I remember the first time a parent asked me to talk to their child about their learning disability after an assessment.
I agreed enthusiastically and invited them in right away. I brought out pictures and metaphors and started in on what I thought would be a powerful, demystifying experience for the child!
But instead of the life-changing conversation I had imagined, his eyes welled up and he buried his head in his mother’s lap, asking to go home.
Never wanting to repeat this experience, I asked several colleagues for advice. However, I soon learned that I was not the only one who was struggling.
It turns out that very few of us have been trained to give feedback to the kids we assess. So I began a journey to find…
A Tool for Better Feedback
In talking to others, I found that there are a few common roadblocks:
- Finding the right language
- Holding kids’ attention
- Finding time to personalize the message to each child
- Helping parents keep the conversation going
I started experimenting with different approaches to solve these challenges within my own practice. Over the years, this evolved into The Brain Building Book!
The Brain Building Book is a workbook designed to help elementary-aged children understand their testing results in a way that is:
- Visually engaging
- Simple to understand
- Easy to personalize
- An ongoing reference for parents
This tool has been a game-changer for my practice. I’m hoping it can help you, too!
How The Brain Building Book Helps
The Brain Building Book is more than just a story. It is a workbook that you and the child actively personalize together throughout the assessment process.
Instead of waiting until the official “feedback session,” The Brain Building Book guides you through a framework for talking to the child about their brain throughout testing, to help them build understanding over time.
1. Engaging Interactive Visuals
The Brain Building Book contains vibrant, colorful illustrations with lots of room to write and draw on the pages, based on the child’s ideas, thoughts, and experiences.
During testing and interviews with the child, I write down what we learn on these pages, so that we are documenting our journey together.
At the feedback session, I start by asking children to show their parents the pages we’ve already worked on, so they are participating in explaining the results, too.
2. Empowering Language
Using a growth mindset-based metaphor for how the brain is constantly changing, The Brain Building Book helps build a shared vocabulary with the child for talking about strengths and challenges in an empowering way.
When we meet for the feedback session after testing, I use this same shared vocabulary to talk about what we’ve learned. This way, I know that the words I use will be accessible and clear.
3. Preventing Overwhelm
It’s easy to overwhelm a child at the feedback session with all we’ve learned about them.
The Brain Building Book helps kids ask their own assessment questions so that it’s easy to know what is most important to them, and what they are ready to hear.
During the feedback session, I focus on answering their specific questions, using our shared vocabulary, so that I know they will be able to process the information.
4. Parents Continue the Conversation
Understanding how we learn is a journey – not a single event. For this reason, parents need to feel confident continuing the conversation with their children after they’ve left our office.
The Brain Building Book is designed to give parents a concrete reference for the words we used to talk about their child’s strengths, challenges, diagnosis, and building their skills.
Parents report that having this language written down has been extremely helpful for them in those moments when their child hits a new roadblock or needs help navigating a new challenge!
Help Make This Tool a Reality!
The Brain Building Book has been amazing for my practice, and I’d love to make it available for others to use.
If enough people are interested we can get a bulk printing discount, which will make it affordable to print at scale.
If a tool like this could be helpful to you, you can preorder your copies through Kickstarter from now until 2/26/21. If you are reading this post after 2/26, you can simply go to www.BrainBuildingBook.com.
What is Kickstarter?
Kickstarter is a way to preorder a product, and ensure that there is enough community interest to make it possible to produce.
If we reach our goal, everyone will get the book at a bulk-printing discount! If we do not meet our goal, we simply won’t print the books and everyone will get their money back.
How do I participate?
What will I get if I participate?
- Your choice of a 3-book or 10-book bundle to use with your clients or students
- The Brain Building Feedback Practitioner’s Manual
- Access to the Child Feedback Training