October 25

Chapter 3- Forming a Bond

Chapter 3 is all about how to form positive relationships with students in order to help support them through their difficult behavioural requirements. For some of us, this all seems like common sense, but we all need reminders, especially when it comes down to dealing with the difficult behaviours of children.

Connection Before Correction- This reminds us that weneed to help our children feel that they belong before we can begin to correct their behaviours. A high five, fist bump or hug lets a student know that they are cared for. When a child knows that you actually do care about them, they will try to rise to the occasion wanting you to feel proud of them. There was a student with whom I worked quite extensively when he was in grades 1 and 2. He would regularly lose his cool and become quite aggressive towards other children and adults in the building. I was no exception. He would regularly throw shoes or hit me with his coat and backpack. Time and time again I would remind him that I was there to help him. I would give him hugs when he was down, listen when he needed to yell about how he was feeling and sit with him during his melt-downs. We would often talk to each other when he was in a good mood about his day, his plans for the weekend, a new video game he was interested in, or whatever else he wanted to talk about. Gradually, his behaviours began to change. He is now a grade 6 student. He will still come tome for the occasional hug, or walk around the school just to talk before school or at recess when I am on supervision. His behaviours are all under his control now. He has developed appropriate strategies to help him through his frustrations and every now and then, he will look back on his days as a grade 1 and 2 student and remember just how difficult life was for him at that time. But he knows that there are people who care about him, even on his worst days, and that makes me smile.


Greetings- Everyone knows how important a greeting is to making someone feel wanted and special! This is one of my favourite things to do when I am on morning supervision. I try to greet every student I see before school begins by their name. If there is time, we will also have a brief conversation about how they are doing at that time. I am fortunate to have a wonderful memory for names and know almost every student in my school’s names. It definitely makes them feel welcome! My school begins at Grade 1- the Kindergarten students transition from a different school- and this year, I knew the names of all the boys, as I have a son a year younger than them, so have gottent to know some of them as part of his peer group, but I hardly knew any of the girls names. Every  Wednesday and Friday mornings, I would focus on learning the names of the Grade 1 girls as they got off the bus. There were 2 that I just could not seem to get right the first few times I saw them. The day I got one of their names correct I got the hugest smile and a “You remembered!” from the little girl. I knew that I had made her day, just by remembering her name.


Special Time- Even just a couple of minutes talking with or touching base with a student can mean all the difference to them. Since I am not an enrolling classroom teacher, this looks a little different for me. Making special time for my students may mean a conversation in the hallway on our way to or from their regular classroom, a quick story before we begin out work together, or a conversation in the school yeard about how their team did in hocky that weekend, or how their dance competition. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it does make a huge difference.


Validate Feelings- This is an area in which I struggle huge. Children need encouragement and to feel that they are being heard. As adults, it is our job to listen to them and empathize,  not accuse them for making us feel a certain way. When dealing with my youngest son, I find myself often trying to listen and validate their feelings but instead making them feel worse by saying that his behaviours/actions make me feel frustrated-this is not what he needs to hear, nor is it helpful. At this time, he needs to know that his feelings are valid and acknowledged and he needs someone to help him move past the difficult situation.


Listen- Ok, so apparently I also struggle with listening as well! This section makes total sense- If I want someone to listen to me, I need to listen to them as well! My oldest son often says to me “No, Mom! You aren’t listening to me!” and I know that he is right, so how can I expect him to listen to me? I need to be a much better role model of listening- this will be a good goal for me- active listening to understand, not to respond or preach! I will try to remember to let you know how I do!


Curiosity Questions: Motivational- These types of questions help us to avoid power struggles. They encourage students to think about what they could be doing instead of telling them directly. When I tell my son to get ready for bed, he always says “NO!” Maybe I should be asking him what he could do to show me he is ready for stories and bed instead- he can’t respond with the word no in this situation!


Curiosity Questions: Conversational- It seems to me that using Conversational Curiosity Questions comes in handy when working through a problem and looking for a solution or end result. I would love to try this as a type of conflict resolution between my children when they get into it at home.


I have really enjoyed how this chapter has encouraged me to reflect on my own behaviours and how they impact my relationships with my own children and my students. I can see some areas in which I feel quite strong (greetings, special time, and at times, connecting before correcting) and other areas in which I definitely need to refine my skills (Listen, Validate Feelings and Curiosity Questions).

  1. I encourage you all to reflect on yourselves in these areas. Are there areas in which you may need improvement? Are there areas in which you are “rocking it!”? What are some ways in which you might improve your ability to relate to and support your students?
  2. How do you connect with your students, letting them know that you really do care about them?
October 8

Chapter 2-Foundational Principles

Chapter 2 is broken up into multiple mini sections that form the basis for the connections required for Positive Discipline.

