[Reading] ➶ Help for Billy ➬ Heather T. Forbes – Motyourdrive.co.uk

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10 thoughts on “Help for Billy

  1. says:

    This book was recommended by my school admin At one point the principal said, This is an amazing book I want every teacher to ever teach here to get a copy of it Every time I mentioned a particular behavior issue in my class, various support staff education coaches, counselors asked, Have you read Help for Billy Umm, noooo, not yet I ve been too busy working with my dozens of Billys and 60 or so Andys as well as a few not yet named students to give this book the six and a half hours Audible said it would require I used the Audible version to listen on my way to and from work for a while Girlfriend is not my favorite reader and since she relies on her Figures to illustrate her points, you kinda need to have the book But now I m on midwinter break So what was the first thing I did Cracked open good ol Billy Perhaps I was set up for disappointment by all those insinuations of this book s greatness Regardless, I was definitely disappointed.Seems to me that Forbes approaches her topic as a parent of two out of country adopted children and as a social worker She really seems to be out of her league when she writes about the classroom especially when she offers advice for handling Billy As many have already pointed out, working in a room with 20 something other students really does not allow us to engage with Billy the way HTF would like us to I can see some limited merit in her advice, but much of it simply won t work in a real gen ed classroom Maybe in a room with a smaller class size However, not having taught in that environment, unlike HTF, I hesitate to claim it would work there, either.Further, despite her argument that all these traumatized kids act like toddlers, I find that some of the lessons are hard to extrapolate from her illustrations of life in elementary school I teach middle school Our demands are different schedules, content, no recess and electives which allow teachers non instructional time Those are just to name a few Peer relationships and social demands are distinct for middle schoolers, too, so I frequently found myself trying to adjust her vignettes to fit my needs and, frankly, they just couldn t.HTF frequently casually makes demands on teachers outside of classroom time to meet Billy s needs Calls home in the evening, an extra ten minutes before school starts Small sacrifices for this stressed out kid And I can see that that makes sense to to a social worker who has never taught an eight hour day with many classes with multiple Billys. To most classroom teachers, though, this really is asking than most of us can give Not because we are not loving and caring, but because we are going all out during pretty much every minute of the day to meet the needs of all of our students in instruction, materials, extra supports and differentiation not to mention meetings with parents, staff, and professional learning committees How would HTF know about all of that, though And this is why she s not really qualified to make these recommendations.So, not so applicable.The other issue in my case is that we re being asked to consider Billy as an example of a child who has experienced childhood trauma This I get But HTF seems to be limiting this trauma to the experience of parental neglect While, yes, that is certainly an issue for some of my Billys, it s certainly not the case for all We have a lot of parents who are dedicated and loving already and still are at their wits end regarding how to help their kids In fact, many of us are loving, caring teachers who are still having trouble, and this is not because we are insufficiently loving HTF does have the decency to admit at the end of her book that sometimes we simply won t see a change in Billy Our job is simply to love em like crazy and hope for the best Billy is on his own healing timeline This, I understand, but it certainly doesn t leave any way for me to improve the climate in my general class when we must all simply love and accept Billy and try to press on with the instruction that all of my students need Billy s dysregulation isn t just a hazard to himself while he is healing he s also a setback to the rest of the class when they are trying to keep up catch up learn something in class each day.No matter how often HTF reminds us that we must not let test scores or other false measures determine our success, the fact is that at least in my school system, data matters Really, as a parent of students in public schools, I also would want some kind of proof that my child is growing and learning in school HTF s blank check that we just need to keep loving Billy is not much of a gift to th rest of the kids in the classroom Sometimes I wonder if it is also an excuse to lower expectations for Billy by detach ing from the outcome 197 Those are very dangerous words, making room for a lot of growing gaps in education As someone who spent almost ten pages convincing us that words matter heading of the section that runs from 179 to 188 in which HTF critics and analyzes words used in standard IEPs this seems irresponsible.Speaking of irresponsible What in the world was that pseudo science HTF was trying to pass off about entrainment with that bizarre illustration of a body with force fields coming from its heart and head 129 130 To somehow imply that synched menstrual cycles and great conversations with friends are the same thing as patting a kid s shoulder is just nuts I guess I just need to do research into the Institute of HeartMath I m sure they re reputable It kinda sounds like Dartmouth.Did I learn anything from this book Yes But most of it was usefully, less condescendingly, and universally presented in Glasser s Transforming the Difficult Child which is, so far, the most pragmatic source I ve seen for interacting with my Billys with dignity, respect, gentleness, kindness and accountability for both the students and myself In a classroom, that s pretty much the kind of love my students seem to need most.

