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prairiewindmomma

Bright and Quirky Conference + homeschooling

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Is anyone else here following the (free for 24 hours after posting) Bright and Quirky Conference this week?

The conference started today and I am working my way through the third speaker. Each speaker has spoken about homeschooling as a positive thing for 2E kids. 😁

Anyone else following along and want to discuss?

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I saw that advertised and I sort of let it slip from my mind. Have they said anything we don't already know? I wasn't quite sure who their market was. I kinda feel like we're at more of a level 2 session, grad level, not the introductory stuff aimed at newbies. Pep rallies are good too, hehe.

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I can always use a reminder.  Or there’s something that used to not apply, but now our situation has changed and it does apply.  

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I watched 2 of the Day 1 sessions and I really enjoyed them. I felt like the speakers really "get" our kids.

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Lecka—brightandquirky.com shows the 2019 links. They extended access to the Day 1 content because of a 2 hour outage yesterday when there server crashed due to all of the people trying to access it at once.

Yesterday was overview/big picture day. It was helpful for me to step back and regain some perspective. Often I get overwhelmed with day to day details. I liked the first talk by Dan Peters best, if you are short on time.

Today’s talks all focus on managing behaviors. Ross Green, Barry Prizant, Carol Kranowitz and Laura Markham are all presenting. 

I don’t know that any content has been new to me, OhE, but it’s the little aside comments made here and there by a presenter that are making lightbulbs go off and I am gaining some new awareness.

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Dan Siegel made a few asides yesterday about interpersonal neurobiology that I think have set me down a research rabbit trail. I am going to look at his books first and then see where that takes me.

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Thanks for posting this. I watched day 1 this morning. I agree with Peter Pan that most of it was introductory. Dan Siegel really rubbed me the wrong way for some reason. I thought the neurodiversity one was the best of the day. I especially appreciated the part where she talked about the recommendations you get from a neuropsych evaluation, and how they almost always are focused on the deficit side of the equation (ie, we need to focus just as much energy on accommodating the strengths of these kids). I never thought too much about this while my kids were homeschooled, but the two oldest have gone on to private and public high schools and not being able to focus on strengths is one of my greatest frustrations with the school experience. That is definitely a benefit of homeschooling.

Looking forward to watching day 2

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I have not figured out how to watch the videos.  

But I am watching some of the 2018 recaps, and I really like:

1.  Look to your child.  This is a timely reminder for me!

2. There is a big difference between scaffolding and being a helicopter parent.  Yes!!!!!!!!

 

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Yeah, I was thinking you had to be 2E to figure out how to watch, lol.

Register with your email, and then they will send you an email link to watch.

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1 minute ago, Lecka said:

 

2. There is a big difference between scaffolding and being a helicopter parent.  Yes!!!!!!!!

 

Yes this! 

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Lecka: For me, from this page==https://brightandquirky.com

I scroll down past the Help Your Bright Child Thrive bar, and there's an orange box that says "Register Now-Free". Once you register, they send you an email with a direct link to the content.

Hope that helps!

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I think my personal takeaways from yesterday were:

1. Even reminders register as negative withdrawals on a relationship. If we're striving to have at least 50% positive communication, I need to be spending a lot more time connecting with my kid where they are at and in what they are interested in before I ask them to follow my agenda.

2. Focusing on strengths is likely way more beneficial overall than remediating deficits. (This year, the skew has gone more towards remediation and I need to rebalance.)

3. Everybody needs to find their tribe.  We all seek connection. (And combine this with the comment that withdrawing from activities is often based on anxiety...) 

Edited by prairiewindmomma
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Oh, I’m going to start with the video that mentions habituating to your child’s behavior in the blurb.  That sounds great!

Edited by Lecka

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I totally agree about using a strength to get around a deficit area.  That is where I think we are with handwriting, it is still a deficit but strengths are there to get around it.  It’s not a perfect situation but my son is so sick of any deficit-based thinking I have.  

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I am watching Susan and Sharon..... yes, my son does have something he kind of wants to be just for him, he does not want to open it up for criticism or lose ownership.... they are saying to honor that — it is good to hear.  

