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Help for Billy

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,052 ratings  ·  123 reviews
Written for both parents and educators, Help for Billy addresses the real issues going on behind a child's negative behavior. It will change everything for your child--a must read for anyone working with a child in the classroom. ...more
Paperback, 209 pages
Published December 20th 2012 by Beyond Consequences Institute, LLC
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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,052 ratings  ·  123 reviews

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Feb 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book was recommended by my school admin. At one point the principal said, "This is an amazing book. I want every teacher to ever teach here to get a copy of it!" Every time I mentioned a particular behavior issue in my class, various support staff (education coaches, counselors) asked, "Have you read Help for Billy?" Umm, noooo, not yet... I've been too busy working with my dozens of Billys and 60 or so Andys as well as a few not-yet-named students to give this book the six-and-a-half hours ...more
Sarah Samplonius
Was hoping for real solutions to the real problem of kids with trauma. Was frustrated as I feel a lot of this is unworkable in a real classroom. Perhaps if they are put in separate classes some of these things could be instituted. But I can't see a teacher of a full class of kids stopping the class repeatedly (and it will be repeatedly) to give "Billy" time to calm or regulate. Nothing would get done. Maybe for kids lower on the trauma spectrum some of these things are workable. ...more
Sarah Hyatt
This should be required reading for anyone working with children in any capacity. It should be required reading annually for anyone working with children in a teaching setting.
Aug 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018-low-tide, ic
Typically, when you see negative reactions to books such as this one, they criticize it for promoting practices too difficult to implement in a real classroom. But that type of criticism still tends to assume that what is written is true. The plan might work if you had smaller class sizes, more time, and more support. Here, that wouldn't change a thing, because what Forbes has written about children and trauma isn't actually true.
How could I say such a thing? For one, I haven't seen citations th
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Not as great as the other three, but still pretty fantastic. I also appreciate the tone used throughout the book, which is one of understanding and teamwork. I felt comfortable passing this on to my son's educational team without worrying about setting up an adversarial relationship. ...more
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
Before I write what this book meant to me, let me say that I can't unread it. Therefore, it will have an impact on me and maybe help in dealing with the many, many "Billies" I see in urban middle school. The basic premise is: Billy can't help himself - he is "damaged goods" - learn to coddle and connive him in order to stop disrupting, derailing and destroying the public school classroom he or she is in. It really is not his fault - he is wired to be the way he is because he was possibly unloved ...more
Doug Heishman
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Best book I've read about working with challenging students! ...more
Rebecca Preston
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Did this as a Book Study at work. Excellent book and provided me with a fresh perspective of my students. I desire relationship over behavior. Totally worth reading!
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good. Some of this stuff seems so basic and obvious, but clearly we need more work on this as educators. I like the practicum suggestions and ease of this read. Very approachable as a book for teacher at any level.
Beth Lind
Feb 11, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous! I learned so much about how to help the Billy’s of the world.
Dayna Hauschild
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Heather Forbes does an excellent job of blending the latest research on trauma into the classroom. She helps one understand how the brain is wired and gives alternative ways of handling the students who are affected by trauma. Very readable and applicable.
Jillian Imoehl
Jun 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good, informational book for teachers.
Gayle Swift
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Helping Children with Difficult Behaviors Succeed in School (and in Life)

In each of her books for adoptive parents, Heather Forbes has written knowledgably with an emphasis on compassion and understanding. In Help for Billy, her approach is again steeped in respect, empathy, and love for the child. He’s not scapegoated as the problem; he’s viewed as a child with problems. Billy is not a bad kid; he’s a kid that life has thrown into the white water and he is struggling mightily to stay afloat.

Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think all teachers should read this book. Could be really helpful for our students that really test our patience. It can only help... I'm hoping to be able to utilize this in the upcoming school year. ...more
Debi G.
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, pedagogy
This book is aimed at elementary school scenarios and students.

I found the table on page 167 helpful, as well as the checklist on page 73 and the script renewals on pages 78-79.

The portion about teachers' unresolved childhood issues emotionally hi-jacking encounters with "Billy" students provides food for thought.

Some of the science/logic makes perfect sense and reflects the ways in which education has already changed. Some of the notions presented, however, are of a dubious veracity.

The advic
Erin McDonnell-Jones
I *really* enjoyed this book and believe that educators at every level should read it. The first part focuses on child development from conception through childhood and how that development affects a child's ability to perform academically. Although Forbes focuses on students in an elementary or early middle school setting, what secondary teachers needs to understand is that what happens in these settings, affects the student (and thereby the teacher) later on in secondary.

