Dr. Lori Desautels on Rethinking Our Perceptions of Discipline in Schools and at Home
I’m very excited to bring you my conversation with Dr. Lori Desautels. I found out about Lori’s work recently and after reading her book Connections over Compliance: Rewiring our Perceptions of Discipline, I wanted to share her with the Tilt community because I believe the work she is doing is revolutionary.
Lori’s work centers around helping educators, parents, and any adults who work with children in rethinking their ideas about discipline by reaching for sustainable behavioral changes through brain state awareness rather than compliance and obedience. She’s actively pushing back against reactive and punitive practices that can potentially reactivate the developing stress response systems of children, and is advocating for stronger co-regulation practices and regulated brain and body states for adults.
During this conversation, we consider why there is such a powerful foundational belief that discipline and punishment go together, what happens when the traditional methods of punishment are imposed on children who are coming to school with trauma or a heightened nervous system, and why it’s so important for educators to take responsibility over their own nervous system regulation. Lori also shared some practical strategies that work for educators as well as parents.
About Dr. Lori Desautels
Dr. Lori Desautels, has been an Assistant Professor at Butler University since 2016 where she teaches both undergraduate and graduate programs in the College of Education. Lori was also an Assistant Professor at Marian University in Indianapolis for 8 years where she founded the Educational Neuroscience Symposium that has now reached thousands of educators and is in its 10th year.
Lori’s passion is engaging her students through the social and relational neurosciences as it applies to education by integrating the Applied Educational Neuroscience framework, and its learning principles and practices into her coursework at Butler. The Applied Educational Neuroscience Certification, created by Lori in 2016, is specifically designed to meet the needs of educators, counselors, clinicians and administrators who work beside children and adolescents who have, and are, experiencing adversity and trauma. The certification is now global and has reached hundreds of educators.
Lori’s articles are published in Edutopia, Brain Bulletin, and Mind Body Spirit international magazine. She was also published in the Brain Research Journal for her work in the fifth-grade classrooms during a course release position with Washington Township Schools. Lori continues her work co-teaching in the K-12 schools integrating her applied research into classroom procedures and transitions preparing the nervous system for learning and felt safety.
Lori is the author of 4 books. Her most recent book, Connections over Compliance: Rewiring our Perceptions of Discipline was released in late 2020. Her new book will be published in January, 2023 entitled, Intentional Neuroplasticity, Our Educational Journey Towards Post Traumatic Growth. Lori has met with well over 100 school districts across the country, in Canada, Costa Rica, Australia, Scotland, England and Dubai equating to more than 100,000 educators with much more work to be done!
Things you’ll learn from this episode
- Why there is such a powerful foundational belief that discipline and punishment go together
- What happens when the traditional methods of punishment are imposed on children who are coming to school with traumas or a heightened nervous system
- Why we should be moving away from the behavior management model
- Why it’s critical that educators take responsibility over their own nervous system regulation
- Strategies for helping teachers (and parents) better show up for dysregulated kids
- What the takeout stress menu strategy is and some examples of what might be in it
Resources mentioned for rethinking discipline
- Connections Over Compliance: Rewiring Our Perceptions of Discipline by Dr. Lori Desautels
- Eyes Are Never Quiet: Listening Beneath the Behaviors of Our Most Troubled Students by Dr. Lori Desautels
- Dr. Mona Delahooke on the Power of Brain-Body Parenting (Tilt Parenting podcast episode)
- Dr. Mona Delahooke on Looking Beyond Children’s Challenging Behaviors (Tilt Parenting podcast episode)
- Brain-Body Parenting: How to Stop Managing Behavior and Start Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids by Dr. Mona Delahooke
- Beyond Behaviors: Using Brain Science and Compassion to Understand and Solve Children’s Behavioral Challenges by Dr. Mona Delahooke
- Social and Emotional Development in Early Intervention: A Skills Guide for Working with Children by Dr. Mona Delahooke
- Deb Dana on Befriending our Nervous System Using Polyvagal (Tilt Parenting Podcast)
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Debbie Reber 00:00
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Lori Desautels 00:23
When we think about how we have traditionally been conditioned as adults with looking at discipline versus looking at punishment, I have found that collectively in our society, we feel as if the consequence isn’t painful enough or uncomfortable enough, we won’t get that sustainable behavioral change. And that is not accurate. It actually goes against and resists the way the brain and body develop.