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“Playing the game can do as much harm as good.”  The game — getting good grades, doing what others expect.  

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From yesterday I really appreciated hearing Ross Greene, even though I had read books by him, I think that hearing him talk is beneficial and continues to be applicable, even for older kids.  Maybe even for adults.

I also got a lot from Laura Markham.

Today I listened to the last talk — about embracing failure.  I would love to get my ds to listen to it himself before its 24 hours ends.  

I’ll listen to some others later probably, but embrace of failure seemed like a needed topic.

 

 

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I'm just starting on today's material. I'm working through the first talk by Dr. Kenneth Schuster. He's talking about working with schools and I feel like he really isn't addressing how difficult it can be to get evaluations done...appropriate evaluations.  I think he is speaking to the ideals---holding a parent/teacher conference, doing RTI interventions, and then *poof* you magically get all of the evaluations that you need because the supports are there.  A pediatrician that fills out a 504 accommodation plan? What?!! That doesn't seem to match the reality I've dealt with (in three states, over a period of a decade).  He's speaking about advocates right now---bringing in advocates is $$$$-$$$$$ and that's just not funds that the average family has. I feel like a lot of the speakers have a bit of classism going on. Yesterday Dr. Markham spoke about the kid being with the nanny. There have been several asides where I feel like they aren't living the same reality that I am of having personal limited resources and dealing with schools with very limited resources.

Is anyone else having the same thought process or am I just really jaded because of my personal experiences? 

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I noticed the nanny comment too.  I think a Manhattan therapist could have one and have that as more common amongst clients than it would be in many places.  ?   Although when I lived there I don’t really recall nannies much.   Maybe that was upper East Side, and I wasn’t.  

I didn’t listen to the Schuster one, but recall thinking that the family of the one about embracing failure sounded like they have more financial freedoms than I do—though can’t pinpoint a specific thing that made me think so.  

 

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Ps I liked Markham enough (I felt good just looking at her smile) to look up other videos she has done, and found one specifically dealing with kids and nannies.  Didn’t watch it though. 

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I made it through the Schuster talk, but I never did find any gems. 

I'm digging into the second talk by Baum and Schrader--how to identify your 2E child's strengths and interests. As I mentioned upthread, I need to get back to doing strength-based things.  I sat down and chatted with both of my sons this week about where we are at mid-year. I'm going to shift a few things for oldest in a pretty significant way to rebalance.  I think for my younger son, he has a defined interest but he is really protective of it as it is the one *enjoyable* thing for him. I'm trying to figure out how to help him do more (and he wants to) while figuring out how to engage that appropriately. He's perfectionistic and if he feels he's not measuring up, he will stop doing a thing. Learning how to learn a skill is something we're working on. 

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Ok, if you are really short on time, scroll into the Baum and Schrader talk about 35 minutes in. (And start at about 31: min in if you want to see a school that is doing (realistic) strength based learning well--learning about their students and how they learn.) But 35 minutes in, they start talking about how playing the game and getting good grades can be harmful. (It only lasts a few minutes.)

I feel like I really struggling with opting out of playing the game. Like, how do you function in modern society if you don't have a strong enough talent to make it in a niche field (like custom carpentry or photography) and therefore need to survive the game to get an education to be employable? I think I'm really wrestling with that. How do I keep enough light in my kids' eyes to survive schooling and make a successful transition to adulthood? 

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54 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

...and therefore need to survive the game to get an education to be employable?

Michelle Garcia Winner warns people up and down in her Social Thinking workshops that giving these kids a college education does NOT guarantee employability or secure their future. She warns repeatedly about people assuming it will and then having it him them that they've spent everything, worked so hard on it, and the kid is still unemployable. 

Honestly, I haven't watched any of the lectures so far. Nobody on their roster lives my reality and I'm sort of busy right now with some things. So I think there could be a market thing where, for the right student, their advice is really spot-on. Or it could be their advice is in some context like that. To me, getting off that busy and rat race with ds is about acknowledging he's going to be exactly who he is. For him, "school" and compulsory anything has not been good, and probably it will affect his ability to hold a job too. But that's just his reality and his ability to regulate stress. 

