TDL: Coping with Change at School

with guest: Heather Benbrook

Click here for the youtube video

Ryan Russell 00:00
Ah, I haven’t heard here. Thank you live on Facebook

Unknown Speaker 00:13
Oh monitor Facebook. Sorry. Okay.

Unknown Speaker 00:17
Share to your page. Great. Awesome. And I think we’re going

Ryan Russell 00:28
all right, we’re live. Welcome, everybody to another exciting episode of The Duchenne Life shared life. I will insert music later. Last week, we had a great conversation. I hope you were able to join us this end audit. Yeah, it was so great. We have to have a bit murkier. And you know, just so great last week, there was so much covered that we got to have a part two. And Heather has graciously agreed to give us a part two. I think we introduced quite a few things about Heather last week. But I do want to say that she is the co author of our an article or a more recent webpage about the spectrum of grief condition. And things that you may or may not know, that’d be great article. So if you’ll catch that, and for anything else, I think I will let Heather Introduce yourself.

Heather Benbrook 01:35
All right, first of all, thank you all for having me back. I’m super excited to be back it was just so fulfilling last week to be able to talk to all y’all and and just kind of go through and process grief and what it looks like in schools. And so I’m super excited a little bit about me for those of you don’t know me and just gonna do a little brief intro. I am a school counselor I am moving into from elementary to junior high in high school now, I’ll be at three different campuses as a social emotional learning, support counselor, and also an LPC a or LPC associate in the state of Texas working on my full licensure, so a little bit about me

Ryan Russell 02:27
pulse, that’s, that’s pretty awesome. And so if you really do know the full spectrum of working with youth in school, to this transition phase,

Heather Benbrook 02:41
a lot of experience almost going into 14 years now. So

Ryan Russell 02:46
definitely so. So there’s nobody, like, you know, families with kids, when you started, they’re all graduated. Dugdale

Heather Benbrook 02:58
really makes you feel old whenever they the kids come back and do a graduation walk, which we kind of do here in the district that I work at. And my last group of third graders when I was a teacher in the classroom, they just graduated. And then my first group, they’re 2122, and moving on in adulthood. It’s very interesting to see the changes in dynamic over time.

Ryan Russell 03:28
It’s really cool for 14 years

Heather Benbrook 03:32
is starting my 14th year.

Ryan Russell 03:33
Yeah, did you What were you 16 When you started?

Heather Benbrook 03:36
Ah, thank you so much. That’s the kind of view.

Ryan Russell 03:41
But just a quick recap of last week. So we talked about the hardest things about school, for an individual to ship. There’s a lot go back and refer to the last episode that we will answer any questions you have today. It also about trauma at school. And you know, there’s just so much that adults can see in a youth or team that they can’t feel themselves. So we’re grateful for people like you.

Heather Benbrook 04:12
Thank you.

Ryan Russell 04:13
So I think we are good.

Heather Benbrook 04:16
I just gonna say it’s just what I love to do. It’s just where my heart is so

Ryan Russell 04:21
well, we’re grateful for it. So we talked about the problems, the things we have to face, and we really didn’t get a chance to talk very much about coping. So I hope to begin with tonight we could talk about ways to help these individuals cope. You know, I I went through a big, hard time with this. And I realized just the other day that it was a retired school counselor does a family friend to help me through it. So I’m really excited to hear your advice. Were all of us about ways to cope ourselves that also helped these yoga dividuals cope?

Heather Benbrook 05:07
Yeah, definitely. I’m excited to share that. For sure. So I’m kind of curious, what are some of y’all like, just kind of start off? What what is your go to coping skill? Like, what? What do you enjoy doing to really take care of yourself?

Ryan Russell 05:30
You know, I see someone’s, you know, artistic endeavor or something for me. It was. I write, like, I write books, but also like poetry about whatever I’m feeling. I used to say it was bad poetry. But I learned there’s no such thing as bad poetry. So just something that that we get your you’ll express what you’re feeling good. A good way.

Felix Wu 05:59
Yeah. And I was more of like, playing video games and computer games. And that’s kind of my go to I would say. Other than that, I’m also really interested in like, collecting things, essentially. So like, I play a lot of card games like Magic the Gathering is what I’m interested in. So those are, I guess some of the things I’ve sort of used to get to get past things as well.

Heather Benbrook 06:31
Yeah. Those are wonderful. Any others? Any other ideas? Oh, DJ sets.

Ryan Russell 06:39
A DJ said for me. It’s music and getting out for a ride. Yeah. Which, you know, speaking of that, we are working to help DJ get a new van. Yeah. We’ll talk about that at the end of the show.

Heather Benbrook 07:00
Super exciting. Any other ideas that either like just kind of aha moments as far as coping skills or strategies that worked over the years?

Ryan Russell 07:12
For me when I was actually more physically able, I like working out the yard and doing things like that, which I am working on. avoidable by log down. You’ll see.

Unknown Speaker 07:26
And Matthew says, Yes, I’m similar to me playing video games still helps me cope and hang out, hanging out with friends and family and of course, music. Do you want to read the next one? Right?

Ryan Russell 07:40
Yeah, this is the basic Lindy Filis. To my kids really, really benefits from just having called. Okay, we need to get a little Oh, having me call the next to him. Yeah, well.

Felix Wu 08:02
All regulation. Yeah.

Heather Benbrook 08:03
Yeah, definitely.

Ryan Russell 08:06
I should say I played a lot of video games.

Unknown Speaker 08:11
Something I used to do, but it’s getting a little harder for me is played a piano, which I really enjoyed. I really found a good teacher for that too. Because if I couldn’t reach certain keys or something, she would try to modify the piece. So it’s like at least sounds similar. But I don’t have to like overstretch myself. So that was nice.

Ryan Russell 08:33
Oh, really? See, you made me realize I like to sync? Like I’m working on music. voice lessons. My teacher. Does that. Same thing with my voice?

Unknown Speaker 08:46
Yeah, for sure.

Heather Benbrook 08:48
It’s definitely an instrument, that’s for sure.

Unknown Speaker 08:51
Yeah, like choir teacher said that too. I got a lot of music. DJ says his mom also helps ease things for him as well.