Debbie Reber 01:00
Welcome to Tilt Parenting, a podcast featuring interviews and conversations aimed at inspiring, informing and supporting parents raising differently wired kids. I’m your host, Debbie Reber. I am very excited to bring you my conversation with Dr. Lori Desautels today, especially after reading her what I see as the revolutionary book Connections Over Compliance: Rewiring Our Perceptions of Discipline. Lori’s work centers around helping educators, parents and adults who work with children shift the way they think about discipline, and reject approaches that prioritize compliance and obedience. She’s actively pushing back against reactive and punitive practices that can potentially reactivate the developing stress response systems of children and is advocating for stronger co-regulation practices and regulated brain and body states for adults. So during this conversation, we explore why there is such a powerful foundational belief that discipline and punishment go together. What happens when the traditional methods of punishment are imposed on children who are coming to school with trauma or heightened nervous systems, and why it’s so important for educators to take responsibility over their own nervous system regulation. Lori also shared some practical strategies that work for educators as well as parents. Here’s a little bit more about my guest. Dr. Lori Desautels has been an assistant professor at Butler University since 2016, where she teaches both undergraduate and graduate programs in the College of Education. The Applied Educational Neuroscience certification created by Lori is specifically designed to meet the needs of educators, counselors, clinicians and administrators who work besides children and adolescents who have and are experiencing adversity and trauma. Laurie is also the author of four books, including connections over compliance, which is what we’ll be discussing today. Before I get to that, if you are newer to this journey of realizing you’re parenting a differently wired child and are looking to deepen your awareness and understanding about how to best show up for your kids, check out my free resources at Tilt Parenting. You can find my new roadmap for parenting a differently wired child, a downloadable interactive PDF featuring a five step roadmap and resources, my new 10 Day video series called 10 Things You Have to Know When Raising a Differently Wired Child where I shared the 10 things I wish I’d known when I first realized I was on this path. And my Differently Wired Seven-Day Challenge, a seven day video series which offers simple strategies that will have an immediate impact on how you experience your relationship with your child with the ultimate goal of creating more joy, peace and confidence in your daily life. All of these resources are completely free. And you can find them all on the Tilt homepage at tiltparenting.com. And if you’re looking to dive deeper with me and get live personal coaching support, be part of an incredible parent community and focus on creating significant change in your parenting world. I’ll be opening up the doors to my Differently Wired Club at the end of the month. You can learn more about that at tiltparenting.com/club Thank you so much. And now here is my conversation with Dr. Lori Desautels on shifting our focus from compliance to connection. I hope you enjoy it.
Debbie Reber 04:31
Hey, Lori, welcome to the podcast.
Lori Desautels 04:33
Thank you so much, Debbie. I’m thrilled to have this conversation this afternoon.
Debbie Reber 04:38
I am too. I recently finished your book. I interviewed a lot of authors. And so I read a lot of books and some of them I can kind of skim and get the gist. Some of them I take lots of notes on. This was one I just wanted to slow down the experience. There’s so much incredibly important critical information in there. So I’m so excited to get into it. Before we do that, I was saying before I hit record that I heard about your work through Dr. Mona Delahooke, of course, and when Mona recommends someone to me, I pay close attention. Then I saw your book is called Connections Over Compliance: Rewiring Our Perceptions of Discipline and was like, Okay, I need to get that book and we need to talk. So I would love it if you could tell us a little bit about who you are in the world, and what brought you to be doing the work that you’re doing?