59 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

if you don't have a strong enough talent to make it in a niche field

I think you can ponder the special interest (which might not be employable or living wage earning) vs. a secondary interest/skill that would at least be adequate. For instance, I think we'll probably steer my ds toward some kind of appliance repair in high school to see what happens. He will have adequate skill to do it and he could work it 20-30 hours a week, handle that level of stress and social demand, and earn somewhat of a living wage. His special interests and niche areas will probably be more like a hobby, a side thing he does another 10 hours a week. Is it possible for him, as a person very on the spectrum, to earn a living wage or even 1/2 or 2/3 of a living wage via his special interest? That would be really hard and would require a lot of work on our part, setting him up with a business, running it, etc. 

So I think you can distinguish idealism from reality. I think idealism could be a pit and lead to a lot of wandering and drifting. I don't think it's a crime to have some balance there and teach someone just to WORK. If they pursue their idealism heavily, will it get them to a reasonable living wage ( or 1/2-2/3 of a living wage) or will it be so small they still need an additional, chained job? I think that really depends on the function level of the person and how important that is, how much they can drive that themselves. I know someone doing it where they are able to say what they want and pursue the ideal and choose to work the additional job to ensure a living wage. That wouldn't be my ds. My ds needs something more simple, more predictable.

Keeping the spark is really hard, yes. I have so many therapy goals, things I need to work on, that it's easy to let it slip into doldrums and routine. I have to reassess every few months and bring in new things, step it up. 

1 hour ago, prairiewindmomma said:

make a successful transition to adulthood?

I don't know, I feel like I'm all in on that for ds. That and language. We flub "school" and don't do things that are "school" before we flub life. He HAS to have living skills, because he can't figure them out on his own. But academics are a nothing. Learning history, science, all that is easy. Sorting laundry, telling time, traveling, those things are hard. I'm taking him on a cruise soon partly for that reason, to keep working on life skills, the ability to live and travel and do new things in new places and not freak out. So now he's all curious about geography and has out the globe. Living expands our ability to chain to new things and learn new things.

The thing I know (and we've had threads on this) is it's not like kids just REMEMBER everything they've been taught. Learning also involves a lot of forgetting. So he's going to forget content anyway, even if I work on it. But he'll remember the diligence, the skills, the EFFORT. 

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PeterPan--Yeah, I agree that the content isn't geared towards moderate autism.  

I'm finishing up today's lectures. 

Barry Prizant spoke on setting kids up for success through supports in school. 

Richard Ruzscyk spoke on the need for problem solving practice as opposed to plug and chug in mathematics. I'm still not sure how that ties into the 2E conference.

Collin Dietrich shared his experience of growing up with learning disabilities and learning to embrace failure.

I think I liked the Baum/Schraeder talk best for my specific family situation. 

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I agree with the previous posts about the nature of the conference. So far, it does seem to be a bit removed from the struggles so many families have. Perhaps the name "bright and quirky" should tell us something. Quirky seems to describe a more mild version of the differently wired kid. And, the finance hurdle has not really been addressed. I remember one of the talks, maybe yesterday, maybe the host, referring to how she was able to farm out to specialists all the remediation (dyslexia tutoring, occupational therapists, other therapists, test prep etc), and just focus on expanding the strength interests herself. That is not where most parents find themselves. They are often completely reliant on the schools, even for testing, and even if they can get adequate remediation from the schools, there is usually quite a bit of cost involved in nurturing these specific talents. So both sides of the equation cost money, and those who don't have much of it are the vast majority of the population.

The Barry Prizant session did get into alternative placements by the school system (I think he specializes in autism so that is a more practiced route for school systems now), but that isn't much help for the 2E child who is just showing up as an average B/C student because their strengths and weaknesses are masking one another. I did like the bit where he talked about defining what supports your child needs, exactly and explicitly, how much and by whom, and then having the conversation as to whether the school can provide that. But again, parents have to know themselves, or be able to pay for a psychologist who knows, in order to present that to the schools.

