How to change your brain's response to stress

Learn about: How to change your brain's response to stress from Jerome Schultz, PhD,...
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How to change your brain's response to stress

They’re a lot of kids sitting in a public classroom today thinking to themselves, I can’t do this, there’s no way I can do this. And they got teachers and psychologists and other well trained people and well many people saying I believe in you, you can do this. Well unless a kid believes in herself or himself they can do it; perception rules. If a child is sitting there thinking I’m stupid and anything you throw at me I’m going to fail at, it’s a bad place to start. So can the brain change the reaction to stress? Sure, but you have to get the kid out of the fear mode and into the success mode, into the mode of competence, feeling confident for that to happen. Otherwise the brain is reacting; it’s trying to protect itself and we have to walk away from the stress and we have get kids out of that stressful situation. Let them do something that they know they can do well that they do on their free time and let them have that feeling and then use that feeling to help kids grow. Say remember how you felt when you were playing your instrument? Remember how you felt when you were playing that video game? Let’s try to get that feeling back here right now at your desk. You’re totally in charge of that. I think kids who are in late elementary school and especially in middle school ought to be required to learn how their brains work and to learn how their brains work on stress. I suggested it in several school systems that kids in middle schools have the opportunity to do a unit on stress and its impact on cognition on brain function. And when kids get to do that they say; I know what’s going on. I know what stress does to me. I know how it gets in my way of learning. I finally understand what’s wrong with me. And you know what; I can do something about it. That’s a science lesson. That changes the whole ball game for kids. It’s a simple formula and we need to do it. You can teach a kindergarten kid that her or she is not working really well because their upset. You don’t have to do the brain science part. You can just say honey, what’s happening right now? You want a kid who’s going to be able to say, well you know, I’m feeling really bad about what’s going on and I know when I feel bad I can’t do what I’m supposed to do. If you can train the child very young to understand that the feeling that she has is getting in the way of what’s she wants to do and that she has the power to stop, take a breath and turn it around, you’re giving that child a gift that going to last her for the rest of her life.

Learn about: How to change your brain's response to stress from Jerome Schultz, PhD,...


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Jerome Schultz, PhD

Clinical Neuropsychologist

Dr. Jerome (Jerry) Schultz is a former middle school special education teacher. He is currently in private practice as a clinical neuropsychologist and is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School in the Department of Psychiatry.  For over three decades, he has specialized in the neuropsychological assessment and treatment of children with learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other special needs. He was on the faculty of Lesley University in Cambridge MA for almost 30 years, and served there as the Founding Director of a diagnostic clinic called the Learning Lab. Before returning to private practice, Dr. Schultz served as the Co-Director of the Center for Child and Adolescent Development at the Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Teaching Hospital.

Dr. Schultz received both his undergraduate and Master’s degree from The Ohio State University and holds a Ph.D. from Boston College. He has completed postdoctoral fellowships in both clinical psychology and pediatric neuropsychology. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of a journal called Academic Psychiatry, and is on the Professional Advisory Boards of a website called Inside, and the Learning Disabilities Association of America.

In addition to his clinical and educational work, Dr. Schultz serves as an international consultant on issues related to the neuropsychology and appropriate education of children and young adults with ADHD & LD and other special needs. In his current role as neuropsychological consultant to several large school districts in the Boston area, he is on the ground, in schools and working with kids and their teachers several days each week.

Dr. Schultz created an award-winning video called “Einstein and Me” about living successfully with a learning disability, and has written extensively about children with learning, behavioral and emotional challenges. He has a special education and psychology blog on the Huffington Post. His book, called Nowhere to Hide: Why Kids with ADHD and LD Hate School and What We Can Do About It, (Jossey-Bass/Wiley) which examines the role of stress in learning, has received international acclaim.


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