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FREW Consultants Group        
Monday, February 28 2022

The Importance of Stress

Every teacher who works in difficult areas has had the experience of a student losing control of their behaviour for no apparent reason.  The catalyst might be something as simple as raising your voice at a boy who arrives late for class and interrupts the lesson; an all too familiar episode.  The child starts off by answering back and quickly escalates into swearing at the teacher and in some cases violently throwing chairs.  This intensification of dysfunctional behaviours corresponds to an increasing level of stress experienced by the student.  The thing is, the intensity of the outburst is not related to the incident.  This disproportionate reaction to a relatively minor indiscretion by students with a history of abuse and neglect is driven by their damaged fear response, linked to a previously stressful experience.  The understanding of stress is critical for coming to terms with the human condition and understanding this process will clarify our approach to dealing with these damaged children and similar situations in the classroom.

 

Stress is the fuel for all brain activity and it is the brain that drives behaviour.  It must be recognised that the brain’s only capacity is to initiate movement by engaging muscles to move body parts or activate chemicals to generate changes to our biology; things like the infusion of cortisol or adrenaline.  There is a strong acceptance of what stress is, it is an electro/chemical response to a person’s environment that fuels a bodily response. 

 

Much has been written about the importance of stress, after all we would not move if it was not there to drive our behaviour.  Moderate, predictable stress prepares us to cope with the general world.  Sports coaches and teachers are familiar with the following diagram.  This illustrates how we need an optimal level of stress to perform at our best.

If our level of arousal is too low we underperform, too high and we get the same result.  For a teacher the trick is to hit the goldilocks-spot, get the arousal just right.  The difficulty is that for thirty students there are thirty different curves.  What will optimise on one student might barely engage another or terrify a third.  It is obvious that for children who have been severely neglected or abused it is their inability to control their level of arousal in the wake of the teacher’s efforts to engage them in the lesson that creates the dysfunctional behaviour.  They are most likely to be on either end of the arousal scale and their learning will be minimal.

 

Almost exclusively the stress phenomena has been studied when something in the environment threatens survival. This is the ‘flight/fight/freeze response to get the body into a state of readiness to protect itself from harm.  In these cases the body produces chemicals including cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.  For our work, helping teachers deal with students with severe dysfunctions, this focus on protection is pertinent.  However, understanding the process that initiates stress helps with a better understanding of why we advocate our approach to behaviour management, the manipulation of the classroom environment.

 

We accept that, like all biological species we are driven to survive and reproduce in the environment in which we inhabit.  We have needs that must be satisfied from our environment to maintain our existence and it is this balance between what we need and its availability that regulates our level of stress.  This balance is referred to as our point of homeostatic equilibrium, that is all our needs are being satisfied.  Of course, we can never remain in this state for long.  Our demands from the environment are constantly being renewed.  Take the example of our need for oxygen, when we breathe in we are satisfied but if you stop breathing you soon fall into a state of disequilibrium and you experience stress at increasing levels.  If conversely, the environment you are in, say underwater and you can’t readily breathe you experience the same stress response.

 

This life-threatening comparison between our need and the external world is stark.  However, as a species we have learned to control much of our environment most of the time.  Unlike many other species who are born with their behaviour requirements intact, a critical feature of human infants is that they have to learn much of the behaviours required.  It is the early childhood environment and the lessons taught that will significantly influence subsequent levels of stress and driven behaviours.  This comparison between observed conditions takes place in the cerebellum.   The cerebellum is often referred to as ‘the little brain’ because it looks like the whole brain with two hemispheres that sit each side of a central line, located above the brain stem and behind the midbrain.  Although it only occupies 10% of the brain’s volume it contains half the brain’s neurons. 

 

The schematic model presented below explains how the cerebellum makes this comparison between observed and expected conditions. 

 

External perceptions come into the cerebellum in a general sense via the thalamus, these are observations of the environment through our senses, touch, smell, sight, etc. These inputs enter via attached climbing fibres that inform the purkinje cells, large neuronwith many branching extensions that is found in the cortex of the cerebellum.  Of all the thousands of perceptions there are of the environment we ‘attend’ to those that suggest conditions that represent an opportunity or threat.  How this comparison is made is from previous experiences, as I mentioned above, the brain can only initiate movement however, the brain’s genius is its ability to predict, to predict what will happen when threats or opportunities occur in the environment.  These predictions are founded in our memory, internal schemas of what happened before. 

