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"I Can" - the beginning of change in every individual

As a tutor or coach, where do we begin when working with a new student that has a less than positive attitude? In my own experience, I was asked to begin tutoring/mentoring a 16 year old boy with a combination of Aspergers, OCD, and ADD. I wasn't sure how the first session would go, so my only preparation was one sheet of paper with the words, "I CAN". After talking with the student for a while about what he wanted to get out of our sessions, I handed him that sheet of paper. He responded positively to my suggestion that a positive, "I CAN" attitude can be a first stepping stone to change.

I have met with this student many times since that first meeting. As a result of our "I CAN" discussions, he has become a better contributor to the life of his family, substantially improved his school grades from a B/C/D to a solid B in all academic subjects, landed his first part time job, and (with the help of a very patient school science teacher) great reduced his obsessive/compulsive nature. Also, his various medicines have been reduced in strength or in some cases, eliminated entirely.

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