2023 Decoding Behavior Summit

The Details — Session Descriptions with Speaker Bios

Helping Kids Feel Good so They Can Do Good

Stressed Behavior Isn't Misbehavior

In his latest book, “Reframed: Self-Reg for a Just Society”, Stuart Shanker argues that reducing the stress load on kids is one of the most important things we can do as a society. In this discussion with Sarah, he explains what counts as “stress” (anything that uses energy!) and talks about how to be a Stress Detective so you can identify their stressors — physical, emotional, cognitive, social, or pro-social. 

By describing the biological processes driving a child’s stress response, Dr. Shanker explains why your child’s behavior is, at its core, designed to help your child reduce their stress load. By the end of the discussion, you will have lots of ideas about how to help your child, not the least of which is the five-step Self-Reg process for helping your child manage stress. 

Stuart Shanker, Ph.D.

Dr. Stuart Shanker (D.Phil) is a Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Psychology, the Founder & Visionary of The MEHRIT Centre, Ltd. Author of, “Calm, Alert and Learning: Classroom Strategies for Self-Regulation (2012)”, Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (and You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage With Life (2016), Self-Reg Schools: A Handbook for Educators (2019), and Reframed: Self-Reg for a Just Society (2020).

How to Shift from Reactive to Proactive

We are all wired to be reactive as a safety precaution. However, we don’t need to be reactive all that often in modern society, so it’s a biological instinct we have to manage intentionally, because reactivity often escalates a situation. Being proactive is a much more effective response to challenging behavior. 

In this session, Laura Linn Knight, author of “Breaking Free From Reactive Parenting,” shares the common reactive mistakes we make as caregivers of neurodivergent kids, how to pivot away from reactivity and the damage it can cause, and action you can take right now to become more proactive and less reactive.

Laura Linn Knight

Laura Linn Knight is a parenting educator, author, mindfulness and meditation leader, and former elementary school teacher who helps create a calmer and healthy home. Her work is devoted to empowering families with tools that decrease overwhelm and increase calm, joy and wellbeing.

Building Social & Emotional Connection

Sometimes when we think about helping kids learn how to navigate the social world, we think about teaching them specific things to do in a social situation. (For example, when to say, “Please…” and “Thank you.”) But if we focus entirely on what they aren’t doing well, our kids can start to feel like they can’t do anything right. And that doesn’t make it easier to connect. 

Enter speech language pathologist Elizabeth Sautter! In this interview, Ms. Sautter describes how teachers and parents can help the children they support feel good by focusing on the Three “S”s — Self-Care, Strengths, and Special Interests. Learn practical strategies you can implement ahead of time and in the moment so you can set your kids up for success. 

Elizabeth Sautter, MA, CCC-SLP

Elizabeth A. Sautter, MA, CCC-Speech Language Pathologist has specialized in social communication, emotional regulation and executive functioning for over 25 years in the schools and her private center.  She strives to provide neurodiverse affirming therapy, training, resources and an online course for parents with a passion to make it simple and sprinkled into everyday life as an “add IN, not add ON” to everyday routines and activities. Elizabeth is the author of Make Social and Emotional Learning Stick! Practical Activities to Manage Emotional, Navigate Social Situations and Reduce Anxiety (elizabethsautter.com). She is a collaborator and trainer with The Zones of Regulation team and co-author of The Zones storybook set, Tools to Try card decks and Navigating the Zones game.  She strongly believes in supporting regulation and advocacy for all individuals (everydayregulation.com). She resides in California, with her husband, two sons, their dog and their cat.

How to Help Your Child Get Adequate Rest

Heather Turgeon and Julie Wright are psychotherapists, sleep specialists, and authors of the popular parenting books, The Happy Sleeper, Now Say This and Generation Sleepless: Why tweens and teens aren’t sleeping enough, and how we can help them. As founders of The Happy Sleeper, they help families with babies, kids and teens sleep well. Heather and Julie’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The Washington Post and on several NPR shows. Heather lives in Los Angeles and has a (well-rested) tween and teen. Julie is the creator of one of LA’s best known parenting programs, The Wright Mommy and Me. She lives in New York City and has a young adult son.