 

 

 

The process is as follows, through our senses we observe the environment.  When we perceive a threat or opportunity this is referenced back into our memory.  These memories come into the cerebellum via the mossy fibres and on to the granular cells. It is this interaction between the granular cells and purkinje cells that determines the level of stress.  If we have a history of easily dealing with the environment there will be negligible stress.  However, if we have either no memory of a condition or it is a situation that we have never been able to successfully resolve then the stress levels will be elevated.  It is this last set of conditions that sheds light on why early, systematic childhood abuse leads to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  This will be discussed in detail in a later Newsletter but for now it is the creation of the memory that is significant.

 

It is the cerebellum that identifies the discrepancy but it is the amygdala that initiates the fight/flight/freeze response by the production of the neurochemicals mentioned above.  This response produces feelings ranging from anxiety through to terror.  If a child experiences high levels or prolonged fear their amygdala becomes more ‘efficient’ at recognising potential conditions of which to be fearful.  As mentioned in a previous Newsletter the amygdala of children subjected to abuse and/or neglect is significantly increased in size.

 

The result is that the neural pathways become so fine-tuned anxiety and fear become the normal conditions and the potential for positive pathways are excluded.  Of all the debilitating consequences of this physical injury the one that most frustrates those trying to work with these children is that they become unable to respond to nurturing and kindness.

 

Because of the urgency to deal with situations that generate the fear response the initiation of the amygdala impedes the messages from the cerebellum from reaching the hippocampus and the frontal lobes.  Because this cognitive arrangement of our brain is denied access the child is unable to make a more calculated assessment of the potential of maltreatment (the diagram below is a modification of the work of Joseph LeDoux an American neuroscience who specialises in the fear response).  This is why so many of the behaviour management programs employed by schools and mental health professionals fail when the child is stressed, their strategies are cognitively unavailable at that time.

 

As can be seen in LeDoux’s model when the stimulus comes in and is assessed in the cerebellum it goes to the thalamus, the distribution point for the presenting circumstances.  If it is a high threat it goes to the amygdala, the need for an immediate response is critical.  If, on the other hand conditions are not menacing the incoming message will go both to the amygdala and the hippocampus.  There is a link between these two but this is never effective in the short term.  For example, people who become trained in contact sports such as boxing can be conditioned to suppress the fear response when an opponent is throwing a punch at them.

 

Although experiences with high emotional content do generate a fear response they also create memories and remembering that the brain is a predictive system we can generate the fear response with our imagination.  If we think some abusive event might happen we become anxious, if we witness something that reminds us of that abusive incident we will re-experience that fear response.  These memories are foundational to anxiety, neurosis and paranoia not to mention PTSD!   

 

This is the first of a series of Newsletters dealing with stress, its causes and consequences for students.  Our approach to managing students who have been exposed to early childhood trauma is underpinned by this knowledge and why we focus on the control of the classroom environment.

Posted by: AT 07:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, February 21 2022

Early Childhood Modelling

In this series of Newsletters we are examining the impact the early childhood environment has on the expression of behaviour in later life.  We do this with an emphasis on those factors that contribute to the development of displayed dysfunctional behaviours.  In the last Newsletter we discussed the impact neglect has on a child’s future disruptive actions.  In this we move on to the second cause of the destructive, dysfunctional conduct that interfere with the teaching and learning in our classrooms – the modelling of behaviour.

 

Our species has an extraordinary ability to imitate the behaviour of others.  This has allowed us to learn new behaviours just through watching others display particular actions.  This capacity is well known in all areas of teaching and particularly in coaching sport.  Demonstrations enhance the speed in which students or players learn to perform new skills.

 

What is really significant is that there is a considerable amount of imitation that takes place in the early years of development.  The celebrated child psychologist Jean Piaget observed the ability of infants to mimic the behaviours they observed in their caregivers.  This early work has been extended but not disputed by Andy Meltzoff author of ‘How Babies Think: the Science if Childhood’ (published by Weidenfielf & Nicholson – 1999).  He first observed what is a frequently sighted example of this when he described a new-born baby’s ability to poke out their tongue in response to their caregiver poking out their tongue, a demonstration of how infants were able to imitate behaviour only a few hours after their birth.  This is an example of the actions of mirror neurons!

