Magic Moment: Juan’s Story – a boy’s journey from not speaking to laughing, playing and supporting others thanks to a teacher embracing a social emotional development approach to learning

Home > Magic Moment: Juan’s Story – a boy’s journey from not speaking to laughing, playing and supporting others thanks to a teacher embracing a social emotional development approach to learning

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Magic Moment: Juan’s Story

a boy’s journey from not speaking to laughing, playing and supporting others thanks to a teacher embracing a social emotional development approach to learning

Juan’s teacher was concerned about his academic knowledge and ability to learn when he had difficulties speaking in class to his peers and teachers. She wasn’t able to know what the student knew and understood.

During instructional time, Juan would not speak or participate in group activities. His teacher could tell that his social and academic functioning was significantly affected. One of Tykes & Teens’ Infant Mental Health psychotherapists worked closely with the teacher on implementing strategies to reduce Juan’s anxiety and to increase his self-confidence. The teacher’s practices incorporated a non-conditional positive acceptance in which she gave Juan genuine, clear, specific praise instead of the typical overused phrase “good job.” Our therapist showed the teacher how to reflect on the importance of a student not feeling pressured to speak, as well as building up the student’s communication skills. This can start by going from a nodding of the head to whispering in the teacher’s ear. One of the very effective practices that the teacher implemented was pairing Juan up with a peer he liked, as well as modeling verbal and nonverbal communication skills.
By the end of the school year, Juan began speaking to the teacher and you could hear him laughing and talking with peers on the playground. Today, Juan successfully speaks in unfamiliar situations and even translates for other students who have not mastered the English language. Now Juan also enjoys learning and performs very well academically.
Mental Health Consultation is a valuable service that supports teachers with the implementation of developmentally-appropriate social emotional skills. As a result of our Mental Health Consultation services, Juan’s teacher is now able to make a long-lasting positive impact in the lives of very young and vulnerable children. Without a doubt, the teacher’s patience, understanding and openness to work with a mental health consultant made a very positive impact in Juan’s life and how he sees himself.
*Child’s name and image have been changed to protect client confidentiality.

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Tykes & Teens’ preventative-based approach focuses on fostering the social emotional development of young children from birth to age five at early childhood education programs to promote long-term emotional health and wellness. Our therapists are highly specialized in child development, evidence-based classroom practices, and the effects of stress and trauma. Our therapists and staff develop relationships with caregivers at early childhood education programs to support building the adult’s capacity and skills to strengthen the healthy social and emotional development of all children at the center – early and before formalized intervention is needed. Our therapists and childcare center staff support the development of nurturing and responsive relationships to decrease incidents of challenging behaviors, reduce preschool suspensions/expulsions and support the need for a program-wide effort in using culturally-responsive practices and addressing implicit bias.
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