Social and Emotional Functioning's Impact on Academic Success with Dr. Mark Rosica Transcript
Okay. So let's figure out who is in the audience. There are teachers and speech-language. There are administrators and VR and classroom teachers. Who else? Who am I missing? Researchers. Awesome. Great. Who else? Parents. Great, great. Mental health. My team. All right. Hard-of-hearing services. Good. Access services. Principals, administrators. Deaf mentors. Great. Wow. You guys are awesome. Yeah. And a grandfather. Never had a grandfather before. Welcome. That's great, that's great. Okay.
So I just briefly- so who am I. It says in the brochure, “These experts.” I'm not an expert. The more I work the more I realize, you know, what I don't know. But I want to bring some years of experience. I started off as a counselor at NTID, and then I quickly, within two years, was asked to be the director of the -- we have an introductory summer career exploration sampling program, and also academic evaluation program. It's called SVP, summer vestibule, like the front of a church. It's called a vestibule- it's an old word but we still use IT program and that was a ten-week career exploration sampling program for new deaf, hard of hearing students and it's “Okay, Mark, you're going to run that program.”
Boy, did I learn a lot. I learned a lot about parents and family relations also at the same time. And in my 15 or 18 years of running that program, I also decided to go back and work on my Ph.D. so I'm working on that. I wasn't liking it. It was in higher ed administration. What do I do now? Higher ed administration but back then I wasn't like it. I about the marriage and family training program at the University of Rochester where some of the world-famous people like Lyman Nguyen and Judy Stanton were working there. I'm like, “That's my major.” I'm working on my doctorate changing my major again. I had done this a lot in my life. What I was learning about family systems and marriage and family, in general, was directly applicable to working with deaf and hard-of-hearing students in a way I never realized before.
So I put the other program aside and I spent four more years working on that post-graduate degree. Then I was asked to go to Florida, not to the National Deaf Academy which some of you may have heard some bad things about, they recently closed but I worked at another private psychiatric hospital called The Manors and they asked me to set up a clinical inpatient program for deaf, hard of hearing and hearing teenagers. Very cool thing. Very cool. So they were in a unit in the hospital for eight to 30 days. I think I signed years. Days. And it was a very interesting experience. Previously I had not -- it had not involved family at all and people were staying until their insurance was used up.
When I got there, families have to be involved or we won't accept you. They didn't like that but I was the director so they let me have my way and I insisted that parents came for a weekend. We reduced the amount of stay in the hospital to 7 to 10 days. Because we had family involved because that's where the help and the healing can happen. So then I go back, I open up a private practice and working with deaf and hard-of-hearing in Rochester. I'm more busy than I know what to do. They asked me to become chairperson of the counseling department. I had to close the practice. And then they asked me to be interim dean of academic services, which I've been doing for the past year. What I'm doing next, I have no idea. I got an interesting experience of administration and mental health and hospital work and working with families and parents that I absolutely love so I want to share some of that info and knowledge with you.
Okay. So overview of what we're going to do today and if you have questions and you want to make a comment or you want to ask a question, please interrupt. Just put your hand up and wave. Okay? Good.
So we'll talk about normal development. I like Eric Erickson's developmental theories … not because it's right or it's perfect or it fits for all but it's a good basic framework for developmental theory and it includes the fact that all of us still now are developing. And I really like the perspective. So it just seems to fit the kind of using it as a framework to think about the development of the children and the students that you work with. Talk about its impact on development. We're going to talk about mental health behavior and issues with deaf students. What interferes with normal development. Strategies for intervention. And specific activities that promote the transition phase, I think is what you refer to it as. Students quote leaving home, going to college, getting a job, that kind of thing. Pace okay? Communication okay? Yeah? Can I slow down? Sure, yep.
Anna asked me if signing was going to slow me down. I said not much slows me down.
Okay. So I like the framework because it gives us a way to understand emotional development also. And this is weird, reading it here. I can't really see it there. Let's see. So each stage of development relies on the previous stage of development. It's epigenetic so when you finish this successfully then you can move on. If you don't finish this stage of development successfully, you kind of trip, you struggle, you don't go through it very smoothly and it results in needing to go back, which is the very cool thing. That's why I like it because you can go back and, quote, fix things, heal things, improve things. No matter what age, no matter what age. And language, regardless of what kind of flavor but language is the tool, the vehicle for transmitting that kind of development.
