Personal Lesson Learned from David Goodwin

This part is the latest update regarding my activity at Children Counseling seminar with David Goodwin. The whole sessions with 57 participants had finished last night (Friday, September 18, 2009), but my session with Mr Goodwin won’t be done until today. I just had a great moment with him, for I had to accompany him in his DVD recording sessions at YPPII studio. He will publish 16 packages of children counseling tools for parents, counselors and children pastors.

About 10am this morning, we arrived at the studio and started to get ready straight away. I had to help Mr Goodwin communicate with the cool crews, Enos and Nuri. They were a good team and they did their job whole-heartedly. During his recordings, I tried to my best to behave. I listened to his speech, as if I was the only student in his classes. He had a very good stamina, for he could record 5 sessions (each for 45-60 minutes) with only 1 hour lunch break between the 2nd and 3rd session. We finished the whole recording at 530pm.

David Goodwin (far right), the participants and me (far left)

David Goodwin (far right), the participants and me (far left)

I learned many lessons today:

  1. Mr Goodwin is a very humble person. He has been known internationally as a speaker and children counselor, but he still holds onto the simple value of respecting other people and never underestimates them.
  2. He is also a good teacher and lecturer. I could understand his method of teaching without any head-scratching on my side. He was able to deliver complicated issues in easier ways, without simplifying the essence.
  3. He loves to throw jokes. I just knew this particular habit this year, even though I’ve met him last year. He said that he loves to ‘fooling around’. This is another way to show his humbleness. I just love this guy.
  4. He is a good listener and counselor. This skills has been trained for the past 40 years! He has helped children and their parents, which can proved his ability to help other people.
David Goodwin demonstrated Kids Keep Safe programme

David Goodwin demonstrated Kids Keep Safe programme

I bought Bullying book and worksheets CD-ROM from his programme. He also gave me a great book on children ministry called The World Needs Children Ministry Leader, which tells about leadership in children ministry based on Moses. It is going to be a great journey of reading his books.

I will catch up again with him next year, for the continuation of this seminar. It will be heap!

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School of Children Counseling 2

Today is my first day to be at School of Children Counseling. It is actually the 3rd day of the event, but I couldn’t come earlier, for I still had my classes to attend. What I learned from David Goodwin at the first place is not to set high expectation based on last year’s experience. Last year was the first time this event been held and it was a great event. The participants were almost twice as much as this year participant, which hit 57 people. The commitee was also had hectic week last year, while this year seems a bit slow and not too packed.

I had a chat with the leading Pastors and his wife. They think that this year is somehow better, because the situation is not too crowded like last year. So, the speaker and the participants can get along better and they can interact in a better way too. I hope so too …

I only had two sessions today. The first one was about John, the previous client of David Goodwin who had ADHD back then. Now, John is in his mid 20’s and we do not know much on his development (for this is not part of the seminar). Goodwin mentioned the good development of John on his 21st birthday a few years ago. He was a very talented young man who took charged on a big Christian Seminar in NSW and, mostly, in his church.

The second session was movie night. It is still the same movie, Antwone Fisher. It’s a movie about Fisher, who had gone through hard times and rejection during his childhood and the damage still has its effects up until his adulthood. The traumatic event of being sexually abused, makes him a man who was still virgin at his 25 (of course, for some culture or beliefs, having pre-marital sex is not acceptable). The rejection from his mother turns him into an angry man, who unconsciously always be part of any quarrels and other forms of aggression. I have been watched this movie 4 times, but still I missed some detail parts of the movie. I am glad that I watched that movie again a few hours ago.

Note:

Being a counselor for children is a way of helping them recognizing their problems, help them to understand their situation and also, to help them find the best way out based on their characteristics. Working with children is exciting, and yet troubling, because we need to read beyond the lines. We can’t notice that any emotional/psychological abuse is happening, because there is no physical marks on the children. But, we can notice such abuse is happening, only if we can build a close and trustworthy relationshop with the children. They are the most honest people, who would change their behavior when their circumstances has been disturbed, even by a small incident.

So, keep the hard work, counselor!

