WMU News

Expert on problem children conducts workshops

March 3, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- Jimmy is bright, polite and capable. He's also failing in school. Distressing parent and teacher conferences have done little to stem the tide of Jimmy's defiance, and things aren't any better at home.

Real-life scenarios such as that will be discussed by Dr. James D. Sutton, an expert on troubled youth, during two workshops from 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Fetzer Center on the Western Michigan University campus. "The Oppositional and Defiant Child" will be presented Thursday, March 23, and "The Kid Who Doesn't Care" will be presented Friday, March 24. The deadline to register for either program is March 17.

Sutton is a nationally recognized educator, psychologist and author who has been studying defiant and oppositional behavior in young people since the mid-1970s. He says poor school performance, irritability, depression, blaming, arguing, spitefulness and outright noncompliance are symptoms of a behavior called Oppositional Defiant Disorder. He believes that ODD affects two to five youngsters in every classroom and is often misdiagnosed and treated as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Symptoms can be similar, but treatment and interventions are quite different.

"Dr. Sutton's programs help professionals and parents identify and deal with psychological distress, poor performance and manifestations of anger," says Natalie Richert, a program coordinator in WMU's Conferences and Seminars, which is sponsoring the workshops. "They also teach participants how to positively redirect oppositional and defiant behaviors."

The workshops are designed for parents as well as teachers; school administrators and counselors; family therapists; social workers; and guidance clinic, juvenile court and Family Independence Agency personnel. The cost is $95 for each workshop or $170 for both. The cost includes materials, lunch and refreshments. Participants will take home a professionally prepared interactive workbook.

Sutton has a doctoral degrees in educational psychology from Brigham Young University and has written a number of influential works, including "It Makes a Difference," "If My Kid's So Nice, Why's He Driving ME Crazy?" and "Conducting a Diagnostic Interview with Children and Adolescents."

A licensed psychologist, he began his career as a classroom teacher and has earned credentials as a school psychologist, professional counselor and certified chemical dependency specialist. He has served as a consultant for public and private schools, residential treatment centers, emergency youth shelters, juvenile probation authorities, special education cooperatives and regional education service centers.

For more information or to register, call Natalie Richert in WMU's Office of Conferences and Seminars at (616) 387-4174.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 616 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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