5 Keys For Working With Students Who Are Wired Differently

Discover proven strategies for supporting students with mental wellness challenges

Fact: Approximately 20 percent of students in today’s classrooms are diagnosable for a mental health issue according to the National Institute of Mental Health. And there is evidence to suggest that beyond this number, 16 percent are borderline for meeting criteria for a mental health label. That means as many as one in three students in any teacher’s classroom may have a mental health issue leading to emotional and behavioral challenges.

These issues run the gamut from “Acting In” disorders like anxiety, mood disorders and Asperger’s Syndrome to “Acting Out” disorders like oppositional defiant disorder. Teachers, counselors, administrators and other school personnel must be given tools to get the most out of this high-potential, neurodiverse group of students. Unfortunately, these issues can be undiagnosed and are easily misunderstood – and may be treated as simple discipline issues.

With the current emphasis on inclusive classrooms, general education teachers play a primary role in teaching students with mental wellness challenges. Yet, according to recent studies, many feel unprepared to take on this role. The success of inclusion can only be realized if both university educators and staff development programs help to train and continue to educate general education teachers on the various disorders and how these students learn best.

The Wired Differently Training Program provides five keys to working with students who struggle to handle the normal pressures, stresses, conflicts and expectations of everyday life. Your staff will discover why traditional methods of dealing with these behaviors are not beneficial and why a consistent, teamwork approach to students who are wired differently is a must.

Acting In Disorders

Students with acting in disorders are usually more self-destructive than outwardly destructive. The most common of these disorders in schools are anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, Asperger’s syndrome and trauma (excluding post-traumatic stress syndrome). Because these challenges are inwardly focused, students who experience these issues are less likely to be identified for help.

Anxiety Disorders

Everyone experiences occasional anxiety, but for students with anxiety disorders, anxiety is always present but not in response to a specific danger or threat. These disorders can include separation anxiety, phobias, generalized anxiety and social anxiety. An educator might see:
• Frequent erasing or starting over
• Refusing to get started
• Worry about a test
• Resisting getting involved
• Avoiding participation in class discussions

Mood Disorders

Students with mood disorders experience dramatic shifts in mood and energy levels. In students, these moods often shift rapidly and a student may experience both extremes at the same time. These students are often precocious, bright and creative. Symptoms may include:
• Severe separation anxiety
• Raging
• Tantrums
• Oppositional behaviors 
• Sensitivity to stimuli
• Inflexibility

Asperger’s Syndrome

Asperger’s is a disorder at the highly functional end of the autism spectrum. An educator might see:
• Persistent challenges in social interaction
• High sensitivity to changes in environment
• Confusion with complex assignments
• Disorganization
• Difficulty prioritizing tasks
• Aversion to certain motor activities


Trauma is the emotional, social, behavioral or physical response to an upsetting event. In school, students dealing with trauma may exhibit the following:
• Irritability
• Negative mood
• Anger
• Aggression

Acting Out Disorders

Students with Acting Out disorders behave in ways that are destructive or disruptive to those around them. The most common of these disorders in schools are attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), borderline personality disorder and conduct disorder. The behaviors exhibited by students with these disorders can be the most disruptive and frustrating for teachers to deal with.


Currently, 9.5% of children between the ages of 4 and 17 have ADHD. These children tend to be impulsive, inattentive and disorganized. On the other hand, these students can be very bright and creative. Teachers may encounter the following behaviors from kids living with ADHD:
• Distracting and disruptive behaviors
• Disorganization
• Unfinished assignments
• Lack of focus or hyper focus

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Signs and symptoms of ODD generally begin during preschool years and are almost always developed before the early teen years. The symptoms cause significant impairment with family, social activities and school. For a student to be diagnosed with ODD,
he or she must exhibit four of these eight characteristics:
• Often loses temper
• Often argues with adults
• Actively defies and refuses to comply
• Deliberately annoys others
• Blames others
• Is touchy or easily annoyed
• Often angry or resentful
• Often spiteful or vindictive

Borderline Personality Disorder and Conduct Disorder

Other acting out disorders may include borderline personality disorder and conduct disorder. Both issues often include excessive anger which is troubling and disruptive for parents and teachers. The child’s intense anger may erupt quickly and intensely in reaction to limit-setting by adults, as well as to teasing and seemingly minor criticism
by peers or adults. Some underlying causes may be:
• Attachment problems or disassociation
• Anxiety or fear
• Retaliation to ongoing hurt and unfairness
• A lack of control
• Being disconnected from peers
• Frustration over school

Learning Objectives 

In this information-packed professional development workshop, you will learn to:

  • Recognize common misunderstanding educators may have about these students
  • Restructure traditional practices that often fail
  • Implement do’s and don’ts for supporting students with dignity and respect
  • Create a climate that strikes a balance between challenge and support — helping smooth social interactions  
  • Develop practical ways to prevent students from riding the mental health escalator


As many as 1 in 3 students in the classroom may have a mental health issue.

The Wired Differently Training Program delivers powerful, practical strategies for helping students with acting in and acting out disorders. Workshops are available in one- and two-day formats.