The video of the strength days was a fascinating clip, but I really want to know what they do with that information. That's the nitty gritty that I don't think has been addressed. In our case, we have a pretty skilled and helpful school team and my DD has a number of classroom accommodations that are helpful, but that results in her staying afloat reasonably well in mid level high school courses. There is really no discussion of meeting her intellectual strengths. The high school just isn't set up that way. Advanced classes seem to be just more and faster, not different. I struggle with the idea that she might be more engaged in a class where there are other students more engaged with the material, but that she might also fall behind in trying to keep up with the volume of written output (this is my dyslexic/dysgraphic kid). But, what specifically would it look like in a classroom to nurture her strengths? I don't know the answer to that. 

And, I do think it's hard not to worry about the impact of not playing the game. Again, money is such an issue here. We have just gone through the college application process with our oldest, and grades matter tremendously when it comes to financing a college education. There are tons of great colleges where a student with mediocre grades can go and mature an get a great education. But, you have to be able to afford to pay. Merit aid at public universities is doled out almost exclusively by the student's stats. And, FAFSA expects us to pay 50% of our take home income. When you have average grades and a limited budget your college choices are very limited if you want to avoid a mountain of debt. 

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I just signed up and am awaiting sign-on instructions.

I must be really strange, but I never thought raising a 2e child was a big deal after the accommodations were sorted.  And failure....I never framed mistakes made while learning as failure.  

Am I going to be racked with mom guilt after listening to these lectures?

Edited by Heathermomster

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I think the 2E category is so expansive that experiences can really differ. Some weaknesses are more easily accommodated and some strengths are favored or privileged in this culture, so that would all impact the experience of having a 2E kid.  

I am not a big fan of the whole failure is good/grit/ growth mindset stuff. If you listen to yesterday's talk, it seems pretty clear to me that he benefitted way more from his successes, which were sufficient to allow him to build up a reservoir of confidence and sense of competence, than he did from his failures. He had good family support (confidence) and years of seeing accommodations work to help him through school. So he really just dug into that reservoir when he failed his grad school exam and went back to the same things that had worked in the past (utilizing the supports and tutors available to him). Had he not had those supports as a child, and simply been allowed to fail all the time, then he likely would not have had the skill to work through the grad school situation. 

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Heather monster — no.  If you thought things were going well, then they were going well.  I have heard some things that do not apply here, too.  

I really liked the two women from Bridges school yesterday.  I even tried one of their ideas last night and had such a nice conversation with my son!  

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I am at the part of *me* not participating in playing the game.  

*I* need to focus on personal development and probably social development/support.  *I* need to focus on enjoying my son to have a good connection between us, and being interested in what he is interested in.  

He is sensitive to me and feels things as pressure from me.  As far as — my interest or investment in him playing the game.  

And then — maybe he will play the game.  Or maybe he will start at community college.  Or maybe he will work some after high school.  I don’t know.  

I do know it is harmful to him for me to stress him out or for me to care too much..... and apparently caring at all (or almost to this point) means caring too much.  

This is all with my older son.  I have heard a few things here and there, where they ARE talking about kids like him in this way. 

I don’t think he is as extreme as Neil (that was talked about), but he is that way to some extent, where things can be ruined for him.  And I think he needs to have interests that are *just* his interests.  Otherwise it is just pressure.  

I think a lot dovetails with the idea that a sibling of a child with special needs can feel much more pressure.  I think that is the situation that we have — so basically I don’t think it is that I put so much pressure on, but if my son is pre-disposed to feeling it then I have to try hard to do even less. 

I think too, as far as the game, I know it would be really negative for me to push him over ACT scores.  I also think he is doing some good things on his own (partly I mean — with no influence from me, partly l mean outside of a school setting or a quantifiable setting).  So honestly — I think he can have a good path without *me* focused on playing the game.  I think *he* will still need to navigate some amount of game-playing, but I don’t know what that will look like for him.  But I think there will be a huge difference if I am invested or if he is invested.  

He has major issues with losing motivation/investment when he feels pressure or doesn’t feel ownership — and I know this — so I need to behave with this in mind.  

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I think there are different meanings of “playing the game,” and I am thinking more of — my son may not take the kind of high school schedule I would want him to take.  He might not do extensive test prep for SAT/ACT tests.  He might not take any AP tests.  That is where I think it is an issue.  

