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4/18/2014 Learning Objectives Supporting the Special Needs of Develop an awareness about the neuroscience of learning and how that can inform the learning Gifted Children: Neuroscience process for gifted kids Implications for Regulating

  1. 4/18/2014 Learning Objectives Supporting the Special Needs of Develop an awareness about the neuroscience of learning and how that can inform the learning Gifted Children: Neuroscience process for gifted kids Implications for Regulating Learn about some of the reasons why gifted kids Emotions and Behavior have trouble with emotional and behavioral regulation MCGT CHAT, Prior Lake April 3, 2013 Learn strategies to improve how gifted kids regulate their emotions and behavior Anne Tyler, MS, LMFT Tyler Institute Neuroscience of Learning • with 15-20 mil. nerve cells (2.5 billion years to Reptilian brain reach maximum development) only capable of 27 complex behaviors How can Neuroscience help understand the process of Limbic (emotional) • with 100 million nerve cells (took 200 million years brain to develop fully learning? Neomammalian • (took 4 million years to develop as it is today) (pre-frontal cortex)  The fully developed human brain has apx. 150 billion nerve cells  Our metacognition is the most unique - introspection 1

  2. 4/18/2014 Neuroscience of Learning Neuroscience of Learning How are templates formed? What is happening in our brain when we learn? To form templates, there must be glutamate and dopamine present in just the right place Learning is the building up of connections Glutamate – Readily available. between nerve cells to form templates Its only function is to mindlessly excite everything in front of it up to and including the point of death. • Templates are the pattern of nerve cells firing in a Whilst the thought of dying of too much excitation has a rather interesting (and specific way to activate memories of all actions, maybe even appealing) aspect to it, it is not a particularly functional way to get your thoughts and emotions brain to work over the 75 or so years of your life. After all, if every time you had a thought you killed a few million nerve cells, you would get to maybe have about 300 thoughts and then, whoops, no more brain. • Templates must form for a memory to be created Dr. Andrew Curran, pediatric neurologist and neurobiologist Neuroscience of Learning Neuroscience of Learning Different ways to activate dopamine release. The emotional/limbic Dopamine release is the key to learning brain controls how, where and when dopamine is released and learning requires just the right amount in the right places at the right time STRESSFUL SITUATIONS ARE ONE WAY TO RELEASE DOPAMINE, BUT… A neurochemical that calms down the effects of glutamate. Stress also produces steroids . Chronic steroid production has been shown to kill nerve Stress also produces cells in the hippocampus and You must have dopamine release in your Stressful situations flood your adrenaline and noradrenaline amydgala. The hippocampus brain with dopamine (but it is (and some memories can go is one of the two crucial brain to learn anything. indiscriminant) into the unconscious parts of structures of memory (short memory). term) and to destroy nerve cells in it when you are trying to learn does not win as a Dopamine release is predominantly under the good survival trait. control of your emotional/limbic brain. 2

  3. 4/18/2014 Neuroscience of Learning Neuroscience of Learning Dr. Andrew Curran, pediatric neurologist and neurobiologist Other ways to activate dopamine in healthy ways to promote learning. UNDERSTAND If you do this And, if you do the human in you will that, they will front of you. improve their feel Reward and anticipation of reward Then you will SELF- emotionally improve their CONFIDENCE. ENGAGED SELF-ESTEEM. with what you This is a huge comment on learning. You are doing. are who you are because your genetic nature has interacted with your Under conditions of reward and environmental nurture to lay down anticipated reward dopamine secretion templates in your brain. These templates is firmly under the control of the define who you are to the finest detail. emotional system. Dr. Andrew Curran, pediatric neurologist and neurobiologist Neuroscience of Learning Dr. Andrew Curran, pediatric neurologist and neurobiologist Neuroscience to Application If our understanding, If the emotional/limbic connection and love is Love, Understanding brain is in the most the most important factor and Connection control of the learning in promoting healthy between process learning teacher/parent and Neurochemically student/child is the they will have no single most option but to learn important factor in from you. If reward or the promoting healthy What do we do with this anticipation of reward is learning in the most information when a one of the primary efficient and gifted child has trouble mobilizers of dopamine, effective way. with emotional which helps us effectively regulation? and efficiently learn 3