Ryan Russell 09:04
Yeah, but my mom was always depressed I went home and told everything to so what are some other strategies that say that parents could do you know if you rock Jarrett, Rob child’s back? What are some other things? So what are some things that parents can do to help the child cope?

Heather Benbrook 09:30
Yeah, I mean, there’s, I mean, you’ll kind of hit the nail on the head on a lot of those things. I mean, anything that’s any kind of creative, artistic expression. When you know, we talked about the brain a little bit last week, as well and how when we’re dysregulated you know, we’re in that that flipped lid mode, and so we can’t engage that thinking part of our brain. So when we engage other parts of the brain, it helps us get there a lot. After So, anything meeting your basic needs the I mean, the quickest way that you can calm down and try to regulate is drinking water. And when you think about Maslow’s, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it’s right there at the bottom right or having a snack or something like that. And then safety when Lindy talks about like a co regulation, and that is that’s providing her son a sense of safety and belonging. And that’s the next step and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. And so, you know, as we go up, we have to get those basic needs met first so we can get to that regulation. Head but engaging those creative parts of our brain to for sure, Angeles looks like she said something as well.

Unknown Speaker 10:57
I couldn’t read. And listen, Xavier lies on the couch with a dog and he loves to go for a ride in the van with his air pods on it sings. I don’t think he realized I can hear him.

Heather Benbrook 11:13
Love that I love it. And I mean, you think about the five senses to like, you’re kind of touched on those two, I’m lying on the couch with a dog, that’s a touch sensation that’s going to provide calmness with your your, your sense of touch or feeling. Going on a ride, you’re feeling the vibrations of the car. I know that sounds kind of silly, but it is a calming strategy as well. I mean, when I think about when my children were babies, it’s the only way they’d go to sleep at night is if I took them on a cart ride. So every night, we don’t care, right? So it’s very soothing and comforting. Then you talk about music, and that’s your auditory processing. And that’s your sense of hearing your sense of sight by even being able to look around and seeing things like y’all said, Art, the movement of the piano keys, that’s another sense of touch. So anytime you’re engaging your five senses, it’s gonna start helping you regulate and get back to that, that calm and peaceful spot as well. And I know that I don’t feel like she said that, like you’re finding that it’s harder for you to do the computer and not the computer. I’m sorry. Yeah, no, yeah, the piano. You know, and with DMD, I know that sometimes there’s limitations there. And it can be very frustrating. Whenever you’re you can’t do something that you still you still love to do, or that helps you calm down. So finding alternative ways to find coping skills can kind of help with that frustration, as well.

Unknown Speaker 12:50
Yeah, trying to take it slow and be patient. So I think that’s important.

Heather Benbrook 12:54
Yeah, yeah. But you’ve learned that for yourself, too. You know, and, and sometimes coping skills do take time to kind of regulate or kind of finding your new your new normal, if that makes any sense. Yeah,

Ryan Russell 13:14
that is a big thing. Because you could say, look at all the things that you used to be able to do that you can’t do. A lot of the coping things I used to do, I can’t do now. I am glad I didn’t get real good at the piano because I played it as 14. Because I think well, that’d be another thing that I don’t have. That is the important thing is instead of looking at things that a loss is a loss, look at what you had, and then try to work to find something new.

Heather Benbrook 13:46
Yeah. And that right, there is optimism, you know, and sometimes sometimes it’s hard to find that though, because you said it, it kind of is a loss and a grief process, like we’ve talked about. But also learning how to cope through that and finding the things that do work for you now in dealing with the fact that it’s very frustrating and naming it and figuring out that you know, I am frustrated about this, but also, I’m going to try to adjust and and move on and try to look at the positive and it sounds like that’s really what has helped you kind of find your new coping skills as well.

Ryan Russell 14:25
And I think the biggest thing is kind of making a personal inventory of what I do how I do it. Like it was quite a shock to me one day, when I realized, wait, I am artistic I write and that’s what I realized, wait writing is my coping. It I had no idea I had here I am 30 something years old. I’m working on a PhD at the time. It took me that long to figure that out. Oh. So I think that’s the most important things for everybody. Just got to take a self inventory like What you do now? And you may be surprised, oh, this is my new coping strategy. Yeah.

Heather Benbrook 15:08
Yeah, definitely.

Unknown Speaker 15:10
I want to quickly go back to LendLease comment here, that also, so are with kids with deep D, because their bodies are always primed and reacting as if they’re in fear. The nervous slash sympathetic systems almost always primed for DMD.

Heather Benbrook 15:24
Yeah, definitely. And that’s that fight flight or freeze response that we’ve talked about too. And it’s just more heightened, because you kind of are in that flux, sometimes of just having that heightened maybe cortisol levels or different things to, um, you know, I know that it’s not directly tied to DMD. But there has been some research since 911. I don’t know, I don’t I don’t know if I shared that last time, or not. But, um, so when it’s very interesting, because it just kind of shows how our stress levels can affect us. So when there were women, females that were pregnant during 911, and they were in their third trimester, they researched their the moms cortisol levels during that trimester and then measure the cortisol levels of the babies as well. During that time, and the baby’s cortisol levels were elevated, their baseline went from, you know, just normal cortisol levels to increase significant cortisol levels just because of the stressors the mom was experiencing. And so whether that happened with a child or not, when our cortisol levels are increased, and we have this, like, we keep having a new baseline of cortisol levels and stressors, it changes the whole, the whole response to that fight, flight or freeze. And so when you’re dealing with a medical condition, such as DMD, like you you naturally have a higher cortisol level and so it does take a little bit longer and I know the different neurotransmitters and things are just different and so it’s it’s sometimes it can be harder, and we see tantrums or dysregulation, maybe a little bit more with that to

Ryan Russell 17:29
it there’s definitely not between fight flight or freeze does not wasn’t city better, or at worst, the other. They’re all so you know, whether you have one or the other, you still need to talk to somebody. It’s not like I think I had the fight reflex. But that got me in trouble all the time. Especially when you can’t actually fight somebody and care for them. Give a DJ. I have found that my hardest thing I’ve tried to cope with is feeling like I belong at times or I don’t belong at times. How would you recommend recommend finding ways to get past that? And I think we’ve all felt that DJ for sure.