And we'll talk as you know -- I mean I'm talking to experts here, so I'm not implying that I know anything more than what your experience has probably taught you and what you know but I include this general information just to kind of give you my perspective so we'll talk about incidental learning. It's not talked about much. I'm surprised. I have college students who arrive who don't have a clue how to manage academically, socially, interpersonally. They don't have a clue, and they're 19 years old and you're thinking how the heck could that happen. And it's incidental learning that prevents a large percentage of it and there's a lot that we can do to improve that situation. There's a quote. It's interesting reading. Take a look. Can't see it? Do you need it bigger? Yes. Cory, can we make it bigger? That expression looks like maybe not. I'll read it.
A child with hearing impairment even mild or unilateral impairment -- got the wrong glasses -- cannot casually overhear what other people are saying or the events that are occurring. Children with normal hearing often seem to passively absorb information from the environment and constantly have little antenna to pick up every morsel of information. A child who has a hearing problem may seem oblivious to environmental events, “out of it,” not knowing what's occurring, unconnected to his or her environment and have to be told everything. Okay.
So Erickson has eight stages of development. We're going to talk about the first five. And the first one is “trust versus mistrust.” That's what happens with babies very early on. So they develop trust in the world. And to develop mastery, which is when Erickson says has to happen, for each of these stages of development, they have to see dependability. And the emotional availability of the caregiver. They accept the child as they are without judgment. There's a picture of the chart. Talks about the age 0 to 1 years old. Trust. So normal development at stage 1. So parents or caretakers show love and affection. That's clearly understood by the child. There's visual contact. There's physical touching. There's nurturing, attachment, and most important, communication. That's happening between parent and child. In my world, 97 percent of my students come from hearing families, 97 percent. The communication, you know, our students are 1300. We have about 15, 18 percent that don't know any sign language. We have about 15, 20 percent are pure ASL. The rest are somewhere in the middle.
The communication in families continues to surprise me because it just varies from year to year to year. I think my gut would say I'm seeing more families signing with each other, with hard-of-hearing students and especially at a higher level, I’m seeing our baccalaureate students arriving very very oral. No sign language, not wanting sign language, saying, “Please don't sign to me.” Interesting. Interesting.
So think about how deafness has an impact on this stage of development. Whether or not the parent knows the child is deaf. Many times, they don't. Think of all the unconscious things that happen before a parent finds out the child is deaf or has a hearing loss. Baby doesn't respond to voice. We're humans. We're emotional. We react to that. We get gut feelings. We make attachments or not attachments based on our emotional responses to our children. And think what impact communication has on the whole topic of trust. Right? How do you develop trust if you're not clear about the communication?
And parents' reaction to deafness. Who is a parent of a deaf, hard-of-hearing, deafblind child? Raise your hand. Wow, that's great, great. And would you say that the range of emotional reaction to that can go from guilt to grief to sadness to shock to denial? Thank you. To religious experience? I mean the range of responses to having a deaf, hard-of-hearing child is huge. And it drives how we react to it. When I -- I greet all the parents who bring the 250 new students every year to NTID to that summer program I was talking about. And the audience fills up. There is a family member from each one of those families that comes, so we have about 500 people in the audience, and I say to the parents, “Okay, welcome, great. “So growing up who had conflicting advice from the medical community about what to do with your deaf kid?: They all raised their hands. And you say, “Wow.” Who had conflicting advice from the academic community about what to do with your kid?” And they all raised their hands. And they're looking around at each other like, “Really, really? “I didn't know.” But you say, “It doesn't matter “because whatever you did, and you'll be credited for it when your kid comes home for Thanksgiving break or whatever, but whatever you did, you got them to college. Nice job.” And you can see all the people crying. It's very touching. It's very difficult to know what to do. But you have to do the best you can, and you have to make the best decision you can with the information and the judgment and the hope that you have at that time.
And that's when you connect with families when you explain your understanding of that. Too many families are beat up and blamed for doing the wrong thing. You can't do the wrong thing. And the good news is you can fix it, improve it.
Okay. Off on a tangent. Sorry. You guys okay? Yeah? Good. Okay.
Stage 2: Autonomy. Yay. If they don't develop autonomy, shame, doubt. They don't trust themselves. Okay. So exploring, learning about the environment. And to be good at it, you have control over your body. Pooping right. My grandson is pooping. He's so proud of himself. Two and a half. He wants to take a picture and send it to me. It's okay.
