April 21, 2012

Okiishi Keynote: Mental Illness in the Classroom

Dr. Ray Morley and Dr. Christopher Okiishi

The 2012 IAAE Spring Conference's Friday keynoter, Dr. Chris Okiishi, led an interactive discussion about how to recognize and deal with mental illnesses in the classroom. His presentation gave alternative and residential educators specific indicators and warning signs of mental illness in school-aged children. Okiishi shared information about how to tell when a student is "feeling low" vs. when they are experiencing major depressive disorder. He explained symptoms of anxiety, ADHD, and other diagnoses that affect student behavior. A variety of treatment options and suggestions for working with parents and families were shared.

One valuable resource shared by Dr. Okiishi is the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry http://www.aacap.org/, which includes a free section called "Facts for Families" offering downloadable handouts on mental illnesses. 

Conference attendees enjoyed Okiishi's conversational style and appreciated learning more about issues that affect our students and classrooms on a daily basis. 

What did you learn from Dr. Okiishi? What questions do you have for him? Would you be interested in having him speak again at a future IAAE conference? Leave your comments below.

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