Kids Who Survived Joplin Tornado, Now Living Through Covid-19

Nine years ago, the city I live in was hit by the deadliest tornado in American history. It was an EF-5 tornado nearly a mile wide, and it traveled across the entire city from west to east. It killed 158 people, injured thousands, and damaged the property of nearly every person I knew.

For years afterward, the tornado affected each day of Joplinites' lives in some way or another - so much so that it seemed...


Why Aren’t Kids Pumped About This Time Off From School?

I work in a school, which means that when I first got the notification about spring break being extended, I was ECSTATIC. Obviously, the fact that I could feel any excitement at all shows how fully I didn't understand the magnitude of what was happening around the world.

Out of this ignorance, when I told my kids we'd be out of school an extra week, I told them with a smile on my face and dance...


Stop Stealing R.A.D. Moms’ Opportunities to Bond With Their Unattached Kids

is the anagram used to refer to Reactive Attachment Disorder, which is a trauma-induced behavioral disorder that inhibits a child's ability to form healthy attachments to their caregivers.

Kids who have this disorder have usually experienced significant trauma within the first few months/years of their lives, and, as a result, the area of their brain that forms proper emotional attachments doesn't develop correctly. This leaves them unable to view caregivers as providers of emotional comfort, instead...


What the Hardest Year of My Life Taught Me About Kids Who Don’t “Deserve” Gentleness

About nine months ago, I experienced one of the most traumatic moments of my life. For two weeks, I cried, laid in bed, and refused to eat.

The people around me were gentle and supportive, allowing me take those weeks to do nothing while they cared for my kids and kept my life afloat. Over the course of the next month, I was able to pull myself together enough to get back to living. People slowly...


Why Are Graphic Novels So Popular Amongst Students Who Have ADHD?

If you don't have school-aged children right now, you might be unaware of the global phenomenon that is graphic novels within the world of literature. Graphic novels--full-length books that've been written and illustrated in comic-book form--are the newest obsession amongst kids in elementary and middle school. They've been somewhat disregarded as "real" fiction, which causes adults steer kids away from them, but I'm here to tell you that you don't need to.

Certain kids REALLY benefit...


How Does Play Impact Behavior in Children?

Did you know that playing teaches children how to behave in prosocial ways, even when an adult isn't teaching them "how" to do it?

Did you know that most adults who have attachment disorders and personality disorders didn't get to play in healthy ways as children? Many adults who are in prison for serious crimes against others were abused or neglected as children--studies show a high correlation between harmful crimes and a lack of empathy--but there is...


Is It Really That Difficult to Understand Autistic Students?

After spending the past five years in the world of behavior and education, I've come across a lot of adults who say they don't understand the way Autistic brains function. "Some people 'get' it, and some people don't," they say.

It has been likened to not speaking the same language as the student. Without speaking the same language, the teacher can't understand what the student is asking for, and the student doesn't know how to make...


People Don’t Outgrow the Effects of Childhood Trauma Just Because They Become Adults

Scrolling through Facebook this morning, I passed a picture someone had posted, which said, "Stop blaming your parents for how you turned out. You're grown now. Your mistakes are your own. Grow up. Forgiveness is important."

I think I understand where the creator of the post was coming from, but I also think they must've been very under-informed about what childhood trauma actually does to the brain. I'm sure the sentiment behind the statement was to encourage...


Why Do We Feel So Shocked By Our Kids’ Struggles?

Earlier this week, someone complimented the manners of my daughter while we were out in public. Without even thinking, I immediately responded, "Thank you so much!"

It wasn't difficult for me to acknowledge the positive behavior in my kid or to accept responsibility for it as the person who was raising her. Yet, for some reason, when someone comments on a negative habit my child has, I'm not nearly as quick to nod my head, agree...


The Role of the Amygdala in Kids Who Have No Fear

Last week, I watched a National Geographic documentary about an American rock climber named Alex Honnold. Not only does Alex climb up massive rock structures without a harness, but he also does it with no equipment, no team to monitor him, and no ledges to stick his feet on.

This dude climbs STRAIGHT UP a flat wall.

I'm not even kidding.

There were moments during the documentary when I thought, "What is his foot even resting on?...