Mirror neurons were first observed at the University of Parma in 1996 when a group of neuroscientists were busily mapping the neural pathways associated with hand movement in Macaque monkeys. The team of Rizzolatta, Gallese, and Fogassi uncovered what is potentially the most significant neurological component in human behaviour for our understanding of learning.

 

The discovery was made by accident. The breakthrough came when Fogassi returned to the laboratory and casually picked up a raisin from an experimental bowl. A Macaque monkey, who was still wired to electrodes used in the planned experiment was observing Fogassi and as he lifted his hand, the neural activity being tracked in the monkey’s brain displayed the same neural activity as if the monkey itself was reaching for the raisin, yet the monkey had not moved.

 

After replicating the experiment several times, the researchers realized that something new and significant had accidentally been uncovered. As a result of the series of papers following this discovery, the active neurons became known as mirror neurons. Subsequent research is progressively validating the significance of motor neurons, and they are shown to be present in most primates. In humans, they are particularly abundant and complicated.

 

More supporting evidence of the significance of mirror neurons emerged when Gallese and Rizzolatte found that when people listen to sentences describing actions, the same motor neurons fire as would have had the subject performed the action themselves or witnessed it being performed. The cells responded to an abstract representation that described a visual or visceral state.  This infers that watching others as well as listening to them influences the creation and the alteration of memories.

 

The existence of mirror neurons can explain:

  • How we learn through mimicry, this is the heart of this essay.
  • How we develop empathy, there is an inverse relationship between the display of dysfunctional behaviours of damaged children, particularly those who attract the diagnosis of Conduct Disorder and Oppositional, Defiant Disorder.
  • Acquisition of physical skills, as mentioned above in regards to coaching sport.
  • Language – the early effort to speak are manifested in the child’s attempts to reproduce the sound of the language prior to any attempt to communicate content.

We have to keep in mind that our brain’s primary purpose is to allow us to predict what will happen when we are confronted with a threatening or potentially supportive situation in the environment.  In early childhood we are building the store of memories that we will refer to later in life; mirror neurons accommodate this predictive requirement. 

 

In 2005, Iacoboni described two types of motor neurons: ones that respond to observed actions and ones that fire in response to the perceived purpose of that action. Iacoboni had volunteers watch films of people reaching for various objects in a dinner setting (teapot, cup, jug, plate of pastries, napkins) in different contexts. In every instance a basic set of neurons associated with the reaching for the setting fired, but different additional sets of mirror neurons would also fire depending on what expected action was suggested by the setting. For example, neatly set tables prepared for tea versus a setting that looked as though tea had been finished had disparate results. In the first instance, as the observer expected the person to pick up a teacup to drink, one set of neurons fired. However, if the viewer expected the hand to pick up a cup to clean it, another set fired. The interpreted purpose came from the arrangement of the objects, so consequent responses were different.  It has also been recognised that children acquire this ability to predict outcomes by their observations of their caregiver’s actions; this is another benefit of imitating them. 

Studies have revealed that parent-child interactions have shown that parents instinctively reflect their children’s actions, emotions and facial expressions back to them even before they are not yet able to imitate.  This is a type of reinforcement of a connection between actions and the observed outcomes, if the infant smiles that smile will be reflected back.

From the above observations it becomes obvious that the behaviour of a child that sits in your classroom is a reflection of the home in which they were raised.  A child’s parents is the greatest predictor of success or failure.  This is because they:

  • Imitate the behaviour of their parents.  If the parent is forbidding, gloomy, threatening then the child will develop these traits.
  • When the child displays the behaviour practiced in the home they will be reinforced.

In a sense a child being raised in these conditions learns to behave in ways that are functional in their early childhood, dysfunctional environment, that is the parent’s behaviour is offending to conventional social norms and when the child adopts these behaviours for other situations, such as in the classroom these behaviours will be dysfunctional!

 

There is a caveat to this model and that is about children raised by parents whose behaviour is chaotic, extremely unpredictable.  In these environments there is no consistent model to imitate and so there is no template for their behaviour.  This is a common problem for children raised by caregivers who are addicted, especially to mind-altering drugs.  These kids are also most likely to display dysfunctional behaviours but for different but connected reasons.  These impediments to the development of successful students will be discussed in a later Newsletter.

 

In the words of James Baldwin the American author and activist “children have never been good at listening to their elders but they never fail to imitate them”.

