I was very happy to have located the below information prior to our meeting and it seemed to be key in Mrs. C's commitment to this new course:
Dialectic Behavioral Therapy
The therapist should try to interact with the patient in a way that is:
- Accepting of the patient as she is but which encourages change.
- Centered and firm yet flexible when the circumstances require it.
- Nurturing but benevolently demanding.
While I did change the wording from therapist to authority figure and patient to child, it felt good to be able to walk into the meeting with some science to back up Little K's needs. We call DBT "Loving Correction" in our home and have been raising Little K this way for several years. We have seen a HUGE difference in her when we parent this way and expect to see improvement in her classroom, too, as her teacher commits to this process.
Mrs. C and I talked through some classroom scenarios and discussed ways to incorporate this new way of managing Little K into the classroom language. We were able to incorporate DBT into the new classroom strategy in this way:
- Begin with affirmation of whatever Little K has been able to accomplish or do correctly.
- Request change or correction in a positive tone.
- Provide encouragement to complete the change/correction.
Problem: Little K is dawdling in putting away her backpack and getting started with morning work.
Affirmation: Good morning, Little K! I'm so glad to see you today!
Request: Please go ahead and put away your backpack so you can get started with our morning work.
Encouragement: Because I know you will want time to talk with your friends before class starts.
Problem: Little K has gotten distracted during independent work.
Affirmation: Wow, Little K, look at how much you have gotten done already!
Request: Please focus on completing the rest of your worksheet.
Encouragement: Because I know you are looking forward to reading your book once you are done.
These are things that come very naturally for us here at home and I was encouraged to hear from the teacher that she was planning on implementing these with Little K immediately. She even mentioned that this would work with some of her other tougher students, too, so I'm hoping that translates into seeing long term change in the classroom.
I came home and talked with Little K about the meeting, telling her that Mrs. C was sorry to have made her feel stupid and thinks that Little K is a very bright child. I told her that Mrs. C was going to work on using her words to show Little K that she cares about her and thinks she is smart. I also told Little K that we were going to work on her being able to stay focused in class and follow the classroom rules. When I was done, I asked her how she felt about all of that and she said she felt good. She was in a great mood the rest of the day.
I plan on following up with the teacher mid/end of next week to see how she feels and if she is seeing positive change. Overall, I feel really good about our meeting and am praying that we begin to see Little K enjoying second grade.