Real Talk for Real Teachers with Dr. Becky Bailey and special guest Elizabeth Montero-Cefalo

Episode Summary

Conscious Discipline is intended for all children and adults. However, it can be especially powerful for children with exceptionalities, including autism. The practice of Conscious Discipline creates structure and safety, builds connection with even the most relationship-resistant children, and helps develop executive skills in children who may have deficits in that area.

In this episode, Certified Instructor Elizabeth Montero-Cefalo shares insights and strategies for maximizing the effectiveness of Conscious Discipline with children on the spectrum. Elizabeth has worked extensively with children with special needs. Her special needs classroom has been recognized as a Conscious Discipline model by Dr. Becky Bailey and Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Listen as Elizabeth provides actionable tips on setting your intention, seeing through the child’s perspective, and creating the safety and connection that allow executive skills to flourish.

Essential Takeaways

  • Just like all children, children with autism have their own unique strengths and challenges. You can’t assume that strategies that worked with one child on the spectrum will work with all children on the spectrum.
  • Your intention is key. Children, and especially children on the spectrum, can sense your intention. Listen to your inner speech and check in on your intention, as this sets the trajectory of the interactions that follow.
  • By observing children in a non-judgmental space, you can learn how the child learns, what the child seems to enjoy, what triggers the child’s upset, and more. Use these observations to shape future interactions and interventions.
  • You can’t teach problem-solving and foster executive skills until you have a foundation of safety and connection in place. This includes predictability, structure, lots of visual supports, and authentic connection based on activities and games that the child enjoys.

Steps For Tomorrow

  • Check in with your intention. What energy are you bringing to the situation? Are you trying to control the interaction or connect?
  • See the world through the child’s perspective by stepping back and observing in a non-judgmental space. What does the child gravitate toward? What triggers the child, and what seems to help the child calm?
  • Consciously create safety and connection. Trust that with these pieces in place, your interventions will be effective.

Important Links

Product Mentions

Show Outline

  • :21 What is Conscious Discipline?
  • :40 Conscious Discipline is for everyone, regardless of age or disability
  • 2:30 Statistics on autism
  • 3:16 Introduction of guest Elizabeth Montero-Cefalo
  • 04:15 Conscious Discipline and children with special needs
  • 07:26 What is autism?
  • 09:39 Elizabeth’s story of a boy in her classroom who is on the spectrum
  • 14:43 Importance of intention
  • 17:22 Seeing the child and the child’s behavior differently
  • 18:40 Non-judgmental observation
  • 22:36 Power of Acceptance
  • 26:50 Foundation of safety and connection
  • 28:34 How to create safety for children on the spectrum
  • 31:19 How to ignite an interest in connection
  • 33:35 Teaching problem-solving/executive skills
  • 35:01 Recap
  • 36:12 What’s Becky up to?
  • 36:41 What’s Becky celebrating?

Thank You for Listening

There are many ways you could have spent this time today, but you chose to spend it with me and I am grateful. If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it with others via your favorite social media platforms.

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On behalf of our Conscious Discipline family, we wish you well.