New approaches for reaching out to youth

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By Bernadette Lauritzen

Lisa Bravo is the Director of Education and Training for the Children’s Success Foundation and Psychotherapist, that has been teaching and writing about the Nurtured Heart Approach for 10 years.
The Nurtured Heart Approach, according to Bravo, was developed by her colleague, Howard Glasser, in the 1990s.
“It began as a therapeutic approach for addressing the behavioral needs of children DX with ADD, ADHD and a host of other behaviorally based components,” Bravo said.
On Monday, many LAPS staff, from the middle and high school, will spend a day of professional development learning the approach and the ease of implementation for the classroom.
“I specialize in working with difficult teens in my practice and I can assure you that what they need the most from us is relationship and connection,” said Bravo. “This training will address the emotional needs of these young adults and how to foster emotional competency.”
Bravo was excited to see the LAPS district focus on the upper-grade levels, when many communities tend to just focus on elementary-aged students.
When the Los Alamos Juvenile Justice Advisory Board identified a gap that needed to be filled, they stepped in to help.
“JJAB is happy to co-sponsor this event, because The Nurtured Heart Approach has a good track record of improving outcomes for students, teachers and schools,” said Ellen Ben-Naim, JJAB Co Coordinator. “The skills learned in this training will help parents and educators increase the levels of happiness and success, and improve the behavior and achievement of even the most challenging youth.”
LAPS and the JJAB also identified the opportunity to offer a parent component to fostering the theme of Partners in Education.
The Nurtured Heart Approach is founded to three core methodologies of absolutely no, absolutely yes, and absolute clarity.
“These lay the groundwork for relationship to become connected and juicy at the moment when the child is doing the right thing,” said Bravo. “It is a cumulative process that changes the child’s impression that he gets more through adverse behavior.”
Bravo will explain to parents and educators, the untapped power of their roles in the relationship and how it ties to behavior.
“I have never been unable to reach a child with this approach because it is about creating authentic and purposeful relationships with others. This approach is profoundly different for these kids because they have experienced so much loss, grief, abuse and neglect.”
Bravo believes it is possible to mend the relationship and ensure success for the future and the JJAB believes in helping parents achieve it.
“JJAB feels that it is vital to help all youth including intense/difficult children feel valued and motivated to succeed,” Ben-Naim said.
LAPS Clinical Counselor and ASD Resource Team Leader, Dr. Christine Hazard is excited about the potential of the dual training opportunity, “We have lots of grandparents, aunts, uncles, daycare providers, pastoral folks, etc., who deal with kids on a regular basis,” said Hazard. “It should be emphasized that the approach is not just for “difficult” kids, but a way of thinking about all kids.”
Hazard describes Bravo as a very dynamic and articulate speaker, who invites skepticism about the program so that objections can be brought out into the open.
The program for parents is 7-9 p.m., Monday, in the LAHS Speech Theater and no reservations are not required.