Resiliency expert talks neuropsychology and education

by Nicole Vogelpohl

Horacio Sanchez, CEO of Resiliency Inc., lectured Nov. 4 about child resiliency and applying brain science to improve student outcomes and school environments.

Sanchez is considered a leading authority on emotional disorders and resiliency by the Academy of Science’s Maladaptive Council. Resiliency Inc. helps K-12 schools with student behavioral issues and overall school achievement.

Before lecturing at SVSU, Sanchez also visited local schools during the week to speak to educators about strategies in the classroom that take the brain into consideration.

During his talk, Sanchez spoke about how technology, eating habits and sleep affect the brain. He discussed how these affect the how the brain adapts over time.

According to Sanchez, chemical changes are going on in the brain because of people’s daily habits.

“Cognitive issues, psychological issues and social issues are an outcome of our brains adapting based on certain things we are doing today,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez said over stimulus can lead to crisis in the brain and stressed the importance of how damaging that can be especially to small children.

Using audience members, he described a baby who was predisposed to be less affected by stimulus, an average baby and a baby that has a more difficult time returning to calm after agitation. Sanchez said most people fall in the average category.

“Most of us need time, and what we find most crucial is the ritualized patterns in life that help people with average temperaments adjust. Without those rituals we are actually struggling chemically,” Sanchez said.

One trigger of chemical imbalances and changes is use of technology.

Victoria Wood, an elementary education senior, found this topic helpful. She said students need technology and emotional development opportunities in their classrooms.

“There are times you should incorporate technology, and (students) will enjoy using it, but there’s also times to develop social-emotional skills,” Wood said.

Jessica Lovejoy, an elementary education senior, said this information was useful for education majors.

“With the empathy and stress, it will be good to use toward the kids so you can use their facial expressions to know how they’re doing throughout the day,” she said.

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