Lori Desautels 05:26
Well, thank you so much for the opportunity. And Mona is wonderful. This work feels to have wings of its own actually, I think it’s been evolving over the last 10 years. And as we really look at the wealth of research that supports the developing brain and nervous system, it can be overwhelming, but it also has such application for us as parents. And for us as educators, when I think about my three children, who are now young adults, I would have parented differently, had I known what I know today. And so I hope we can delve into that, and really looking at the application and the translation of Educational Neuroscience through the parenting lens. So I’m excited. Thank you.
Debbie Reber 06:18
Yeah, of course, I’m excited. And I do a zoom call weekly with my Amsterdam bestie. Shout out to Simone. I know she’ll be listening to this. But we were having this exact conversation, I said, I’ve been reading and learning so much. And again, this is what I do. So I’m really immersed in all of the new learning. And I said, it’s really the past 10 years, there’s been this explosion, and I have an 18 year old and there’s a part of me that’s really sad that I did not have access to this material. And so I feel really grateful that for all the parents with little ones who can really approach their dysregulated little humans through this lens. It’s such an exciting time.
Lori Desautels 06:58
It really is. And it’s you we’re always parenting, aren’t we? And when they don’t stop parenting. And so I think that it’s got such relevancy for you know, our older children, our adolescents and our young adults as well.
Debbie Reber 07:14
Yeah, for sure, for sure. I want to get into so many concepts in the book, and I have three pages of questions which I will not get into all of them, I’m certain, but I’ll do the best I can. But can you tell us why you wrote this book and who you really wrote it for?
Lori Desautels 07:31
I started out writing the book frustrated, because an educational organization had asked me a couple of years ago, probably three years ago, to write a book about behavior. And so when I looked at the library of books that have been written about behavior, there was no mention, there was also resistance about how a child or adolescent behavior is about the adult nervous system. And when we look in our classrooms, in schools and in our homes, that is not how most of us traditionally have looked at discipline. So being a former special education teacher and school counselor, I really resonated with this research, and also as a mom, because I reflected back on the times, that I unintentionally escalated everybody around me in my home, and in my classroom. So I began really delving into the nervous system. And really what is underneath those behaviors that we’re punishing in our classrooms and our homes and throughout our communities.
Debbie Reber 08:44
One of the things that you write about is the way that discipline and punishment in a school setting seem to be intrinsically linked. So I’m just wondering, why is that? Why is it such a roadblock? This is a huge foundational belief that these things go together. And this is the way you approach things. And why is that in place? I’m just wondering, because that’s what this book is really taking on.
Lori Desautels 09:07
It really is. And when we think about how we have traditionally been conditioned as adults with looking at discipline versus looking at punishment, I have found that collectively in our society, we feel as if the consequence isn’t painful enough or uncomfortable enough, we won’t get that sustainable behavioral change. And that is not accurate. It actually goes against and resists the way the brain and body develop. So that is, that’s a big piece of this. I think another contrasting point that I’m learning every day is that discipline is really to sit beside a child, punishment is looking backwards. It’s reactive. discipline is moving or looking forward. So when I think about the similarities and the differences, and again in the Word punishment is punitive. And we know that children and adolescents who are carrying anxiety are children and adolescents who are struggling with these behaviors are oftentimes carrying painting. And when we try to traditionally punish that pain, it backfires. It doesn’t work. It may bring compliance for a minute or two or an hour, but we’re not experiencing the lasting changes. That includes social and emotional and physiological well being.
Debbie Reber 10:50
Yeah, and you write a lot in the book about trauma about ACEs — adverse childhood experiences, and really what is going on behind the scenes with so many of these children, you’re pushing for schools systems that are responsive to that trauma understanding of that trauma. Can you talk about what happens to kids who already have these heightened nervous systems who come into school with one or multiple aces who have traumatic experiences, and this includes many neurodivergent kids as well? What happens when those traditional methods of punishment are imposed on those kids?