I love that age. They get that sense of independence and the glee they have when they're independent. They notice people value their efforts. They get pride in themselves and what they're doing. Good job. And the hard part is for parents, right, to balance the whole safety thing. Letting them fail, letting them fall down, let them may a mistake or keep them safe, right?
To at this age 2 to 3, developing this level of independence. Okay. If not successful, exploration and self-sufficient behavior, develop confidence and a sense of will without losing their self-esteem. They get secure and get proud and confident. If successful. Sorry. If not successful, self-doubt, and fear of taking a risk. Especially when parents who have grief or guilt are overly cautious. Anybody meet some parents like that? Anybody like that themselves? Yeah, of course, of course. There's nothing wrong with loving and caring so much that you just want to protect and protect and protect. Especially if there's something else in addition that needs to be protected or justified or supported. It's all for good reasoning.
But you just have to -- when you're working with kids you have to think about, “Okay, what did they miss growing up and what can I provide them with now that may help that situation?” That's the mindset I want you to have. So these external limits on kids, they -- that the parents put on them eventually need to change to internal limits. So if normal development at stage 2 includes mastering life skills, taking care of your body and your functioning and “I can do it myself” attitude and self-esteem and being part of a family, belonging to a family unit. That's what happens when it's all good. If -- and then think about the impact that deafness has on it with the overprotection, with maybe being highly restrictive or cautious, lacking exploration and opportunities for taking chances, and limited social experiences, right? I mean, do you see your students -- I don't know your situations, but do you see a lot of isolation with your students? Yeah? Okay. Okay.
So stage 3, social being, developing a sense of individual purpose through trial and error. So initiative, “I can do it,” versus “I feel guilty.” I feel guilty for who I am. I feel guilty for what I can't do. This is 3 to 6 years. So to initiate play situations, to develop plans, to push on the world a little bit so you have to have a pretty good sense of, yeah, I know who I am. Mastery requires the freedom to play. They're rewarded for taking the initiative. They're allowed to reach self-created goals. They don't have shame and doubt about their actions or who they are. And they are following outside parental school rules, which is good, instead of “Let's see, do I get a positive or a negative if I do that?” That stage of development happens later when you want it to change from externally controlled, school, teachers, parents to internally controlled. If I do that, I think this consequence may result. Maybe I won't do that. And we'll talk about the impact that emotional functioning and mental health has on students' ability to do that. It definitely messes it up. Okay.
So stage 3: 4 to 6 years old. Independence, play with others, definitely social. I thought my cold was gone. It feels like it's coming back. Okay. So stage 3, you develop competence, learning and creating, and you have permission to experience different things. Experimenting is okay. And the impact deafness has on that stage. So maybe they have restricted opportunities with other deaf kids. Parents shielding their children from risk, from danger, from failure, from embarrassment, from communication struggles, from judgment. All those things. The impact -- this is when the impact of their hearing loss starts to show up academically in school because of the language because the hit on the language because they're starting to take courses and classes and doing readings at this age. They get frustrated for not being able to achieve their goals. They can become aggressive and overly assertive to parents and educators and they don't have any guilt when they fail. They just say, “I don't want to try it again.”
Stage 4, self-identity. So this is about developing competence, industry, busyness, doing things, accomplishing things. Or if they don't do that, they feel inferior, inferior. So 6 to 12 years old, a lot that happens at this age. So they're developing self-confidence. They're thinking about “How can I be a good person, and how do I fit in?” How do I fit in, because now you have a social group of peers that you're trying to negotiate with and see who you are by fitting in?
At NTID we see students who come in and they have never seen a deaf adult before. Never. This is the truth. I had one student say that he actually in his gut thought that when you reached a certain age you died because he never saw a deaf grownup adult and was thrilled to see how many deaf and hard-of-hearing people.
Students who come in who are the only deaf in their school and then they arrive in a class and they're seeing 1300 other deaf, hard of hearing all over the place and it's like, wow, it's like a candy store. Where do I fit in? So there's a lot of experimentation and trial and error and making mistakes. That's why I like this theory. Your social interactions really guide you to your sense of self-development and identity for who you are. So it's how you're interacting and communicating with and fitting in and identifying that helps you at this age say, “Oh, so that's who I am.” Right? So you feel capable, and you can accomplish things. You get a sense of pride in your work at this age. You're praised for your work and you're recognized from outside, and that feels really good, and it serves to start the process of internalizing that sense of accomplishment and wanting to do good because it's your idea now, not mom and dad's idea. And pleasing other people is important.
