August 2015

Fostering Inclusive Volunteering and Service Learning
Inclusive volunteer opportunities can help youth with disabilities and those leaving the foster care system plan and manage their own economic futures. Volunteering and community service encourage young people to take part in career and self-exploration, experience self-determination, and build personal empowerment. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA) offers options for disadvantaged students on IEPs to receive pre-employment transition services to obtain valuable experiences outside of school. This guide from the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth provides resources that can help bring about successful volunteer and service outcomes.

Public Discipline Systems
This short article from Responsive Classroom offers alternatives to
popular school discipline systems that provide visual feedback for positive and negative behaviors (writing names of students on the board, stoplights, and Class Dojo). Although these systems can be successful in the short run, they pose the risk of leading to more negative outcomes. The authors propose the use of “logical consequences,” which are a powerful way to restore children to positive behavior and help them learn from their mistakes–all while preserving their dignity and maintaining calm in the classroom. This results in long-term behavioral changes and can serve as an integral part of a school’s social-emotional curriculum.

Is it ADHD or Trauma Symptoms?
In this podcast, Beth Barto, LMHC, interviews Heather C. Forkey, MD, UMass Memorial Medical Center, as she explains how children exposed to traumatic events can exhibit symptoms that overlap with ADHD, which, in some cases, could result in an inaccurate diagnosis. Dr. Forkey explains the neurological differences between ADHD and trauma in preschoolers, school-age students, and teenagers, and how trauma can manifest in the classroom. She talks about the importance of letting professionals know about adverse childhood experiences so that trauma-sensitive strategies can be utilized to prevent further traumatization.

Promoting Normalcy for Children and Youth in Foster Care
A new federal law, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, makes it easier for youth in foster and congregate care to take part in the normal experiences that all teens have access to and that lead to making successful transitions to adulthood. The law requires all states to institute the “reasonable and prudent parent standard” so that children most likely to remain in foster or congregate care are able to engage in age- or developmentally appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities. In addition, all youth over 14 years old must be included in their own transition planning, including identifying an assigned caregiver who is responsible for ensuring that “normalcy” is part of the teen’s daily plan.