Brian’s current tutoring subjects are listed at the left. You
can read more about
Brian’s qualifications in specific subjects below.
As a mental health therapist for forty years, specializing in children, I have had years of experience working with both children and adults exhibiting ADD, attention deficit disorder, and ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ADHD, especially in children, is an axis 1 diagnosis in the DSM IV-TR. Children are often misdiagnosed, especially at early ages, often labeled "conduct disorders" and "oppositional/defiant disorders."
ADHD has a multiple etiology in that origins have been attributed to genetic pre-dispostional as well as brain circuitry issues. Many children in this population suffer from very short attention spans, inability to concentrate and hyperactivity, often in school settings. Medications are often prescribed, although most physicians use cautiously as many meds have moderate to severe side effects.
Tutoring a child with ADHD requires patience, assignment activities that are result oriented as well as constant praise and encouragement. As a therapist, I've often found that the children often view themselves as being "different", often resulting in low self esteem, thus exacerbating symptomology. With results oriented teachings, continuous and tolerance of a usually brief attention span, many ADHD children learn and learn successfully.
If a teacher or parent suspects a child's hyperactive behaviors may be more intense than is usually seen, referrals to special education, counseling (family) and pediatric assistance may be in order.
Again any tutor needs to keep this in mind and work closely with the child's support system and utilize a team approach as to tutoring this student, no matter what the age. Patience, caring, coordination, praise and tolerance are all necessary.
I believe that during my forty years in working with hundreds of ADHD children I am able to transfer my diagnostic skills to enhance tutoring of these children strongly in need of a tutor both knowledgeable in subject and in emotional effects of ADHD.
One of the keys to successful tutoring of elementary school children is due in large part to the tutor's ability to not lose their own childhood as we grow to become "sophisticated" adults. My forty years dedicated to counseling children has greatly enhanced my ability to communicate with children at any specific grade level. All kids are in urgent need of strong doses of self-esteem and encouragement; and these I liberally provide.
In addition, my extensive background in child development has shown me that children (also adults) develop and learn in different ways. I believe the successful tutor in grades k-6 will be one that can accurately assess the child's learning skills, along with emotional development. Sensitivity in both areas allows teaching to specific students at both emotional and educational levels designed EXCLUSIVELY for that student. This is especially important for these early grades.
My approach, working closely with parents and teachers of these students involves an accurate assessment of the child's learning development as well as emotional development in coordination. Liberal doses of encouragement and praise, accompanied by tutoring to that child's specific educational needs is, I believe the best method for an encouraged and successful young student.
These kids are tomorrow's future. It is up to tutors, in tandem with parents and teachers,to provide the best successful environment possible. When the children succeed, we all do.
Overcoming nervousness; how to read non-verbal communication; feeling physically comfortable while speaking; techniques to prevent speaking too fast and stumbling over words; dressing to your audience.
Additional information has been requested relating to background and credentials. First, my forty-one years of psychotherapy experience has enabled me to be calm in emergent situations as well as develop finely honed communication skills--both verbal and non-verbal. I have taught college level courses (social work) at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, enhancing group speaking skills.
In addition, I worked for over 12 years as a contracted trainer with the State of Wisconsin, serving on panels of three, teaching "Client and Agency Communications" to entry level social workers. There, again, I utilized my speaking skills before several dozens of classes for many years. Topics included were non-verbal communication, speaking in public, stress management and how to compose oneself while speaking in tension-filled or hostile climates.
I served as State President of the Wisconsin Social Services Association and presented to audiences of 400+ at various conventions. Finally, I have 19 years of public government experience as a Town Board, Village Board and School Board official, including 8 years as School Board President. Literally hundreds of hours have been spent here in addressing, listening and communicating with public audiences.
I have an ability to feel comfortable and at ease with large and small audiences which has enhanced my abilities as a public speaker. Several years of experience, combined with the communication skills of a therapist and trainer (along with others listed) have served me well in the public speaking arena. I'd be glad to assist others as to effective styles, deliveries and content areas in this critical field.
Presenting a persuasive and convincing speech is much more than standing at a podium and "talking." A competent tutor in this subject knows there are several aspects involved in both writing and delivering a speech.
Non-Verbal communication--What does your posture say about your belief in what you are saying? Are you making eye contact with all sections of your audience; or are you looking over their heads? What does your manner of dress say to your audience? Schooling in the enhanced ability and knowledge of non-verbal behaviors are KEY to speech delivery. I have presented workshops exclusively on improving non-verbal skills.
Tone of voice--Can they hear you? Are you too loud (aggressive)? Does your tone fluctuate with the importance of your presented topics, or do you speak in a monotone, putting them to sleep? Breathing is also a skill needing to be taught in speech so that each word and sentence is clearly articulated.
Repetition--phrases like "you know. . ." "ah," "um" can be very distracting while presenting. Gives the audience the impression you do not thoroughly know your subject.
Speed--Extremely important! My tutoring heavily focuses on your ability to think words and sentences out so that when said, your words are at a pace comfortable to you and your audience. Too slow or too fast; you're likely to lose them.
Pauses--when to pause to highlight a point; often accompanied by non-verbal expressions and postures will help you emphasize and highlight critical points of your speech. Related here is your volume, somewhat covered above. Screaming is not speaking.
And finally, quality--an area in which I heavily focus. What is it that distinguishes an "ordinary" speaker from a dynamic one. Working on all these aspects together, you may become a much improved, if not eloquent, speaker. My tutoring will encompass all of these elements with a goal of helping you speak clearly, concisely, dynamically; and with techniques to help you feel less anxious about speaking to an audience.
"Study Skills" encompasses a wide population as these skills may include kindergarten to college level. Given this diversity, I believe the successful tutor in this area will be that person who can successfully coordinate several factors in both assessing and enhancing these skills.
We of course need to take into account grade level, emotional development, ADHD issues, among other life factors, in order to personalize our tutoring in this area to the specific student with whom we are working. One mistake I often see made is to "package" a model of study skills for all students. Third graders to not utilize the same skills or skill levels as high school juniors.
As tutors it is incumbent to assess how proficient is the student in several areas? A high school freshman, very proficient in math, but so high in English may require study skill approach differences in both areas. Perhaps more time or better facilitative study environments may be required according to subject. Amounts of time, prioritization of assignments, intensities of concentration all play a part here.
So it also appears with elementary and middle school students. The tutor in study skills must accurately assess the needs. Is the student's study environment conducive to concentration? Are there self confidence blocks that are preventing effective study skills? In the case of ADHD children are there distractions which may affect the student to study successfully?
The successful tutor will be able to accurately assess all these factors and assist the student and his/her parents in developing a study skills plan which will be of most help to that particular student. I have taken the above approaches with prior students and this approach appears to work well with a wide variety of students, no matter the grade or learning skill level; leading to greatly enhanced study skills.