So, the new buzz in education is all about GROWTH MINDSET.  Which I totally love, because it really, if taught correctly, empowers kids to have persistence and use effort. If I had a quarter for every kid that I heard, "I can't do it", I'd be rich and I bet you can say the same thing.    The more confidence a kid has, often anxiety levels go down.  So really, this content it great taught in conjunction with anxiety prevention.  

So what's the GROWTH MINDSET all about?

Well Carol Dweck, the guru and sort of creator of GROWTH/FIXED MINDSET, says it really well.
"In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work - brains and talent are just the starting point.  This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment."

Researchers tell us that students who have this type of mindset-- those that believe they can become smarter and can do almost anything with effort and hard work -- may learn more, learn it more quickly and view mistakes and hard work as learning opportunities, rather than defeat.

I've also read that teaching the science behind it, behind how our brains work, is the key to getting buy-in and belief from kids.  The younger the better.  There are all kinds of great resources out there. One only has to google, "Growth Mindset" to get a heap of great resources.  Here are 2 of my favorite resources.

For a great introduction for children to Growth Mindset, try using the great lesson!

 Teach your kids at an early age -- start with this lesson
Teach your kids at an early age.  Start with this lesson.

Another great resource is the BRAINOLOGY program.  I super love anything that I can use with my kiddos on the computer.  AND SO DO THEY.  I mean the attention is so much better!  This program teaches the basic concepts of Growth Mindset and gives you lots of "hands-on" experiments to try. They call it a blended learning curriculum. There are animated characters: Chris, Dahlia, and Dr. Cerebrus, who teach students how the brain functions and learns, along with healthy habits, study techniques, self-regulation strategies, and other essential non-cognitive skills that help them to become effective learners. Then they deepen their knowledge and apply it to their own experience through classroom lessons, housed in the Brainology Implementation Guides for educators.  Check it out.  You'll love it!

Great program to teach your kids about Growth Mindset.  It is comprehensive and teaches healthy habits, study techniques, and self-regulation strategies.


Anxiety Prevention Groups for my older kiddos was always a big more intense.   By the time they were in 5th or 6th grade, some of the fears have turned into phobias. The fears and phobias were so intense, they interfered in classroom functioning. Therefore for my program, it was a priority to work on anxiety prevention during social work services.  Clearly many of my students need outside therapy as well, but parents either 1) do not have insurance or money or 2) do not have the time as they are single parents of multiple kids.  So in my program, I often do therapy 2-3 times a week with the more severe kiddos. 

My go to curriculum here is FACING YOUR FEARS. Excellent curriculum especially made for higher functioning students with ASD and anxiety, Authors: Judy Reaven Ph.D.Audrey Blakely-Smith Ph.D.Shana Nichols Ph.D.Susan Hepburn Ph.D.

The curriculum is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy based. Following is an overall idea of suggested sessions.  For my kids, we did a lot of repetition and I also customized many topics to include my kiddos areas of special interested.  This is a wonderful program because we talk about how much WORRY has taken over there lives -- there are examples and concrete ways of looking at how much time is spent on worrying. We talk about the physiological symptoms in the body and use the worry thermometer to measure things every day.  Finally we make a list (a fear ladder so to speak) of the things that cause worry, in order of minor to major.  We come up with a plan for gradually becoming desensitized to these things -- sometimes taking only the tiniest of steps.  We use video modeling to show our selves success and use that in conjunction with the actual exposure.  I have used many videos from YouTube to help in this.  Now don't forget, for these students, during the same timeframe, I have a parent group.  So I have to get the parent buy-in to help with providing feedback that decreases and DOES NOT REINFORCE the fears.  So many parents do not realize they actually have made their child's fears worse by giving into some of the most ridiculous behaviors!  This curriculum also includes a series of nice videos by some kids  who themselves have worked the program to overcome a fear - such as a fear of dogs.  I really recommend this program.   

Session 1: Welcome to Group: Words We Use for Worry
Session 2: When I Worry
Session 3: Time Spent Worrying
Session 4: What Worry Does to My Body: Beginning to Measure Worry
Session 5: The Mind-Body Connection
Session 6: More Mind-Body Connections: Introduction to Exposure
Session 7: Introduction to Exposure (Continued) 
Session 8: Practicing Exposure and Making Movies
Sessions 9-13: Facing Fears and Making Movies
Session 14: Graduation
Booster Session