Beyond Behaviors: Using Brain Science and Compassion to Understand and Solve Children’s Behavioral Challenges

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A NEW approach to solving behavioral challenges.

In Beyond Behaviors, internationally known pediatric psychologist, Dr. Mona Delahooke describes behaviors as the tip of the iceberg, important signals that we should address by seeking to understand a child’s individual differences in the context of relational safety.

Featuring impactful worksheets and charts, this accessible book offers professionals, educators and parents tools and techniques to reduce behavioral challenges and promote psychological resilience and satisfying, secure relationships.

Neuroscience-based effective tools and strategies for children labeled with:
– Conduct Disorder
– Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
– Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)
– Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
– Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
– Anxiety & Depression
– Autism & Developmental or Learning Differences

And children who experience or have experienced:
– Aggressive, confusing and unpredictable behaviors
– Tantrums and meltdowns
– Disconnection or shutdown
– Adverse childhood experiences
– Trauma and toxic stress

From the Publisher

2020 Benjamin Franklin Book Award Winner in Psychology

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Why are we failing to help children with seriously challenging behaviors?

Too many books about children’s challenging behaviors take a one-size-fits-all approach, without consideration for the autonomic state—the brain/body connection. They also fail to consider children’s individual differences—their unique strengths and challenges. And most approaches to challenging behaviors fail to examine those challenges in the context of a child’s social and emotional development. As a result, many treatment approaches fall short because they simply lack a cohesive rationale or guiding principle.

This book aims to provide a new context to understand behavioral challenges and offer a roadmap for making decisions based on each child’s brain and body. While research and knowledge about the brain has progressed exponentially over the past three decades, we have barely begun to translate this understanding into practical use. In my experience, the neuroscientist Dr. Stephen Porges’s work—his Polyvagal Theory, and specifically the concept of neuroception—offers the best new way to view and support behaviorally challenged children and their families.


About Dr. Mona Delahooke

Mona Delahooke, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist with more than 30 years of experience caring for children and their families. She is a senior faculty member of the Profectum Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting families of neurodiverse children, adolescents and adults. She is a trainer for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.

Dr. Delahooke holds the highest level of endorsement in the field of infant and toddler mental health in California, as a Reflective Practice Mentor (RPM). She is a frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant to parents, organizations, schools, and public agencies. Dr. Delahooke has dedicated her career to promoting compassionate, relationship-based, neurodevelopmental interventions for children with developmental, behavioral, emotional, and learning differences.

She is the author of Social and Emotional Development in Early Intervention: A Skills Guide for Working with Children (PESI, 2017).

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Praise for Beyond Behaviors

“Beyond Behaviors provides the basis for a paradigm shift in understanding and treating children with disruptive behaviors. Historically, educational and therapeutic models treat anti-social and asocial behavior as motivated and incentivized. In this accessible and beautifully written volume, Dr. Delahooke pulls the veil off this myth and replaces it with a neurobiologically-informed treatment model that provides insightful directives leading to effective outcomes.” — Stephen W. Porges, PhD, Distinguished University Scientist, Indiana University, Professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, and author of The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe

“As a developmental psychologist, compassion teacher, and autism mom, I can whole-heartedly say this book is brilliant. Traditional methods of ‘shaping’ children’s behaviors typically ignore children’s emotional state, at great cost to the child’s ability to learn, develop, and form secure relationships. This book provides concrete ways to help understand safety as the foundation for children’s learning, working with rather than against natural brain functions to maximize learning potential.” — Kristin Neff, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, and author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself

“I love this book. It will be one I give and recommend over and over. Beyond Behaviors is succinct, accessible, practical, science-based. And it’s a game changer. My hope is that not only parents, educators, clinicians, and all helping professionals read it, but that it becomes required reading for professionals in training. It’s time for us to use science-informed approaches to go beyond mere behaviors to support children and their caregivers, and this is the book to light the way.” — Tina Payne Bryson, PhD, LCSW, Executive Director of The Center for Connection and co-author of New York Times bestsellers The Whole-Brain Child and No-Drama Discipline

“This book will embrace every parent and professional puzzling over behavioral challenges and make you question the assumptions about their meaning and re-evaluate how to help. Dr. Delahooke reframes our understanding by integrating perspectives from development, brain science, mental health, and child and parent experiences using example after example to guide you towards insight and compassionate approaches that are respectful of neurodiversity. Beyond Behaviors will help every child and family progress, feel safe, enjoy relationships, and develop to their fullest.” — Serena Wieder, PhD, Clinical Director, Profectum Foundation, co-creator of the DIR Model and co-author of The Child with Special Needs and Engaging Autism

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