Heather Turgeon, MFT & Julie Wright, MFT

When we don’t get enough sleep, it impacts our frontal cortex, executive functioning, and emotional reactivity. You’ll notice, those are areas most of our neurodivergent kids already struggle with. Sleep deprivation makes everything less doable. Clearly, our kids (and ourselves) need sufficient and quality sleep… and few are getting it. 

Heather Turgeon and Julie Wright, authors of “Generation Sleepless,” share why sleep is crucial, the common mistakes parents make when desperately trying to get kids to sleep, and many strategies that will help parents and kids alike to get the rest needed.

The Role of Motivation, Connection, & Video Games in Fostering Resilience

Helping our kids feel competent navigating an unpredictable and constantly changing world is one of the most important things we can do as parents. In this interview, Brendan Mahan describes resilience as the process of navigating challenges – from little d disappointments to big D Disappointments to life changing events that knock you flat. How will our children learn to face adversity so they can build a life they are excited to live?

This interview will help you understand why it’s not helpful to focus on your child’s motivation, but to rather focus on what is making the situation challenging. You will learn strategies for teaching your kids to face their fears and overcome setbacks, so they can feel confident and competent.

Brendan Mahan, M.Ed., MS

Brendan Mahan, M.Ed., MS., is the producer and host of the ADHD Essentials Podcast, an internationally recognized ADHD/Executive Function expert, and an engaging, sought-after speaker. He helps individuals, families, schools, and businesses manage the challenges of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder through an approach that blends education, collaborative problem-solving, and accountability with compassion, humor, and a focus on strengths and growth.

Your Shame is Impacting Your Child’s Behavior, But It Doesn’t Have To

When we feel shame about the behavior of our children or our decisions about how to raise them, we may isolate our families from the community and rob our children of the opportunity to learn the skills they will need to function as adults. Worse, we may make them feel bad about themselves, which makes it even harder for them to self-regulate when they encounter difficult situations. 

In this presentation, Mercedes Samudio describes shame and the impact it has on families. She then describes how to build a life for your family and child that honors your values, your child’s wiring, and your family’s needs using the six steps of her Shame-Proof Parenting approach.

Mercedes Samudio, LCSW

Mercedes Samudio, LCSW, has been working with families for more than ten years to help them develop healthy communication skills, manage severe emotional issues, develop coping skills to manage behaviors, create dynamic parent-child relationships, and navigate social media & technology as a family. She has worked with adoptive families, foster families, teen parents, parents navigating the child protective services system, and children living with mental illness. In 2014 she transitioned to a private practice where she focuses on parent coaching and guiding families to reduce unwanted behaviors, developing effective parenting strategies, creating healthy communication habits, and designing social media/tech plans for their household.

Is it Bad Behavior or Dysregulation?

When you view behavior as good or bad, you set a perspective for yourself that a lesson must be taught and the child must be punished — you feel you can’t “let a child get away with it” if their behavior is “bad.” However, when you reframe challenging behavior to recognize that it is a signal of dysregulation, you see that the child needs help. 

In this session, occupational therapist Greg Santucci, defines regulation and dysregulation and teaches you how to offer co-regulation in your response, rather than being reactive. We talk about how the thinking brain is offline in a dysregulated child, and what that means for responding effectively. He’s not advocating permissiveness for inappropriate behavior here, he’s advocating for understanding a child’s brain, body, and emotions so you can help a child who is expressing their dysregulation inappropriately.

Greg Santucci, MS, OTR/L

Greg Santucci has been a Pediatric Occupational Therapist for 20+ years and is the founding director of Power Play Pediatric Therapy in NJ. He is certified in Sensory Integration and the creator of the Model of Child Engagement. Greg has been lecturing nationally for over a decade on topics related to sensory processing, child development, regulation and behavior, and consults with families and school districts both nationally and internationally. He has dedicated his career to promoting neuroscience informed, relationship-based interventions to help parents and teachers support children of all abilities. He is still a practicing clinician, maintaining a caseload in both the public schools and an outpatient setting. Greg is married to a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and is DAD to two teenage children.

Are You Supporting or Enabling?

Sometimes it can be hard to tell whether you are doing too much for your child, robbing them of the ability to learn from their mistakes. In this wide-ranging conversation Debbie Reber and Sarah talk about the importance of truly knowing your child, and understanding how they tell you what they can and cannot handle. This can be difficult, in part because our children are growing and learning, and their capabilities are constantly changing.