What Attendees Have to Say

"I learned so many skills and intervention strategies to use in class. I gained so much I can immediately use. This is an awesome training!
Special Education Teacher
St. Louis, MO
"This has been a very helpful training. I am excited to return to school and share what I learned students and colleagues."
High School Teacher
Houston, TX
"I can use these strategies in my classroom tomorrow! I'm so glad I was able to attend this seminar."
Elementary School Teacher
Omaha, NE
"The presenter did an excellent job of modeling how to handle difficult situations with students. This is the best Professional Development training I've been to in years."
High School Principal
Philadelphia, PA


Seminar Information

Click On Each City for Event Time, Location & Registration Information

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How Nature and Nurture Influence Girl Drama, Relational Aggression & Bullying

  • Research Implications from Brain Research
  • Gender Identity, Socialization and Parenting
  • Current Trends & Practices to Promote Self-Awareness and Support Healthy Identity Development

The Impact of Social Networking & Technology on RA

  • Current Social Media Sites and Implications
  • Social Media Case Studies and Interventions

Prevention Strategies for Schools

  • How a Trauma-informed Approach Can Prevent RA Behaviors in Schools
  • Trauma-informed Supports for Victims and Perpetrators of RA
  • Wellness Wheel: 5 Dimensions of Wellness
12:00-1:00Lunch (On Your Own)

RA and Mental Health

  • Common Mental Health Diagnoses Associated with RA
  • Identify Connections and Risk Factors between RA and Girls’ Mental Health
  • Internalizing vs. Externalizing Disorders: Depression and Anxiety
  • Self-Injury and Suicide Ideation

Individual & Group Strategies to Address RA

  • Mindfulness and Resiliency Activities
  • Next Steps to Success: Initiating Your Action Plan
3:45-4:15Networking Group Discussion
(Optional Attendance)

– Classroom Teachers
– Principals
– Special Education Personnel
– School Counselors & Psychologists
– Other Administrators
– Social Workers (all levels)
– Law Enforcement/SRO
– Counselors & Therapists in Agencies & Private Practice
– Media Specialists

Individual Registration

Groups 3-9

Groups 10+

Early Registration
$149 USD
$124 USD
$109 USD
Advanced Registration
$169 USD
$144 USD
$129 USD
Regular Registration
$189 USD
$164 USD
$149 USD
Your registration fee includes refreshments and materials. It does not include meals, hotel accommodations or parking.
Register 30 days prior to Seminar date and save! Groups of 20+, call 1-800-251-6805 for special pricing
When 3 or more people register together from the same school district or agency, each participant is entitled to a $25 USD discount off their registration fee. To receive this discount, all participants in the group must register at the same time and have a single group representative as the contact person.
All cancellations incur a $20 administrative fee andmust be received in writing or electronically seven days prior to seminar. No refunds will be issued on cancellations received after that date. Substitutions are welcome at any time. Developmental Resources, Inc. reserves the right to cancel any seminar in the event of insufficient registration, in which case a full refund will be returned. If for any reason the seminar is not held, Developmental Resources’ liability is limited to a refund of the registration fee paid. If you miss the cancellation deadline, and are unable to either attend the training or send a substitute, we will issue a voucher that is valid for two years. It is transferrable to a colleague and may be applied toward any of our professional development events.
“The information was great and completely applies to me as a School Counselor. Understanding how the male and female brains work, including hormonal differences, will make a huge difference for me!”
School Counselor
Seattle, WA
“I can use everything I learned today instantly in the classroom. It was very interesting to learn about the differences of the male and female brain.”
High School Teacher
Sacramento, CA
“The presenter was so engaging and informative. There are so many practical takeaways that I can immediately use in the classroom.”
Middle School Teacher
Atlanta, GA
“The presenter’s insights about social media were spot on. The brain research on differences between male and female brains was very helpful.”
High School Counselor
New Orleans, LA

Certificates of Completion for this seminar, which indicate 6 contact hours of Continuing Education, will be available at the end of the seminar upon completion of a course evaluation. In many cases, depending on your Profession and Jurisdiction, this Certificate of Completion is sufficient for tracking your Continuing Education and Professional Development efforts. We suggest that you contact your local Board or Governing Agency to see exactly what steps are necessary for approval in your particular discipline. Please note that Developmental Resources is also an approved Provider for the following National and Regional Accrediting Agencies.

Developmental Resources has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 5602. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified.


Mike Paget, M.Ed.

Mike Paget-AccuTrain
Mike Paget, M.Ed.

*In case of an emergency, another qualified presenter will substitute

Mike Paget works as a consultant to schools throughout North America to help them better teach challenging students. As a state consultant for students with severe emotional and behavioral problems, he worked with ODD, CD and other special needs students for more than 25 years. Mike is an innovator of effective approaches for working with extremely challenging students and has conducted seminars across the U.S. and Canada on creative techniques for managing classroom behavior, student aggression and crisis intervention. He is co-author of Aggressive and Violent Students and Defying the Defiance. His newest book is High on the Spectrum: Asperger’s, High-Functioning Autism & Related Personalities.

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