Posted by: AT 09:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, February 14 2022

The Early Years and Dysfunctional Behaviour

There is no doubt that early childhood, usually defined as the first three years are critical in the development of a child’s self-perception which in turn drives their behaviour.  These years are important for many reasons not the least because up until age three children would not survive without the support of their caregiver.  Of course, very few, if any get to enjoy a perfect childhood but for the vast majority of our students it is more than adequate. 

 

The human brain does not burst into existence in a finished state it grows and evolves for at least 27 years but most intensely in early childhood.  The two illustrations below demonstrate this progression.

 

The first illustration shows the emergence of the functionality of the various areas of the brain shown by the changing deep blue and purple colouring.  You can see the frontal lobe doesn’t fully develop until the late teens and into the twenties.  These ‘blue areas’ also represent the activity of thinking which necessitates the use of memory.

 

The second diagram illustrates this progression up until they graduate from school.  In each period there are what is referred to as ‘windows of opportunity’ times when the brain is prepared to ‘learn’ new skills by providing an abundant supply of myaline used to reinforce the memories that drive the appropriate perception.  An example that is usually given for this phenomena is the acquisition of sight.  Like all memories it is the pairing of a stimulus with an interpretation of that stimulus that creates a memory.  For sight, the eyes project the various wave lengths of light on to the retina which, through the excitement of nerves called rods and cones sends a signal into the visual cortex of the brain for interpretation.  These interpretations become our memories of objects still and in motion.

 

However, if the child does not receive this stimulation before about eight months old, they will never properly interpret sight.  This is because for efficiency, once this critical time has past the brain flushes away the unused myaline and more tragically removes the inactive neurons.  This phenomena of memory acquisition is similar for all memories and the danger of inaccurate interpretation or lack of stimulation is at the core of dysfunctional behaviours due to early childhood abuse or neglect.  

 

In broad terms there are three types of parenting that lead to children having dysfunctional behaviours.  These are:

·         Neglect – the absence of appropriate stimulation for the establishment of memories that define a child’s sense of self which in turn drives behaviour.  The unused neurons are removed from the brain in the quest for efficiency, they can’t be re-established.

·         Poor Modelling – a child learns to behave in ways that are functional in dysfunctional environments, that is the parent’s behaviour is offending to conventional social norms and the child adopts these behaviours.

·         Childhood Abuse – this is often seen as the major cause of dysfunctional behaviour and there is every reason to believe this is true.  The severe levels of stress generated in those times of abuse do real, physical and emotional damage to the child.

 

Of course, there are other more obscure causes such as one-off traumatic events or illness that can interrupt a child’s ‘normal’ development.  However, too many children get a combination of all three of these destructive ingredients.  A detailed discussion of each will take place in the following Newsletters but in this edition we will examine neglect.

 

Nothing is straight forward and neglect has a series of impacts on the behavioural development.  Not the least is the impact on the formation of their sense of self resulting from interference with a child’s sense of attachment. As pointed out above, a child needs a caregiver to survive for at least the first three years.  We are hard-wired to form these attachments in early childhood and how this happens will shape the brain.

 

Children will make an unconscious judgement about the security of that relationship with the caregiver between the seventh and eleventh month.  Security is the key, if the child can rely on the caregiver to always (well nearly always) meet their needs then the child will develop a secure attachment.  The certainty of outcomes allows the child to build a confident, optimistic sense of self, they are confirmed as being important.

  

In some cases the attention from the parent is inconsistent, sometimes their parents will pay attention other times they will be ignored.  This triggers a fear that they will be abandoned.  This is referred to as anxious attachment and children with this profile are often very needy and become clingy to their parents.

 

Some parents are not responsive to their child, they are emotionally unavailable.  These parents are dismissive to the needs of the child.  Children raised in this environment learn not to expect a sensitive response to their needs when stressed and so they develop a lack of trust.  This is referred to as avoidant attachment.

 

The final type is referred to as disorganised attachment because the environment they are raised in is chaotic and unpredictable.  The child craves attention but it steers clear of the parent because they fear what will eventuate.  The secure, predictable home life they crave just doesn’t exist.

 

The graph above indicates the impact each style of attachment has on a child’s anxiety and how they will avoid relying on adults.  Only children with secure attachment find the creation of relationships with others, especially their teachers, rewarding.  The significance of attachment is important and these descriptions provide only a rudimentary outline of this process.

