Empathy in the classroom

| 30 Sep 2011 | 08:35

Nationally recognized expert Rick Lavoie comes to M-W with his message of understanding and good human relations CENTRAL VALLEY - Monroe-Woodbury School District officials and Special Education PTA parents are excited about a nationally recognized speaker coming to the district next week and there’s one they’re stressing: This program is for everyone. Educator and consultant Rick Lavoie will speak at Monroe-Woodbury High School on Monday, Nov. 1, from 7 to 9 p.m., focusing on the topic “The Motivation Breakthrough: 6 Secrets to Turning On the Tuned Out Child.” Ilene Maddalena, president of the district’s Special Education PTA (SEPTA), said Lavoie’s videos and books offer specific strategies for parents and teachers of children with learning differences. “His sensitive and compelling message fosters good human relations and can be applied to anyone in many situations,” she said. Consultant, author, educator Lavoie served as an administrator of residential programs for children with special needs for 30 years. He holds three degrees in special education, two honorary degrees and has been an adjunct professor or visiting lecturer at numerous universities. He has numerous national television appearances include The Today Show, CBS Morning Show, Good Morning America, ABC Evening News and Walt Disney Presents. Additionally, Lavoie has also served as a consultant on learning disabilities to several agencies and organizations including Public Broadcasting Service, New York Times and National Center for Learning Disabilities, USA Today, Girl Scouts of America, Child Magazine, “Instructor” Magazine and National Public Radio. In 2009, Lavoie was the recipient of the Learning Disabilities Associations of America’s Samuel Kirk award. He is the author of “The Motivation Breakthrough: 6 Secrets to Turning On the Tuned-Out Child” and “It’s So Much Work to Be Your Friend, Helping the Child with Learning Disabilities Find Social Success.” Maddalena said Lavoie is probably best known for his videos, “How Difficult Can This Be? The FAT City Workshop” and “Last One Picked, First One Picked On: The Social Implications of Learning Disabilities.” ‘Kids who don’t have any’ classification But Maddalena stressed that parents of students who do not receive special education services should give serious consideration to attending the Monday evening program. “There’s a lot of kids with IEPs (individualized education plans) and 504s (building level accommodations) and then there are kids who don’t have anything,” she said. “But they might have a learning ‘difference,’ not necessarily a learning disability. Come and listen to what Rick has to say. You’ll have a greater understanding of what that child is going through, and you can pass that empathy back to your child.” Empathy, Maddalena felt, is a key to everyone’s well-being in the classroom. “He’ll show you different strategies to use without make a kid stand out,” she said. “This can help make everyone comfortable and be empathic toward that’s going on in the classroom. This is a way of helping to bring people together. Every child has bad days, no matter if you’re a special ed student or not. They’ll see strategies for parents to use to deal with their own kid when they’re having a bad day.” Lavoie will also present an in-service program to all district faculty the following day during Superintendent’s Conference Day. “He is the premier speaker on learning disabilities in the country,” said Maddalena. “This is a coup for the district to have him come in.” - Nancy Kriz

If you go
“The Motivation Breakthrough - 6 Secrets to Turning on the Tuned-Out Child “with Richard Lavoie and presented by the Monroe- Woodbury SEPTA takes place Monday, Nov. 1, at the Monroe-Woodbury High School Auditorium.
Free for any for any Monroe-Woodbury School District parent, teacher, staff and/or administrator. All others: $20 per person.
Organizers expect a full house. To reserve a place, call SEPTA President Ilene Maddalena at 469-6412; or e-mail MWSEPTA@gmail.com.