Preschool Student Nonstop Hitting

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by ece, Jan 12, 2018 at 6:51 PM.

  1. ece

    ece Rookie

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    Jan 12, 2018 at 6:51 PM

    I have a student whose behavior has escalated in the past month to now hitting other children around 15 times per day on average (also yelling/screaming, running away, and taking toys from others). He is 4 years old and in a general education classroom of 20 children. I have been told by my administration that nothing can be done, and that I should continue to keep data and keep him constantly isolated from any other children the entire day. I have a small room of 20 children who participate in center time for the majority of our day, so there are always children in all areas of the room. I have a paraprofessional so one of us is always intervening, but even though the other children are scared of him, they're 3-5 year olds and they don't instinctively stay away, they need to be repeatedly told.

    The student's attacks on the other children are almost always unprovoked, and no child is off limits. The student displays no remorse or understanding that what he is doing is wrong. He shows no signs of empathy. No negative consequences, including time outs, loss of privileges, notes home, loss of toys playing with, etc. affect him at all. I will put him in time outs, but more to give the other children a break. I have yet to find a positive reinforcement to motivate him to reduce his hitting, and many reinforcements have been attempted. He says phrases such as "I'm going to punch my mom" or "my parents don't love me anymore" or "they're going to kill me", but the child comes from a loving, two-parent home. He often appears to take pleasure in physically lashing out for no reason.

    I drive home in tears, because my heart is breaking for my other students, who are getting hurt daily and have said that they don't feel safe. I have seen more interventions done by administration and support staff for other previous students whose behaviors were much less significant than this. I feel like I'm being blown off, given excuses by people who don't truly understand the extent of the student's behavior and won't try to. I was told that there will be other students who will have worse behaviors in these, yet in my years of teaching, including teaching SpEd and BD children, I've never experienced anything else like this, with a child who has no triggers, no remorse, and no response to positive or negative consequences. I'm trained in working with children this age with special needs and trained in deescalating behaviors, but this student needs more help than what I am currently able to give him in a room of 20 children.
     
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  3. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

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    Jan 13, 2018 at 7:58 AM

    I'm wondering if keeping him isolated is probably escalating the problem more than resolving it. Also, emphasizing the misbehavior is possibly reinforcing in the child's mind that this misbehavior is part of his identity. Encouraging the other students to isolate him is also detrimental to the misbehaved student, and could create an unreasonable fear within the other students, a fear that they might become the isolated one due to one of their misbehaviors. On the other hand, one can't allow the other students to be injured or hurt, either, which of course creates quite a paradox.

    I would recommend consistency with penalties. Find a penalty, preferably the same one for any student, and stick with it, whether it "works" or doesn't. Sometimes a misbehaved student gains power by fighting against a penalty. Some research recommends caution concerning incentive rewards, too, in that the student doesn't learn to appreciate the modified behavior that leads to the reward: they just work for the reward and might even learn to despise the modified behavior; (the same result, Alfie Kahn believes, can result from penalties, but personally, I think penalties are a normal part of any society and un-excessive use can be beneficial in a classroom setting).

    At this age, hitting includes exploration and experimentation and is not always the result of self defense or being aggravated. He might also be responding to modeled behavior from other situations (adults in his life, cartoons, or video games). I wonder if he might profit from some guided imaginary playtime with stuffed animals that includes redirected behavior. He could describe or voice for the stuffed animals how they feel about his redirected behavior. Perhaps he and the stuffed toys could discuss creative ideas for positive social interaction. I would eventually include real children in the play, but that's where the bugaboo enters the picture. Parents don't want their children put within a potentially physically aggressive situation, neither do the children wish to become punching bags, and legal situations could even develop if he would be allowed to approach students aggressively again. That's where this becomes a sticky situation, since there's only so much we can do in a classroom setting as teachers. I almost wonder if he'd be better off waiting until he's older to attend school, but unfortunately, that's not one of your options, either.

    I feel like I'm suggesting the unsuggestible, but perhaps unworkable ideas will lead to more actually workable ideas.
     
  4. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Cohort

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    Jan 13, 2018 at 12:24 PM

    I think you need to have a talk with your principal about replacement. It’s high time that little troublemaker leaves. He is dangerous and negatively affecting the other students’ safety AND learning and that’s NOT okay. His rights end where other student’s noses begin. I would see to his removal as expeditiously as possible.

    Document every occurrence to build a case against him.
     
    Loomistrout likes this.
  5. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Jan 15, 2018 at 11:35 AM

    A few questions.....I teach preschool sped, mostly working with severe behaviors. I have a student almost exactly the same this year, except she attacks teachers as well. It's HARD, but there are things you can try. I can help, but need a little more info...

    1) Does he have an IEP? If not, do you have enough data for a referral?
    2) What positive reinforcement strategies have you tried? Every student has a motivator, some you just have to work harder to find
    3) Have you or staff done an FBA? If not, I'd either request a formal one or do an informal ABC chart to find the function of the behavior.
    4) Have you created a BIP? Are parents involved?
    5) What are the students communication skills like. Any deficits?
     

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