We discuss the devastating consequences of learned helplessness, and the passivity that can result when kids don’t feel a sense of control over their own lives. Listen in to learn about some of the mistakes well-meaning parents make, and how you can provide children with opportunities to grow and to learn from their mistakes.

Debbie Reber, M.A.

Debbie Reber, MA is a parenting activist, bestselling author, speaker, and the CEO and founder of Tilt Parenting, a resource, top-performing podcast, consultancy, and community with a focus on shifting the paradigm for parents raising and embracing neurodivergent children. Her most recent book, Differently Wired: A Parent’s Guide to Raising an Atypical Child with Confidence and Hope, came out in June 2018. After living abroad in the Netherlands for five years, Debbie, her husband, and differently wired teen moved to Brooklyn, NY in 2019.

Harnessing Individuality and Uniqueness to Transform Behavior

Celebrating Uniqueness to Build Self-Confidence

We live in a society that is obsessed with measuring everyone and everything by an arbitrary definition of “normal.” Yet, we are so diverse in so many beautiful ways, including our neurobiology. We shouldn’t have to fight for acceptance but rather be taught that our uniqueness is what makes up a valuable part of something bigger. 

In this session, Cathy Domoney shares her experience empowering her unique neurodivergent kids. She also shares strategies to help you start celebrating your family’s uniqueness, encourage your kids to be their true selves, and hold space for the messy and beautiful journey. This session is a game-changer for families who don’t experience joy.

Cathy Domoney

With over 20 years of experience transforming the lives of countless families in her private practice. A steadfast advocate for the child, her core philosophy is based on the delicate balance between being our children’s voice while also holding them to a supremely high standard. She is paving the way for the next generation of parents who are raising resilient, inspirational, intelligent and paradigm-shifting humans – the greatest future leaders of our time.

As the best-selling author of a kids book series, and a highly publicized thought leader seen on TED-Ed, Fox, NBC, CBS, BuzzFeed and the Today show, Cathy is making waves as a new generation parenting expert. Her 20+ years of experience in teaching, counseling, psychology, sociology, hypnotherapy, coaching, and raising her own five neurodivergent children has given her tremendous insight into parent-kid dynamics. Cathy empowers and supports the parents of children who are destined for greatness, helping them to unlock their children’s infinite potential so they can grow into the world-shaping leaders that humanity demands.

Is Challenging Behavior Intentional?

Eileen Devine is passionate about helping parents understand why their kids behave the way they do. In this interview, she talks about how behavior cannot be separated from biology. A calm and happy child feels good in their body. A child who is anxious, depressed, aggressive, running away, or shutting down is not feeling good, and their behaviors reflect their efforts to try to make their body feel better.

Listen in to learn about the importance of looking for the reasons underneath your child’s behavior (and your own behavior!) You will learn how to identify the kinds of lagging skills that make it hard for kids to be at their best. Armed with this information, you will be better equipped to proactively anticipate difficult situations so you can think about how to handle them before things get out of control.

Eileen Devine, LCSW

Eileen Devine is a licensed clinical social worker and lives in Portland, Oregon. She has over twenty years of clinical experience and for the last ten of those years, have been supporting parents who have kids with neurobehavioral challenges. Eileen is also the mother of a teenager with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, a serious brain-based condition that has challenging behavioral symptoms. She believes that when we understand the way an individual’s brain works, we then understand the meaning behind challenging behaviors and begin to see the behaviors as symptoms of their differences. This shift from a behavioral lens to a brain first lens allows those who are neurodiverse to be more successful in their environment, which results in less challenging behavioral symptoms.

Customizing Your Parenting Approach Based on the Kid You Have

When you have a kid who is easily dysregulated, you quickly learn that standard strategies for behavior management don’t always work with your Orchid Kid. This is because every child is different, and it is our job, as the adults who love them, to figure out their unique needs and how to address them. Listen in as Gabriele Nicolet and Jen Dryer talk with Sarah about the importance of co-regulation, providing a just-right challenge, and accepting our children as they are, without judgment. You will also learn why it’s critically important to tune in to your own needs, and to practice self-compassion so you can provide the calm regulating presence your children need. This practical and down-to-earth talk is filled with tips you can use to help your child feel competent, calm, and understood.