We're debating about
Sep 14, 2018 rated it liked it
The book tells you that you have to live in the real world and engage with a child like "Billy" (which is true) and then it tells you to spend ten minutes of your class time talking to "him" to be able to help "him" manage. Because all the other students in the class are Andys? Now who needs to live in the real world?
I appreciated the approach of understanding students like "Billy." I fully comprehend that this life today does a number on children before they even get out the gate. I do see some
Amanda Harrison
May 31, 2018 rated it did not like it
As the short review says this book covers all the 'real reasons behind kid's challenging behavior.' Basically this one comes down to environment--if your kid is challenging, guess what it is all your fault! Maybe you didn't love them, didn't cuddle them enough, worked outside the home (p.13), or you weren't happy enough (p. 54). I'm sure ADHD, cognitive impairment, mental illness, autism, etc, etc, etc could probably have been prevented if you had just taken your prenatals everyday.

If you can ig
Debbie Deerwester
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
In a nutshell, if students are not loved at home they will come to school looking for love. They will not be able to learn anything until that basic need is met. After they feel loved, a relationship can develop, they will feel safe with you and then they can learn. It was a good reminder of priorities and how connections are more valuable than lesson 6.1 on rational numbers.
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book describes the needs of many of today's students. Ideas on how to address their needs in a non-punitive manner were given. The last chapter provides pages of ideas to use in the classroom and how to communicate with parents so that needs are addressed more effectively. ...more
Read  Ribbet
A management book that looks at the kids that don't often fit especially in school settings. Hits on a lot of critical areas including affective and language. Most interesting was how early trauma leaves lasting impact. ...more
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
A required read for work. The book could have been half the length. A lot of repetition.
Jan 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
Although the book contains valuable information the author lacks respect for teachers.
May 21, 2019 rated it liked it
It was ok. I think the author had some good points but not a lot of solutions. It also seemed like she had no classroom experience
Jan 19, 2019 rated it liked it
With many students of trauma in my school, I read this in anticipation of understanding their behavior and finding strategies to help the many ‘Billys’ be successful.
The first chapters hinted that the family creates the trauma, and addresses educators. Later chapters are for parents and how to work with schools. If families are in trauma and often create the trauma, how are they going to be effective supporting their students in the ways described?
Haven’t we known for a long time that it takes b
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
First off, it’s worth noting that the author uses Wikipedia as one of her sources. I mean, yes, it’s a page about a person, she uses it one time, and it doesn’t add or subtract anything from the chapter, but she still sited it.

Next, the author not only references, but encourages the stereotype that special area teachers add little value to the school and are there purely as someone to give gen ed teachers a break from the students. While that is an added bonus of special area teachers, art, musi
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, textbook
Hey, did you know that the right and left lobes of your brain have completely different, separate functions? Or that your heart generates and EMG field that extends like three feet out of your body and makes harmonic vibrations that can sync with other people's? Wait, are you saying that with a simple google search you can confirm that all of what I just wrote is pseudscientific bullshit? Well, you did more research than this author did.

It is honestly kind of sad to me that this is pretty par fo
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm going to be honest, at first I was a little angry. My daughter has extreme ADHD and mild autism and at 12 years old, I finally stopped blaming myself. Now I read that it is indeed all my fault based on prenatal and post natal trauma I inflicted on her. Then I stepped back from those feelings and continued to read. I really do hope the teachers at my school actually read this book as is required for a book study because there is a lot of invaluable information. This information took me my dau ...more
Matt Berg
Jan 21, 2020 rated it did not like it
This book gives some common sense reminders for adults helping children with trauma. However, the book has very little scientific research backing what Forbes is proposing. The citations lack authority on the subject at hand. The strategies in this book assume infinite time frames for managing "Billy's," a term she has coined for a 1-dimensional child model.
As a high school teacher I can say from 10 years of personal experience that dividing my class into a false dichotomy of "Andy's" and "Bill
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
For the record, it didn't technically take me 7 months to read this. I purposely read this book in short spurts. It was a required book for PD this year, and I preferred to read the chapters assigned for each book group meeting. I didn't want to get so far ahead that I would forget about the chapters we were discussing. Anyway, it was a very informative book about children/students affected by trauma and how it can affect their ability to learn. It definitely helps me as a teacher. It's those tr ...more
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Heather T. Forbes, LCSW, is the owner of the Beyond Consequences Institute. She is an internationally published author on the topics of raising children with difficult and severe behaviors, understanding the parent’s reactivity when challenged in the home, and working with challenging children in the classroom. Forbes lectures, consults, and coaches parents throughout the U.S. and internationally ...more

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