Individual Presentation

First Presenter's Institution

College of Charleston

Second Presenter's Institution

Developmental Therapy Institute

Third Presenter's Institution


Fourth Presenter's Institution


Fifth Presenter's Institution



Ballroom F

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Safety & Violence Prevention


Youth who have experienced past failure by adults to provide safety and support when faced with significant life challenges that put them at risk for life success present extreme challenges to helping adults seeking to provide assistance in the here and now. Trusting relationships with helping adults are essential for youth to maneuver life's difficulties. Current research on trauma informed responses and mindfulness set the stage for the needs for helping adults to develop skills that foster calm and rational approaches for handling crisis situations.

Brief Program Description

This presentation will provide tools and strategies for turning crisis into opportunity. The skills of Life Space Crisis Intervention provide helping adults faced with the extreme behavior of youth during times of crisis strategies which build trust and connections in meaningful and healing ways; turning crisis into opportunity for at risk youth to develop social responsibility and grow emotionally


The tools and strategies presented in this presentation will help to transform adult responses to the troubling behavior presented by youth during times of crisis so that problems are deescalated rather than escalated, and relationships are built rather than destroyed. Select strategies from Life Space Crisis Intervention will be presented and practiced. Participants will leave with skills for affirming students during times of crisis, identifying destructive patterns of behavior that block youth from social-emotional progress, structuring constructive dialogue following a crisis event, and remobilizing youth to reenter ongoing program activities.


Cohen (2007) wrote that the work undertaken by Long et al. (2001) “has been independently evaluated in a series of studies – nationally and internationally – and is now recognized as a powerful framework and strategy for professional staff to teach youngsters engaged in destructive behavior to act more responsibly” (pp. 192-193). Recent study on the use and usefulness of Life Space Crisis Intervention have explored student outcomes when in LSCI supported settings and the effects of LSCI training on

school personnel working directly with these students (Dawson, 2003; D’Oosterlinck, Broekaert, & Denoo, 2006; Forthun, McCombie, & Freado, 2006; Grskovic & Goetz, 2005). Dawson (2003) investigated the use of LSCI in special education classrooms serving middle school students with EBD The findings indicated that in classrooms where teachers were trained in LSCI, students experienced significant decreases in the frequency of student crises while students in classrooms with untrained teachers experienced increases in frequency of crisis.

D’Oosterlinck et al's (2006) study of LSCI in five institutions serving children and youth with emotional and behavioral disorders in Belgium.indicated that the LSCI strategy helped to reduce students’ destructive and painful thoughts and feelings, allowing for openness for looking at their role in the conflict, and paving the way for making behavioral change. Grskovic and Goetz’s (2005) single subject multiple baseline study assessing the effects of LSCI on the challenging behavior of four students further substantiated the work of DeMagistris and Imber (1980) and Naslund (1987), which documented LSCI’s positive effect on student behavior. All the behavior management approaches in use before starting LSCI were continued for all students. This assured the inclusion of LSCI into the fabric of ongoing intervention. Grskovic and Goetz (2005) found a radical decrease in challenging behavior for each participant after implementation of LSCI, concluding that LSCI contributed significantly to the observed changes in behavior.

Long et al. (2001) reported that with training, school personnel became more aware of the causes of conflict cycles and gained specific strategies to manage crises more effectively. This premise is substantiated by several studies. Forthun et al. (2006) explored the effects of LSCI on school personnel as well as on the students they served. The preliminary study demonstrated that LSCI trained educators were less likely than their non-trained peers to use coercive student management strategies. Focus group outcomes also indicated that LSCI trained participants took a proactive approach to addressing student problems, for example, reduction in student office referrals occurred in the classes of trained educators. Dawson’s (2003) study investigated the impact of LSCI training on teachers and the students they served and concluded that when staff are trained in the skills of LSCI they gain a sense of personal efficacy. Pre and post test results indicated that 12.5% of the staff reported competence in crisis management skills before LSCI training. After LSCI training, 100% of the staff reported confidence in having the skills and confidence to manage a student crisis successfully.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Bonnie Springer, a master trainer for the Life Space Crisis Intervention Institute, is an Associate Professor of Special Education at the College of Charleston. She has made it her life's mission to help children with emotional disturbances and teach those who will work with them. Her special education work began in Georgia and California where she spent 18 years in direct service to children and youth with emotional disturbances before she entered higher education teaching. After she earned her Ph. D. in Special Education Leadership- Emotional Disturbance from the University of Georgia she stayed in the elementary school special education classroom for a few years. Her role changed to that of teacher trainer/College Professor when she moved to teach at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. Currently, Dr. Springer teaches special education at the College of Charleston. Courses focus on methods and procedures for teaching students with emotional and behavioral disorders in inclusive and self contained settings.

Andrea Criste, a Master Trainer for Life Space Crisis Intervention, is a Trainer and Consultant. She has more than 40 years of experience in schools and residential programs serving under-resourced, adjudicated, and emotionally and behaviorally challenged youth and their families, 15 of those years spent in direct service in a classroom or group home. After earning her M.Ed. in Special Education, she taught for several years in a special education classroom prior to directing the first on-reservation school and residential program for intellectually disabled and medically fragile Native American youth in Second Mesa, AZ. After leaving Arizona, Andrea spent 20 years at Father Flanagan’s Boys Home in Omaha, NE working with schools and residential programs throughout the country before relocating to Georgia. Andrea earned her Educational Leadership Certificate from the University of Georgia and re-entered special education as a trainer and administrator. Currently, Andrea is a Trainer and Consultant providing Life Space Crisis Intervention as well as other training and consultation services to schools and residential programs in Georgia and other states

Keyword Descriptors

problem solving, trauma informed approaches, behavior management, crisis intervention, relationship, trust

Presentation Year


Start Date

3-5-2018 3:00 PM

End Date

3-5-2018 4:15 PM

Mar 5th, 3:00 PM Mar 5th, 4:15 PM

Trust Building Tools for Talking with Youth During Times of Conflict

Ballroom F

This presentation will provide tools and strategies for turning crisis into opportunity. The skills of Life Space Crisis Intervention provide helping adults faced with the extreme behavior of youth during times of crisis strategies which build trust and connections in meaningful and healing ways; turning crisis into opportunity for at risk youth to develop social responsibility and grow emotionally