Lori Desautels 11:27
Well, what happens is we’re unintentionally escalating the stress response systems in the nervous system. And we don’t intend to do that, when we’re using traditional protocols that discipline or punishment, timing out secluding nagging, yelling threatening, those can oftentimes re traumatize a child, and their little developing stress response systems are already heightened. So what that means is, is that they are in a nervous system state of survival. And when any of us experience chronic adversity, or we’re feeling chronic stress or anxiety, the brain begins and the nervous system begins to protect us because of that survival state. So in protection, we’re not able to think clearly, we’re not able to be logical. We don’t care about rewards, or stickers, all of that goes out the window, because we’re in a state of survival, meaning that our brain and nervous system is functioning, possibly in fight flight, or we are shutting down, collapsing, and recreating conserving energy in schools that can look like high absences, it can look like failing grades that completing homework, and in our families, too, it can be just shut down, disengaged. So those are the significant factors. When we refuse to look underneath that behavior. And we’re still disciplining in those punitive ways.
Debbie Reber 13:10
There’s a quote from your book that I wrote down: “It seems impossible to teach a student the mandated academic standards, when the students brain is wired for survival, which means that the students are prepared to protect, defend, flee and fight the moment they walk into school.”
Lori Desautels 13:26
Absolutely, we cannot afford not to prepare the nervous system for learning first thing in the morning, and it’s true in our homes. When I think about the routines and rituals that we have as parents, whether it’s bedtime, whether it’s getting up in the morning and getting ready, or transitioning during the weekends. Oftentimes, we neglect to prepare that nervous system for what’s next. And that is what in the schools we call that maybe a morning meeting, or we might call it Bell work. But it’s where we are building engagement, fascination, and present moment awareness. The second we come in the door or leave.
Debbie Reber 14:13
Yeah, I mean, there’s so many things oh my gosh, there are things you’re saying that, to me, are drawing attention to some of the more ridiculous aspects of your directions that we’ve been pointed in by well meaning professionals but you talk about sticker charts versus survival. There’s such a disconnect, like a kid who’s in a fight or flight state is going to care about a sticker, right? And as you’re talking about preparing a child’s nervous system, what I wrote down was timers, like I thought that was preparing my child for transition, but that is probably sparking my kids nervous system.
Lori Desautels 14:48
It can spark a nervous system because there’s panicking in that time with it’s fast. It feels as if we’re boxed in. So the traditional ways that I learned how to parent or even teach in a classroom. We’re just, I think, kind of generational practices that we never questioned before. When I look back on that, it’s really a wonderful time, it’s a frustrating time. And for many adults, we, as parents, or educators will resist change. Because what we’ve always done feels more familiar or comfortable to us. And we forget that discipline is from the word disciple, which is about following, not my agenda, but following my child’s and this is where we want to strengthen relationships through the conflict, we have an opportunity, when there is dysregulation from our children to really sit beside them, and to share in their pain to validate that hurt to validate that dis ease. And that’s something that I really did not do as a mom, as well as I could have looking back, I am now and it works. I think Sarah Desautels, my middle daughter, calms more quickly when I validate her feelings than any other technique I’ve ever integrated or used.
Debbie Reber 16:27
I have had the same experience for sure. And I think there’s some resistance, there might be parents or educators who think that they’re giving in to the child who are being too permissive, or whatever that looks like. But the reality is, it can almost be a profound flipping of a switch to just sit and be calm in that space, how quickly it can de-escalate something.
Lori Desautels 16:50
It absolutely can. And I think the biggest shift in this work, when we think about rewiring our perceptions, is the adult nervous system. And I never thought about that, in the way that contagious emotions are. And so when my heart speeds fast, I feel angry, I feel frustrated or irritated. Without saying a word, my children pick up on that through my face, through my tone, the way I posture. And our oldest son will pick up on that over the phone. He’s so sensitive to the nonverbal, he hears that frustration in my voice, even as a young adult today.
