As the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter and brighter regarding COVID-19, parents and students are facing another major transition period. While it may seem exciting to head back to campus, for many students it might not be. During this time of remote learning, students may have lost a passion for learning. Children and adolescents have been significantly impacted by the pandemic in different ways. Now faced with another adjustment, what can we do as parents, caretakers, and teachers to support their mental health?
Here at the Diverse Thinking Different Learning Podcast, we aim to inform, educate, inspire, and increase understanding. Today’s guest does just that. I am thrilled to have Kalisha Beard on for this episode to discuss how to address a child’s lack of passion for learning. Kalisha works in private practice in Los Angeles and is passionate about supporting children and their families as they cope with mental health challenges, trauma, and life changes. COVID-19 certainly had an impact on her clients, and today she shares ways parents can help their children and teens through validation, observation, curiosity, and humility.
It all starts with awareness and you’re in the right place to begin.
[2:52] – Kalisha sees children who have been impacted significantly by the pandemic. In the beginning, we all thought this would be a short-lived experience.
[3:31] – A lot of children and adolescents that Kalisha sees are showing symptoms of clinical depression and anxiety. She sees incredibly bright children who harbor great disdain for their learning environment.
[4:46] – Discussing the need for alternate learning environments, Kalisha explains that many students do not thrive in a traditional school setting and that can lead to mental health struggles.
[5:44] – Many parents don’t feel that they have a choice when it comes to school for their children, but there are alternative and affordable options.
[6:58] – Students may be eligible for grants and financial aid for alternative learning options. It all starts with awareness.
[8:15] – One of the things we need to realize is that validation for the thoughts and feelings of children and adolescents goes a long way. We need to be empathetic.
[9:27] – Regarding lack of passion, Kalisha says we need to assess the cause of it. There could be underlying issues and she gives examples.
[10:26] – Kalisha lists several things to look at during this assessment period. She also talks about the stigma surrounding neuropsychological assessments and seeing a therapist.
[11:13] – It is important to make it clear to students that there are different ways people learn.
[12:19] – Communication between the parents and teachers is also very important. It is up to a teacher to engage learners, but faced with the struggles of COVID-19, it has been difficult for teachers as well.
[13:48] – Dr. Wilson points out other reasons why parent-teacher communication and relationships are very important.
[14:39] – Emphasizing the need for an assessment, Kalisha explains how symptoms of anxiety can mimic other things.
[15:50] – Clinicians do not assess for the purpose of putting a label on a child. They assess to understand them and help in a targeted way.
[17:14] – There has been an increase in student suicide that has caused some school districts to fully open earlier than initially planned.
[18:15] – One of the biggest things we need to remember is that with any big change, there is an adjustment period. This will include transitioning back to school in person.
[19:12] – Kalisha advises parents to check in consistently with their children and teens and validate their feelings.
[20:37] – What about the students who did better during remote learning? Those children and adolescents may have heightened anxiety about returning to campus.
[21:45] – In addition to the world dealing with COVID-19, in the United States there has also been political unrest and a social justice movement. All of these things contribute to stress and in some cases trauma.
[23:46] – It is important to pay attention to the whole child. Kalisha describes what this means and how many of the children she sees are more aware of what’s going on than we may realize.
[25:33] – Validation is the greatest tool for teachers, parents, therapists, and any adult who is in a place of responsibility with a child or teen.
[26:52] – Kalisha and Karen discuss ways to support students who are feeling anxious about returning to their school’s campus. Be present as much as possible.
[27:46] – Our minds take us to the future when we feel anxiety. Kalisha advises to be mindful of this.
[28:54] – To help a child find their talents and passions, parents need to also be sure to give them different experiences and see what they gravitate towards and why.
[29:39] – Kalisha explains that we need to also plan for happiness. This coping skill is underestimated. Sometimes you need to actually schedule time for happiness.
[31:40] – By taking time to schedule happiness and breaks from work and stress, parents are modeling this coping strategy to their children.
[33:14] – Give worrying the attention that it needs, but put a time limit on it. This is something adults can and should do for themselves.
[34:12] – Kalisha describes how she talks with her clients about this. What is the best outcome and the worst? But more importantly, what is most likely to happen?
[35:16] – Kalisha emphasizes the most helpful abilities of a parent to support their child: the ability to observe, the ability to be curious, and the ability to be humble.
[36:27] – Karen and Kalisha are both feeling optimistic.
About Our Guest:
Kalisha Beard attended The University of California, Irvine and received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Social Behavior. She then continued her education at The University of Southern California, where she received her Master’s of Social Work. Upon graduation, she gained employment with the Portals Division of Pacific Clinics. Here, she had the privilege of working with at-risk youth with multiple psychiatric hospitalizations, as well as with older adults with chronic mental health challenges. After three years of service, she gained employment with the Department of Mental Health, where she began providing psychotherapy in the Child and Adolescent Outpatient Program. Kalisha works in private practice in Los Angeles, California, and is passionate about supporting children and their families, as they cope with mental health challenges, trauma, and life changes.
Connect with Kalisha Beard:
- Phone: (562) 257-6199
- Kalisha Beard, LCSW Home Page
- Kalisha Beard on Instagram
- Kalisha Beard on Facebook
- ChildNEXUS Provider Profile: Kalisha Beard
- Psychology Today Therapist Profile: Kalisha Beard
Links and Related Resources:
- ChildNEXUS Home Page
- ChildNEXUS Instagram
- Episode 2: Demystifying the Assessment Process
- Episode 17: How Micro-Schools Use an Innovative and Personalized Approach to Help Students Thrive with Dr. Maureen O’Shaughnessy
- What is a Comprehensive Evaluation and How Can it Help Support My Child’s Learning?
- Parenting During Stressful Times (AKA COVID-19 Pandemic)
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