Experts Present at New Trauma-Informed Initiative in Rural Pennsylvania

April 29, 2016
Map of PA, BHARP

This week, we at Lakeside Educational Network were privileged to attend the kick-off conference for the Behavior Health Alliance of Rural Pennsylvania (BHARP) at the Penn State Conference Center.

What is BHARP and why is it important?

Dr. Sandra Bloom

Dr. Sandra Bloom, Sanctuary Model

The conference featured Dr. Sandra Bloom (speaking remotely) and other professionals in the trauma-informed movement. We met to discuss and share perspectives on the essential nature of becoming trauma-informed in order to help children and families.

We are so pleased that BHARP has selected Lakeside to be their training partner. We are excited to be a central part of one of the few rural models in the nation for trauma-informed care in a multi-county environment.  We plan to begin this June with a hybrid training model utilizing both live training and broadcast training that will be able to maintain groups on a live basis. This trainnig model allows each group to process the complex emotional issues of trauma with our trainers and one another.

Training hundreds of professionals

Diane Wagenhals

Diane Wagenhals, MEd, Director of the Institute for Professional Development, Lakeside Educational Network

The exciting part of this project is that we will be delivering a four-year training process which will reach hundreds of professionals in rural Pennsylvania who will create a new environment of care and support for trauma-impacted children and adults.

It is our hope that we will be able to permeate this region like we have the Greater Philadelphia region with many professionals having the same lenses, the same language and the sense of partnership around the issues of trauma-informed care within their communities.

Personalized for each individual group

Lakeside has developed a capacity to broadcast our training to expand our geographic scope and help others learn about trauma-informed care.

Over the next few years we anticipate rapidly growing the broadcasting of our process model of trauma training. It is significant that broadcasts can be personalized for each group of participants. Because of the internet, we can consider a more extensive approach to help communities formerly out of  reach to have access to our training.

We believe models like this will be launched all over our country to provide a new trauma lens for children and families.

We are so pleased to pioneer this model with BHARP.  

We are looking forward to this new partnership with a great group of professionals who truly care for the children and families they serve within their counties and communities. We are deeply grateful to be able to share our training in another opportunity in our hope to reach everyone about trauma and trauma-informed care.

Thank you to all the leadership of BHARP and all the participating organizations who sponsored this event.  We wish BHARP all the best as together we strive for excellence in this great endeavor and partnership.

Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network

Is EQ More Signficant Than IQ?

April 27, 2016
Emotionally healthy child

From the time my children were very young, I had pursued parenting education resources wherever I could find them. I was impressed with the idea that even the very youngest children could benefit from learning about feelings, being able to recognize them, name them and know that feelings just are – no judgment allowed!

Talking about children’s feelings

Diane Wagenhals, parenting expertWhen my younger daughter was about 3, we had an interesting conversation about her feelings.

I had worked hard to let her know that her feelings were always acceptable even if her behaviors had to be limited. We had worked on naming feelings, and I often invited her to share what she was feeling at any given moment.

One day as we had a conversation about her dilemma, she realized she felt both sad and angry at the same time. “Mommy, “she said in a perplexed voice, “I feel more than one way right now. I don’t have a word for that.”

After giving the matter a few seconds of thought, I told her I was going to teach her the word that was the name for what she was feeling— ambivalent.

After practicing the pronunciation a few times, she was quite pleased with herself that she could now explain in one word what it meant to be experiencing more than one feeling! She was quite proud when she was able to share this with her preschool teacher who I think was impressed that a child that young could accurately identify her feelings, especially her conflicting ones.

Claude Steiner notes in his excellent book, Emotional Literacy, that helping children learn this concept can equip them for life as they become clearer and accepting of their own feelings as well as the feelings of others. He encourages parents and caregivers to begin promoting emotional literacy even before children learn to speak.

By giving them words for their feelings, they can not only appreciate how we all move from one feeling to another but can also learn the words they can then share with others to explain what is going on within them.

In 1995, Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence, became a bestseller because he made a compelling case for the importance of what Steiner was calling “emotional literacy. Goleman’s research (along with research of others) showed that the person who is more emotionally intelligent actually does better in life than the person with a higher IQ.

Goleman shared what he identified as five domains of emotional intelligence:

  1. Knowing your emotions.
  2. Managing your own emotions.
  3. Motivating yourself.
  4. Recognizing and understanding other people’s emotions.
  5. Managing relationships.

Clearly three of these involve high levels of emotional literacy.

Of course, in order to help promote emotional literacy or intelligence within your children—if you were not blessed to have parents and caregivers who promoted this when you were younger—you can benefit from enhancing your feeling vocabulary. The websites listed below can all provide a variety of suggested vocabulary words describing feelings you can use and share with your children.

Older children (at least seven years old up through adolescence) have the opportunity to learn a whole lot more about emotions by viewing the movie Inside Out, which  provides a fanciful animation of several key human emotions; joy, fear, disgust, anger and sadness.

Parents can also make it a habit to share words describing their feelings. Additionally, they can invite children to notice the people around them and guess as to how they might be feeling.

Additionally, storybooks become a great resource for noticing how the characters might be feeling: “How do you think Eeyore is feeling about losing his tail?

Invitation to Reflect

  1. Consider the degrees to which you have a strong emotional vocabulary. When you look at the words from the websites, how familiar are you with them? How often do you use them in your conversations with your children?
  2. Think about increasing your children’s feeling vocabulary by helping them identify their own feelings, share how you are feeling, including those feelings we often think of as “negative” and use the world of books, television and even people watching for opportunities to invite discussions around possible feelings others may be experiencing.

Diane Wagenhals, Director of Institute for Professional Education and Development, Lakeside Educational Network


[For more information, check out and search for Emotional Intelligence]

Why Your Learning Style Isn’t Helping You Learn

April 26, 2016
Learning styles

One of the most prevalent and consistent discussions both educators and students have is about learning style. It is clear that we each learn differently, but it becomes quite challenging when our classrooms have students with varied learning styles the teacher must address. 

Continue Reading…

Philly Mom Gets Nasty Anonymous Letter About Her Autistic Son

April 21, 2016
anonymous autism letter

For parents and/or caregivers of children with autism this is far too frequent a story.  I remember a few years ago when I was talking to a potential funder about the types of students we serve at Lakeside, he told me that we should “ship them all to Siberia.”  I was taken back but realized that he had no idea what was really going on with our students. 

Continue Reading…

What Is “Don’t” Sensitivity?”

April 20, 2016
pink elephant

How often over the course of the day do parents hear their children using the word “Don’t”? “Don’t tease the dog!” “Don’t hit your sister!” “Don’t chew with your mouth full!” “Don’t drink and drive!”

Continue Reading…