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Monday, June 10, 2019

Beyond Behaviors Ch.2



Children do not gain the ability to use language to express feelings until they master prerequisite skills.  This comes through adult support and takes time.

Many children are being punished for stress behaviors due to faulty neuroception.

This means we need to gain the skills to read behavior as "bottom up" or "top down."

Top Down Processing
This is conscious thinking which occurs in the executive state, or in the prefrontal cortex, which is not fully developed until the early 20's.  Children start to have some control over their attention and impulses when they are about preschool age, when they start testing limits, but will not have full control until much later.  The fully developed executive thinking may halted by  perceived threats of danger as we revert to survival instincts.

Bottom Up Processing
These are processes that we are born with and are unconscious. They are innate survival skills.


When we don't look at behavior from both perspectives, we don't see the entire picture.


How does social emotional develop begin...
  • With nurturing, an infant will develop regulation and attention.  The child will cry and caregivers will attend to them.
  • Next, the child will develop engagement and connection, if they feel safe.
  • Soon, they will begin to communicate by mirroring the caregivers actions. This translates to communication of desires.
  • Language develops and over years the child learns to share feelings engage in co-operative problem solving and relationships.






The developmental process does not happen in any one order. When children have a strong foundation of social emotional development, they are more resilient in the face of adversity.  Parents should be deliberate about forming loving relationships; the frame in which engagement occurs. Children become hardwired for communication through interactions.  Problem solving is like having the ability to move through rooms in a house. The d├ęcor of the home is like a child’s ability to express likes/dislikes, explain, and share thoughts.  The child can then move from "house to house" as they discover other people’s outlooks, desires, and begin to use executive thinking.


One way to support this developmental process is through Becky Bailey’s “I Love you Rituals.” It has games and rhymes that you play with your child.  As a teacher, you can incorporate these into your morning routine to assist child development.


Another way to support the Social Developmental process is by use of Kagan Strategies in the classroom.



Assess the child…

Do they have the foundation to give attention and stay calm?

Are they framed to open interaction with others?

Are they wired to converse with others?

Do they "access rooms" by talking or asking questions?

Are they colorfully using words, imagination, and creativity to share ideas?

Does the child access "the driveway" into logical thinking?



The first four skills are bottom up processes, while the last two are top down. But we can go back to more primitive forms of the processes if we are triggered.

Autonomic nervous system (the part of the nervous system responsible for control of the bodily functions not consciously directed, such as breathing, the heartbeat, and digestive processes.) is broken into three colors to represent responses based on Polyvagal Theory. 

In addition to the above assessment determine…
What foundation color (green, red, blue) is the child’s pathway?

A course of action must take in account these factors, as well as, the child's preferences.


Next week- Chapter 3: Individual Differences

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