NEW! The Institute Creates Innovative Videos for Parents to Help them Get Unstuck and On Target
The Institute’s Office of Instructional Technology and Media, through their work with Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. and the University of Colorado School of Medicine, has developed a suite of innovative videos for parents in both English and Spanish. The videos are a part of Unstuck and On Target, executive function (EF) tools and curriculum, which uses proven cognitive-behavioral techniques to improve flexibility, emotion regulation, planning, and organization among third and fifth graders. Funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Unstuck and On Target supports teachers and parents in addressing EF challenges at school and at home. Access the free support videos in both Spanish and English.
Executive functioning is our ability to get and do what we want and need. EF skills—essential to everyday life for adults and children—include our ability to stay organized, to plan and achieve goals, to have flexibility, and to regulate our feelings. A child’s ability to moderate their behavior and regulate their emotions can be challenged when there is a lot going on, or the normal structure of the school day is upended, as it has been during COVID. These videos are designed to support parents and caregivers in understanding EF, in identifying their child’s strengths and challenges, and in assisting children to build their skills in being flexible independent problem solvers. Through the strategies and tools demonstrated here, parents can help their children be successful, avoid meltdowns and negativity, and develop a shared language and ways of interacting to achieve calmer, more productive days.
As we read through the initial script, we were struck by the importance of compromise for parents and of adapting your parenting style to your child’s needs. These were key concepts that we wanted viewers to take away. – Kaitlyn Decker, Multimedia Technologist, The Institute for Innovation and Implementation
The videos cover specific strategies for parents to motivate children including making a concrete plan, breaking larger tasks downs, providing options, and troubleshooting. Other videos in the series identify ways to help children be flexible as well as how to adapt their plans and regulate their feelings when change or disappointment occurs. A core set of parenting skills are introduced throughout the series of videos: seeking to understand a child’s behavior, modeling successful behaviors that a caregiver wants a child to emulate, and consistently using key words to remind your child of the EF skills they can employ.
The videos were initially conceived to support parents during COVID who, by necessity, became homeschool special educators for youth with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Children with ADHD and ASD might struggle to regulate their behavior during the structured setting of a typical school day but during COVID were suddenly faced with an absence of structure and predictability. The team writing content for these videos--parents, educators executive function counselor, occupational therapist, clinical psychologists, and neuropsychologists--quickly realized that the videos were applicable far beyond their initial target audience. Caregivers can utilize support in growing the flexibility and planning skills of all children. This was especially true during COVID as demands on parents and an unmet need around EF skill development increasing resulted in disabling anxiety, mood disruption, and aggressive behavior for children.
We were looking to create a balance of realism with abstract representations of ideas and concepts that made them universal to a broad audience. Our goal was to keep the content relatable so that parents might recognize their own similar experiences in the videos. – Dennard Brown, Multimedia Technologist, The Institute for Innovation and Implementation
Unstuck and On Target aims to develop a shared way of thinking, a shared language, and a suite of supports for use by both teachers and caregivers in order to help children be more successful at school and at home. The video project was led by former University of Maryland Baltimore faculty Laura Gutermuth Anthony, PhD, now Professor, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine; Lauren Kentworthy, PhD, Professor at Children’s National Hospital; and the Unstuck and On Target author team.
The Institute for Innovation and Implementation’s Office of Instructional Technology and Media, with a specialization in adult learning theory and online learning design, was invited to join the Unstuck and On Target team to develop the videos. They are also working on a series of videos for educators to be released in 2022.
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