All Kinds of News for March 07, 2018
Given that the students at Valley View School arrive with diagnoses such as attention deficit disorder, various forms of emotional and behavioral dysregulation, and learning issues, it should be no surprise that executive functioning is almost a universal area of struggle. Executive functioning involves the set of cognitive skills used in managing goal-directed behavior; directing and sustaining attention, planning, and organizing are some of these core capacities. Unfortunately, when these skills are underdeveloped or compromised, even bright, motivated boys struggle to meet their potential.
The clinical staff at Valley View School have been developing an extensive program to help boys access and develop these crucial executive functioning abilities. Several staff have received specialized training in executive functioning and how to train students in these skills. Dr. Jared Tonks, Valley View Clinical Director, has studied these core cognitive skills and developed an eight-session module designed to educate and train students in their usage. Dr. Tonks covers the broad area of executive functioning by teaching various organizational principles and then covers practical behaviors and strategies that can improve functioning. However, in the same way that it is fruitless to try to teach swimming in a classroom, Valley View has made efforts to reinforce these very same strategies and principles in the academic and residential programs. Dr. Tonks notes that when students hear teachers and residential staff using the same ideas and terms discussed in his course, the power of the ideas is reinforced. Education, training, in-vivo reinforcement and repetition are the core elements of Valley View School's executive function training.
Finally, it should be noted that Valley View has begun collecting data in an effort to assess the effectiveness and benefits of the training. Undoubtedly, the program will evolve as the most effective practices are identified. Interestingly, several staff have seemed to improve in their own personal executive functioning as a result of greater awareness of these strategies. It would appear that, at Valley View School, not only does executive functioning training take a village, it benefits the whole village.
About Valley View School
Valley View School, founded in 1970, is a private therapeutic boarding school serving boys in grades 6-12. Our non-profit 501(c)(3) school is located in the central Massachusetts town of North Brookfield. The Valley View Program consists of a comprehensive blend of Therapy, Academics, Athletics, Arts and Activities challenging our students emotionally, intellectually and physically. The boys learn self-control and anger management, social skills in order to create and cultivate relationships with peers and adults, while developing compassion, empathy and respect for others and to realize their true potential.