Stage 4, 7 to 12. That was just the final picture, same. Okay. So they get motivation, industry, self-confidence, and willingness to take risks if all goes well. If it doesn't go well, they feel inferior about their abilities. I think that describes most of the deaf students that I meet when they first arrive at college. None of them feel good about what they can do or if they do, they don't have a clue, they don't have a good realistic sense of how to do it. They think that their way of doing something is good enough. It's very interesting. If they get ridiculed or punished or they don't meet expectations, they give up and they develop a sense of inferiority. Okay. And your relationships now turn from family to school and social. That's where the importance is. That's where your pulling in information to assess who you are and how you're doing. So developing who am I and self-identity and peer relationships is the important thing at this age.
So the impact deafness has, this is a big one. They don't have the opportunity to discover the skills and the talents unless they're in an incredible environment with lots of opportunities that are presented. They don't understand the feelings of other people primarily because they don't understand the feelings of themselves. And we'll talk about that in a minute. They don't have a peer group for comparison or a sense of belonging. They're typically afraid to take risks. Feeling incompetent compared to their hearing peers, and at this age they're kind of confronting deafness, confronting what the families did, what the parents' decisions were, who were they, why didn't this happen for me, why is that person so different than I, why can they read better than me, am I dumb? All those internal questions, they're just going off in their head all the time.
Stage 5, my favorite. Identity versus role. This is the big stage of development, gets ready for, “leaving home.” Find out who we are as separate individuals from our family and members of a wider society. This is like the terrible 2's on hormones. Emotional volatility, right, so at this stage, you develop skills, you have meaningful social interactions. You start to grapple with moral issues, rights, and wrongs. They see value in what people do. And this is the stage where they instead of following outside rules, they are inside weighing, “Huh, what are the pros and cons of my decision?” How are you doing? Okay? So if successful they'll struggle with social interactions and struggling is good. Struggling means you're trying to figure it out. It means you're making judgments and decisions and prioritizing. So this age, it's tough in the best of all worlds, it's tough. Confusion about their role and taking risks and experimenting and developing their own personal values. If they do it successfully, they get a sense of identity. And they have trust and autonomy in themselves. If not successful, they lack confidence. They lack the sense of direction for the future. And they tend to become pretty negative about their potential and fitting into society and the world. And of course, peers is the significant relationship here. Okay.
So because of the amount and the scope of the bio-chemical changes and the cognitive maturation that happens at this age, there is a greater chance, this is a really tough stage of development, in the best of all worlds, but you have chemical changes and cognitive changes and social changes and identity formation that this is a very tough age to work with. And this is, “the big one.” This is what family therapists focus on in most of their work. It's when and how a student has permission and a blessing and the support and approval to, quote, go on. Many families get very stuck in loyalty to their family, loyalty to the work that their mom and dad have been doing on their behalf that they would feel guilty if they left home. Any of that sound familiar? All right. I also -- you know, I know that a lot of things that I bring up, that I talk about, it's going to push a button, a button in you. You'll be looking back going, “Oh, damn, why did I bring up that one?” “I thought I had buried that one sufficiently.” And these are hard issues, and we're going to talk about emotional development next. And I think I've got about 15 minutes.
But what it requires is a sense of awareness that you need to have as an adult, as an educator and a researcher and a supporter and instructor and all the roles that you have as adults and as a parent to be aware of your emotional strength and weakness and challenges that you have. We're going to talk next about teaching emotional development, and what it requires is a level of emotional awareness that you must have yourself as an adult because you will be the role model. What is unfortunate is that in all of the wisdom of all the ideas that get put into what constitutes our curriculum in America in -- America. I forgot the sign. Nobody teaches us about emotional development. I've never seen a good curriculum that included it at any sufficient level. And yet we expect our students to emotionally develop by luck, by observing the right people.
I mean I think I was probably 30 years old that I learned for the first time through experience that painful emotions dissipate with time and talk. I didn't know that. I had no idea that that was possible. And so I'm jumping ahead of myself a little bit but I want to make the connection here that having our students that we work with develop emotionally so they can more freely pursue their academic work because it's a barrier if you are emotionally overwrought. You cannot function academically and to be able to teach our students how to do that requires a level of understanding of our own emotions that requires our own work. And it's what all of us are or need to be doing because it's the right thing to do. When you grow emotionally and you accept things and you talk about stuff and you learn that the emotion is not the important part, it's the reaction to the emotion that's the important part and when you can teach that to your kids, you would not believe how fast they develop. It's like you unshackle them and they take off and you can make up and do a lot of catch-up work. Okay. And at this stage, it's all about leaving home and finding a career and deciding what to do with yourself and all those major decisions that you need a level of confidence and family support for so that it's okay.