Debbie Reber 17:41
Yes, these kids I wrote in my book that they can read a room better than a seasoned politician, like they can pick up on so many energetic cues. They’re very perceptive, these kids, I went to look for a moment just at this idea of behavior management, because that does seem to be something again, in homes and in schools that that is what we’re looking for, to manage your child’s behavior, anything to add about why we really want to move away from that model? And maybe how do we even get people to open up to the idea of shifting away from that model?
Lori Desautels 18:16
Well, one of the things that’s been very helpful for me, as a parent and an educator, is looking at, and reflecting upon past discipline experiences. Because if I’m authentic, and I’m open to looking in the past and looking at the discipline, what I’m calling stories, what are they telling me, because to manage another is impossible, human beings did not evolve, to manage each other, we evolved to cooperate and to collaborate. And in ancient times, there were so many indigenous groups that looked at children as sacred beings. And we’ve moved away from that. And when I say look at my discipline stories, if what I was integrating in our home or in a classroom was working, then we would have seen and experienced have felt safety from our children or adolescents. And that behavior would eventually fade away. But oftentimes, we don’t see that we’re back at it. Again, we’re addressing the same behaviors. And so I think that is the difference between behavior management and behavior engagement. Engagement is really, as I stated just a few minutes ago, following the child’s agenda, and it’s meeting them where they are. I just cannot emphasize that enough. That’s your Bruce Perry has this wonderful quote, and I probably won’t use it correctly, but he talks about specificity in the nervous system and he uses The analogy of playing the piano and he says you can’t learn to play the piano by reading a book about it, or listening or watching a YouTube video, you have to put your fingers on the keys. And I think about that with parenting and teaching, in that I have to make my children with breath, or with movement, if they’re in survival, whether that’s taking a walk, or we have some practices that we’ve created ahead of a crisis, whether it’s grabbing a meant, or a bottle of water, or shooting baskets, or taking a warm shower, wrapping up in a blanket for a few minutes, giving each other time and space. That’s that specificity that Dr. Perry, talks about, and it has such relevance and application for us.
Debbie Reber 20:47
First of all, there’s so many wonderful resources and ideas in here for educators, many of which apply to assess parents as well. But what they can do to be more responsive to these kids and to show up in a way that would really support everybody involved in that dynamic. And there’s a chapter about the ways in which educator, brain and body states create the emotional climate in the classroom. And that’s just something I’ve thought a lot about listeners of the podcast know that when my child was really little, there was one teacher in particular, who shamed my kid in the classroom, it really kind of set a tone for the kind of child Asher was, and other kids followed suit, or there’s so much responsibility, not just for that individual child and how they are going to internalize that experience, but then how other kids are going to develop their thinking about neurodivergence, and about just different ways of being. I’m wondering, when doing this work, how open Have you found educators to this idea of really thinking about that responsibility, and working to change the way that they show up with difficult children?
Lori Desautels 21:58
I think I’ve seen more of an openness and an awareness since COVID. Because I think the pandemic has really shone a light on the gaps that we are seeing in our classrooms, and in our communities, and our homes. And what’s interesting that I write about in my new book that’s coming out this fall, early winter, and I talk about it and connections to is that our emotions are so contagious. We’re such relational creatures, social creatures, that our nervous systems spill out into the world. And so we have a second grade classroom. Now that has a collective nervous system state, or in our home, when one of our children is struggling. We, as a family, carry a nervous system state, a school can carry a nervous system state. And as Deb Dana says, so beautifully. The goal is never about regulation. The goal is to recognize when you’re dysregulated, or as we say, in our house, when you’re rough. And that moves us as a family, and as a classroom from states of protection to states of growth. And it’s very, very important for us to understand how impactful that relational piece is, as we parent and teach.
