Counselor Corner

News from the counselor for staff

Why a counselor newsletter

Having spent 3 days at the All Ohio Counselor's Conference, there were many times when I was reminded of or learned information that might be helpful for you.

Many of you have the similar questions about mental health issues, tools for the classroom when there are mental health issues, etc. Rather than answer one person at a time or see about PD time, I wanted to try to provide information or extra resources in a way that works for you. Please let me know if you have questions that you would like me to answer here. I'll either post the answers, or if I don't already have the answers, I'll do the research and get them for you.

Follow-up on ADHD Symptomology

In our last pd, we briefly mentioned how ADHD symptoms are very similar to other diagnoses. I found this chart with a comparison of overlapping symptoms and it doesn't even include PTSD on it, which has most of the symptoms overlapping. This is why it is so important not to have some kind of preconceived notion that focus or attention difficulties = ADHD. Even with my counseling background, I am not a licensed clinical counselor and am not qualified to diagnose. When we operate from a perception that attention difficulties = ADHD, we run the risk of operating outside our scope of expertise.

Overlapping Symptoms? - Adhd, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Personality Disorder, Substance Abuse/Dependence

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"Nothing Works with this kid!"

Let's face it. There are those kids where it seems like nothing we do is working. They continue to struggle behaviorally, they are still not turning in homework, they still are struggling with their relationships. By now, you probably already have a few names popping into your head.

A few things to consider:

1. in some cases, they are improving - not as fast as we would like them to, not across multiple areas like we wish they would, but they are improving. If we really think about it, we improve in the same way. If our evaluations gave us a list of 25 things to improve on all at once, we would be so overwhelmed that we would shut down. So we focus on improving one things at a time.

2. There are some kids that our typical tools from our toolbox are not going to work for. If you think about it in the same way we think about Tier I, II, and III academic needs . . . The tier I behavior kids are going to respond to the structure, routine, etc. The tier II behavior kids are going to respond to the PBS systems, consequences, brief counseling, behavioral plans, etc. Its the Tier III behavior kids that we often feel like no interventions make a difference. I'm doing the leg work on research based interventions for this level. What I can tell you is that the base of all of them is relationships, relationships, relationships.

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A last word about relationships

Relationships are not built on what we like that a student does, but on what we like about who they are. We often talk about what we like about students - to each other. Do we tell the kids what we like about who they are, regardless of their academic achievement? Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't.

Research tells us that one of the assets that increases resiliency in students is a positive relationship with 3 or more adults who do not live in the home. Can we count ourselves as one of those 3+ adults? More importantly, do the kids see us as one of those 3?

What do you like about the student as a person? What do you respect about them as a person? What about them makes you smile? I know, for some kids, it is hard to come up with an answer to those questions. But if you look for it, there is something. For those kids, identifying that thing is even more important.

Whatever that thing is, please tell them. Just like the online postings of what we are thankful for each day reminds us to be grateful, finding the positives and developing those relationships with our students also helps our own perspective. As for the kids . . . You may very well be the only adult in their life right now who tells them that they are a person you are happy or proud to know.