Teaching Kids with Mental Health & Learning Disorders in the Regular Classroom: How to Recognize, Understand, and Help Challenged (and Challenging) Students Succeed

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Written for all classroom teachers, this book helps you learn about a wide variety of mental health disorders and learning problems, including how to recognize the symptoms, respond appropriately, and meet students' learning needs. Written by a clinical psychologist, this user-friendly, jargon-free guide describes mental health and learning disorders often observed in schoolchildren, explains how each might be exhibited in the classroom, and offers expert suggestions on what to do (and sometimes what not to do).
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This book is a great resource for schools, providing educators and support staff with information that affects an estimated 30 percent of students in school settings. . . . It is an excellent resource for school psychologists to share with educators (especially new teachers) to help them learn critical information in a short amount of time, improving their understanding of the issues faced by students with learning and mental health needs.” —Jennifer Mangum, Ed.S., NCSP, for the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)


“This solid new resource is a must read for everyone (counselors, teachers, school psychologists and others) interested in helping all students thrive...This book is also an excellent source of information regarding mental health and learning disorders. When used as a quick reference guidebook, one can read about a specific disorder, learn about behaviors and symptoms associated with the disorder and find classroom strategies and interventions to help students with the disorder succeed…An extremely useful tool for any educator to use when working with all students.” —Becky Thomas, Counseling Today, newsletter of the American Counseling Association

"This accessible, ready-to-use guide describes mental health and learning disorders often observed in school children, explains how each might be exhibited in the classroom, and offers suggestions for what to do (and what not to do). Written to and for the regular classroom teacher, this book is a valuable tool for all school personnel, parents, and anyone who works with children." —National Association of Elementary School Principals

“Lots of practical suggestions on how to accommodate and respond to kids with various types of mental health and learning problems. With all these kids in our classrooms now, this resource can be very helpful to teachers who get little training in this area.”—Teacher Magazine

“This ready reference describes mental health and learning disorders and offers expert advice on what to do to meet students' learning and emotional needs.”—School & Community

"Examines more than 20 mental-health and learning disorders, describes their symptoms and behaviours, suggests classroom strategies and intervention, and notes the professional treatments available for each." —Professionally Speaking

 “An important resource for every teacher . . . this book will reduce teachers’ anxieties as an increasing number of students with special needs are being mainstreamed. . . . A “bible” for all of us, a handbook that will never collect dust.”—TeacherLeaders.org (by Carol Patterson, NBCT, second grade teacher, coordinator for NBCT Support, Union County, NC Public Schools)

“Overall, this book is a must-have guide for educators. I don’t know how anyone in today’s classroom survives without one.”—Sue Watson, About.com

Children's Literature - Greg M. Romaneck
In an age when more and more children and adolescents with disabilities are being educated in regular classrooms, it behooves educators to secure resources geared toward accommodating pupils with diverse learning needs. Dr. Myles Cooley's recent publication fills a void on teachers' bookshelves by combining concise overviews of a plethora of disabilities and linking them to practical suggestions aimed at creating functional learning environments for these selfsame students. Dr. Cooley's resource guide begins with an overview of common traits necessary for establishing and maintaining classrooms capable of effectively addressing multiple student needs. Aspects such as classroom climate, expectations, tolerance, and direct social skills instruction are carefully delineated with concise yet comprehensive suggestions as per their provision included. Then in the body of this valuable book, the author presents the types of categorical disabilities that many teachers may see some of their students manifesting. In sequence Dr. Cooley touches upon concepts such as mood disorders, various forms of learning disabilities, emotional disabilities, ADHD, and other areas of need that approximately 20% of all pupils may well possess. Each disability condition is introduced, chronicled, and presented from a pragmatic and reflective intervention mode. In this way Dr. Myles Cooley has crafted a compendium of resource information that can serve educators well. This is a book that will assist many teachers and other educational professionals in their efforts to develop effective strategies and learning environments designed to flexibly address the needs of often overlooked pupils. Reviewer: Greg M.Romaneck
Children's Literature - Wendy M. Smith-D'Arezzo
Cooley, a clinical psychologist with a private practice and a consulting service to several schools, has written a handbook that would be useful for teachers at all levels. Part One contains general information for teachers and school personnel who serve children with disabilities, according to federal and state guidelines for children who need educational supports. Included are sections about communicating with parents, positive behavioral supports, and helping children build social skills to help build friendships and become a functioning member of the school community. Part Two is broken into short sections about various learning, mental health, mood, and communication disorders, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Asperger's Syndrome. While the information presented by Dr. Cooley is not new or earth shattering, it is presented in a format that is accessible, giving teachers a plethora of options to use when working with children who have seemingly insurmountable problems. Cooley speaks positively about all children and puts the onus of making the relationship work squarely on the shoulders of the teachers. Included here are Harris' Bill of Rights for students who have ADHD, as well as numerous first person accounts from children describing what it feels like to have one or more of these disorders. Finally, he gives an extensive list of resources for each disorder described in the book, providing teachers with additional options if more information is needed. Reviewer: Wendy M. Smith-D'Arezzo
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781575422428
  • Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/15/2007
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 684,489
  • Age range: 5 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Myles L. Cooley, Ph.D., has been practicing psychology for over 30 years. He evaluates and treats children, adolescents, and adults for a variety of problems. Dr. Cooley serves as a consultant to schools and has presented educational programs to educators, mental health professionals, physicians, and parents.
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Table of Contents


