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Lost at School: Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them Paperback – October 20, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 167 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Psychiatrist and Harvard professor Greene follows up The Explosive Child with an in-depth approach to aid parents and teachers to work together with behaviorally challenging students. Greene's philosophy is driven by the recognition that "kids who haven't responded to natural consequences don't need more consequences, they need adults who are knowledgeable about how challenging kids come to be challenging." Greene's "Plan B" system, which is fully and clearly explained in the course of the book, emphasizes identifying challenging behaviors-acting out, hitting, swearing, poor performance in class-and then working with students to find actual, practical ways to avoid them. Helpfully, Greene uses a fictional school for examples, devoting several pages to illustrative anecdotes in each chapter, greatly increasing the material's accessibility. Greene's technique is not fail-proof, principally because it requires the good will and hard work of all participants; a section on implementing Plan B in the face of real disagreement or apathy would have been helpful. However, Plan B has all the qualities of accessibility, logic and compassion to make it a solid strategy for parents and educators.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Zero-tolerance policies in school that take swift and harsh action against children for misbehavior are in danger of attaching labels and stigma to children with behavior problems, according to Greene, psychiatrist and author of The Explosive Child (1998). Greene explores the causes behind the behavior of children who are considered hard to control. He maintains that such children are not acting out of defiance but because they lack the skills to adapt their behavior to school norms. When adults take the time to teach children adaptive skills in increments, they see remarkable improvements in the behavior of these children. Drawing on his experience as a psychiatrist, Greene recounts vignettes of challenging behavior—from crying and whining to avoid tasks to manipulation to disruptive shouting or truculence. These children often have difficulty changing routine during the school day, reflecting on many thoughts at the same time, or managing emotions. Green advises making a checklist of unsolved problems and lagging skills and devising specific plans for addressing them. Accessible advice for parents and teachers concerned about children with behavior problems. --Vanessa Bush --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 42792nd edition (October 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416572279
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416572275
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #294,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Daryl Anderson VINE VOICE on November 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you are a real teacher (or principal or dean) in a real school, this humane and engaging book will surprise you with its combination of practicality and idealism. It will inspire you to change things and to believe in the possibility of change.

After teaching for eight years, I have spent the last three as "the discipline guy", Dean of Students, in a small, rural middle school. As both teacher and now as dean I have developed a deep suspicion of a certain sort of books. You know the ones: written by theoreticians or one-on-one therapists who have never had to juggle a roomful of 25 actual young human beings with not enough time, not enough resources and far too much of paperwork, testing, and ringing bells; and more and more deeply-troubled youngsters. These are the books that anxious or angry and frustrated parents bring to meetings that tell them how you should be meeting the needs of their unsuccessful or disruptive child. These books make things far worse for everyone involved.

"Lost at School" is different; and that's clear from the beginning. After a brief introduction which pulls no punches in saying "school discipline is broken" the book launches into a story! Every teacher I know likes a good story - and this one feels so much like real (school)-life from the beginning that it sets the hook for the rest of the book. The different thing about this story is not the characterization of the troubled and challenging kids, but of its inclusion of the realistic range of adult personalities that combine to make education what it is - and sometimes isn't.
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I am a clinical psychologist specializing in pediatric neuropsychology. I was introduced to Dr. Greene's Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) approach during my post-doctoral training at a multidisciplinary center for children/adolescents with dyslexia, AD/HD and other learning and behavior disorders. CPS is powerful and effective but takes lots of patience on the part of adults. It is a long-overdue as an approach that is needed in our schools.

I have worked with so many teachers who cite "motivation" as the reason for a child's behavior problems. I have seen functional behavior analysis forms with checkboxes for "low motivation." What, in fact, is "motivation"? It is one of the those temrs that SOUNDS like it explains something, but it doesn't really explain anything at all. No child WANTS to fail, WANTS to be embarrassed in front of his/her peers, WANTS to go to the principal's office, or WANTS to suspended. As Dr. Greene makes plain: "Children do well if they can." If they can't, it is up to the adults to figure out the skill deficit and teach them the skills they needed.

The education community now realizes that the "wait-to-fail" model does not serve children, but many are confused about how to implement "response to intervention" approaches, especially for behavior problems. The diagnosis doesn't matter; identifying the skill deficits that cause behavior problems does. The skill deficits are similar across diagnostic labels -- oppositional defiant disorder, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or a learning disability.

This approach is not a cure-all. It is somewhat language-intensive and may or may not be as effectice for children with language deficits. I don't believe that children fail school; I believe our schools are failing our children. This approach can go a long way toward helping schools help the most vulnerable children in our communities.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Please Read this Book! I couldn't put it down. It encouraged me and helped me step back so that I could get a fresh outlook with my children's motivations and struggles. If you are struggling with behavioral issues in your classroom or at home and have ADHD students or students with other behavioral issues, I believe this book will encourage you. This book is geared toward educators, but I believe it would also be very valuable and helpful for parents who have children with behavioral challenges to understand why their children are struggling in school and what can be done to help them.

The premise of this book is that traditional methods of rewards and consequences are not effective with students with behavioral problems. So, we are faced with the question, "What do we do now?" The author's answer is that we need to discard the labels of things like Bipolar and ADHD and look more deeply at the skills students are lacking--emotional and intellectually. We, as parents and teachers, need to equip students so that they can cope. There is an inventory/questionaire at the back of the book called the ALSUP which is a great tool to help you pinpoint your child/student's struggles.

The book focuses on the philosophy behind this list of skills and then how to implement strategies to address the student's/child's needs. The author does a great job of giving examples that illustrate his points.

I highly recommend this book! Many books written for educators are very dry and hard to get through. On the other hand, this book is interesting and thought provoking throughout!
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