Debbie Reber 23:29
Yeah, there was another quote that I pulled out, you include these resilience touchpoints statements for really deepening relationships with staff and students, I thought all of these are, you know, I want to write them down everywhere. So I remember to say them to my child, because I think they were so powerful. One of the ones I wrote down is I respect and trust you for who you are. There’s nothing you could do to change that. I mean, that almost brings tears to my eyes to say that, and I can imagine how profoundly that could shift a child’s experience to have an adult who they’re in relationship with really see them in that way.
Lori Desautels 24:05
It’s the most powerful presence we can gift. For a developing nervous system to feel felt and seen and heard is healing. And it’s repairing. So thank you for bringing up that quote. It’s very important.
Debbie Reber 24:22
Yeah, it is so important. And it’s never too late to do this work with a child, right?
Lori Desautels 24:28
Absolutely. And I’m so glad you brought that up, because not only does the brain have plasticity, but the nervous system has plasticity. And most of us have ways of being or doing or disciplining or teaching or parenting by having habits by default. We go about life in ways that we just know. And that feels familiar. Maybe it was the way we were raised. Maybe it’s the way we were parented, but what we’re talking about is very helpful. And that’s neuroplasticity. That’s intentional. And when we are aware of our nervous system and the plasticity of the developing brain and body of our children, that’s a superpower that we have as human beings, it’s never too late, it sometimes takes a little longer. And it might take a little more intentionality and effort. But the nervous system is constantly changing and shifting and sculpting, based on experiences each and every moment.
Debbie Reber 25:35
Yeah, well, I love that reminder that this is really a long game you wrote in your book, we may be good at stopping the behaviors we cannot tolerate. But replacing and learning new behaviors is a process and can be an endurance event. And I wrote down yes, I mean, this is a long process. And that can sometimes not be what people want to hear, especially if they’re dealing with pretty challenging behaviors. I love the reminder that when we consistently show up and do this work, that change happens, it’s just not an overnight thing.
Lori Desautels 26:08
Absolutely. And we’ve got to look at minutes and hours, and we’ve got a look at, you know, we have a temper tantrum for 45 minutes, and the next time it was 42 minutes, that is a whim. That’s the process that we have to focus on and it’s so hard when we are just sitting so close up to those heightened emotional states, it’s really hard for us to take a step back and to reflect, Okay, we are moving in the right direction.
Debbie Reber 26:40
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Debbie Reber 27:32
So I would love to spend just a few minutes talking about some of the ways that you support educators in changing the cultures in their schools. To me, this is revolutionary, right? We’ve had Dr. Ross Greene on the show before to talk about his work with collaborative proactive solutions and really trying to address corporal punishment and other things happening in school. So I mean, this is such important work. I want every educator to read this book. But what I love about it in that way is that when we talk about education, so many teachers are overwhelmed, they feel like well, I have to do this because this is what works. There are no other options. And you are providing so many ideas and options in this book. So I’d love it if you could share even a couple of strategies or approaches that you share with educators that can really make a big difference. By making some tweaks to the way a teacher shows up.