PART I The Role of Schools in Addressing Mental Health and Learning Disorders
The Changing Nature of Special Education
Assessing Student Needs
Effective Classroom Policies and Procedures
Effective Teaching Strategies for Meeting Diverse Student Needs
Establishing a Safe and Caring Classroom
Building Social Skills in Students

PART II Mental Health and Learning Disorders

Terms Used in This Book

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in the United States. Children affected by these disorders experience extreme and persistent fears and worries that significantly interfere with their ability to function academically, socially, and emotionally.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD is a condition in which children experience excessive worry about many aspects of life. These children may feel anxiety even when there is no objective reason to be worried.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is an anxiety disorder that includes unwanted, intrusive thoughts (obsessions), repetitive behaviors (compulsions), or a combination of both. Children may demonstrate seemingly odd behaviors to diminish their internal anxiety.

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
Sometimes referred to as Social Phobia, SAD occurs in both social and performance settings. Children become very anxious in these situations because they fear they will embarrass themselves or be judged critically.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD may follow traumatic events in which a person faced the threat of possible death or serious injury. Children may continue to feel intense fear and helplessness as they relive their experience long after the event has occurred.

Panic Disorder
Panic attacks are sudden, intense experiences of fear and physical symptoms, such as a rapid heart beat. When children develop ongoing anxiety about having more attacks and change their behavior to avoid attacks, they may have developed Panic Disorder.

School Refusal
School refusal is not a mental health disorder. Students can be afraid or unwilling to attend school for many reasons. Mental health disorders, including Separation Anxiety Disorder, can be a reason for school refusal.

People with mood disorders experience persistent disturbances in their emotions. Emotional changes can range from excessive sadness to unrealistic elation. These mood changes interfere with a child’s abilities in school, at home, and in social situations.

Depressive Disorders
Children with Depressive Disorders experience an ongoing unhappy mood, a loss of interest in their usual activities, or a combination of both. These disorders negatively affect a child’s ability to enjoy life and participate in activities at home, in school, and with friends. Serious depression is the most common cause of suicide.

Bipolar Disorder
Formerly called manic-depression, Bipolar Disorder is characterized by episodes that cycle between depression, irritability, and elation. There are times when these children might be explosive and other times when they may be overly silly.

Communication disorders, sometimes referred to as speech/language disorders, interferewith the ability to speak clearly, to use language to express thoughts, and to understand others. These disorders can have significant negative effects on children’s academic and social functioning.

Articulation Disorders
An Articulation Disorder exists when sounds in speech are omitted, distorted, or substituted. This disorder is most common in young children.

Receptive and Expressive Language Disorders
A Receptive Language Disorder is characterized by difficulty understanding language used by others. An Expressive Language Disorder involves difficulty expressing thoughts and ideas. These disorders contribute to learning problems as well as to social difficulties.

Stuttering involves hesitation or repetition of sounds while speaking. Students may be very self-conscious and exhibit a strong reluctance to speak in class and to other students.

Pragmatic Language Disorder
Also called social communication disorder, this disorder involves difficulties understanding the appropriate thing to say and how and when to say it. Often observed in children with high-functioning autistic disorders, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Nonverbal Learning Disability, this disorder creates significant social and academic problems.

Learning disabilities refer to difficulties learning academic skills of reading, writing, or math. Neurological in origin, these disabilities are not caused by low intelligence or inadequate education.

Reading Disability
Dyslexia is a specific reading disability characterized by difficulties learning to sound out and easily read words. Other reading disabilities can involve comprehension and reading speed. A reading disability will negatively affect every aspect of a student’s academic work.

Math Disability
Math disability is the term used to describe significant difficulty with arithmetic calculation or math reasoning. These students may be very proficient in their reading and writing skills but underachieve in math.

Writing Disability
Writing disability can refer to problems with handwriting or the ability to express ideas in writing. Either of these difficulties can cause problems for students in school.

Nonverbal Learning Disability (NVLD)
Nonverbal Learning Disability is a neurologically based condition caused by abnormalities in the right hemisphere of the brain. These children have poor motor skills, visual-spatial organization, and social skills.

ADHD is marked by problems sustaining attention to tasks or schoolwork and can occur with or without impulsivity and hyperactivity. This disorder can have a mild to severe effect on a student’s work and behavior in and out of school.

Disruptive behavior disorders include Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Conduct Disorder (CD). Children who have ODD are excessively defiant, angry, and disobedient. Students with CD show more severe behaviors that include aggression, destruction of property, and serious rule and law violations. These students often require constant monitoring and mayseem to act without regard for society (or classroom) norms and expectations.

Asperger’s Syndrome affects students due to problems with social interaction and repetitive behaviors, and preoccupation with unusual areas of interest. Students’ social relationships and academic work are negatively impacted.

Tic disorders are caused by neurologically based involuntary, repetitive muscle movements or sounds. Tics may be exhibited as noises or physical gestures that range from simple to very elaborate. Tics can cause students to draw negative attention and teasing from other children.

Eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder. Primarily affecting adolescents, these conditions are associated with a negative body image and unhealthy attitudes and behaviors toward eating. Behaviors may include starvation, binging, or purging. In their most severe form, eating disorders can be fatal.

Self-injury includes cutting, burning, and other acts of self-mutilation. These behaviors are exhibited in a compulsive and repetitive manner and are increasing among adolescents. Suicide attempts are the most serious form of self-harm.

A Final Word

About the Author

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