Friday, April 24, 2015

Dr. Jason Washburn responds to a question from GPS "Recognizing the High School Blues"

On April 16, 2015 at Glenbard South, Dr. Jason Washburn spoke on “Depression: Recognizing the High School Blues”.  Discussion focused on what parents and schools can do to help prevent teens from developing depression, as well as the treatment options for teens when depression is identified. 

Question via Facebook:

Fabulous seminar! Any ideas on how to help our students cope once diagnosed? Distress tolerance? 4-square breathing? Practical tips?

Dr. Washburn's reply:

Once a student is diagnosed with depression, it is critical to get treatment.  A good licensed psychotherapist (psychologist, clinical social worker, licensed clinical professional counselor) trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Interpersonal Therapy for Adolescents is a great place to start.  A good psychotherapist will also know when to refer for a medication evaluation.  The therapist will be able to identify skills that can be helpful for students to cope with their symptoms. 

In the classroom, I recommend the following that teachers can do to help out: 

1.       Reinforce skills being learned in therapy, including deep breathing, problem-solving skills, mindfulness, etc… 

2.       Provide breaks when tearful or overly distracted, as long as the breaks are not being taken advantage of

3.       Give encouraging but direct/honest their performance in class, (social and behavioral, as well as academic).

4.       Support executive functioning as best as possible, such as helping the student to set appropriate goals, to organize and plan to accomplish those goals, and to monitor performance

5.       Look for opportunities to keep the student engaged social during the school; don’t make it easy to isolate!

6.       Check in on how he/she is feeling, and monitor suicidal thoughts. 

7.       Community with parents, such as through a home-note system. 

See also:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Educators, Student and Parent share takeaways from GPS event by Nick Sousanis

Glenbard staff members attend Glenbard Parent Series programs, too. Here are a couple of their takeaways from the April 21 program Do You Speak Visual: How Visual Literacy is Essential for School Work and Life with Nick Sousanis.

Glenbard South instructional tech specialist Stephanie Wallace said, "Nick Sousanis gave a compelling and thought provoking talk on the history of comics (and/or graphic novels), our perception of them as a society and their possible role in student literacy. Our students consume visual media in huge quantities. As teachers, we need to help them decode and analyze what they see. We also should encourage and guide them to create their own images to visualize understanding, organize thoughts and concepts and tell their own stories. This was a really rich experience!"
South instructional tech specialist Stephanie Wallace (left)
and South art instructor Tatiana Heise

Glenbard South art instructor Tatiana Heise said, "Dr. Sousanis brought to life the idea that we all desire to speak our truths, to find a way to genuinely express our story and to help encourage and lead others to do the same. I walked away with a much deeper understanding of how we all break up space within our day and how the comic format is a powerful application and hotbed for rich learning opportunities and processing. Text is not isolated from image; image is not isolated from text. They are a conversation that informs its equal and respective parts.  It is within this natural application that we can understand the relationship of our thoughts and experiences in not only a linear and sequential way, as we are trained to do in traditional narrative texts, but also in a way that encourages relational processing - one that gives us opportunities and the responsibility to make connections - to fill in gaps, and to view information that came before, after, peripherally, as well in the moment of time we are currently experiencing."

St. Pet's 8th grade student, John Kenny, comments "I've learned that even though comic books and graphic novels are normally stereotyped against, they can be just as valuable as text-only books."
His mother, Polly Kenny said "I appreciated that Dr. Sousanis showed us powerful "cartoons" that we have valued throughout history (such as political cartoons).  And he explained how cartoons and graphic novels as a medium (in addition to all-text books) can expand our ways of sensing and "knowing" a topic.  Younger students and adults alike can benefit from this mix of visuals and text, how they interplay with one another, and how cartoons can cross time periods and bring together topics on one single page in a way that text media alone cannot.  I can see his work helping people understand how cartoons and graphic novels can add value both in the learning process and as a way for students to process and  express the things they are learning and trying to master!"