Unknown Speaker 18:21
Yeah, Lindy asks. Oh, sorry. No, go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead. Lindy says, when should it when should a parent teacher or slash teachers start working on coping skills

Unknown Speaker 18:37
now do the question after

Heather Benbrook 18:39
that? Okay. Okay. I was trying to figure out like which one to answer first um, I’m definitely I want to come back to kind of like this aha moment that I had. And I think we’re gonna highlight it later too and in the website, but I’ll come back to deejays comment about like some strategies and how to get past that so talking about the parent one first I’ll and then I’ll come back around.

Unknown Speaker 19:12
Sorry to derail it.

Heather Benbrook 19:15
Oh, you’re fine. You’re fine. I just want to make sure I’m I’m kind of making sense in the order. I’m starting as early as possible. Like when they’re young. When they I mean, I don’t have a specific age really but you know bonding and attachment when we think about bonding and attachment that happens by the age of one. So really past that point when when they are starting to develop when when babies are starting to develop relationships and that trust and that Miss distrust or mistrust. Start building coping skills then and kind of modeling that To like Lindy said earlier, she when she’s calm, he’s calm. And so as a parent, it’s hard sometimes, you know, when you’re trying to mimic that, or role be a role model for that behavior. But the more we can do it for ourselves, I think the better that kids can learn. And sometimes observation is the best learning experience for coping skills. But yeah, starting as early as possible, I mean, babies and toddlers are going to have tantrums and they’d like me to learn how to work through that. And so being like setting boundaries and setting limits, um, you know, in in school, as far as teachers are concerned, start them in pre K, if they’re in pre K, let’s start coping skills in pre K. I like something that I did at my school. When I was in elementary, I put common corners and calming boxes in every single classroom, and I did a lesson with all the kids to learn how to use it, when to use it, identifying those feelings, because they need to know those feelings and name it. So they know how to regulate it, and know how to identify that in their body. So as early as possible, is better for sure.

Ryan Russell 21:16
Another thing too is that might design you started this is trying to expose your kids to different activities, different things, you’re learning different things. And maybe it’ll be something that they don’t want to do at this age. Theta, there might be a date that comes you’re like, oh, I don’t know how to do this. Maybe I can, I’ll try this. That becomes a coping method. For me, what really helped me was I got in trouble a lot in fourth grade. And like, at least twice a week, I had to write essays, blog, a lot of words. So it helped me with my dissertation because I learned how to just take meaningless stuff, I don’t really need it. Also, my writing because I can get creative to act like I thought it was my fault, but I really didn’t. But because of that a big introduced writing at that age of a better writer.

Heather Benbrook 22:14
I’m not gonna lie that makes my counselor hurt cringe a little bit, but just because like I don’t I don’t I don’t like seeing writing as a dog. Punishment. No, I know, you’re kidding. And like, making light of it. But you know, I hate it when when schools can make that a punishment, because we’re supposed to encourage the love of writing and reading lessons, but I was

Ryan Russell 22:43
oh, while I was missing recess. But the best part was a third grade, we made our little Custom Dictionaries that inform us folds. Technology. She looks just so you know. And my teacher told me to write a 5050 words like, Oh, right. I’m so excited. I just copied version of a dictionary. So that’s how it worked with

Heather Benbrook 23:11
your vocabulary, though.

Ryan Russell 23:14
I did. I had, I had an amazing vocabulary. That’s totally help.

Unknown Speaker 23:21
And when I was younger,

Ryan Russell 23:24
I’ve got to brag DJ, was there a few times with me? I wasn’t good. Yeah, just

Unknown Speaker 23:30
remember, my parents got me like this box of cards that were funny cartoons helped me learn vocabulary. It’s like related to the word. So this one is shared.

Heather Benbrook 23:43
Yeah, and humor and song it connects to different parts of the brain to like, so to be able to make those connections in a different way. It does, it helps. It’s a mnemonic device that helps you remember I didn’t know if Lindy wanted to tackle that question. And then I can come back around to the other strategies.

Ryan Russell 24:08
Yeah, I wasn’t sure if you want to just leave that chat. Nobody else sees jab at us. We will talk.

Unknown Speaker 24:15
I just learned about like the stress stuff in my class a few few months ago.

Heather Benbrook 24:24
Gotcha. What class was that?

Unknown Speaker 24:27
It was health psychology. So we talked about how stress has so many pathways to basically causing chronic inflammation that leads to even further problems along the way. Because the system just breaks basically because of chronic stress.

Heather Benbrook 24:50
Yeah, and then it affects other parts of your body to the other organs and especially like gut health, like being the digestive processes and stuff like that it definitely has a huge stress as in cortisol levels and adrenaline and all of those definitely have a huge impact on your digestive system. And then it causes stomach aches and different things like that as well.

Ryan Russell 25:13
Severe sadness or actually heartbreak, like relationship wise, that could actually cause stress on your heart, affect your heart too. So a lot of things

Unknown Speaker 25:27
that my professors like investigating that like at the front of it, like at the edge of research there, so I don’t know, maybe we can hear from him sometime.

Heather Benbrook 25:39
So intriguing for sure. That whole health psychology and the psychosomatic effects that stress has.

Ryan Russell 25:48
So I’m gonna I think I’ll just talk about this question. So the question was asked, How does cortisol affect DMD and our amazing Lindy Filis. wrote in there, DMD actually increases adrenaline, and adrenaline in the person’s body. The shallow breathing associated with DMD reinforces the sympathetic fight flight system. And the lack of just drove them to the Brit interrupts with the body tries to call them shut down. And we’ve got a web page. So check out our web page,

Unknown Speaker 26:25
thanks to posts and Facebook comments.

Heather Benbrook 26:30
Yeah, and like, you know, like we’ve said, all those neurotransmitters and the the hormone levels and, and not just hormones, like what we think of like puberty type hormones, even though that has another layer of it, but hormones, cortisol, adrenaline, and all of those things have a huge impact on how your body responds to stress as well. Not a doctor, but I know that yeah,

Unknown Speaker 26:59
I don’t know if like you steroids also have a part to play in that as well.

Heather Benbrook 27:03
Yeah. Any kind of steroid therapy or different things like that can really impact impact that team.