I have students the first week of school who are -- they don't go to any of their classes. You're like, “Why would you come to college and the first week skip all of your classes?” Why? Why? Because I can? That's true. There's that freedom revolution that's like, “Oh my God, mom is not waking me up, I can do whatever I want.” That's true. But why else? You go to college. The intention is that you're going to do well and be successful and you're skipping all of your classes. Why would I student do that? Petrified, yep. Or what I find a lot of times they don't want to be there. They don't have permission from their family to leave home. They're conflicted and guilty inside because leaving my home means I'm doing something wrong. All they've done for me my whole life and I'm going to leave? Inside, I mean, and I'm not talking about a conscious level of awareness. I'm talking about an inside feeling of conflict here. So I'll go right to, “Are your mom and dad happy that you're here?” “Oh yeah, they say so.” “Do you feel conflicted?” “Maybe. “Grandma is getting old. “My cat might die soon. “I miss my twin.” You know, it's a really big thing, and to be able to help students and families talk about those issues is awesome. It's awesome. Okay.
So normal development. They can get some healthy separation from family. Just because you're going away, doesn't mean they're cut off. College is -- I, many years ago, used to say to parents “Thank you for dropping off your kid, now get out of here.” And the parents would not leave. They filled up all the hotels all around NTID and they were staying for days and days and days. So my second year, I thought, “What the heck, let's see what happens.” I opened up the door, “Parents do you want to come? “You can stay in the dorms with your kid.” 99 percent signed up. What? And loved it. And I spent the next few years developing a curriculum where it was parents and students together and then a little bit separate and then back together and a little bit more separate and then back together, and so you -- and we talked directly about why is this a challenge. Why is dropping your kid off so hard? I had 20 years of experience doing that before I had to drop off my kid at college. Didn't help me one damn bit. Nothing. Nothing. It was as shockingly griefful, as I could not have imagined. It was awful.
That's another story. This is all stage 5 stuff. And the impact that deafness has on it. You can see where I'm going. Not having a peer group, not having enough people in a peer group has a really big impact on identifying who you are. Lack of deaf role models. Opportunity to investigate personal interests, personal interests also. Not often. And communicating feelings, being able to identify. We're setting up -- we're on a student behavior consultation team at RIT so it's the head of public safety and the psychiatrist and student affairs and residence life and I'm the NTID rep and NTID students are about 9 percent of all of the students, we're about 9 percent. On SBCT, we have deaf students on our list 25 to 30 percent of the time. We've noticed that most of the time they're on the conduct behavior, they got caught, they were texting, “I’m going to kill - “I’m going to kill you. “You broke up with me for the first time.” They're making statements that put them in real dangerous judicial positions but they don't have a clue it's really that serious. They don't know there's a mental health arrest for saying I will kill myself.
So in talking more with our counselors and the other people in student affairs who interact a lot with our students, we're realizing, number one, our students are not very good at identifying emotions and they're not really good at accepting them and being able to work with them and accept them so we're setting up workshops 7 to 8:30 with pizza and soda. Come in and we'll have a panel. We're going to talk about what psycho-education is about. I think it's called, “Managing the Ride” and it's a roller coaster with smiley faces and frown faces and those college pictures in the background. And managing all those emotions while they're at college. We easily have 200 students signed up because they've not experienced that before, and I'm really looking forward to what happens as a result of these workshops. Students are hungry for it. Okay. I'm jumping way ahead. Okay. So children making the normal transition following outside rules and making their own internal decisions where they weigh kind of risk and reward, pros and cons of their own decisions. When you're depressed or anxious, your brain chemistry changes. And I have another slide I should have put here first. Depressed or anxious happens when you have a feeling or emotion or a situation that you are trying to suppress. You know, all of us. I was taught there are good emotions. There are bad emotions. There are positive ones, “Yay.” There are negative ones, “Run like hell.” And when you have an emotion, just because it's a normal human reaction and you either were taught and think and believe that you're not allowed to express that and you need to suppress it or turn it off or ignore it, that festers somewhere, and it pops up without conscious decision in being depressed or anxious or acting out or aggressive behavior, and that's why being able to model and teach all emotions are okay, it's how you react to it, you know, putting a student who is angry in a room by themselves is punishing them.