Gabriele Nicolet, MA, CCC-SLP

Gabriele Nicolet, MA, CCC-SLP is a speech therapist and parent coach with more than 20 years of experience working with families of young children. She founded SpeechKids, a private, holistic speech therapy practice, and she is the creator of the Complicated Kids podcast.

Jen Dryer, M. Ed.

Jen Dryer, MA is a parent coach, advocate and education consultant who supports families and teachers of neurodivergent children. Jen has more than 20 years of experience working with children, families and teachers in her work in both NYC and DC as a public school teacher, staff developer, and parent coach/advocate. She has two neurodivergent children.

Cultural Considerations when Interpreting Behavior

Every cultural group you interact with has expectations regarding behavior. For example, you behave differently during religious services than you do when swimming with close friends. When a person is from a different cultural background than yours, you may make incorrect assumptions about the reasons for their behavior based on your own cultural norms. This can be particularly problematic when a behavior is used to determine whether a child is behaving “appropriately.” 

Listen to Sarah’s conversation with Dr. Jamell White to learn about the importance of children feeling safe enough to show up as their true selves, and the cost of camouflaging, code-switching, and masking. You will learn about the differences between high- and low-context cultures, and the importance of interpreting behavior through a lens of curiosity, acceptance, and humility.

Jamell White, Ph.D., LCSW-C

Jamell White, Ph.D., LCSW-C has a background in clinical social work, special education, and human development and specializes in working with autistic children, adolescents and adults. She provides individual and family therapy, consultation services, and social skills intervention. Dr. White has over 20 years of clinical experience.

Nurturing Supportive Sibling Relationships

Siblings of neurodivergent children have emotions and needs that are often overshadowed by the needs of their siblings. And parents often feel tremendous guilt for not tending to the needs of those siblings because the needs of the other child require more attention. This can result in a host of outcomes, some positive, some not-so-positive. 

In this interview, Bari Turkheimer and Caron Starobin talk about those outcomes, and provide clear strategies for grownups to use to help siblings navigate those emotions. Listen in to learn what your kids may not be telling you, and to get ideas for how to help develop healthy relationships with all your children, so they can create their own healthy relationships with each other.

Caron Starobin, LCSW-C

Caron Starobin is the Owner and Clinical Director of Starobin Counseling, LLC, a growing group practice based in Olney, MD.  Caron’s work with children, adolescents, parents, and families started in 1997 providing in-home services for children, adolescents, and families at a social service agency in Minneapolis.  Her career over the last 25 years has included work with pediatric HIV patients and their families, older adults, and neurodiverse and neurotypical people and their families throughout the lifespan.  

Caron and her associates provide individual, couples, group, and family therapy using relational models including Relational Life Therapy, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions, Integrated Attachment Family Therapy, Interpersonal Neurobiology, and Trauma-informed therapies.  Starobin Counseling offers Siblings Together and Parents Together, group programs providing therapeutic support, building relational skills, and breaking down social isolation.

Bari Turkheimer, LMSW

Bari Turkheimer focuses her clinical skills, knowledge, and training to provide mental health services to individuals who live life on the autism spectrum. Prior to becoming a social worker, Bari worked as an ABA instructor at the Ivymount School in Rockville, Maryland. After receiving her Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland at Baltimore in 2019, she returned to the Ivymount school as a Mental Health Provider. Bari currently works with elementary and middle school aged students in the Aspire School Program. Starting in the summer of 2020, Bari joined Starobin Counseling to share her expertise in a way that provided support to children and adolescents who are siblings of people on the spectrum. With the support and guidance of Caron Starobin, Bari and Caron jointly developed the “Siblings Together” program. Bari currently facilitates the Siblings Together Group which offers a supportive and therapeutic space for children and adolescents who have autistic siblings. This program helps reduce the social isolation some children may feel because of the unique set of challenges that comes with having a sibling on the spectrum. The 9-week program provides an opportunity for children and adolescents to explore and share feelings, grow an understanding of autism and its impacts, and develop coping skills for the challenges that come when you have a sibling on the spectrum.

Tackling Motivation Challenges

Do you wonder why your child doesn’t seem motivated to do the most basic things? Maybe it’s because they can’t do them! In this interview, Seth Perler talks about how to plant the seed of motivation, and provide the growing conditions that will help your child learn how to build the life they want for themselves!