But as far as — playing the game for someone who has weak enough or non-preferred enough subjects that there have to be major work-arounds to get around obstacles to strengths..... that is not a concern for him.  Also his social skills are not at a point I am concerned about his employability. 

I do also think ———— it’s only because he did have remediation when he was younger that he can be where he is now.  It’s a big change in mindset for me.  It’s time for me to be making that change, though.  

It is really different I think when it’s time to be doing remediation, or time to back off.  

I also think, I didn’t watch him, but the person who didn’t seem aware of how much he was helped when he was younger ———— he probably is not aware.  My son is not really aware and it wouldn’t be good for him in feeling self-efficacy to focus too much on “this is how much help you have gotten.”  I have some feelings similar to when I found out he had no memory of breastfeeding, even though — well, he was breastfed a long time!  But he doesn’t even know to appreciate it.  But I have feelings like that.  

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There is another thing with playing the game ------ my son has had situational anxiety in the past.  He is doing great now, but it happened, he has had situational anxiety.  

Well -- this is a subset of kids for sure, but there are kids where playing the game (I think in any sense) can relate to mental health issues (definitely anxiety).  

So then -- there are some different thought processes.  I happened to just re-read a book about this, called Price of Privilege by Madeline Levine.  So anyway -- she is talking mainly about competitive college admissions, wanting kids to take a certain schedule in high school (with AP classes).  

And then she says -- sometimes people will wonder, for kids where they ARE experiencing anxiety, is experiencing anxiety a good enough reason not to play the game?  Because -- obviously there are good things that come from playing the game.  But, are the good things that come from playing the game, worth the anxiety that can come for some kids?  

And then her answer is ----- or this is my summary ------ if you get to a certain point, no, it's not worth it.  She probably would be the same as people on the webcasts saying "look at the light in their eye."  Because -- it is so different for different kids.  

But anyway -- she is saying, if you are at a point where you basically KNOW that there are serious consequences happening, then you can't just think that it will all go away.  Because -- whatever healthy problem-solving your child is supposed to be learning in high school as part of child development, if that is taken away so they can be playing the game, then they have actually missed that opportunity to learn about healthy problem-solving and decision-making ----- and then that has consequences.  

So she is laying out, for a child who is not well-served by playing the game or heavy parental influence to play the game ------- that on one side, you do have losing what is lost from not playing the game.  But ----- there are things that are lost by playing the game in this situation, too.  So things that are lost are ---- a child's opportunity to make choices, etc.  

And then she is also saying, that if you have anxiety or depression in high school, then it's more likely to continue into adulthood.  And so -- if you are in a situation where you might be contributing to those things by caring too much about playing the game, then that does possibly have long-term consequences.  

Anyway -- it's pretty applicable for me since my son has already had situational anxiety, he has already had school avoidance, and ----- we have worked SO hard to get past that.   But -- I think the tendency is still there and I think I need to go out of my way to keep it in mind.  

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3 hours ago, hepatica said:

I think the 2E category is so expansive that experiences can really differ. Some weaknesses are more easily accommodated and some strengths are favored or privileged in this culture, so that would all impact the experience of having a 2E kid.  

I am not a big fan of the whole failure is good/grit/ growth mindset stuff. If you listen to yesterday's talk, it seems pretty clear to me that he benefitted way more from his successes, which were sufficient to allow him to build up a reservoir of confidence and sense of competence, than he did from his failures. He had good family support (confidence) and years of seeing accommodations work to help him through school. So he really just dug into that reservoir when he failed his grad school exam and went back to the same things that had worked in the past (utilizing the supports and tutors available to him). Had he not had those supports as a child, and simply been allowed to fail all the time, then he likely would not have had the skill to work through the grad school situation. 

 

I really liked the guy, but I do think I agree with you. He also seems to have an innate sense of determination, or maybe stubbornness that really helped him to not give up. I'm sure all those positive supports helped with that, too.

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"Playing the game" - I kind of look at this as we have decided not to play the public school game because we are homeschooling. At some point, if my kids want to go to college, they/we will have to play the game to some extent. It's different, but it depends on your goals.