Ryan Russell 27:17
That’s one reason why it’s a good idea to stay on top of your breathing. Because, you know, I’ve actually had to happen to me where I wasn’t using BiPAP, my oxygen was good, very low or wasn’t getting the right amount of sleep. So my oxygen for like a month was down in the 80s. And it till I got help, and I can actually tell it that like affected me. Some Watson, so stay on top of that, go to your pulmonologist.

Heather Benbrook 27:50
Yeah, definitely. And like, like we said earlier, just having those basic needs met, like getting that water, getting getting healthier foods, and because with medications, you also have to make sure kind of that balance as well. So it’s one of those things, it’s, it’s hard. That’s a hard thing to do. And sometimes we have cravings and different things that you know, kind of don’t fit that but yeah. You have

Unknown Speaker 28:22
DJs Yeah, sure. DJ says I found, like kept myself below a certain level, I can stay calm. Once I go over it, it’s very hard to come back to that calm level. Yeah.

Heather Benbrook 28:34
And that goes back to the brain and the stress response for sure. Like when I think I mentioned it, like when you have your brain, sorry, keep doing their hand brain model. But when we are here, and we’re just slightly dysregulated, just a few little stressors going on, it’s a lot easier to get back here. But when we’re here and fully dysregulated, it’s going to take about 20 minutes to actually get back to a full calm level. That’s just the way the brain works, that the strategies like getting the water going and taking a break going and taking those deep breaths and trying to regulate your breathing is going to help you get there faster. But when you’re fully dysregulated it it takes 20 minutes to get back to full, calm regulated brain. I don’t know if I shared this strategy. I don’t think I did. Um, there is a strategy with it’s all tied with the brain as well. And I have used it since I learned about it this past this past year in a training and it’s called looking up Simple as that. And what what what the science said or showed, which is when you are when your eye position is down. When you’re looking down you’re in your emotional brain. Did I already share this last week? I can’t remember.

Unknown Speaker 30:04
Not, I guess not specifically, you did talk about the emotional parts of the brain.

Heather Benbrook 30:09
Okay. But I didn’t share the strategy. I didn’t think so. Okay. I was like, I don’t want to repeat myself. It’s just so powerful. I’m like, I like to share it with whoever I can. Um, so when we are, we don’t want to wear our eye position is down, we’re in our emotional, dysregulated brain. And when we’re looking straight, when you think of like the classroom or something like that, when we’re looking straight, you know, teachers expect you to look at them when they’re teaching. And you’re because your your eye position is tied to your auditory processing at that point. So you’re focused on that that part that sensation, but when you’re looking up, it’s connecting to your prefrontal, prefrontal cortex, and your thinking brain. And so the strategy when you’re looking down, and if you think about it, it makes, it makes sense. Because when you’re looking down, when people are sad, what did they look? Down, Right? Like you got when do you see someone sad, you’re like, oh, what’s wrong is everything, okay? We’re looking down, it’s because they’re in their in their emotional brain. But when you look up, and then I added another little kind of part to it, look up and then find five things you see and start leaning into a grounding strategy. And it’s so powerful. Because you’re looking at, you’re starting to get to your rational brain again. And then you start to engage your your five senses, which was in different parts of your brain. And so you’re looking for five things, you see, four things you feel, three things you hear, two things you smell or like to smell is what I always say, because sometimes it’s hard to smell two different things at the same time. And then one thing that you taste for like to taste and so if you lead into that looking up, and then your five senses, then you can regulate and get back there faster to that calm, like DJ was saying.

Unknown Speaker 32:04
That’s cool. To try.

Heather Benbrook 32:06
I know it’s a works, I promise, I promise you it works. It takes it a while, but you can do it. I love it. I do it all the time.

Ryan Russell 32:13
I think, you know, we tend to kind of look up when we’re thinking to do deep thought, yeah. Today I show somebody get a light bulb above their head. Because, uh huh.

Heather Benbrook 32:26
Exactly, exactly. It makes sense, right? Like, I just never put it into that context before. And so I had this training, and it’s called Emotional poverty. And when I had this training, it’s just like that all Hall, that light bulb went off. It’s like, oh, yeah, that makes sense. When I’m thinking I look up, it makes sense. So you’re exactly right. I

Unknown Speaker 32:51
think we have a question. But just real quick, I’m just kind of curious to think of like how mindfulness kind of plays in this. And like, also, something I like to do is like, feel my own heartbeat. It calms me down. And I think it’s like, biofeedback or something like that. But those different types of things, if you had any, her experiences with that.

Heather Benbrook 33:15
Yeah, mindfulness is like the big topic right now to write just being in the moment. And that’s what it’s all about, and using your five senses. I mean, when you do the grounding strategies and the breathing strategies, that’s all mindfulness really is it doesn’t have to be something big, just something in the moment.

Ryan Russell 33:35
I think, for a lot of us, pretty much everybody has to this case, those of us with DMD, we, I got to the point where I’d think hope for the best but expect the worst, which does not the best to die say I hope to the best, I expect the best. But I’m prepared for every, every possibility. Because that’s just get yourself with the right state of mind. For me, I I kind of I’m a worrier. I worry about stuff, like so it goes to the store, they’re not back did an hour of like, okay, if they’ve heard of that accident that, you know, if you start thinking about the good stuff or the positive that helps.

Heather Benbrook 34:24
Yeah, definitely. And that’s, um, like, I was talking earlier about DJs question about like, what are some of those strategies? If you kind of read the article about the spectrum of grief, you know, I likened it in and out that kind of made it the analogy like it’s a storm. And at the end of a storm, if we’re lucky, we have a rainbow. And then I was like, okay, Rainbow you know, It brings about how it’s it’s beautiful. You know, it brings about like peace, that kind of thing. And then I thought about a rainbow and how it’s broken up in like the prism of a rainbow is broken up into color. And so then I was thinking back to my elementary school days, I don’t know if anybody else like this just stuck with me. I’m not sure why. But ROY G BIV. When he, y’all know what I’m talking about? Yeah, how you break down the colors of the, the rainbow. And so I was thinking, how can I use ROY G BIV, to talk about coping skills. And so when I was thinking about our I thought about relationships, and all of y’all talk about that while ago, and I know DJ was saying, like, not feeling like he belong, it’s so crucial for us to as human beings to have connection with other humans. And when we don’t have that we feel disconnected or that lack of belonging. And, you know, especially in the DMD community, as well, you know, Lindy and I have talked about it a lot, how there’s just this huge need of connection, and trying to provide like we’re doing right now. I mean, it’s amazing that we can find these connections, whether it’s with the younger generations, or the, you know, the adolescents or the adults. Just finding that connection, those meaningful connections, where we can relate with each other. And so that’s that’s a coping strategy within itself. Is it only the old heads? No, Roy G. Old enough to know royalty, Dave, obviously, yeah.