Seth’s three-step process — (1) getting buy-in, (2) deciding what to tackle, and (3) figuring out how to tackle it — can help adults think through the challenges and come up with an actionable plan. You will get lots of ideas about ways to do this; by the end of the presentation you will be ready to dive in!

Seth Perler, M.Ed.

Seth Perler’s life’s work is dedicated to helping kids overcome Executive Functioning challenges so they can have great futures, despite our outdated educational systems. Seth creates youtube videos on his blog every week to help parents and teachers support kids.

Mission: Give compassionate & proactive parents, educators and others who help kids, honest, practical and unconventional approaches to helping complicated, struggling students, without the misinformation. And teach the world about Executive Function, which is at the root of student struggles.

Vision: A day when we don’t need executive function coaches because education is wildly successful at empowering all students with everything they need to have happy, healthy and successful lives.

Boredom and Behavior

Boredom is a self-regulation issue. When kids say “I’m bored,” it can mean a myriad of different things — from “I’m not enjoying this,” to “my sensory needs aren’t being met.” As parents and educators, it’s our job to investigate and determine the root cause of boredom-related behavior. 

In this session, gifted and 2e specialist, Emily Kircher-Morris shares possible reasons a neurodivergent child might say they are bored, along with many traps adults fall into in addressing these situations and behaviors. Learn the actions you can take to address these behaviors effectively.

Emily Kircher-Morris, M.A., M.Ed., LPC

Emily Kircher-Morris, M.A., M.Ed., LPC, inspired by her own experiences as a neurodivergent person, is dedicated to destigmatizing neurodiversity and supporting neurodivergent people of all ages. She started her career in education and is now in private practice near St. Louis, Missouri as a licensed professional counselor, where she specializes in supporting gifted, twice-exceptional, and neurodivergent kids and adults (and their families).

Emily hosts The Neurodiversity Podcast, which explores the psychological, educational, and social needs of neurodivergent people. She is the author of two books related to the development of children and teens who are neurodivergent and cognitively gifted. “Teaching Twice-Exceptional Learners in Today’s Classroom” (Free Spirit Publishing, 2021) focuses on supporting 2e learners in the educational setting, and “Raising Twice-Exceptional Children: A Handbook for Parents of Neurodivergent Gifted Kids” (Routledge, 2022) is a guide for parents navigating the world of twice-exceptionality.

Internal Experiences Can Explain Behavior

Behavior IS communication, but it can be really tough to figure out exactly what the person is trying to communicate! In this interview, you will learn how experiences in the sensory, emotional, and social domains can be very overwhelming to some people, and cause them to become dysregulated. The trouble comes when you don’t have the same experiences as your child is having, and so you don’t understand why they are responding the way they are. 

Paul Micallef describes a process that will allow you to validate your child’s experiences – even when you don’t understand them – and to then work together to figure out what can be done. He also offers some surprising insights into things that well-meaning adults do to help children that can actually make kids more dysregulated.

Paul Micallef

Paul Micallef studied Aerospace Engineering and worked five years for Boeing doing design work for the 787 Dreamliner before feeling called to leave engineering behind and pursue a more empathic career which makes use of his natural talent for communication and Emotional Intelligence. Since discovering he has Aspergers in 2015, Paul has worked for several organizations teaching parents, students, and teachers about Autism. In 2017 Paul started his own online business Autism Explained, helping the parents and teachers to understand their autistic children. From a young age he devoted himself to cracking the emotional code in an effort to understand the creatures we call humans. Today, leveraging his personal experience as well as insights gained from many years working with the autistic community, Paul is a relationship coach and Emotional Intelligence trainer specializing in autistic adults and their partners.

Tackling Specific Behavior Challenges

Screentime-Related Behavior Challenges

There is little more frustrating for parents than trying to keep our kids’ technology use to a healthy level. We want them to have a minimal amount of time on screens and they’d be happy being on a screen every waking moment. Technology is part of modern life, but it doesn’t have to be a battle. 

In this session, Debbie Steinberg Kuntz shares how to shift to a collaborative approach to establish healthy technology use. We discuss the importance of the relationship and how to talk to kids about creating a balanced life.

