I’m uber excited about today’s guest Jessica Minahan. Jessica is a special educator, Behavior Analyst, and author from Boston, Massachusetts. As educators, parents, and professionals, we seem to always wonder why kids do what they do; behavior-wise. Jessica breaks this down for us. We discuss certain behaviors and how anxiety, underdeveloped executive functioning skills, and everyday school factors can contribute to some of their challenging behaviors.
Jessica also provides us with some strategies to try immediately and explains why some strategies that we all frequently use don’t actually work. I walked away from our conversation with some concrete things to try and a desire to pick up her book The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students to learn even more.
Jessica Minahan is a licensed and board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA), author, special educator, and consultant to schools internationally. Since 2000 she has worked with students who struggle with mental health issues and challenging behavior in public school systems. She specializes in training staff and creating behavior intervention plans for students who demonstrate explosive and unsafe behavior. She also works with students who have emotional and behavioral disabilities, anxiety disorders, or high-functioning Autism. Her particular interest is to serve these students by combining behavioral interventions with a comprehensive knowledge of best practices for those with complex mental health profiles and learning needs.
She is a blogger on The Huffington Post, the author of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students, with Nancy Rappaport (Harvard Education Press, 2012), and author of The Behavior Code Companion: Strategies, Tools, and Interventions for Supporting Students with Anxiety-Related or Oppositional Behaviors (Harvard Education Press, 2014).
She holds a BS in Intensive Special Education from Boston University and a dual master’s degree in Special Education and Elementary Education from Wheelock College. She has a certificate of graduate study (CGS) in teaching children with Autism from the University of Albany and received her BCBA training from Northeastern University in Boston. She is sought-after internationally to speak on subjects ranging from effective interventions for students with anxiety to supporting hard-to-reach students in full-inclusion public school settings.