to take intentional steps to adjust my thoughts and perspective. My first battle was recognizing certain thoughts as negative and hopeless. I have to admit, this part was difficult. It wasn’t something that I was able to do independently. With tender cues from others, I was able to stop and inspect my thoughts and the things I was saying. As I began to really think through the things I was saying to myself (we call this self-talk), I realized that some of my self-talk wasn't based in reality.I needed to confront these thoughts before they took total control. I challenged my self-talk by creating a script that I recited to myself whenever the hopeless or anxious thoughts crept into my mind. The script was something I wrote down on my Notes application (on my phone) so it was readily available. This helped me stop the negative thoughts and reframe them into something that was more realistic. Example: Thought/Self-Talk :“Because of the virus, I am never going to be able to leave my house again.” Script: “The virus is real and it is dangerous. However, the isolation I am experiencing now will will protect me. The isolation will not last forever. It is temporary.”The script is based in reality. It challenges me to determine whether or not my original thought is based in reality and helps me shift my perspective. I now have multiple scripts on my Notes application that I read in various personal and professional situations. A script that is applied to a professional situation might look like this:Example: Thought/self-talk: “I am a terrible teacher.” Script: “Teaching during a pandemic is really difficult. The pandemic has presented me with many challenges. I am doing the best that I can this year to help my students learn and make progress.”These scripts can help you recognize negative/hopeless thoughts, reexamine the thoughts, and redirect them. We call this the 3 R’s strategy. During the past few months, I have been able to reframe my negative thoughts into ideas that are productive, positive, and based in reality. To learn more about creating and writing scripts, click here.Secondly, I began journaling about my anxious thoughts. Our previous blog post goes in further detail about the specific writing strategies I used and how they were beneficial. Gratitude journaling, documenting things you are thankful for, has also been shown to reduce stress, help individuals change their perspective, and help people become more self-aware. Gratitude journaling doesn’t have to be complicated. You can simply make bulleted points of things that you are thankful for. Research indicates that doing this once to twice a week can boost happiness. Acknowledging the things you are thankful for instantly changes your perspective. I saw this in my personal life. Whenever I felt hopeless, I reviewed my gratitude journal and realized that things really weren't as grim as they seemed. This also reinforces the idea that my self-talk and automatic thoughts aren’t always the reality. Thirdly, to specifically challenge my hopeless feelings and thoughts, I had to remind myself of “why.” As Simon Sinek says in his TedTalk, I had to consider “my cause, my purpose, and my belief.” While Sinek’s theory is for leadership and marketing, it's rooted in human behavior. I had to remind myself of my purposes, my beliefs, and my causes. When compounded with the journaling and scripts, my behavior and thoughts changed. I could see that eventually, the things that were impacting me, would end. I was beginning to see that the virus was temporary. This process wasn’t quick. However, each day, I noticed small and slight changes in my thinking. Over time, my thoughts turned from hopeless to hopeful. I am beginning to “desire with anticipation.”Check out these resources for other ideas and ways to create hope:Scientifically Backed Ways to Create HopeMessages of HopeHow to Be Hopeful, Even When It's Really HardWhat is Hope?****These techniques and resources mentioned above are not meant to replace researched based therapeutic practices. If you or a loved one is struggling with hopelessness, please seek help from a therapeutic professional.National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

  • Journaling: A Personal Experience
    by noreply@blogger.com (Psyched About School) on March 16, 2021 at 2:30 am

     I have always been an anxious person. I have the tendency to overanalyze, overthink, and obsess over every little thing. After the pandemic hit, my anxious tendencies shifted to obsessing about safety. Do I have Covid? Is that surface I just touched contaminated with the virus? Will my family be okay? It didn’t take long for these thoughts to totally consume and control my mind. The majority of my thoughts surrounded Covid and my family’s safety. The constant worry was exhausting. How could I be a school psychologist and not have control over these thoughts? How can I help others when I cannot even control my own worry? After some gentle prompting from someone else in the helping field, I started to journal. I found that I was instinctively using a technique called stream of consciousness journaling. Stream of consciousness journaling is a writing technique used to narrate and keep track of thoughts. When I cannot shift my obsessive thoughts to something positive, I open my Notes application (on my phone) and begin typing. If you were to look at the things I have written, you will see incomplete thoughts, run-on sentences, misspelled words, and many punctuation errors. My stream of consciousness journaling isn't tidy, perfect, or poetic. It is just as it sounds, my stream of thoughts transferred to “paper.” Having a Type A personality means that I struggle to leave the stream of consciousness in a disorganized mess. After I let my streams sit for a few days, I reopen my app and review my initial thoughts. I take my streams of consciousness, organize them, and then expand upon my initial thoughts. I work to specifically name and identify my feelings. If you are like me, you might need a little bit of help to actually name and pinpoint your true feelings. So I use a chart like this to help me label my feelings: Once I identify my true feelings in an organized manner, my mind is able to let go and release the thoughts that once took my mind hostage. While no one reads my journal entries, writing has allowed my brain to release these recurring thoughts. I am also able to process and make sense of things in a way that obsessing over my fears and thoughts doesn’t allow. Journaling has been proven to help adults and children manage anxiety, reduce stress, and cope with depression. Personally, writing has become a therapeutic outlet for me. I have been able to identify negative thought patterns and pinpoint my stress triggers. These connections have allowed me to identify potential obsessive thought patterns and use coping strategies (deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation) to help stop the cycle. When I go back and look at my original streams of consciousness, I am able to see how much improvement I have made since the beginning of the pandemic. Writing about writing is weird but I have seen improvement in my life since I have been journaling. While I still have some worry about my safety, my thoughts related to the pandemic are no longer all consuming. If you think journaling might be helpful to you, check out these resources: How does journal therapy work?Journaling for kidsUsing a Pen and Paper to Enhance Personal GrowthJournaling as a Tool****Journaling is not meant to replace researched based therapeutic practices. If you or a loved one is struggling to function due to anxiety, please seek help from a therapeutic professional.&nbs