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York hosts first UK workshop by leading child behaviour expert

Posted on 5 December 2013

A world-leading expert on working with children with behavioural challenges will present his first UK workshop at the University of York this month.

Ross Greene, an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is prominent in the United States and Canada as the author of the acclaimed books The Explosive Child and Lost at School.

At the fully-booked workshop on Thursday, 12 December, Dr Greene will describe his Collaborative and Proactive Solutions approach for working with behaviourally challenging children.

A key theme of his approach is that ‘Kids do well if they can’ – that if a child could do well, she/he would do well.  Based on research in the neurosciences over the past 50 years, Dr Greene suggests that lagging skills (rather than lagging motivation) underlies challenging behaviour.

“Kids with behavioural challenges are not attention-seeking, manipulative, limit-testing, coercive or unmotivated,” he says.  “But they do lack the skills – such as flexibility, adaptability, frustration tolerance, and problem solving – that make it extremely difficulty for them to respond adaptively in certain circumstances. Adults can help by recognising what causes their difficult behaviours and teaching kids the skills they need through the process of solving problems collaboratively.”

The free one-day event at Derwent College has attracted over 300 delegates including education staff, parents and foster carers, and professionals working with children and young adults in areas such as the probation service and the criminal justice system.

Organised by forensic psychologist Dr Jo Clarke, from York’s Department of Psychology, the event is designed to introduce the concepts of Dr Greene’s approach as a precursor to a three-day advanced training course next year.

Dr Clarke said: “I came across Ross Greene as a parent when I read The Explosive Child, but found that it resonated with my work in the prison service. The skills lacking in children who are easily frustrated, explosive or challenging, such as problem-solving, consequential thinking, empathy and emotional control, are the same skills we try to teach adult offenders.

“If children lack these skills, there is a real risk that they will end up in the justice system later in life. I’m particularly concerned that while just one per cent of children in the UK are looked after, 25 per cent of the prison population have been in the care system.

“The workshop will examine why the conventional reward and punishment system may not be effective for many challenging children. Participants will leave with an understanding of the underpinnings of Ross Greene’s model, along with practical assessment and intervention tools which they can use.” 

Dr Clarke’s aim is to establish a multi-disciplinary centre at York involving researchers and practitioners based on the Collaborative and Proactive Solutions model.

The public workshop, Collaborative and Proactive Solutions for Working with Challenging Children, will take place at Derwent College on Thursday, 12 December. The event is fully booked.

For further information on Ross Greene’s model visit the Lives in the Balance website

Notes to editors:

Contact details

Caron Lett
Press Officer

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