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Microsoft CLC – Connect, Communicate, Collaborate

October 20, 2015

CLC Graphic

2015 Connected Learning Conference

Long Live Learning

#MSFTCLC #LongLiveLearning

Connect – Communicate – Collaborate

Michele Sparling & Josee Landriault

Michele and Josee’s presentation revolved around mental illness, and how it impacts the child, the family, the school, and some of the things they have learned as a result of being parents of children with mental illnesses, and working through the systems to get help.

It’s not just about one it’s about the family, the community, the friends, a much bigger picture.

Michele asked everyone to raise their hands if they knew of someone with a mental illness. Virtually the whole room had hands up. Then she asked if someone knew someone who had attempted or were successful at suicide. Again, virtually every hand went up.

When Michele saw early signs in her son, she thought it was bullying, or something else. People said he’ll just grow out of it, or just needs some more of something. Took a long time to get a diagnosis of a mental illness and help to figure out what to do. But son was still successful, and is currently in university.

Just Like the Ocean

  • Riding the Big Blue Wave
  • The Perfect Storm
  • The Calm Seas

Just because you can’t see it… Not all disabilities are visible…

What we know:

  • Poor grades and drop out rates are strongly correlated
  • School-family-student-community partnerships are vital
  • School-family communication is critical
  • Collaborative, non-stigmatizing engagement
  • Peery support programs
  • Technology can be an asset
  • When families are involved, there is more engagement, more support, and children/youth will be more likely to participate longer in the treatment/programs or other support systems
  • Family/student engagement, not just involvement, is critical

Autism affects 1 in 60 children, 1 in 42 boys. 42 boys with autism don’t speak, none are alike, children of autism can learn, autism is the fastest growing diagnosed mental illness.

There is no medical test for autism.

And then there is Stigma

Parents of children with mental illness have to take on many roles: Detective, Advocate, Educator, Social Worker, Parent, Fixer/Solver, Caregiver. Just as we do with children who do not suffer from a mental illness, but it is so much more pronounced.

It’s a journey, a marathon, not a sprint.

Families and Schools

  • Connecting with the school
  • Discussing concerns; hearing the school’s
  • Wanting to know about what is happening in the school environment
  • Letting the school know what is happening at home
  • Meeting and talking with the principal, teacher, the school counselor or social worker.

School Challenges

  • If you met one family, you have met one family, the same for the student
  • Each student and their family is unique
  • Important to understand
  • Important not to judge

School Challenges for families

  • EDU-Speak (are we speaking a language and using acronyms that no one else knows?)
  • Power imbalance
  • One direction conversations
  • Family diversity (how is the family made up? What is socio-economic capacity? Can family manage the technology, or the communication. Does a parent also have a disability?)
  • Family capacity
  • Seen vs. unseen

Josee and Michele had a ton of great advice and thoughts! Way to much detail to take notes that adequately depict the vast experience and knowledge they have gained. Thank you ladies for an excellent presentation!



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