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  #1  
Old 03-13-2012, 09:35 PM
waterfall waterfall is offline
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K-3 Sped Resource Teacher
At what point do you hold students with behavior disabilities accountable?

I have a student who is formally identified as OHI with ADHD (didn't quite qualify for the behavior category), but his problems in class are all behavior-oriented. He's extremely book smart and could do very well in school if he'd just do the work. He's very knowledgeable of his IEP and accommodations, which on the one hand can be a good thing, but on the other hand he uses it as an excuse to do no work. Or, giving him the benefit of the doubt, he actually believes he's not capable of doing the work because of his disability. He constantly says that he can't do xyz because he has a disability and it's hard for him. He'll sit in class for hours and do nothing. His parents believe that the teacher shouldn't even prompt him gently with things like, "get back to work, let's get started on this, etc." because "he knows he should be working but is incapable of doing so because of his disability. You're just making him feel bad about himself when you say things like that." He has a behavior chart with rewards attached, but he frankly doesn't care if he gets the star/reward or not. The teacher has tried asking him what he wants as a reward, hoping there would be something he'd work towards, but he never comes up with anything. The parents are very involved and clearly care about his needs but they are extremely difficult to work with because they buy into this "can't do anything because of the disability" thing. They don't believe he should have any consequences at school at all, because having a disability is not his fault. At our last (4 hour) meeting with these parents, the classroom teacher had tried to bring up that he realizes it's hard for the student (the classroom teacher actually has adhd himself), but the student is still making a conscience choice when he decides not to follow the behavior plan or to sit in class for 3 hours without even attempting anything. His parents just say that they were both like that as kids and that their son just needs to "get through" school so that he can work independently as an adult (they own their own business, supposedly because they also can't function in a "normal" work environment).

Today was our first day of state testing, and I was shocked that the student actually sat there and wrote several pages (he has NEVER handwritten anything at school- he always says he can't because of his disability). So clearly, he is capable. I'm guessing mom and dad drilled into his head that this was really important. However, in the second session of the test the students were asked to revise their work and make a final copy, and he got very upset that he would have to write everything over. He spent almost the entire session sitting under the table (thankfully, quietly), and then managed to get up and at least copy what he'd had before in the last 10 minutes of the session.

At what point do you draw the line between realizing that the student has a disability and holding them accountable for their choices and behavior?
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  #2  
Old 03-13-2012, 09:46 PM
a2z a2z is offline
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Define 'hold accountable'. That way we all know if you mean punish, give zeros, etc.

The other thing I am thinking as to when you hold him accountable has much to do with past history (prior to him coming to your class). I know many kids that are diagnosed ADHD a few years into school have been 'held accountable' having detrimental effects to the persons self-belief and willingness to try. Years of being in trouble for things that your executive function could not manage in ways that those without issues could change the entire emotional relationship between school/teacher/schoolwork and ability to break free from the emotional strong hold.
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Old 03-14-2012, 05:00 AM
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mopar mopar is offline
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Waterfall----that's a great question! It seems to really come down to your administration and your relationship with the parents. Is your administration willing to hold this child accountable and go to due process?

The problem that you are facing is that it could take years to overcome the feelings and behaviors that this student has learned from school, parents, etc. The student may need someone to scribe and then slowly build up to him doing more classwork. Whatever you decide will need to be worked out with administration and the parents. But if administration is not willing to go due process and the parents aren't willing to change anything, this will be a difficult road.
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:49 AM
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Upsadaisy Upsadaisy is offline
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Do you have a behavior plan that the student has bought into? Has he had input into the goals? If so, then stick with it, but don't focus on the failings, but the successes. If you set goals with him for completion of assignments, and have some record system that notes progress and any rewards, then keep it going and see if it is a motivator. If it isn't, you'll have to change it after a sufficient period of time.
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Old 03-14-2012, 02:13 PM
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ciounoi ciounoi is offline
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Hmmmm... in your opinion, does he actually have a disability, or is this learned helplessness masquerading as a disability?

