Free Video Series Can Help Kids Get “Off the Top and Target”



BALTIMORE— Parents know these scenes all too well:

  • Their child refuses to dress and prepare for school.
  • A change of plans arouses their child’s anger.
  • Homework requests make it difficult to immediately answer their child’s question.

What is the best strategy to help the child react and avoid a collapse?

A video series produced in part by the Institute of Implementation and Innovation at the School of Social Work at the University of Maryland helps provide guidance to parents.

The answers to these questions and more are now available in the Unstuck and On Target Parent Support tips and tricks video series. These tips are especially helpful for parents and caregivers of elementary-aged children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The free educational video series are designed to help parents and caregivers address common emotional and behavioral topics in order to help children stay organized, plan and achieve their goals, be flexible thinkers, and regulate their feelings. Behavior specialists call these skills executive functioning.

By following the tips and skills in the videos, parents can help their children be successful, avoid meltdowns and negativity, and develop common language and ways of interacting for calmer, more productive days.

The video series was developed and produced by the Institute for Innovation and Implementation Office of Instructional Technology and Media (The Institute) at the School of Social Work at the University of Maryland for Unstuck and On Target, a program designed to improve thinking, planning and self-control. primary-age children with ASD or ADHD.

It was made possible through the Institute’s work with the Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC, and the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and funded by an Institute Dissemination and Implementation Award. patient-centered outcomes research. The videos are available in English and Spanish.

A set of basic parenting skills are showcased throughout the video series: seeking to understand a child’s behavior, modeling successful behaviors that a caregiver wants a child to emulate, and consistently using keywords. to remind your child of the executive functioning skills he can use. .

Many of the 100 parents and guardians who reviewed the videos for feedback appreciate what they learned from the videos:

“They’re very clear, and I like them to be short and to the point. Parents of children with autism / ADHD don’t have a lot of time due to their children’s high needs, so I appreciate the structure of the videos.

“They really helped me understand that this is not about a challenge but rather about executive functioning. Taking a different approach instead of arguing makes things so much better. “

“The videos made me feel less alone. They reminded me that my son’s behavior is “normal” on the spectrum and I hope there are more things I can try to help him.

The videos were originally designed to support parents during the pandemic who, out of necessity, have become special home educators for young people with ASD and ADHD.

Children with ADHD and ASD may find it difficult to regulate their behavior during the structured setting of a typical school day, but during COVID they were suddenly faced with a lack of structure and predictability.

A child’s ability to moderate their behavior and regulate their emotions can be tested when a lot is going on. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, the normal structure of the school day is disrupted,” said Laura Anthony, PhD, University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado. “Children can experience crippling anxiety, mood swings and aggressive behavior due to their unmet needs during the unstructured days of the pandemic. “

Unstuck and On Target aims to develop a shared way of thinking, a shared language and a suite of supports for use by teachers and caregivers to help children be more successful in school and at home.

“We know that the skills and support of our virtual and print original editions of Unstuck and On Target are a valuable resource for parents and caregivers,” said Lauren Kenworthy, PhD, director of the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at the National Children’s Hospital. “We are so grateful to the creative minds at the University of Maryland’s School of Social Work who helped bring these ideas to life in videos, so they can help even more families.”

The development of the videos by the Institute was led by Meredith W. Gunn, PhD, MSW, director of instructional technology at the Institute, while the story and concept were led by former University of Maryland Baltimore professor Laura Gutermuth Anthony, PhD, now professor, Division of Psychiatry Child and Adolescent, Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine, and Colorado Children’s Hospital; Lauren Kenworthy, PhD, director of the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at the National Children’s Hospital; and the Unstuck and On Target author team.

“We at the University of Maryland School of Social Work are proud of this video series to support parents and proud of the work being done by Meredith Gunn and her team. We are committed to supporting parents, caregivers, and teachers in their endless work to educate and raise children across the United States. Dean of Labor Judy L. Postmus, PhD, MSW.

Several videos are animated using Vyond by the Institute’s multimedia technicians, Kaitlyn Decker, MS, and Brun de Dennard.

“We wanted the characters to be diverse to reach a wide range of parents and be relatable,” Brown said. “Videos contain information that anyone can learn from. These techniques can feature any level of relationship you have.

The Institute for Innovation and Implementation

The Institute for Innovation and Implementation (The Institute), founded in 2005, is part of the School of Social Work at the University of Maryland. The Institute is committed to building research-driven, innovative, sustainable and transformative systems and services for young people and families, and to developing the capacities of the workforce within these systems. . We do this work in partnership with government agencies, health care providers and community organizations to improve outcomes for and with youth and their families.

About the University of Maryland School of Social Work

The University of Maryland School of Social Work, founded in 1961, is highly ranked and respected. Its mission is to train practitioners, leaders and academics to advance the well-being of populations and communities and promote social justice. As national leaders, they create and use knowledge for education, service innovation and policy development.



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