 

Early in this work we discussed the windows of opportunity where the brain is primed for new learning but if the required stimulus is not forth-coming the myaline and the neurons are pruned from the brain.  This is particularly important for attachment because, if in the time ‘allocated’ to hard wire the ability to attach securely, the appropriate stimulus was not present it becomes almost impossible to create them later in life.  This has significant implications in forming secure adult relationships.

 

This pruning will take place for all the required learning in the first three years which is the time a child really develops their sense of self.  The real tragedy is the amount of neural material that can be reformed or removed.  For example:

      The Amygdala, which is sensitive to fear is increased in size which makes the child very anxious.

      Hippocampus is reported to have a 12% reduction in size which impacts on their ability to comprehend incoming stimulus and the formation of memories.

      Prefrontal lobes are 20% smaller and have lesions on the surface.  It is in this area of the brain, often referred to as ‘the executive’ where complex decisions are made.

      Cerebellum which is the area of the brain that evaluates the potential of danger or opportunity in the environment in relation to needs is reduced in size becoming more inefficient.

      Reduced efficacy of the corpus callosum, that is the coordination between the brain’s hemispheres is compromised.

 

It is important to note that neglect is not the only cause of these injuries, extreme levels of stress associated with abuse also significantly contributes to the alterations of the neural landscape.  This situation will be discussed in a later Newsletter and it is frequently the case, abuse and neglect work in tandem for too many of these children.  In any case these injuries result in permanent, intellectual disability. 

 

An extreme example of the damage to the brain is shown in the now imfamous MRI image of children raised in the hell holes which were the orphanages in Romania under the reign of Nicolae Ceausescu.  Too many children were condemned to lie in their cots without ever being attended to beyond their basic needs.

 

It can be seen just how much damage has occurred and follow-up studies has shown that this disability continues.  The difference is, the younger the child was when adopted the better chance they had of partially overcoming this permanent damage.

 

This neglect is not always deliberate as was the Romanian experience.  Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz, in their extraordinary book ‘The Boy who Thought He was a Dog’ (Publish by Basic Books – 2006) describes the child of an intellectually delayed mother who could not cope with the demands of a new born baby would leave it alone in its cot all day while she travelled around the city.  This child lacked any ability to connect with others and became a sociopath, if not a psychopath.  Perry describes the factors that created what became a vicious killer and how this young teen could not comprehend why everyone was upset.  I highly recommend this and any other work done by Bruce Perry, he is a leader in this field.

 

 These are extreme examples but the damage is on a sliding scale and teachers should be aware that some of the students who you find difficult to engage with are that way because of what happened to them when they were babies.  Its not their fault and it is our responsibility to help them overcome their cognitive injuries.

 

Posted by: AT 09:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, February 07 2022

 

In our review of the previous Newsletters we have tried to underline how the development of a child with severe behaviours is linked to the environment in which they were raised.  Understanding the cause of their dysfunctional behaviour will inform the approach we take to help teachers manage and in some cases modify that behaviour.  It is important to note that our model does not apply to those children who have genetic disabilities or psychotic illness, as the cause of their behaviour is not developmental.  However, it is my experience that the adoption of the interventions we advocate when dealing with these children will be an effective non-medical intervention.  All our interventions rely on the provision of an environment that is predictable, consistent and persistent and that provides an environment of safety for both the teacher and student.

 

Our work is underpinned by two fundamental beliefs:

  1. Our brain exists to support our life by directing our physical actions in response to threats or opportunities in our environment
  2. The choice of that action depends on our memory of what worked before to best satisfy our needs

When you consider the demands on our body to continually support life and the complexity of the brain, these factors seem inadequate.  However, these underlying principles drive a really complex narrative which will be the theme of these latest Newsletters.

 

In the last Newsletter we examined the brain and how any conditions in the environment could activate activity to drive behaviour.  In this essay we examine the formation of our sense of self that defines our identity and our temperament, this is our consciousness and how we behave in any given situation this will be based on the nature of our ‘self’. 

 

Just how much of our self is determined by our genetics or how we are fostered is the age-old question, is it nature or nurture.  There is no doubt our genes do play a part in our character, things like temperament but it is generally accepted that the quality of our family of origin is the main predictor of our personality.  In any case, we have little chance to alter our genetic profile (excluding the phenomena of epigenetics) so we need to concentrate on how the quality of their nurturing impacts their future behaviour.  So, the ‘sense of self’ is developed in an environment and the characteristics of that environment will play a significant role in the manner in which each individual behaves when they are confronted with similar environmental features.

