• Dan Hanks

The Most Important Thing A Parent Needs To Hear

Updated: Aug 15

A few years ago, someone asked me the question "if you could tell a parent one thing what would it be?" My answer to the question wasn't just a theory, but a story. A story of how I observed one young person get stuck, and how that pattern played out over and over. As I told the story, and listened to other stories over the years, a pattern emerged which helped understand why young adults get stuck and how they can get back on track.

The basic premise of my answer on the phone call was that the "gap gets bigger". I told a story of a student who when they were in grade school tended to be slightly more sensitive than their peers, a student who need a little bit of support but were able to relate to and function at a very similar level to their similar-aged peers. As that student gets older, the world presents more executive functioning challenges to that student, and as time goes by their world gets smaller while the world is getting bigger for their friends.

I found that the past decades of work with students, I couldn't put them into specific diagnostic categories, and I couldn't put them into specific areas of social / emotional disabilities. Instead, I noted a significant pattern of small challenges early in life that built up and became more significant as they became older.

I recorded the following audio to help a parent understand this perspective. This has been a perspective that has helped others understand how their child might have gotten stuck, and is informative to help them back on a productive path.

It's important to note that every student is different and the journey they are on is a path that will be as unique as they themselves are. This is not intended to suggest all students we work with have the same story, indeed it's just a way to help us understand that growth requires new experiences and new challenges. I hope you find this useful.

- Dan

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