But being able to say, “I understand you're mad, “I understand you're upset right now, and what's important is to acknowledge that feeling and now figure out what are you going to do with it until we can process it later.” And helping students talk about their emotions because you're helping them to recognize that they're there and they're valid. Which means it requires a level of understanding of emotions inside of us first to do that. When students are depressed, their brains function differently. “Why try?” “Why bother?” “Nothing is going to improve.” Motivation, you don't see it at all. Okay. And if a student is anxious, they just cannot focus. Anxiety feels like the world is going to fall apart any minute and so, you know, thinking about math at a time when you're anxious, it's not going to happen. Okay. So there's lots of different theories. There's -- you know, counseling theories and approaches to counseling vary as much as individuals vary. My experience is that therapists tend to provide the kind of therapy that either did or they think would help them. Because it's their view of the world. That's normal behavior. I get it. But aside from what all the theories say, and family therapy is not one fit. It's not perfect.
But I have never found an instance where there's been an emotional problem, a mental health issue and one in seven I think is the national average and I think for our population, it's more than that. I don't know how much more but it's definitely more. That I have never found a situation where there wasn't a struggle and difficulty at home. Not because it was caused there but because it resides in the home. It's either, you know, poverty or it's alcoholism or it's unresolved, unresolved grief, which is huge in this country, in this country. And we don't pay any attention to it. There are some theorists who say 95 percent of drug and alcohol abuse is related to sadness and grief and loss. It's a really big one and the weird thing about it is it gets passed on to generations without conscious knowledge of it. Let me hold. I think what's important is if as professionals when you're interacting with students who are experiencing difficulties, to take a look at what the circumstances are instead of being so quick to find the label or the cause or the reason for.
So much healing can happen in the process of making eye contact and communicating with a sense of cherishing what someone is telling you. And it's hard to do that when you're in a school or you're in an office or you're given a boatload of responsibilities that you need to accomplish by this deadline. Our students in college will destroy a teacher on their rating. They could be the best teacher we have. They will destroy their rating if they feel that the teacher doesn't like them. If they feel the teacher doesn't really cherish them. They will destroy their evaluation. And I think this is true of all students.
They crave, crave a significant connection with an adult who seems grounded and confident and knowledgeable and loving. And opening yourself up to sharing a story about you to them is amazing. It's amazing. You see connections happen that will last a lifetime.
I unfortunately now have students who come back to me and say, “My mom and dad say hello. You taught them in 1983.”Ahh. And my part about medication, it's a good thing. It's overly prescribed. It's used to manage the behavior of our children when they're out of control, which is really sad. And instead of managing their behavior, why don't we learn as professionals how to help them express their emotions because you can't cut it off. You can't suppress it. You can't turn it off. Medication will, and then you get the double challenge of how let's uncover what the feeling was that we've turned off with medication and then teach you how to talk about it so then you can resolve it and move on. But medication is a very useful tool to help you get through a very difficult time when you're being overwhelmed and you can't function, and you're doing the talking therapy and exploration and learning at the same time. My experience has been medication alone is a shame. It's a controlling way to deal with the behavior of our children that we don't like. And it's just way overprescribed.
Okay. So think of the deficits that our children experience with language, with experience, with family communication. And when I was talking about before about emotions and coping with your emotions, being able to label emotions. Being able to freely experience emotions without cutting them off or being afraid of them. I mean I was taught by my Irish mother if you're smart enough you won't feel those feelings. If you use your brain and think your way through it, you'll never be scared or sad. It took me a long time to figure out, “Mom, not quite right.” She did it for good intentions. Those Irish were afraid of their feelings for good reasons for many lifetimes.
15? Okay. Thanks, Jody.
Being able to tolerate emotions. And then figuring out how to manage the results of those emotions that you're experiencing. I think I got three slides left. Okay. So how do you learn this emotional regulation, tolerating it? So you identify them. And teaching children at any age the names of different emotions and being able to talk about it, at that clinical unit at the hospital in Florida I ran for a year we had deaf and hearing students talking about the emotions they were feeling and teenagers are great about talking about their feelings. They want to. And it was a really very cool thing to have hearing and deaf interacting talking about their feelings and how they were different. They learned a lot from each other both ways. Both ways. So us adults have to be the role models.