  2. says:

    This should be required reading for anyone working with children in any capacity It should be required reading annually for anyone working with children in a teaching setting.

  3. says:

    Was hoping for real solutions to the real problem of kids with trauma Was frustrated as I feel a lot of this is unworkable in a real classroom Perhaps if they are put in separate classes some of these things could be instituted But I can t see a teacher of a full class of kids stopping the class repeatedly and it will be repeatedly to give Billy time to calm or regulate Nothing would get done Maybe for kids lower on the trauma spectrum some of these things are workable.

  4. says:

    Best book I ve read about working with challenging students

  5. says:

    Did this as a Book Study at work Excellent book and provided me with a fresh perspective of my students I desire relationship over behavior Totally worth reading

  6. says:

    Heather Forbes does an excellent job of blending the latest research on trauma into the classroom She helps one understand how the brain is wired and gives alternative ways of handling the students who are affected by trauma Very readable and applicable.

  7. says:

    Helping Children with Difficult Behaviors Succeed in School and in Life In each of her books for adoptive parents, Heather Forbes has written knowledgably with an emphasis on compassion and understanding In Help for Billy, her approach is again steeped in respect, empathy, and love for the child He s not scapegoated as the problem he s viewed as a child with problems Billy is not a bad kid he s a kid that life has thrown into the white water and he is struggling mightily to stay afloat.Yes, it is challenging to be the parent or teacher of a child like Billy His behavior is problematic It is both a symptom and evidence of Billy s need for help.Several points in the book resonated with me First Forbes encourages educators and parents to reformulate the questions they ask themselves as they try to determine how to help Billy Instead of querying, How can Billy change his behavior She recommends asking, How can we assist Billy in feeling safe, supported and calm Until this second question is asked and the answer is found, changing Billy s behavior with consequences, threats, and constraints is impossible Even worse, it is damaging to the family relationships as well as the teacher child relationship.Relationship influences everything It is the channel through which a child is influenced, healed, and motivated In the absence of relationships that feel safe and calm, Billy will be unable to function because he will be entirely focused on surviving and or escaping his fears Learning and behaving take a backseat to survival in the moment of fear.Another salient point of the book alter the desired outcome is phrased this way Your ability to give love and stay mindful is the new outcome This statement may seem contrary to the premise of the book Help for Billy How can focusing on emotions help Billy academically and socially By removing his perception that he is in danger and creating a feeling of safety and acceptance, Billy s brain has energy and space to spend on intellectual activity As long as Billy is in survival mode, everything else is perceived as frivolous.Soothing his fears is a huge step towards accepting Billy as he is right now, along with his trauma history and unpleasant coping behaviors He needs love and acceptance in the present moment Withholding support, love, and acceptance until he meets certain standards may sentence him to a permanent state of being judged and found short of the mark.Billy s path may never smooth out as parents and teachers would hope but the greatest gift they can offer is to scaffold him with the necessary support systems emotional as well as academic that allow Billy to begin the lifetime journey of healing his trauma.Helping Billy offers practical tips for parents and teachers In many cases, they flip the traditional paradigm 180 While the approach may seems out of the box, it is definitely doable and may be exactly what the Billys in our families and schools need.As parents and educators, we must not lose sight that our goal is not to raise scholars but to raise productive human beings We must nurture Billy s spirit as our highest priority then we can hope to address his academic achievement.As an adoptive parent and an adoption coach, I know the value of Heather s loving and relationship focused approach Many times I have reminded myself to pause and determine if my child s behaviors result from I won t or can t Our relationships have benefited from this solution approach By choosing to be less adversarial and curious about what drives behavior, better strategies have evolved More importantly, better relationships have grown Gayle H Swift, author, ABC, Adoption Me A Multicultural Picture Book

  8. says:

    I think all teachers should read this book Could be really helpful for our students that really test our patience It can only help I m hoping to be able to utilize this in the upcoming school year.

  9. says:

    As the short review says this book covers all the real reasons behind kid s challenging behavior Basically this one comes down to environment if your kid is challenging, guess what it is all your fault Maybe you didn t love them, didn t cuddle them enough, worked outside the home p.13 , or you weren t happy enough p 54 I m sure ADHD, cognitive impairment, mental illness, autism, etc, etc, etc could probably have been prevented if you had just taken your prenatals everyday.If you can ignore all the ways you are failing as a parent and or teacher and or human being you will find some decent ways to work with challenging kids in a variety of settings.

  10. says:

    In a nutshell, if students are not loved at home they will come to school looking for love They will not be able to learn anything until that basic need is met After they feel loved, a relationship can develop, they will feel safe with you and then they can learn It was a good reminder of priorities and how connections are valuable than lesson 6.1 on rational numbers.

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