  1. Encouragement-The biggest take-away from this section in the difference between praise and encouragement. Praise statements lead to a fixed mindset and often times leads children to not take risks or accept challenges. Encouragement supports children on their way to a growth mindset. They learn to take risks and to challenge themselves. A child’s self-esteem improves with encouragement rather than praise. Giving encouragment allows the student to discover their strengths and give them the ability to work through the difficult times in their lives. (pg. 51)
  2. Caring-Everyone needs to feel cared for, as if they belong. It is important to ensure that the students know they are cared for.
  3. Focus on Solutions-Helping students to look for solutions for the problems they encounter will support their future growth. Looking for blame, or punishing childrenfor their actions, rather than supporting them to “make it right” and find a respectful, reasonable, helpful and related solution to the problems. It is important to validate the feelings of the child, ask them curiosity questions, talk to both students, have the children make amends and support them through the problem solving process, focusing on the solutions (pg. 63-64)
  4. Kind and Firm-Being kind AND firm is very important for the success of children. When students are met with kindness, they are much more willing to accept and follow through with the expectations and any tough situations they may encounter. It is important to make sure that you are not being permissive of inappropriate behaviours or being too firm, demanding total control. Bothof these sendthe wrong message to the children, often causing rebellion inthe end.
  5. Take Time For Training- Every situation is different and every child is unique, so it is important to ensure that every child gets the training they need to be successful. Since everyone is different, the length of time it  may take to learn the steps to navigate through the problem solving solutions will also be different. It will take time, energy and patience from the adults working with the child. Continuous practice and role-modeling will, in the end, be very worth it as the child successfully navigates the world being the best they can possibly be.
  6. Mistakes As Opportunities For Learning- As Carol Dweck points out in her growth mindset research, mistakes should be seen as opportunities to learn. Teaching kids to celebrate their mistakes as part of the learning journey will also teach them to be risk-takers and confident individuals who value the road that their learning leads them through. The belief that mistakes are shameful leads to low self-esteem anda child who struggles to put themselves out there with regard to learning something new. They often do not have the courage or resilliency to try for fear of failing.


This chapter has really been a refresher for me, in that I have learned most of this information in other books I have read. I do feel, however, that I needed the refresher. I know that I am often guilty of doing the “wrong” (for lack of a better word) thing in difficult situations with my children. I am the parent who uses the “my way or the highway” approach at times, especially when I an escalated and frustrated. I do not always take the time for training. Evenwithmy ownchildren my connection is not as strong as I would like it to be, although as a teacher, I always strive to have good connections with the students on my caseload and within my school. I am working on all these areas-I am a work in progress and can acknowledge my parenting mistakes (typically on a daily basis!). I am working through this book to help support me on a personal and professional level.


  1. In what ways do you foster a connection with your students at school?
  2. Are there any areas in which you feelyou could be better?
  3. Are there any supports/strategies that you can share with the other readers to help each other grow in these foundational beliefs of Positive Discipline?
October 5

Chapter 2-Interoception and Autism

Wow! Not gonna lie but these chapters are very long! Super informative and a huge amount of information, but so long!


As we know, sensory issues play a big part in the lives of those with Autism, and interoception issues are no different. In Chapter 1, we learned that the insula is where interoception stems from and in this chapter, we learn just how the insula in a brain with autism differs from a the brain of someone who is not impacted by autism. There are connectivity differences, activity differences and structural differences.


Interoceptive Awareness is really key in giving us so much information about ourselves. It lets us answer the questions about how we feel and how our bodies feel at different points throughout the day. It tells us when we are hungry, thirsty, need the washroom, when we are angry, sad or happy, and even when we are tired. Interoceptive awareness allows us to understand our basic emotions and, in doing so, allows us to understand and empathize with the feelings of others. Without a strong sense of interoceptive awareness, we are not able to act on instinct and therefore decision making is much more difficult.


The most important thing I learned about in this chapter was the varying forms of interoceptive impairment. Overresponsivity, underresponsivity and discrimination difficulty. As I was going through these descriptions and reading through the tables I began thinking about my own son, who is not autistic, but is ADHD and shows many of the traits of reduced interoceptive awareness. I also looked at myself and some of my own needs in these areas.


I seem to have an interroceptive overresponsivity to my body temperature, I seem to feel cold much longer than most normal human beings and relish in the days when my living room temperature is 25 degrees and I am cozy in my hoodie, under my blanket. My child seems to have an interroceptive overresponsivity in a number of areas. He seems always to be hungry at dinner time, eating 2 large helpings of food and still wanting to go back for more (he is only 65 pounds and is rail thin). He is extremely dramatic with minor injuries, claiming that he cannot walk when he has bumped his knee or stubbed his toe, or suggesting that he has a concussion when he knocks his head. He is underresponsive in that he waits until the very last second before going to the washroom, at times not making it and wetting or even soiling himself. We both are guilty of not being able to use calming strategies effectively, showing an underresponsivity with our emotions, often leading us to melt down-him into tantrums, me into yelling, causing chaos within the house. I am looking forward to learning some strategies to increase our interoceptive awareness in order to support us both.


I found it most interesting that our social ability and decision making are impacted by reduced interoceptive awareness. It makes complete sense as to why, seeing that our insular cortexes play a huge role in everything.


  1. In taking a look at your students/yourself/your child(ren), can you recognize whether they are over-, under-responsive or discriminating differently?