Debbie Steinberg Kuntz, LMFT

Debbie Steinberg Kuntz, LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist and is the founder of Bright & Quirky. She specializes in helping bright kids and families with learning, social, emotional and behavioral challenges optimize their lives for thriving. Debbie has interviewed over 300 of the top psychologists and educators, and together with the Bright & Quirky team, has served over 100,000 parents in 150 countries through the Bright & Quirky Child Online Summit, the IdeaLab parent learning community and a variety of Bright & Quirky programs and services. Debbie lives near Seattle with her husband and two sons.

The Truth About Lying

What is it about lying that gets adults so twisted in knots? The societal assumption that lies only come from “bad people,” that’s what.

But what if that isn’t true? (Because it’s NOT.) Lying is not a character flaw — it’s an ineffective coping mechanism for fear and shame. 

In this session, Dr. Sharon Saline explains that lying is a signal that a child is trying to make the here and now more comfortable. It’s also a signal that they need your help, not punishment or blame. Dr. Saline outlines her STAR method of addressing lying and how to set kids up for success in this area.

Sharon Saline, Psy.D.

Dr. Sharon Saline is the author of the award-winning book, What Your ADHD Child Wishes You Knew: Working Together to Empower Kids for Success in School and Life and The ADHD solution card deck. She specializes in working with neurodiverse children, teens, young adults and families and consults with schools internationally. Dr. Saline aims to help outside-the-box thinkers improve executive functioning and social-emotional skills while also building effective communication tools and self-esteem. She is a part-time lecturer at the Smith College School for Social Work, blogger for PsychologyToday.com, serves on the editorial board of and hosts a bi-weekly Facebook Live event for ADDitudemag.com. Learn more at www.drsharonsaline.com.

How to Help a Kid in Survival Mode

We tend to find ourselves in a lot of storms when raising neurodivergent kids. It’s not their fault, of course, but it is the reality. Different severities of storms are likely, and they all require a different approach. 

Kids in survival mode can often be in what Dayna Abraham calls a Category 3 Storm. Cat 3 storms include dangerous behavior and can be pervasive in many areas of life. When faced with Cat 3 behavior, there are some common traps to look out for and a step-by-step plan of action to walk through first. In this session, Dayna shares all of that and more.

Dayna Abraham

Dayna Abraham has become a trusted and proven leader in the parenting community. She is the founder of the popular parenting site Lemon Lime Adventures which has accumulated over 41 million viewers in less than seven years. She is also the CEO of Calm the Chaos, a seven-figure company that offers Dayna’s compassionate framework to support thousands of parents worldwide. Her social media has a weekly reach of over 1.2 million people, and over 200,000 parents have attended her Calm the Chaos free workshop. Her work has also been showcased in HuffPost, Babble, Scary Mommy, BuzzFeed, ADDitude Magazine, and Positive Parenting Solutions. She is also the bestselling author of Superkids Activity Guide to Conquering Everyday and Sensory Processing 101.

Coping With and Improving Aggression

Many families are living in a hostile home. It’s really tough to live with an aggressive or volatile child, and it’s really tough to be that child, too. While aggressive behavior isn’t acceptable, neither is pretending it doesn’t happen. Don’t let the shame and self-blame hold you back from addressing your child’s cries for help. 

In this session, Tosha Schore of Parenting Boys Peacefully outlines the foundational steps to take to start to restore peace in your home. The reason for your child’s aggression probably isn’t what you assume, nor is it intentional harm. Join us to learn how you might actually be escalating the aggression (you very likely are), and what to do instead.

Tosha Schore, M.A.

Tosha Schore is on a mission to create a more peaceful world, one sweet boy at a time by supporting you to care for yourself, connect with your boy deeply, set limits lovingly, and play wildly!

She brings a burst of energy and optimism to parenting, and is an expert at simple solutions to what feel like overwhelmingly complicated problems.

Through her online community and courses, Tosha helps break the isolation of modern parenting and lifts your confidence so you’re better equipped to face the challenges of raising young boys.

Tosha is the creator of all things Parenting Boys Peacefully, including her 10-Day Reconnect, an online group experience shared by over 15,000 parents worldwide. She is also co-author of Listen: Five Simple Tools to Meet Your Everyday Parenting Challenges, a trainer of Hand in Hand Parenting, and a frequent guest expert on podcasts and at online and in-person conferences. You can find her at www.parentingboyspeacefully.com

What to Do or Say When Kids Are Having a Hard Time

We are often triggered ourselves by our kids’ behavior, because it feels so personal. Yet, we know we need to take a beat and respond with purpose and intention so we don’t escalate our child. Even when we know we need to remain calm, we still may not know exactly the right thing to do or say. 