Lori Desautels 28:26
What we’re looking at is a framework. First of all, for educators. It’s not a program. It’s a framework that’s entitled, Live Educational Neuroscience. And it’s as much for parents as it is for educators. His framework has four pillars that blend together, they don’t work in isolation, or in a silo. And so when we think about those four pillars in the practices, what we’re sharing with educators is that first of all, it’s about my nervous system. So I need to check in with myself. And we’re giving teachers and administrators and social workers and counselors, really lots of practices, and the science to support those practices that we know we can unintentionally jump into a power struggle or conflict. So that’s really at the heart of this is my nervous system state as an adult. Co-regulation is really not so new. Now, to a lot of people. We’ve been talking about it for the last few years. But it’s being able to share my emotionally available, safe, nervous system with a child or an adolescent who needs some draining off of that anger or frustration or anxiety that leads to touch points and touch points are those micro moments of connection. It’s validating, it’s noticing it’s asking those questions that require that child or that adolescent to feel them Powered. And then the fourth pillar is really exciting, Debbie, because we have been labeling and giving rulings and classifications to our neurodivergent children for so long. What we have found is we’re giving our families, our teachers and our students, the language of the science, and not pathologizing, anxiety or depression, but saying you know what your nervous system is working for you and not against you. Your nervous system is perfection. It is protecting you when you feel anxious. And our children love this. We talk about the amygdala, we talk about the prefrontal cortex, we don’t water it down or use analogies. My five year olds that I go into classrooms with their amygdala, they love to say the name of it, they love to say the word. One little girl said I love how it sounds in my mouth. So exhausted from pap apologizing, what our nervous system does well, and the strings that are that go unrecognized. When we misunderstand behaviors, and knowing as Mona says so beautifully, you know, behaviors are only indicators. They’re just signals of what’s happening in the nervous system.
Debbie Reber 31:26
Yeah, first of all, I love that amygdala is a favorite word among some little ones. Love that. It’s a great word. I totally get that. But what you’re talking about this really is the paradigm shift. And it’s profound this reframe that, oh, your nervous system is working for you. That’s what’s going on here. And it’s such a game changer. So it’s very exciting. There’s one strategy that I really love that I wanted to share with listeners. And it’s to create a takeout stress menu. And you have examples in the book of what that could look like. Could you explain what that is?
Lori Desautels 31:58
Well, I love this too. And it’s one of my favorites. And I would have used this not only as a teacher, I would have used this as a mom. So actually, my daughter created the template from Canva. And so we had so much fun doing this together. But we thought about this as a touch point. So it’s a menu of just a variety of practices or experiences that might feel good to your child or your adolescents nervous system. And it’s really an opportunity to serve your child, how often do we use those words as parents or as educators? And so I’ll have this menu, we might pick a child or two a day administrators are using the menu for teachers. And they’re saying, What do you want to order today? So as a mom or as a caregiver, or as a dad, just anyone who sits beside children? You know, we’ve offered them a menu for younger children and can be filled with visual images. For our English language learners, for our neuro divergent children who are not reading those words, images that are powerful on the menu might be, would you like some crushed ice? Would you like a mint? Would you like 10 minutes to have some special time to do their favorite activity? Would you like to tell somebody all kinds of things that we can create, and then they can order their top two or three items off that menu?
Debbie Reber 33:26
Yeah, I just loved it so much, because it’s a fun way to proactively plan right? And to get to know the coping strategies or ways to front load one’s nervous system and help them even start the day off regulated. So I love that so much. I did want to ask this question about the back of the book, you can pair traditional school accommodations for an IEP or a 504 plan that are written the way we’ve all seen them any listener who’s got those, we know what they look like we know what the goals are. And then you compare that with ones that might be written through an Asus lens. And that was kind of mind blowing to me just to read that difference. And I’m wondering, are schools using those things? Is this something that listeners could push for to have those alternative accommodations written in?
Lori Desautels 34:16
Yes, the answer to your question is yes, it needs to be that we need to make each other aware of this option. So this template, this protocol that you’re talking about accommodations through an ACES lens doesn’t necessarily replace an IEP or a 504. It can certainly replace an a functional behavioral analysis or behavioral intervention plan that I feel so many are outdated because they’re focused on behaviors. You know, it can be and not or so, while we’re waiting, the months and the time it takes for an IEP to be created. We can offer accommodations. These are like looking at how we accommodate using touch points connection? How do we accommodate through regulatory practices. So very, very significant. And we need to push it out there. In fact, it’s in the new book, we’ve revised it a little bit. So it has a little more clarity, and some more examples. So I’m so glad that you brought that up, because it is so significant in how we as parents, caregivers, or teams of teachers provide consistency and predictability as children move through the day or throughout classrooms so that they are experiencing that consistency.