Mommy is Stress Out During Exam Period

This is another real life story of a young mother, who is stressing out during her children examinations period. She has 2 children, son and daughter. Her son is the eldest and started his Primary at 5.5 year of age. She complained about her son to me, just a moment ago. She said that her son is a hard child when it comes to any school work. He would not start his school works if she does not call him. He would not study for his test, if she does not shout it out. He always makes the same mistakes over and over again. Even though the night before the test, he could answer all the practice given by his mother, on the test day, he would make some mistakes. So, he never really achieve high standard, which has been lined out by his mother.

benefits_of_studying_by_savethemuzika

We tried to sort things out, especially on why her son show no interest in any school activities. Then we come into a few conclusions:

  1. Her son might be too young when he entered Primary school. He did not have enough time to play with his peers and not thinking about his diary and school works. By sending a child to school at a very young age will have different impact on different child. Maybe her son is craving for playing time during his kindergarten years.
  2. She set her own standard of getting high scores at school and hoping that her son will enter the highest 10. She put her past experiences into her son’s scope now. She was in the highest 10 and her mother did not pay any attention on how she was doing her school works. She wants the same thing to happen with her and her children at the moment.
  3. She asked her son to do his best at school because she wants something from her son. She has a mindset that she already gave a lot for her son, so now it’s time for her son to give something back, by doing good at school. By saying this, her son will think that the one who needs good grades is not him, but his mother. Her son will not be bothered by this request because he could not understand the meaning of studying, having good grades and so on. His mother needs to tell him the right examples of why he needs to study well for his own sake.
  4. She does not have consistent studying hour for her son, so it will depend on the daily basis. By setting schedule, a child can learn to adapt into such routine. Of course, the schedule not meant to be dull and not fun. The schedule must meet a child’s ability, biological hours and capacity. If a child can stand for an hour and needs a break, then parents must understand such condition. Pushing a child to go over his limit, will bring the child down and bring parents down too, for they can’t reach the ‘standard’ set.

It’s not easy to be parents. I’ve been dealing with teaching young children for 4.5 years and I’ve met many parents with different expectations, wrong belief and their own standard of being success for their children. I would not blame such parents, because they do not understand on how to see the world from their children’s point of view.

As a start, imagine yourself at the age of your child now! Then you will understand what they need …

Secret In The Eyes of A Child

This afternoon, I walked into a classroom, in which my assistants were having their sessions with my students. I overheard one boy talked to his friend. He said, ‘I believe that every man has a secret!’. His friend replied, ‘How do you know?’, then he said, ‘I just know’.

That minute strucked me, because I never expexted a 9-year-old boy could say such thing. This student of mine is indeed a smart boy. On his first class, I was shocked by his ability of telling stories in English (his primary language is Indonesian) without stopping for 2 hours! He took one encyclopedia from my book shelf and then he told stories on almost all the animals inside the book. His teacher (my assistant) looked at me every now and then, because she was amazed by his ability. I did too, I was amazed by him!

At his age now, he is in period of concrete operation. In this period, a child can solve problems which are concrete or actual. They will find it hard to solve any abstract problems. Following image will help you understand more on cognitive developmental stages by Jean Piaget:

Back to the story about my student. If you noticed the beginning of this article, you can see that his understanding of having secret is not an abstract concepts, because he said that ‘I just know’. He knows that everybody is keeping secret, but he could not understand yet on why everybody must keeps secret.

I believe that he will turn to be a smart adult, who will fully understand the meaning of having a secret.

Story of O: A Special Child

During my holiday, I’ve spent plenty of time to share with my friends and colleague. The thing that I love the most about sharing is the chance that we have to broaden our knowledge without much money to spent and also, it’s a time-effective process. I do not need to spend a few months to understand one case, just like my friend did. She is happening to be a therapist of special need children, and she has lots of students. One of her students is now my student. Let’s say his name is O.

O has one meeting per week with my friend to attend play therapy. O has been reported as a child who is unable to concentrate in the class and therefore, he couldn’t finish his works, at school and also at home. O is a cute and nice boy, and now he is attending P1 class.

At my tuition centre, O attends 3-times/week classes. What I observed about him are as following:

  1. He always rips the edge of his paper work which always stapled by his teacher. He said that he hates stapled paper. I suggested him to tell his teacher, not to staple his paper work and it seems that he’s happy with that. He understands the consequences of writing his name on every paper that he receives.
  2. He does not want to read the commands in every work. He always asks questions on how to do the problems.
  3. He complains a lot about his homework and weekly tests. He needs more than 2 hours to finish his daily homework and studying for his weekly tests.
  4. He is smart and loves to read books in free time.

