The flexible classroom: Helping students with mental health challenges to thrive

Students with mental health challenges are increasingly present in our classrooms. A flexible classroom culture that’s proactive and supportive can prevent them from becoming disruptive, disengaged, and work avoidant, while leaving the teacher more available for teaching.

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JESSICA MINAHAN (; @jessica_minahan) is a licensed and board-certified behavior analyst and special educator, as well as a consultant to schools internationally ( She is the author of The Behavior Code Companion: Strategies, Tools, and Interventions for Supporting Students with Anxiety-Related or Oppositional Behaviors (Harvard Education Press, 2014) and the coauthor, with Nancy Rappaport, of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students (Harvard Education Press, 2012). 


  • Susan Doherty

    I totally agree that our classrooms are designed for students with regulated behavior. A moment of dysregulation can be a great teachable moment not only for the student but his classmates.

  • Robben Wainer

    It is a fact the students who stand out in higher ed courses often need accommodation for a mental disorder that is very much like implementing a special needs intervention.

  • Susan Evans

    I have a long professional history of working with children and adults in the mental health field as a nurse. i have just started volunteering with a local grammar school and realize how many of the five year old have mental health issues that are apparent in the classroom.. I realize that the job of teacher is a very difficult one and sorely underpaid. i really want to help the teacher to deal with the difficult children. I am hoping that the book THE BEHAVIOR CODE will be helpful to me. I have ordered it from my public library.

  • Donna Allen

    I am a student at Ashford University online, your information has been wonderful in my essay paper. I really do thank you for being reliable magazine. Thank you, and yes of course I am making sure you get all of the credit.

    Donna Allen

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