Debbie Reber 35:42
Yeah, it’s so interesting. I just again, when I read it, I was like, Oh, my gosh, yes, this makes so much sense. And all kids would really benefit from that. I just want to note also, there’s so many resources in this book, the whole back matter is full of strategies, you have a very extensive section on brain aligned strategies, looking at sensory looking at cognitive, such great ideas, like so exciting for me to see you also have a section providing strategies to help teachers self regulate, which I loved. And I’m just wondering, do you have a favorite strategy or something that you’ve gotten feedback on that has been really game changing for readers?
Lori Desautels 36:21
Wow, that is a challenging question. There have been several that have been helpful. But there are some of the focused attention practices, which people get a little funny when we say meditation in schools still, because we understand that meditation is not a spiritual or religious practice, unless we make it so. So we call these focused attention practices using breath and movement, and art, journaling, all the sensory practices that we do can dampen down the stress response systems. One of my favorites, I think, for children and adolescents is, well, they’re to breathe in the color that they love, and to breathe out of worry. We also do visualization, like taking deep breaths and playing some nice, soft music and moving into your safe space. I think that’s in there as well. And it’s great for all ages, they do a visualization of the people in the room, the smells in the room, the sights, what are you outdoors, what things are around you? What do you hear? So it’s really tapping into the sensory systems as they take a journey on their safe space?
Debbie Reber 37:37
Yes, absolutely. So many great strategies we’re wrapping up now. But I do want to note too, that you have so many great examples and stories here of kids who have been pretty intense, pretty challenging kids, kids who might have been written off, kids who might have gone down that school to prison pipeline pathway. I love that you include those. And you talk about how being responsive in this way, showing up for that student in this way, could actually completely change their trajectory. You have ideas for educators on how to deal with low level physical aggression, disruptive behaviors, getting out of one seat, walking out of the room, all of those things. So it’s very practical in that way, too. You’re not saying do differently, because this matters. You’re saying, here’s what you can do. Here’s the way to support these students and support yourself while you’re in the classroom. So I just think it’s such powerful work.
Lori Desautels 38:30
Thank you so much. And I’m hoping that as this book continues to move across the world, that it will begin to really shift our lens of discipline and see it as preventative. Because for so long, it’s been a reactionary practice. And that, I think, is the biggest shift is really understanding that it’s relational. And it’s preventative, and it must be nervous system aligned.
Debbie Reber 38:58
Yeah, absolutely. Before we say goodbye, I need to know about your new book, what is that?
Lori Desautels 39:04
It’s kind of connections over compliance, part two, because it was written very quickly. And I say quickly, but it’s been a long process and I began working with Dr. Porges and Deb Dana, creating modules, just looking at polyvagal theory in our schools. So this book is also addressing discipline, it’s for parents and educators. But it’s looking more deeply into the nervous system states and the collective nervous system states. The title is intentional neuroplasticity, moving our educational system and our nervous systems, from trauma into growth. So I think we recognize now what trauma is. I think we’re learning about trauma. This book is addressing now what now what.
Debbie Reber 39:55
I hope you’ll come back on and talk with us about it when it comes out. It sounds wonderful. Before we say goodbye, where would you like listeners to go to check out your work?
Lori Desautels 40:03
I have a website called revelationsineducation.com. And so it’s revelationsineducation.com. And there are so many practices that some are in the book, which you can now download print. They’re yours, you can have them, but they’re for parents and educators.
Debbie Reber 40:25
That’s great. So listeners, I’ll have links to Lori’s book, website and other resources and the other names that kind of popped up throughout this conversation. I’ll have links to that too, in case you want to dive deeper. Laurie, thank you so much. I’m so grateful that we got to connect and learn more about your work and I’m excited to stay connected and see what you do next.
Lori Desautels 40:46
Thank you, Debbie. It was really fun having this conversation today. Thank you.
Debbie Reber 40:53
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