Ryan Russell 36:56
So we do have a question. How else can kids with DB get back regulation in school, especially when they’ve got adults in the school? Do not support or relieve their emotional needs? Yeah.

Heather Benbrook 37:18
I know, that’s hard when especially, you know, the education system is so stressed. And understaffed and stressed, and there’s the standards that the teachers have to meet, you know, and you do see that, and you feel that in our education system sometimes. And so, the social emotional needs are not always the priority, not not because they don’t want it to be it’s just because of all the other pressures. And so yeah, I can definitely see that that concern there sometimes. But just being an advocate for the kiddos, and just letting just keep keep on keeping on with the the awareness piece of meaning, social and emotional supports in the classroom. And not just counselors, and not just psychologists and things like that in the schools, but the teachers too. And I think that it is becoming more, there is an awareness piece that is being brought to brought to the top of concern, and especially in Texas right now. Well, really across the across this United States, but the awareness piece, and the expectations and legislation is being passed to make sure that we are providing the services and schools because they see the mental health health crisis that we’re facing. And so all kinds of different strategies, like I’ve said before, like calming, calming boxes, calming corners, in the classrooms, allowing the kids to take, take a break, take a walk, go outside, get some fresh air, get some sunlight, those kinds of things. Those are all things that we can incorporate Brain Breaks are incredibly important. I mean, as adults, we need breaks, like I can’t sit there for 30 You know, 30 minutes to an hour and a half, or however long like an in training is when I’m thinking to be like fully engaged, we have to have little breaks with our brains as well. So I’m just finding those little moments that it doesn’t have to take a whole long, it’s a whole lot of time, a minute here, a minute there, five minutes, you know, whatever it might need to be. So there’s tons of different strategies that we can incorporate in the schools that can also be incorporated with adults as well. So

Ryan Russell 39:55
did you know that’s yeah, your teachers have so much they have to Do like I think about fourth grade teacher, like I hated her for a long, long time is interesting. I finally forgave her. Like, within that week, I saw her some words like, wow, that’s interesting. But I think for my fourth grade teacher, it wasn’t so much that they didn’t validate or supportive, relieved that I had emotional needs. They just had no comprehension at all. So what kind of emotional stress I was going through transition to get to a wheelchair, because my teacher thought that I was just trying to get attention. So, you know, that is just educating the teachers educating everybody that we have extra emotional needs.

Heather Benbrook 40:51
And when you look at teacher like programs, like when they’re trying to get their bachelor’s degree, or their teaching certificate, social emotional needs are, it’s not part of the curriculum. And so, a lot of times, it’s not that they don’t want to wish they don’t feel competent, to be able to even some school counselors that, you know, that I’ve worked with, sometimes, especially in the earlier parts, even though we went to school for it. Sometimes the programs don’t fully prepare you to, or at least build the confidence to allow you to do that. It does take experience, and it takes, you know, training and different things like that, too. But it is getting better, I think programs and college programs and trainings and things like that are becoming more at the forefront for those social emotional needs for sure.

Ryan Russell 41:48
You know, of the school counselor to help me, he was probably like a counselor, from somewhere in the 60s to the 80s, or, you know, maybe early summer there. And a lot of the things that he learned after his schooling, just from experience and taking supplementary classes. But I’m curious to hear a thought of this. One of the things he did is he’d have a child or student, like just like doodle something, draw something on paper. Do you do that a lot? Or? Yeah, that’s it. Okay.

Heather Benbrook 42:26
Yeah, definitely doodling. Like a, it’s engaging that creative part of your brain. And so it’s, you’re not, it’s not fully, you’re not really rationalizing anything, you’re not really thinking about anything, you’re just in that moment with that pencil or crayon or whatever it may be. So it is kind of like a mindfulness but also a creative expression. And so, definitely, yeah, that strategy is amazing. We use that all the time in schools,

Unknown Speaker 42:55
actually reminds me in class, like I used to do to all over my notes when listening. So I guess, I think about it, I actually did hope. Yeah. Well, yeah,

Heather Benbrook 43:07
I do it all the time in trainings, too, if it makes you feel any better,

Ryan Russell 43:10
because he said he could look at those doodles. And he could tell all kinds of things about the students that they tell him.

Heather Benbrook 43:20
Yeah, definitely doodles are expression, just creative expression. Like even a thing of Plato, you know, there’s so many things that you can do with a little can of Plato. And that’s another form of art expression, you know, it’s molding and that kinesthetic use of your hands. You know, if the fine motor is a little bit more difficult using gross motor strategies as well. So yeah, just that creative mode, and just engaging that part of your brain and just really helps for sure.

Ryan Russell 44:01
As a side note, I’m just asking for a friend. What have you eat to Plato? Just asking for this spread the word a friend having lasting lifetime effects.

Heather Benbrook 44:14
Um, I think it’s non toxic. It should be if you make your own playdough you know what’s in it. It’s usually just salt and flour and stuff, but it should be pretty safe. But yeah, my

Ryan Russell 44:29
brother said sent him it’s also play with Plato card to this friend to buy it. Anyway, DJ says that, like talking about the way it is, it’s cold out that he’s happy to hear they allow those breaks today. All we had growing up was to call us out in front of the whole class.

Heather Benbrook 44:52
I’m so glad it’s changed but I’m so sorry that you experienced that because it’s very old school education, mental Are you ready for those things to happen? And they’re really cutting down on that kind of stuff now, which is really good.

Unknown Speaker 45:06
Yep, gotcha stuff.

Ryan Russell 45:08
You’re cutting down on that the military, like boot camps and stuff. They’re doing a lot of, like mindfulness, positive psychology.

Heather Benbrook 45:19
Yeah. Yeah, definitely.

