Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Happiness starts at the top

After attending an IEP two days ago I received this email from the student’s dad yesterday:

“Hello Daniel,
I want to thank you for your advice yesterday with Sam's (not real name) IEP. The main reason I think he does not like German class is the way he is treated by the teacher. At the beginning of the year she was dealing with Sam in a rude and dismissive manner, and I think that her behavior and treatment of my son is the reason for his problematic behavior in her class. I thought that it was insightful when you pointed out that Sam, like most children, responds better when treated with respect rather than in a dismissive manner. Thank you”

When I said that I thought it was common sense rather that especially “insightful,” as this father points out. 

And today, what a coincidence, I came across this article from Aubrey Daniels International (

 Keeping employees happy and engaged can be a challenge for many organizations. Our latest newsfeed offers resources and tips for how to reinforce employees and create a happier
Happiness Starts At The To
In today’s workplace a lot of emphasis is put on making employees happy, but many companies mistakenly do so through added perks. Dr. Aubrey Daniels explains that being happy at work is less about what employees are given and more about how they are treated. This blog explains why companies should focus on recognizing employee contributions and achievements in order to b"In reading The Pursuit of Happiness, a recent article in Talent Management magazine about the job of “chief happiness officer,” my first reaction is that a company that appoints one needs one. Increasing perks, and even income, won’t cause people to be happy. If it did, how would you explain why many who are rich are also seemingly unhappy?

Happiness comes from how employees are treated as they work, not as something you give them to make them happy. An important factor to keep in mind is that because happiness is perishable, recognition of accomplishments, contribution and progress needs to be very frequent.  Measures of happiness can only be made by looking at accomplishments. Attendance, effort, productivity, quality and safety are all lagging measures. It is difficult to be happy when the company is not performing well. If you are not treated well, it is also difficult to be happy, regardless of the economic health of the organization. In other words, happiness starts at the top and is reflected not in what the CEO says but in how those words are reflected in policy, processes and management behaviors. If the CHO can bring about those changes, there is a viable and important job. If not, there will be little happiness and lots of wasted time and money.”

How true this is when it comes to parenting and teaching, especially kids with special needs that present behavior challenges! If the approach is “rude and dismissive,” as Sam’s dad pointed out in his email, how can we expect the kids to behave nicely and respectfully? Why we demand the children to behave when the adults that deal with them don’t?

Yes, kids, like most of us, respond better when treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their special needs, challenges and deficits. Something to think about.

Daniel Adatto, BCBA


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