A few things:

-If the student isn't willing to work on the behavior plan, the behavior plan isn't working. I'd scratch it. I'd second the suggestion to find something more motivating for the student and see if that works. It might be like pulling teeth to get it out of him, though.
-I might try asking his parents what the student CAN do and take it from there (Is he able to do work at all? How long? What kind of work?). That could be one way to get parent support behind prodding this student into completing work without making them think that you're not taking his needs into account.
-Perhaps you could take the focus away from work from this student being completed and correct, and instead focus on getting the student to just try. I'd explain that you think the student is capable of doing some work (perhaps using testiing as an example), and perhaps amend the behavior plan to just include... trying. Other things like work completion (as opposed to just picking up a pencil for a pre-determined amount of time) and quality of work might be able to addressed later.
-As for holding this student accountable, this is what I currently do for my middle-school students. I always assign a consequence (which thankfully pretty much all of them do not like getting) for inappropriate behavior. We use TALID sheets to record their points for each period of the day. If a student decides to curse me out, that's fine, he can go right ahead. In fact, I won't say anything about it and won't respond at all. At the end of the period, however, I will inform the student that he has lost a point for poor staff interactions and detail why he lost it. More cursing may follow or the student might just take the point loss, but whatever he does, he's received that consequence and he might think twice next time! This may or may not be applicable to your situation, but hope it helps!
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Old 03-14-2012, 02:36 PM
a2z a2z is offline
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I'm sorry, but it is NOT a teacher's job to decide a child that has proper documentation denoting a disability and an IEP to decide the child doesn't have a disability.
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  #7  
Old 03-14-2012, 02:42 PM
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ciounoi ciounoi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a2z View Post
I'm sorry, but it is NOT a teacher's job to decide a child that has proper documentation denoting a disability and an IEP to decide the child doesn't have a disability.
Please note that I was asking her opinion - never suggested that she decide the student does not have a disability. Waterfall has mentioned this child before, so I was wondering.
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  #8  
Old 03-14-2012, 04:40 PM
a2z a2z is offline
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I did know you were asking her opinion. You did say, "In your opinion". That was very clear.

Also, can you clarify your other statement, "does he actually have a disability, or is this learned helplessness masquerading as a disability? ". Seems to me you are wondering if he doesn't have a disability. Yet you state, "I never suggested that she decide the student does not have a disability".

My point is that we are not medical experts. If the doctors have determined he has ADHD and ruled out other possibilities and the child has an IEP so the school has determined him to be a student with a disability, we shouldn't even go to SECOND GUESSING the diagnosis. That is not our place or our job.

Having opinions such as this taint our ability to objectively deal with the situations. If you develop an opinion that the diagnosis of ADHD isn't REAL but due to the child getting away with things or being babied for years you miss the concept that the brain does not function the same way as someone that has ADHD. The fact is a person with executive function issues does not process information in the same way as someone without it. By ignoring the doctor's diagnosis and the school's determination, you would not approach the student in a manner that takes this into consideration.
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  #9  
Old 03-14-2012, 05:49 PM
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ciounoi ciounoi is offline
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Well yeah, of course, I am not suggesting we make diagnoses. I am just genuinely curious. The PP can answer my question or not. Honestly, though, I'm not really interested in arguing about this because I agree with you. Not sure how it came across as a suggestion to diagnose the student, it was not my intention.
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Old 03-14-2012, 06:14 PM
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Zelda~* Zelda~* is offline
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Day one.

But, it's easier, I think in an ED classroom. We do constant positivite reinforcement, and have a ticket rewards system, as well as a Behavior Wheel. They care because everyone is getting tickets, and don't want to be left out. In the past 4 years I have only had 1 student who didn't enjoy the ticket system, and he had some severe depression.

We talk a lot about our choices, and the results of those choices. "If you choose to not do your work now, you will have to do it during free time since you're using your free time now, by not working.") I don't yell about it, I just give it to them in matter-of-fact tones. I set a timer so I can see how long it takes them to start working. Once they are working I thank them and turn off the time.

That being said---if parents are admitting they were the same way, I'd try asking them what they think would have helped them as students. Then ask if they think that would help their son.

This sounds like a sticky situation. I do wish you the best on it! Keep us posted.
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