I suppose a kid/family could choose to completely not play the game. But if you want to go to college, or work for a corporation, or a school, then you'll have to play their game. If you don't, you're on your own - of course there have been lots of successful people doing that. 

I don't know if I'm explaining that very well or not.

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I just watched the beginning of Mike Cantlon.  He is wonderful!  I don’t think my son is in that gifted level of needing a camp, though.  But it reminds me — he has a classmate this year that he voice chats with sometimes, whose sister also has autism.  I have wished that for him and just never felt like there was the right age spread for any siblings we knew.

My daughter had this more when she was little, because the ages worked out better with an autism summer program we used to do.  But somehow it would work out better with younger siblings than older siblings, or just her, I don’t know.  

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I think for me — I can see how people homeschool to maximize results.  For me — I would be aware of what things to do to be on top of things and maximize results.  I am just that way.  

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One thought about “playing the game.”  One advantage of engaging with the system is that it increases the potential of someday being an employee.  For my 2E self, this is the golden ticket.  For all the talk of going your own way and doing your own thing, I would absolutely hate being a freelancer or self-employed.  I value stability, predictability.  I would hate finding clients or asking people to pay me.  Ugh.  I really like being a small cog in a bigger machine, where I can just do my work and collect my paycheck.

I am absolutely not a high flyer in my profession, and I’m not chasing the big bucks, so there is a real limit to my ability and desire to “play the game.”  But I’m glad I went as far as I did.  Where that line is going to be different for everyone.

 

 

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I missed the “playing the game” talk.

possibly related though is that it seems to me that a lot of regular school has to do with getting things done — not so much content.  And that while the math or history content may not be related to much irl, the need to be able to get things done is highly relevant.  

 

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Today's talks all revolve around social thinking.  

I liked Michelle Garcia Winner's talk. If you're familiar with her materials, there wasn't much new, but it was great to listen to this with my dh.

Temple Grandin: I've listened to her speak a few times now, and there were new stories/experiences in today's material.

Mike Cantlon: Finding a community where unconditional acceptance is the goal is a beautiful thing.

Scott Barry Kaufman: He spoke on self-actualization and self-transcendence as finding a mission outside of yourself that requires you to draw upon your well of authenticity (and distinguished that from self-sacrifice). He also spoke a bit on flow state (grit + interest + energy).

I think what I'm taking away from today was a tip from Michelle Garcia Winner. When your kid stops talking because they are stressed or anxious, you can put some of those questions/ideas that you want to discuss into a visual model.  That idea coupled with a comment from Temple Grandin about how some kids can't handle a lot of verbal download all at once--put it into writing or a visual model--set off an aha moment about a particular situation that I've been trying to figure out how to address. So, helpful discussions today for me although I don't think I learned anything "new".  I just needed some dedicated time to think and ponder about these things instead of doing my usual 90mph run through life.

Edited by prairiewindmomma
edited to update after listening to the talks
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I watched two vids last night.

Both Mike Cantion and Scott Barry Kaufman were affirming.  Now I'm sorry that I didn't sign up sooner to watch the previous lectures.

Edited by Heathermomster
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I don’t know if I have a lot of time to listen today, but they look good.  Yesterday overall — I think I was familiar with a lot.  

It has made me realize — for the Baum/Schrader talk, what kind of resources would they be found in?  I don’t know what area they are from?  They were the two women who work at a private school.  

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Ds and I are working through the Seth Pearlier talk and his Sunday Night Overhaul process.  We are having a lot of shared cringe laughs at how much what he's talking about reflects back on our IRL. 

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A+ to Elaine Taylor-Klaus | Bright Kids with ADHD: Where To Take Aim and Build Skills. I can't say that what's she's saying is new to me, but it opened up a desperately needed broader conversation in my home that may or may not have been about the kids. 🤐

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I just watched Elaine Taylor-Klaus, I liked what she said about some things triggering parents and parents needing to take a step back.  I have needed that recently!  There are a few things that really are triggering to me, but *really* are not what I want my relationship to be about.  I have been trying really hard, lol.  

Good luck, kbutton, I’m glad you liked it also 🙂

Prairie — thank you for the link.  

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