Unknown Speaker 45:23
I’ll read Lundy’s, question here. How can the school support actually solving the problems isolation, the punishment that bullying, I hear is getting better in the mom chats, but it’s still very real prevalent.

Heather Benbrook 45:44
I mean, the honest truth, through my educational experience is that not trying to sound negative, but kids can be mean, they really can. And hence, the reason the work that I do, to try to minimize some of that, and, you know, typically, kids are mean, because someone’s being mean to them, whether that’s in their, their home, and they’re experiencing some type of trauma, or other kids are being mean to them. And so it causes this domino effect or snowball effect, and and then they want to take that hurt that inner hurt, and they want to take it out on other people. With the bullying, especially, and bullying, the main, like, the main definition in the state of Texas, at least is that there’s an imbalance of power. And so when you think about bullying, and the woman that is doing the bullying the perpetrator, then why why are they trying to get an imbalance of power, it’s because they don’t have control over something. And so finding the root and supporting that child, not just the child that is the victim, but also the child that is the bully, because it you really have to tackle both in order to really nip it and try to stop it. Because usually the root you’ll find most of the time. The reason that the bullying is happening, it’ll it’ll break your heart, you know, is because there’s probably something else going on. And so addressing that, and then, you know, she said the punishment to and the isolation, you know, we behave like I said before behavior, usually there’s an emotional route to behavior. There’s something else going on, when you really dig deep. And to punish or humiliate or isolate. It’s not the answer, it’s just going to compound that problem. And so talking through it, learning how to regulate then being able to kind of get to the root of what what is hurting you, what is happening. Not saying what’s wrong with you, but what is happening. Because when I think we talked about that last time, when we talk about what’s wrong with you, it puts puts a wall up. But when we say what’s happening, what’s going on, it opens up that conversation for expression and emotional expression, to kind of get down to the root of why the behaviors are happening, because there’s always a route to behavior, whether that’s bullying or not bullying or you know, withdrawal or whatever it might be that social withdrawal that we see too.

Ryan Russell 48:38
Yeah, I can think of some of the guys that were bullies in high school would get in trouble all the time, that effort as an adult, I talked relatives or hurt people that you know, some of them they were just had really bad hope lives or were abused. So even the boys you know, sometimes the ABS there, they don’t need to do it or they don’t know they’re doing it. Or they’re just, you know, he had need but then other times yeah, because we don’t know what they’re facing a whole. So childhoods tough.

Unknown Speaker 49:16
Yeah. And sometimes I’ve seen the teacher actually beat in some cases. I used to have this like, what wasn’t my teacher but he was kind of like in charge of the grade or something like they would try to punish us with what they call boot camp by making us like walk in circles for a long time and my parents actually called them out on it so they stopped but that was an example of that.

Heather Benbrook 49:48
And using physical like boot camp, military, you militaristic type punishments also, then you create this loathing. Um, physical activity and then so then it can lead to other issues too. You know, sometimes we see like that resistance against exercise and, or like just kind of being lethargic, because it’s like, it’s a punishment to you. And then eating habits and things like that change. And so then it can lead to other health problems, too. But, you know, definitely not. I’m glad your parents said something, because that is definitely not.

Unknown Speaker 50:28
Yeah, they even made it, which was very dangerous for me.

Heather Benbrook 50:32
Yeah, exactly. And the physical, you know, yeah. The physical expectations of that kind of punishment. It’s not acceptable for sure.

Ryan Russell 50:43
Maybe a better punishment? Makes your kid play video games. Movies.

Heather Benbrook 50:51
I don’t know that might be a learned behavior that might result in some negative behaviors. Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know. We’ll see.

Unknown Speaker 51:05
But I think there’s some things we need to say. Oh, yeah, go ahead.

Ryan Russell 51:09
Yeah. Oh, so the comments. Yeah. So we have a comment. I’m sure he was read how much more just to read, but you know, that sometimes it’s the kids lack of understanding and Josie you gave up there. But are because you know, like suspensions don’t resolve anything.

Heather Benbrook 51:33
You’re talking about a learned behavior. When you suspend you lose that control? That sense of control, and then it becomes a learned behavior? And what do they do they keep that behavior up. So they can get home because it’s the way to get out of it. So as that can also kind of backfire a little bit suspensions are, in fact that the state has changed some things with younger kids kindergarten through second grade. They’ve made it to where schools cannot add a school suspend kids. Because of behaviors. It’s actually there’s been a lot of changes with that to

Ryan Russell 52:09
us like the good schools.

Heather Benbrook 52:14
Yeah, or intervention, that kind of thing.

Ryan Russell 52:17
We didn’t go to recess. Right? Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 52:21
Do you do says a favorite punishment of a few of my teachers was to put our nose on a circle on the truck in the circle on the chalkboard.

Heather Benbrook 52:32
Y’all are breaking my heart today.

Unknown Speaker 52:35
Oh, that’s right. That’s some cruel and unusual punishment. Yes, for sure.

Ryan Russell 52:40
But my fourth grade teacher made me sit outside the classroom. And the classroom is an open campus. There were like, What time was raining like crazy. I went out there just miss play to the rainbow. Oh, wow. God, like tell me like I didn’t respect but teach of it. To have to type. I was halfway down to the principal’s office to tell him about what happened. I thought it was wrong and sad thing wasn’t get halfway through. They’re not going to believe me anyway. And I just turned back around

Heather Benbrook 53:17
and felt kind of hopeless. That sounds like hopeless and helpless. Like you couldn’t control that situation. Was that your fourth grade teacher that did that? Yes. Yeah, makes sense. You didn’t have that connection in that relationship with her. And that’s what it’s all about in schools is building that relationship with our students. Because there’s something called capturing kids hearts that we use a lot in our schools. And they it says, when you capture their heart, you capture their mind. And so when you build that relationship, we foster this environment where kids want to learn. But when you don’t have that relationship, and makes it harder for them to learn, and so we have to change that in the classrooms as well. And not do these kinds of punishments for sure.

Unknown Speaker 54:03
And that might be a little bit of a shift as we go through COVID and stuff as well. So we’ll see what that brings.

Ryan Russell 54:11
So, we have a question, Heather, what would you think of introducing the kids with DMD to the school counselor at the beginning of the year? Oh,

Heather Benbrook 54:21
yeah, sure.

