Empathy is the ability to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes and to understand how they might be feeling in a situation. It’s a personal connection that you need to have experienced to have empathy, which makes empathy flawed.
In today’s podcast, Amanda Sokell joins Dale to discuss ‘Empathy? What we need is compassion’. Amanda created a model that for any child, and in particular a child with SEND, to be successful they need 3 key factors to be in place:
- Empathy – from others and for themselves
- Expertise – from those supporting them and about themselves (age appropriate)
- Environment – to learn in an environment that supports them
However, she discovered that empathy is actually the wrong word, what we need is compassion. Compassion is something we can all do, you can show compassion without having to experience what they’re experiencing.
“You can train yourself to be more compassionate, you can’t train yourself to be more empathetic.”
Anxiety is widespread in schools, frequently leading to school non-attendance. The root causes are varied and often stem from staff members lacking an understanding of students’ underlying needs. Listen to hear that by equipping all staff with the ability to demonstrate compassion, instil a desire to listen, accept, and grow, it will result in greater expertise and establish more supportive environments – all children will be more successful as a result.
About Amanda Sokell
Amanda works with caregivers of neurodiverse children and the schools that support them as they navigate the complex world of school support.
Amanda know’s first-hand how isolating it can be to discover that your child isn’t like everybody else’s.
When her son started refusing to go to school, she found myself struggling to get his needs understood and supported. Despite holding his own academically, her son was struggling with high levels of anxiety, which were having a dramatic impact on his attitude to school and behaviour at home.
It can be really challenging to navigate the available support. Amanda used online resources to equip herself with a knowledge of the law, and successfully secured the provision he needed. During this process, she felt the entire range of emotions eventually moving from despondent to empowered.
Despite there being a wealth of online information and support, sometimes what you really need is a conversation.
Amanda helps parents and educators by sharing information on how best to support neurodiverse children, and, particularly for parents, how to secure the right support and provision for their children. Amanda works individually, with groups and through an online learning platform.
She look at life through the lens of process and finds it instinctive to cut through the chaos and find step by step methodologies that are easy to follow, and which help those involved to surmount challenges and achieve.
A former software developer, and school governor for 9 years, she is blessed with two spirited neurodiverse boys and an equally process-orientated and neurodiverse husband.
Amanda’s interests include companies that make stuff, education, special educational needs, change and constant learning.
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