  4. 4/18/2014 Parental Responses Why Do Gifted Kids Explode? When Gifted Kids Explode Parenting for Skill Development Traditional Authoritarian Beliefs (Balanced Style + skills) Emotional and behavioral dysregulation. Parenting Beliefs  Child doesn’t have the skills to  Child is being oppositional handle this situation yet  Child needs to comply with requests, rules are non-  Child needs coaching on how to acquire skills and to do problem- negotiable solving  If child doesn’t comply with requests, they will be  Child has consequences, firm punished. Only parental rules and enforcement. There is opinion counts calm leadership and respecting opinions of each person  Child escalates and everyone goes into stress  Problem-solving helps improve response. child’s ability to handle challenging situations Why Do Gifted Kids Explode? Executive Functioning Skills  Definition Special Needs : Learning Disabilities, ADHD, Asperger’s, Anxiety, Depression, other mental  Self-regulating skills health needs  “…comes from the neurosciences literature and refers to brain-based skills required for humans to effectively execute, or perform, tasks and solve Executive Functioning Skills Weaknesses problems.” (Smart But Scattered Teens)  The ability to manage emotions in order to achieve High Stress -stress in the home, events in life, goals, complete tasks, control and direct behavior developmental, academic/school stress,  Inhibit competing actions social stress, frequent stress response  Shift strategies  Self-monitor, check and regulate emotions Intensities and Sensitivities (OverExcitabilities) (Mach, Vatcha & Harris, 2008) 4

  5. 4/18/2014 Most Important EF Skill – Executive Functioning Skills Relaxation Response  Emotional Control  Planning/prioritizing  To improve emotional (and behavioral) regulation you must begin first with  Response Inhibition  Organization helping the child and yourself control the  Flexibility  Time Management stress response.  Working Memory  Goal-directed  Improve the relaxation response and gain Persistence  Sustained Attention more control over having access to it  Metacognition  Task Initiation quickly when needed Stress Brain vs. Thinking Brain Emergency Calming Plan  Have a calming plan before you need it Stress Brain  Begin with a Safety Plan High Fight or Frustration Flight  No hurting anyone (Stress)  No destroying anything Amygdala (Amy G. Dala)  No running away cortisol  No saying hurtful things Fight or and flight adrenaline reaction . Thinking is not an option to solve problems at this time. 5

  6. 4/18/2014 Emergency Calming Plan Intensity Management Plan Going Physical & Intellectual Imaginational Emotional • If anyone gets upset, Sensory into talking stops, everyone • movement, • pursue interest • reading, story- • talking & “stress takes a break and action- areas telling, play, processing calms themselves down brain” oriented play imagination feelings, and activities play (role play experiences games) Returning • Talk about it later and to do problem-solving “thinking when everyone is calm. brain” Intensity & Sensitivity Sensitivity Management Daily Management Plan Suggested Calming Activities Highly sensitive children tend to go into the  Exercise stress response (fight or flight) much more  Repetitive motion activities quickly because they take in high amounts  Deep breathing of stimulus.  Humor  Change of scene or activity Raising Your Spirited Child Workbook. Kurcinka (1998). Sensitivity Management Sensory Emotional Imaginational  Increase awareness of sensitivities (name what you experience)  plan for situations that are overwhelming – eliminate, reduce or strategize 6

  7. 4/18/2014 Parenting Strategies Phases of Escalation Phases of Escalation Anxiety/Frustration Phase  Anxiety and/or Frustration Acting - Out Agitation A child encounters a situation that causes anxiety or frustration. Anxiety and/or Frustration Parents – This is the time to help and support Phases of Escalation Meltdown Agitation Phases  Agitation  Acting Out A child wasn’t successful in resolving the Meltdown happens and child is unable to calm situation. The child is on the edge of “losing down or listen to others. it.” Going Over the Cliff Parents can remind child they are there to help Parents can offer 2-3 choices to see if child and mention 1-2 things they have already can accept one to manage emotions. decided to do to calm down. Active choice 1. Parents can do something else while the child Quite Choice 2. goes through the tantrum, as long as the child is Presence with Parent 3. safe. 7


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