In this session, Dr. Emily King shares some common pitfalls we fall into when trying to address challenging behavior and then outlines the steps to take to ensure that we are responding in the best way possible, or, if not, that we make amends and repair with our kids.

Emily King, Ph.D.

Dr. Emily King is a Child Psychologist who has worked with neurodivergent children and teens for the last 20 years. She received her Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she worked at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities and the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. She then spent the first five years of her career consulting with teachers as a School Psychologist in public elementary, middle, and high schools in Houston, Texas before returning home to Raleigh and starting her private practice.

Ensuring That Kids Feel Safe in the Classroom

School should be a haven – a place where our kids and teachers feel safe so they can engage in the magic of learning. Unfortunately many teachers and students feel anything but safe at school, and the traumas of the last three years haven’t made things better. How can we turn things around? Emily Read Daniels was worried about these issues even before the pandemic, and when she learned about polyvagal theory, she realized that teachers could use the strategies to help their students, and themselves, feel safe together, in community. 

In this interview, Emily talks about the power of community and the felt safety we experience when we feel connected to the other members of a group. Listen in to learn about the importance of simple patterned repetitive rhythmic sensory experiences like music, dance, and clapping. You will also learn about the four core practices Emily recommends to help teachers and students build community so they can begin the important business of learning.

Emily Read Daniels, M.Ed., MBA, NCC, SEP™

Emily Read Daniels, M.Ed., MBA, NCC, SEP™-in-training is the author of The Regulated Classroom©, an approach to cultivating conditions for felt safety in the classroom. She developed this approach after spending years as a school counselor working with dysregulated students and staff. She founded HERE this NOW, a trauma-responsive schools consultancy and educator resource as a way for her to bring basic trauma-informed information to schools and educators.

Meltdowns & Burnout: How to Help

When a child becomes extremely dysregulated, it can be very difficult to know how to help. Many parents and teachers assume that the child is throwing a temper tantrum so they can get what they want. But for many kids, losing control is actually the result of overwhelm – from too much sensory input or as a result of trying to navigate a world that is not built for them. 

In this conversation with David Gray-Hammond you will learn what it is like to experience overwhelm and how to help when your child is having a meltdown. You’ll also learn about the burnout that neurodivergent people may experience when they have been unable to replenish their internal resources over a long period of time, and the symptoms of atypical burnout. You will get lots of ideas from Mr. Gray-Hammond for how to help the neurodivergent people in your life recover and restore their sense of self after a meltdown, or when burnt out.

David Gray Hammond

David Gray-Hammond is an Autistic, ADHD, and Schizophrenic author. He runs the Facebook page and blog “Emergent Divergence” and provides consultancy, advocacy, and mentoring services under DGH Neurodivergent Consultancy, with a particular focus on addiction, mental health, and criminal justice.

What Happens When Play is a Four-Letter Word?

What exactly is “play” and why is it so critical for a child’s development? In this talk, Rachelle Sheely describes the guiding relationship between parent and child as a collaborative dance, with each partner contributing to the success of a shared endeavor. She will help you understand how the interactive nature of play, first with trusted adults and then with peers, helps children develop the skills they will need to create their best lives: problem-solving, flexibility, self-awareness, creativity, innovation, resilience, ability to work on a team, to analyze and appraise what’s going on around them, to manage uncertainty, to take others’ perspectives, and to pursue ongoing growth and development. Listen in to learn about how to facilitate co-regulation, coordination, and collaboration in the context of play.

Rachelle Sheely, Ph.D.

Rachelle K. Sheely, Ph.D., serves as the President of RDIconnect® as well as the head of professional training and supervision. For the past fifteen years she has been a leader in the development and logistical implementation of programs for both families and professionals working with children, adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities. Along with her extensive clinical training, Dr. Sheely brings an accomplished background in education, art, music and poetry allowing her to inject creativity and originality into the teaching, training and management of the thousands of professionals and families she reaches on a daily basis. Profoundly effecting, Dr. Sheely has spent a lifetime working with children on a professional and personal level. With a gift for moving from observation to intuitive precision, her work extends far beyond treatment, and into the everyday moments that resonate in the lives of her clients.