Mental Health Education for All Grades in New York!

Mental health education: grade school classroom

New York State has passed a law, which takes effect July 1, 2018, that will require mental health education in all grades in New York.  John Richter, the director of public policy with the Mental Health Association of New York State, encouraged educators to think of it less as a new class or topic, “but to update the way you think about mental health,” and include it in existing day-to-day classes.  He stated that it can be integrated into existing health class curriculum, and he said there are opportunities in other classes. “In literature, if you’re reading The Scarlet Letter, you’re going to learn an important lesson about stigma. If you’re in biology and you’re talking about brain synapses, you have the opportunity to talk about mental health,” Richter said. [Source] Continue reading “Mental Health Education for All Grades in New York!”

About the Florida Shooting, Empathy, and Not Being Able to Speak

Empathy: Grieving teen with paper lamp

I was reflecting on the 2/14/2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, and the massive impact this event has had, once again, on all of our communities: not just in collective grief, but in the outpouring of empathy for the victims.

A young man shooting people randomly at a school seems incomprehensible. Yet, how do we go about helping students and families to make sense of such traumatic events? The easiest solution is not to do anything; but is this an ethically tenable position to take? Continue reading “About the Florida Shooting, Empathy, and Not Being Able to Speak”

What Do We Mean by the Term “Presume Competence”?

Competence: Child drawing

I just read a very thought-provoking discussion between some SLPs on an ASHA discussion forum and thought of sharing my thoughts with you. Frequently in the schools (in case and intervention discussions), we hear about the importance of “presuming competence” of a particular child or individual. As we reflect on this term, however, it quickly becomes clear that there is very little consensus on what this term really means.
Continue reading “What Do We Mean by the Term “Presume Competence”?”