Ryan Russell 54:22
This kind of is a lie or?

Heather Benbrook 54:27
Yeah, definitely. Um, you know, in school counseling does look different at different age levels. Typically, elementary schools, you’re going to have more of the actual true counseling and services. So making that connection with the school counselor can be really powerful. Because they have a place to go they have a safe place to be themselves and to vent or just to be and not know how to talk. Just To learn these strategies and learn how to regulate, so yes, for sure. Junior High in high school just depends, um, a lot of times at Junior High in high school, it’s school counselors mostly, unfortunately deal with scheduling and stuff like that. But there are like my new role in our district is social emotional learning counselor is that we are just providing counseling services on these junior high and high school campuses. So I think a lot of school districts are starting to do that as well. And having that support on the campus is so beneficial. Just because all the other things this, the high school counselors and junior high counselors have to do with scheduling and graduation plans and things like that. But they’re still there as a resource and emotional support. So making those connections can be really powerful.

Ryan Russell 55:52
Okay, we have a question from Angela.

Unknown Speaker 56:00
Oh, I was just gonna say since Xavier hasn’t been in school since sixth grade because the Coronavirus and then homeschool. And he started out in high school, I’ve already invited one of his friends over next week to kind of re introduce and then my other plan I’ve already called like the there’s a new principal to the school. And I’m gonna be that mom, they’re gonna all know me and know exactly what DMD is because that’s before in grade school, I left it to whoever to let his teachers know what was going on with him. And they have a lot going on. So I just think a personal relationship with me, they’ll know me, and I’m going to explain what DMD is and about my son because he’s not going to. So like she was talking about introduce him to the counselor early on, I’m going to introduce him to every single one. And hopefully he’ll feel more. I know, I don’t want to be like that, mom. But

Unknown Speaker 56:56
no, my two so my mom was like that.

Unknown Speaker 57:02
Yeah, they’re gonna be sick of me. I mean, I could volunteer. Who knows? I don’t know. Yeah, I go and be independent. But at the same token, oh, my God, they disabled my son’s chair for punishment.

Ryan Russell 57:18
Yeah, it’s something that nobody else saw that. Somebody said they used to disable the power wheelchairs punishment. You know, that’s like, give it a kid like a dead leg or? Yeah, like, yeah. You know, that’s illegal.

Heather Benbrook 57:38
Yeah, and all kinds of ramifications there. That that’s just wrong. And all different levels. Yeah. on any level, there is no nothing. Okay, about that. For sure. Yeah.

Ryan Russell 57:46
But it’s not like a cell phone or use. Right,

Heather Benbrook 57:51
right. And Angela, I was just gonna say, you are the parent, you are your child’s best advocate, and do what you have to do. And be that Mom, don’t worry about it. Because you’re the only one that knows your child. You’re the one that knows your child the best. And, and even though it might seem like you know, I know you’ve kind of mentioned like, annoying or like, you’re just pushing or whatever. Just do it. Because that’s what, that’s what, that’s what he needs when we go to.

Unknown Speaker 58:28
Like, he’s got high social anxiety lately. He’s been ordering in the restaurant, which is a really big deal. And I’ll ask him before, do you want me to talk? Are you going to talk? No, Mom, I think I can do it and help her and then after that, he feels victorious. Like it’s a little thing, but to him, it’s. So I always ask, do you want me to be like, or do you want me to let you and he’ll usually he’s comfortable. So I’m gonna hell like I’m doing a good job. No worries.

Ryan Russell 59:01
Yeah, if my fourth grade class, my mom was murdered a time would like you expected the teacher you will slide off, because my first one were excellent. actually more like World War Two, like 1930 30 died. So they were older. And finally, my mom just after me talking about stuff. She wouldn’t believe it. She went to the school and zip my classroom, but I just had a blow up. That’s what made her say, Okay, I need to step into here. That did help. A lot.

Unknown Speaker 59:40
Yeah, my mom would always every year make sure we like meet with the teacher, me and my mom and talk about what my needs are kind of basically. And yeah, it helps but sometimes there are the you know, the those teachers Yeah,

Heather Benbrook 1:00:01
Yeah, definitely

Ryan Russell 1:00:06
another we’ve been talking for about an hour now, I see that like, I think I’m gonna stretch this out some you get a part, create a part four, maybe five did a sequel trilogy with you. But before we go live it, he was wondering if you could run through the ROY G BIV. For parents and teachers to share his thoughts and think about colors.

Heather Benbrook 1:00:37
Yeah, no, I, I know, I kind of mentioned it earlier. But, you know, my brain is very, I work with analogies a lot in my brain. And like, I always try to connect it to something relevant or catchy, or some, you know, something that I feel like will connect with people. And so when I was taught thinking about grief, and in writing some of the things about grief, you know, I talked about the storm, but then I talked about the rainbow like we talked about, and then breaking it down into Roy G. Biv. And so what I related as our rainbow are coping skills, so I think of the rainbow was like our coping skills through grief or through loss or, you know, through the difficult times in life. And so are we talked about it stones for relationships, building those relationships? Oh, is optimism and I know, we touched on that today, too. Just trying to keep that positive mindset. And if we can’t get to positive just being realistic and trying to get out of that negative mindset, sometimes that’s that’s hard, though. It can be hard. The why. And Roy G. Biv. stands for what oh, you so focusing on you, and focusing on your needs and taking care of you in the moment. So using those mindfulness strategies and things like that. And it’s not selfish, to take care of yourself. They call it self care for a reason, but it’s not selfishness. The G stands for gratitude. Trying to find something, it doesn’t have to be these big thankfulness things, but just some little something, finding something every day to just be grateful for and to show gratitude for even though things are tough sometimes. Could just be that. Oh, it didn’t rain today. Oh, that’s, that’s amazing. Hey, we’re thankful for that. I know. I know. Well, now we do want rain. But yeah, yeah, sometimes they want the sun and sometimes

Ryan Russell 1:02:44
once you get to read this, like, Okay, I’ve targeted this. Yeah, exactly,

Heather Benbrook 1:02:47
exactly. And then the mosquitoes come, but I guess mosquitoes are awful.

Ryan Russell 1:02:53
Yeah, they suck.

