Full Course Description

Beyond Behaviors: Effective Neuroscience-based Tools to Transform Childhood Behaviors featuring Dr. Mona Delahooke

Program Information


  1. Determine treatment strategies/techniques based on each individual’s emotional/ sensory/motor profile and neuroception of safety in social-emotional development.
  2. Distinguish the difference between intentional misbehaviour and stress responses.
  3. Integrate mind and body-based techniques for the treatment of mental health, behavioural and developmental challenges.
  4. Employ the 3-step process of personalized attunement to help children become calm and emotionally regulated.
  5. Argue the importance of a cross-disciplinary approach to supporting social-emotional development.
  6. Investigate the critical importance of the “therapeutic use of self” when working with children.


Module 1: Why Our Current Behavioural Approaches Miss the Mark & Fail our Kids

  • What really causes children to lose emotional or behavioural control?
  • Moving from a “fixed” mindset to a “Neurodevelopmental” mindset
  • Three main reasons current treatment protocols fall short
  • Reframing behaviours based on context and as “adaptations”
  • The problems with time-out, isolation, “attention-seeking behaviour” and “willful disobedience”
  • Intentional mis-behaviour or unintentional stress response?
  • Utilizing a developmental roadmap

Module 2: A New Way of Understanding Behavioural Problems

  • The “Developmental Iceberg”
  • 4 Causes of Behavioural Problems
  • Utilizing the polyvagal concept of “neuroception” to understand and change behaviours
  • Developing neurodevelopmentally-informed treatment plans

Module 3: Underneath & Beyond Behaviours: Learning the Language of a Child’s Nervous System

  • Two branches & Three pathways of the autonomic nervous system
  • Creating co-regulation with kids
  • The therapeutic use of self
  • The Green, Red, & Blue Pathways of a child’s nervous system

Module 4: The Six Key Processes of Social & Emotional Development & DIR Therapy

  • Assessment of processes
  • Identifying feelings of vulnerability behind mis-behaviours
  • Crossing the “Expectation” Gap
  • Using the Six Neurodevelopmental Processes in treatment
  • The DIR model of Therapy

Module 5: Nervous-System Based Techniques for Behavioural Change, Part 1

  • Six “C’s” in the developmental process
  • Practising personalized attunement
  • “IDEA” model
  • Sensory Over-Responsive Checklist
  • Sensory Under-Responsive Checklist
  • Sensory-Craving
  • Clinical Examples
  • Tracking a Child’s Stress Load
  • Basics of Play

Module 6: Nervous-System Based Techniques for Behavioural Change, Part 2

  • Neurodiversity, Trauma, & ASD Examples
  • De-escalation strategies
  • Developing a child’s own strategies
  • Recognizing & naming autonomic states
  • Clinical examples
  • Addressing “disruptive” behaviours
  • Interpreting behaviours in neurodiverse individuals
  • Trauma & behavioural problems
  • Racism & its impacts on children
  • Analyze benefits, risks and limitations of a neuro-biologically informed treatment of behavioural disorders in children
  • Conclusions

Copyright : 06/11/2020

Oppositional Defiance or Faulty Neuroception: Disruptive Behaviors through the Lens of the Polyvagal Theory

Program Information


  1. Categorize specific behaviours as they relate to each of the three basic pathways of the autonomic nervous system (ANS).
  2. Utilize neuroception-informed interventions, including physiological co-regulation and interpersonal engagement, to treat oppositional behaviour. 
  3. Appraise the efficacy of integrating the Polyvagal Theory into “behaviour management” programs. 


Behaviour Challenges:  Intentional Choice or Stress Response?

  • What the Polyvagal Theory brings to the “behaviour management” table
  • The autonomic nervous system (ANS)
  • Neuroception:  How children’s brains perceive safety and stress (and what that means for behaviour)
  • Is ODD a behaviour disorder, or a nervous system looking for relational safety?

Clinical Strategies for Building Relational Safety and Security

  • Getting started:  Matching a given behaviour to corresponding ANS pathway
  • Discerning between an intentional behaviour and a stress response
  • Co-regulation, warmth and interpersonal engagement
  • How to reach the “unreachable” kids and teens
  • What about behaviour contracts and incentive plans?

Copyright : 05/08/2020