Speaking Topics

List of Speaking Event Topics

(Topics can be combined as needed)

Practical Strategies to Reduce Anxiety in the Classroom

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that one in four thirteen to eighteen-year-olds has had an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.  Without intervention, these children are at risk for poor performance, diminished learning, and social/behavior problems in school. Understanding the role anxiety plays in a student’s behavior is crucial, and using preventive strategies is key to successful intervention. Effective behavior plans for these students must avoid the reward and punishment-based consequences of traditional behavior plans and focus instead on the use of preventive strategies and on explicitly teaching coping skills, self-monitoring, and alternative responses.

 and Educational Best Practices for Students with Mental Health Disabilities

About 10 percent of kids in school –approximately 9-13 million students — struggle with mental health problems. Whether running out of a class, not doing their homework, disrupting others, or quietly being defiant, their behavior is often misread and misdiagnosed. The frustration level teachers and parents face can be overwhelming, and traditional behavior plans are often ineffective and even unhelpful in addressing certain behaviors because they do not acknowledge the underlying causes.  The training will provide empathetic, flexible, practical, and, more importantly, effective strategies for preventing inappropriate behavior from the start in the classroom and dealing with it once it’s already happening.

Kids Who Challenge Us: Increasing Work Engagement and Reducing Oppositional Behavior in Students

Among the many reasons new teachers leave the field within their first five years, disruptive students are at the top of the list. Without intervention, these children are at risk for poor performance, diminished learning, and social/behavior problems in school. Overwhelming, negative, and inaccurate thoughts can contribute to student disengagement. When this is the case, traditional suggestions such as incentives, offering breaks, graphic organizers, or even checklists will not help the student initiate an activity. As a result of this workshop, participants will be able to easily implement preventive tools, strategies, and interventions for reducing oppositional behavior, increasing work engagement, initiation, persistence, and self-monitoring.

Reaching the Withdrawn Child

When we see a child who is withdrawn and shut down, teachers will sympathize and make attempts to cheer up the student. Teachers can feel at a loss when these attempts fail, the child continues to have low engagement, is irritable, and never expresses happiness. This workshop will give teachers the right tools to make these students feel better, think more accurately, and become more engaged.

Proactive, preventative approach for reducing problem behavior for students

Ninety percent of any effective behavior program is preventative. This workshop will review easy-to-implement, evidence-based strategies for preventing challenging behavior in students.

Effective Intervention for Students with Sexualized Behavior

Sexualized behavior can be relatively uncommon in school-aged children but can be very upsetting to professionals and parents.  Students display sexualized behavior for a host of reasons, and there is not a single common profile.  For most students, pointing out the behavior is inappropriate, and needs to stop is all that is needed, but for many, the behavior will persist and require specific interventions.  Myths about sexualized behavior will be tackled, and practical and effective interventions will be taught.

Speaking Event Formats

All workshops are ready for presentation to your group. They feature a dynamic and interactive format with accompanying handouts and materials. Additional workshops can be developed to focus on specific clinical and behavioral issues to meet staff and student needs.  Any training listed can be provided in the following formats:

Through the use of case studies, humorous stories, and examples of common challenging classroom situations, participants in Jessica’s keynote session will learn an understanding of students with mental health challenges, as well as easy-to-implement preventive tools, strategies, and interventions for reducing anxiety, increasing self-regulation, executive functioning, and self-monitoring.

Advanced Training:
Focusing on building capacity within your district or school, this workshop format is an intensive skill-building experience that includes case studies, in-depth training on intervention selection, and practice creating effective behavior intervention plans.

Classroom Educators Overview:
Training classroom teachers is essential to support students. Teachers want to understand the impact of mental health challenges on learning and behavior, as well as practical, field-tested strategies that are easy to implement in a busy classroom.

Special Educator/School Mental Health Training:
An advanced training for professionals supporting students in general education classrooms or specialized programming. This workshop will include training in analyzing the reasons underlying student behavior, choosing appropriate interventions, identifying common school stressors, and promoting teacher buy-in and accurate implementation of suggested interventions.

Coaching for MTSS teams/Student Support teams:
When teachers struggle with particular students, they may meet with colleagues in grade-level teams or other forums for guidance. The conversations at these meetings are often emotionally charged, with discussions drifting to outside-of-school topics, such as the student’s home dynamics. Participants might also jump to ideas based on assumptions of the student’s behavior. The result: meetings are long and emotionally draining but do not result in well-analyzed, solution-based strategies the teacher can implement immediately. Dr. Minahan trains school teams to use her Consultation Protocol, which guides them to look at the behavior issue through a skill-building lens. For example, work avoidance—a common concerning behavior that can become increasingly problematic—can be addressed by understanding the skills that the student lacks, such as how to initiate a task when overwhelmed, how to persist when facing difficulty, and how to seek help. With the use of the Consultation Protocol, the team will be able to pinpoint the underdeveloped skills underlying the student’s behavior, analyze the antecedents leading to the behavior, and suggest skill-building, solution-based strategies that the teacher and the team can implement easily

Speaking Events for Parents:
Jessica also offers a variety of parent education programs designed to teach effective parenting techniques in a fun and interactive format.