Heather Benbrook 1:02:54
Literally. Um, so yeah, that’s the G so G is for gratitude and finding those strategies to help us journal or write down little thoughts every day. Be I said for boundaries, because we have to, sometimes we have to tell people No, and that is hard sometimes, and know what our limits are, know what our boundaries are. And kind of set that tone. Because some we tend to, as humans want to do things for others a lot. And sometimes we just have to say, you know, what, I have strengths and I have weaknesses. And sometimes I just need my me time or I need to know what I can and cannot do in the moment. And then I is introspection is the word I came up with I just reflecting on our thoughts and our emotions and just being in that moment, along with mindfulness strategies as well. Um, and just reflecting on how we’re feeling in the moment and what our thoughts are. And then the last one V for Roy G. Biv, is validation. And that we need validation, not just from others, but for ourselves as well. So taking care of ourselves, telling ourselves positive thoughts instead of the negative thoughts that we tend to tell ourselves when we have doubt and stuff like that. So that’s kind of the the umbrella the little bow on the bow on the coping skills, just kind of putting it into like this rainbow vision. But also like each one of those sections, we can talk about different coping strategies within it too. So like it can just be taking so much but ultimately trying to find that light that rainbow in in the storm that we call grief and trauma and different things that we’re in just life sometimes life brings storms And then we find our rainbow.

Ryan Russell 1:05:05
Wow, that’s I wish I had known about that like a long time ago. I’m just barely now. It’s like I’ve been stuck on that I’ve never really put myself first. You know, I always worried about other people enjoy that why oh, you is something I’ve got to do now. So thank you for that. And it’s taken for everything I want to always remember ROY G BIV. Now,

Heather Benbrook 1:05:30
we’re gonna get it now.

Ryan Russell 1:05:32
I mean, maybe you’re like, wrong. The but I’ll probably forget some of them. But.

Heather Benbrook 1:05:42
And by the way, each letter of that stands for the colors of the rainbow two. I didn’t really explain that part. But I got a whole another spin on it.

Ryan Russell 1:05:51
Yeah, red, green, blue. Yeah.

Heather Benbrook 1:05:55
In violet. But in coping skills, its relationships and all those other things we talked about. So

Ryan Russell 1:06:04
Well, speaking of indigo, it’s time for us to go. On I was working with that for years. And I am Heather, we didn’t really get we’re talking about a you didn’t really get to talk to you about how to help kids. The feelings of grief, talking about a little bit from his time to get a chance to cast counselor for your child to talk to or maybe Hooked on Phonics for me. So I wonder, would you be willing to come back for a part three?

Heather Benbrook 1:06:44
Course? Of course we’ll make it work. All right.

Ryan Russell 1:06:47
Well, thank you. And I’ll keep TJ in line next time too. But well, thank you. We’re glad you were here. Before we go, I do want to point out that well, Lindy, would you be able to come out and tell us more about the fundraiser DJ has Gorger maybe DJ? You could just we can just hear your voice of

Unknown Speaker 1:07:19
everybody? Yes, yes. DJs then fundraiser. He’s a he’s trying to get out in the world as y’all heard earlier. That’s one of his things to help relax and decompress, get get in a car and just drive. So we were helping d3 d3. I do that all the time. My son’s name is DJ and DJ it is so funny how much I mix up yells names and it’s hilarious. Okay. Not d3. DJ. We feel like for instance you shun we are going to is this what you mean? Brian? I’m, I’m kind of muddling my words.

Ryan Russell 1:08:00
But we’re doing a big event for DJ right to date. Anybody you could donate to his fund at any time. But we’ve got a huge event coming up. There’s just going to be awesome raffles. So are we waiting to announce the big thing about that or

Unknown Speaker 1:08:18
let’s let’s go ahead and do it now. So, guys, guys, we will be hosting a virtual fundraiser for DJ. We’re so excited the last Saturday of this month. We are going to have like Ryan said we’re going to have raffles silent auctions. Let’s see we’re going to have Heather there for as the school counselor we’re going to have Leona there for I’ll

Ryan Russell 1:08:46
definitely be there now.

Unknown Speaker 1:08:51
We’ll have Liana there for Ask an attorney. And after hours party we’re going to have the roast of DJ Kimble. So during the daytime hours it’ll be some good clean fun but after hours, the gloves are off. So yes, we are going to nickel and dime you for every single thing so that we can get some donations for DJ through the jet foundation and we’ll be sharing some more information soon But uh, yeah,

Ryan Russell 1:09:30
yeah. Good stuff to really roasted DJ.

Unknown Speaker 1:09:34
We usually DJ gets to roast us after.

Unknown Speaker 1:09:40
And DJ is not looking for volunteers for the roast he already has to be nice

Unknown Speaker 1:09:51
let’s see DJ said that he’s very much looking forward to the rose to man I am too.

Ryan Russell 1:09:56
And till the day after DJ

Unknown Speaker 1:10:01
DJ also said, hopefully everyone will come out. We would we would love to it’s gonna be a really big fun party on something called Kuhmo space. Just something else we’re rolling out in a week or two. So stay tuned

Ryan Russell 1:10:14
is for reminder. DJ is currently driving Good night. Good 87 bed. So this is very needed so

Unknown Speaker 1:10:23
and I just found out it has no air conditioning. Oh, it’s like, like,

Unknown Speaker 1:10:29
That’s wild. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 1:10:31
Yeah. So we gotta get DJ back into this century, millennia.

Unknown Speaker 1:10:37
That’s the right term. Alinea century century.

Ryan Russell 1:10:42
All right, there we go. So everybody out there go become Robin Hood or something. Let’s get DJs. Okay. I don’t recommend robbing from the rich. You get in trouble for that? Yeah. All right. That’s great. And remember, this is now a podcast, the edit out some of the extra fluff that I probably added. Cut out like half of my good stuff until you know, to get the respect. I think over three acre and it’s available in many places. You can find that on the website. If the Spotify so you could go to sleep with us. Just make a play this you can play us all night long. Oh, here we

Heather Benbrook 1:11:29
go. That’s mindfulness.

Ryan Russell 1:11:33
So I maybe I’ll make a special sleep pod cast or Asr? Yeah, I’ll do an ASMR stream for us to hear. All right. Thank you, everybody. We hope to see you next time. Good bye.