More work. I know, right? Welcome to being human.
So help students process the emotions and then learn self-help. It's okay to have a negative emotion, yeah, yeah. We're not here to judge emotions and say which ones are good and which ones are bad. But because we're human we are blessed and cursed with having emotions. We just have to -- just the way it is. And staying compassionate and understanding what they're talking about is a connection that you can make with a kid that they will not forget. This requires you have to have a level of comfort with your own emotions. And the weird thing about emotions is someone is talking about grief and sadness, it brings up the grief and the sadness that you've experienced. I don't think that's necessarily negative. I think that's a connecting, very human thing to do with other people. So they're first soothed by their parents and then they learn to self soothe.
And teaching of emotions are -- it's just part of the richness of our experience. It's all good.
And that last -- the last thing on there, that feelings, you let them out. You don't try to turn them off. You let them out, they go down. They change over time. They don't scare us so badly. I don't know if we get more tough, if we get more used to it or if those emotions actually decrease in intensity. Doesn't matter to me, but they definitely change. Something is going backward here. Okay. Do things that we can do. Helping our students have meaningful interaction with a broad variety of people as much as possible. It doesn't matter the kind. I think what's important is the amount. Exposure with another group of students, exposure with hearing students, exposure to a career, exposure to school. Exposure, exposure, exposure, is what they're really lacking. Exposure to receptive and expressive language. Really stirring the pot, finding some topics that are controversial enough for your age population to get them hooked, right? To have, to encourage as much as possible the ability to share ideas, expressively and receptively.
Throw in as much to the mix as possible because it's where they're limited. It's where the isolation happens. A couple more tips. Talk about your emotions with students, talk about your relationships with your students, talk about your struggles. You know, student says, “I’m going to kill myself because my girlfriend broke up with me.” I will very quickly go back and find an experience about my first breakup.
Boy, do you get their attention. They're hungry for other people's experiences. Feelings if you don't know them and they're not comfortable, they're pretty damn scary. To see an adult model behavior and manage emotions that are difficult, it's a wonderful gift. Increase opportunities for independent thought and action. What would you do? Why do you think that's a good idea? How else might you approach that?
Independent thought. Yeah, using the strength-based. I mean we're all guilty of finding the negative, “What's wrong here?” But instead of finding the strength -- instead finding the strength, that's what the goal is. That's where you get parental and family cooperation. “Wow, you've been through so much and you're still able to show and do these things.” Finding the strengths that people have, you get connected. You're talking about positive. You have -- you get permission. You get permission to get in very close when you talk about the strengths instead of the weaknesses. This might be my last one. We already talked about punishment. Yeah, and, you know, we see especially teenager’s behavior and aggressive behavior as they need to be punished. I'm not going to put up with that disrespect.
Know that when somebody is acting out, there's a lot more going on that you can't see. When somebody is acting out, it is blurting out the side of them trying to hold something in that they just can't hold in anymore, and find out what's going on at home. Find out what's going on with relationships. You know, you can very easily address somebody's behavior and say, “I understand, I understand you're pissed off. I understand you're really mad. I understand you're fed up and instead of punching the wall, I need you to put that aside and participate with what's going on in the class right now and you and I will talk more about this later.” I've done that. It works. Anybody can do that. It doesn't take training, you know. It's just knowing that when you see aggressive behavior, there's a lot going on under the surface that you can't see and you can address that and say let's put it aside.
Our task now is school. We'll talk about that one later. Okay? You almost see relief. When you get stuck, this is a family therapy rule. When you get stuck, “I don't know what to do with this kid. I'm tearing my hair out. I've tried everything.” Expand the system. Pull in the family. If the family is not helping, pull in the grandmother. They're usually the bosses. Right? Pull in the principal. Pull in other people that you work with. You know, this field is young and challenging and old and complicated. It's a lot of things. I really loved the front of your brochure when it talked about your collaborative work with each other and how you will and need to be there to support each other. You are an amazing resource if you stay connected with each other and maintain that communication and questions and support. Yeah, and there's no one magic bullet that works all the time. And develop your network. Do I have to minutes for questions? You either hated it or I put you to sleep or you're thinking about your own stuff or your own classes. You guys okay? Yeah? Was it too much? Too much? Overwhelming? No? A lot to think about. Any questions or comments? Okay.