 

Those students with dysfunctional behaviours have evolved their responses to various circumstances as a result of the ‘lessons’ they received from their family of origin.  This is why mental illnesses such as Conduct Disorder and Oppositional Defiance Disorders are considered developmental, these are learned.  The following describes the process of constructing our sense of self!

 

The schematic shown below illustrates the process by which memories of behaviours, the basis of our sense of self is acquired.  This occurs in stages:

  1. In the first instance we find our self, our sense of self in a situation.  If that situation does not threaten our sense of equilibrium then nothing happens.  However, if the conditions in the environment impacts on our equilibrium than we have to act to alleviate the stress that is a consequence of this imbalance.
  2. We have to decide what to do and this will require us to reflect on our memories to decide what we consider the optimal action we should take.  These memories are of previous events that have the same or similar threats or promises.  This process happens instantaneously condemning these children to those behaviours learned in a dysfunctional home.
  3. When we act there will be a consequence.  The consequence might be that the actions solved the imbalance and we return to equilibrium.  This outcome is fed back into our memory and the behaviour is reinforced.  If the action does not deal with the problem and the discomfort remains, that outcome is also fed back into our memories and sense of uncertainty changes our memories.  We will try a different action until the situation is resolved or we moved on without a resolution.
  4. Every time this sequence is executed our sense of self is changed and we return to the problem in the environment differently.

You will notice that there are two types of memories on the schematic; emotional and cognitive.  There is a significant difference between these which will be addressed later when we examine consciousness in more detail.

 

Memories begin simply, young children first learn rudimentary behaviours.  When they are hungry they need mum to feed them so they learn to cry and (hopefully) when she does a lesson is learned.  This link between crying and getting fed becomes a fundamental memory which will modify as the child learns more sophisticated behaviours.  The initial memory is not forgotten but becomes much more complex.  There is an attachment that coincides with the provision of those things we need, those who support us through these years when we can’t fend for ourselves.  For now, we will concentrate on the acquisition of behaviours but it is in these early years children form attachments to caregivers and the security of those attachments will be discussed in a later Newsletter.   

 

These complex memories form a series of schemas across our brain and each will display many of the characteristics of a fractal as seen below.  Unlike a fractal they are not an identical repeat of the first pattern but each a slight modification of that first memory.

 

Within each schema of behaviours associated with the primary memory there will be a leading behavioural candidate for any situation that threatens our equilibrium.  This preferred behaviour will have achieved dominance because it has been used successfully the most times.  This reflects one of the principles of behaviour development, ‘neurons that fire together wire together’.  This is not to exclude change.  Remember, if the behaviour doesn’t address the disequilibrium then you try different things and your memories change.  Nothing is stable!

 

 

Life is extremely complex and there are many schemas across the brain in the form of hubs.  Recent research has identified 180 separate hubs, specialist fractals of memory and each is connected via axonal pathways.  The ability to consider solutions from more than one schema but sampling from other hubs we can create alternate solutions or even unique ones.  This blending of memories becomes most effective when our prefrontal lobes mature.  This is where our working memory is co-ordinated and that ‘co-ordination’ is the analysis of our connectome!

 

This ability to combine multiple clues associated with the incoming stimulus from the external world, allows us to combine multidimensional stimulus into a single perception.  We then assess the potential effectiveness of any behaviour that we might choose to address that external environment.  This connection, our connectome holds all our memories, it is our ‘self’.

 

From the information above it is obvious that the greatest predictor of a child’s success is the family characteristics in which they are raised.  Of course, the child had no choice about where and to whom they were born and this makes a mockery of concepts like meritocracy.  And, it must be remembered the concept of guilt becomes much more complicated.  What we do know is that those children we focus on come to school with dysfunctional behaviours that they have acquired and it is our task to help them develop alternate ways of behaving, for their sake and the sake of their classmates.  Their history does not have to be their destiny and we have the privilege of supporting that change!

Posted by: AT 06:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

PRINCIPALS

John R Frew
Marcia J Vallance


ABN 64 372 518 772

ABOUT

The principals of the company have had long careers in education with a combined total of eighty-one years service.  After starting as mainstream teachers they both moved into careers in providing support for students with severe behaviours.

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