According to story shared by my friend, O is very smart indeed, but he has difficulty to concentrate on certain tasks and tends to avoid any academic activities, such as: reading, writing and studying. He avoids those activities and many other, because he does not understand the purpose of those activities. He hates reading because for him, reading is painful. Through play therapy sessions, O is intervened by giving him understanding on the importance of reading ability. He has to read the instructions of his own chosen toys. He has to understand the rules of the game before he can play that game, with my friend (as his mate).

Regarding his writing problem, I had a letter-writing activity. The first one was to help him remembering names of colors for his English spelling test. If he could not remember on how to write ‘yellow’ correctly, he refused to write that down. So, I decided to write him a letter contains of ‘yellow’ word and I asked him to write the same word in his practice paper. It went well and I was so happy with the result.

Now, my friend and I are working hard to help him find the excitement of studying. If you can help us to solve this problem, please drop it through my email or commenting on this post.

Defining IQ Score in Children Intelligence Tests

I’ve done my internship 2 weeks ago and I just had my case presentation this morning. I will share a thought about defining IQ scores in intelligence tests with children.

One of my subjects was FK. He had been tested by CPM and WPPSI to get a clear understanding on his cognitive abilities. His CPM score is 15 (out of 36 items) and by that score, we can say that he has an average cognitive ability compare to his peers. But, his WPPSI scores are not as good as CPM and not consistent, if we just look at the numbers. His verbal score IQ is 62, Performance Score is 74 and Full Scale Score is 65. If we look only at the number, this boy has the possibilities to be diagnosed with Mild Mental Retardation. I was confused by this contradiction, between his CPM and WPPSI scores.

Then, I started to look at my raw data on his development before and after individual intervention that I gave to him. He could sit still and did his practices for 1 hour and 30 minutes! It was a long study period for a 5-year-old boy. Before the intervention, he was labelled as a difficult child, because he could not memorize numbers, colors and letters that had been taught in the class and reviewed at the orphanage (during study time).

If I look back at his background, it all makes sense. His parents died a few years ago and he was taken care by his uncle, who has 4 kids on his own. Then, FK was sent to a boarding house for adults and he was somehow abandoned, because noone was really look after him. And finally, on 16 February 2008, he was sent to the orphanage by his uncle. Actually, this is where his journey had just begun. He started to go to school and build relationship with his peers. He started to learn how to be discipline and follow the rules in the orphanage. He started to have his new life. But then, a new problems comes up, when his ability in the class is not optimal. He is somewhat has difficulties to understand the materials given in the class, compare to his peers.

My arguments for his condition are:

  1. He had missed the opportunities to grasp basic information, social skills and vocabularies stimulation during his early periods of life. It is due to the incident of his parents and his following unsupported environment.
  2. He needs an individual session to help him master the basic skills needed, such as: naming colors, numbers and letters. He can overcome his ‘missing period’ by doing this session with responsible adult in interactive and stimulated environment.

FK still has his talents to develop, so that he will be able to catch up with his peers. Even though his number now is below the expectation, with maximum help in a logical timeframe, he will be able to overcome this condition.

I Think Grandpa is An Old-School

I just had dinner out with my best friend. She just came from Atambua, a small country town in Nusa Tenggara. She is pregnant and will due next month. During our dinner, we shared stories, and one of them was about her father-in-law, who is old school and always has argumentation about everything.

So, last week my friend and her husband told her father-in-law about her habit during night time. She always puts on the headphone on her tummy and let the baby listens to classics. The baby always reacts in many ways, mostly in making movements. Actually this conversation was started by a statement made by the in-law. He said that the classics in the CD player was nice and very soothing. Therefore, my friend’s husband was encouraged to share their story. They thought as a Grandpa-to-be, he will be happy to listen to this nice story.

But, their thought was wrong. Grandpa was not happy!

He said that by letting the baby listens to classics will make the baby sad when he is coming in this world, because what he hears through classics and the reality of this world won’t be the same. So, there is no use for the baby to listen to classics every night… What a narrow-minded Grandpa he is… (oops, I become very subjective!).

Grandpa also told my friend not to eat nice and yummy food, because by then the baby will be very picky! The baby will understand that his mother loves to eat nice food, so he will do the same thing too, by being picky and hard to control!

Well, I’ve learned Psychology for many years, and I never heard this kind of expectation by a Grandpa-to-be… I believe he’s an old-school…

Talking to The Kids

I’ve been dealing with the children for a few years (not an expert yet) and I started to understand how children understand the meaning of whatever we tell them. Besides doing classes with my students, I also practice all the knowledge that I have regarding children to my little niece, Ellice. Since she was a baby (now she’s a toddler), she could give quick response to whatever stimulus around her. I love to talk to her as if she understands what I’m saying, and I know that she does. Even though she couldn’t say something back due to her capabilities at the moment, but her response shows that she understands. I also teach her English in her young age and now she kicks her English quite good!

My pinky niece

My pinky niece

Back in my early days as Psych student, one of my lecturers told me that the way most Indonesian parents treated their children were not right. They treat children as half-human, just because they couldn’t functioning as much as an adult. But children are not half-human, they are human. Their developmental process is on-going now, therefore they haven’t functioning as much as we do, yet.

I dislike parents or any other adults who keep on saying ‘Later’ or ‘wait’ to the kids when they ask for something. Sometimes the ‘later’ or ‘wait’ can become another day, another week or maybe nothing will happen. The promises broken and their kids lose their trust to the adults. So, next time, when you want to say ‘later’ or ‘wait’, please define it carefully…

Anyway, talking to children is easier if you treat them as your friends and they have the same level as you are, although you have to re-phrase the words that you would choose. I always amazed at how children understand the words we say and the meaning of our conversation, as long as you trust them and treat them equally.

Way to go, parents!

What So Called ‘Expert’ in Psych

I had a meeting with my colleagues today. We shared the stories and happenings at our own intership place. One of my friend told me about what-so-called ‘an expert’ at her place of internship. She is placed at a therapy center for special needs children. She is taking care of an autism boy, called A. Here is the story …

There was a teacher at her place who claimed himself as an expert in autism, for he has been took care over 1000 autism cases with 1000 ways! He was going to ‘teach’ my friend on how to handle an austism boy. He yelled (or scream?) at his ear, asked ‘WHAT IS YOUR NAME?’. He did that 3 times and no answer came from that boy. Then, my friend touched his hand and asked casually, ‘What is your name, dear?’ He answered that straight away!

There is another funny story. The same teacher told my friend that A did not able to learn English at all. My friend saw a note said that he is able to write and spell 1-5 in English. The teacher scream at A’s ear again, asked ‘WHAT IS NUMBER 1 IN ENGLISH?’ As what happened before, the boy did not answer that. He did that 3 times and then told my friend with confident that A was not able to learn English. My friend, again, touched his hand and asked the same question, A answered that question! He was able to say the right word in English … and not just number 1, he was saying all the right words, from 1 to 5! Amazing progress for an autism boy…

The teacher behaviors confused me. How can he claimed himself as an expert in psychological field, if he really can’t do anything in a daily therapy session with a child who needs his help? This is what I dislike from those people who claimed themselves as experts, while in reality they can’t do something helpful for the children.

Well, let’s define ‘expert’ in a better way … I think we really need to do that.

The Meaning of Being Loved

During May, I’ve spent 3 weeks to be with the children at the orphanage. At first, I thought that their parents were heartless, they have no efforts whatsoever to take care of their own offsprings. They don’t even care if their children were alive or not. And I thought there was no better place for a child to grow, beside at their own home with their parents. But after 3 weeks with those children, I’ve changed my mind…

Im falling in love...

Im falling in love...

I found the real meaning of being loved! The children were loved by the nuns and the caregivers. They can have 3 times meal everyday, plus 2 times of snacks and fruits. They even drink milk twice a day, something that can’t get if they live with their parents.

Last Saturday, I spent 3 hours talking to the nun of my group. She told me about background of some children who need special attentions from the caregiver. Abused children, poor family, incest, learning dissabilities, and neglected children. Some of their parents do not care about them in some ways, they rarely visit their children, never pay for the school fee or living cost. The orphanage never charge the parents with certain amount of money and wishing that parents will pay as much as they could to support their own children. Half of the money given will go to the saving account which belongs to each child. The orphanage fully support the school fee, daily living cost and other expenses for the children. I found the new meaning of being loved … Those children are loved by their caregivers, put all of their past and cruelty behind.

Another lesson of giving love in this life…