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Old 04-12-2004, 03:36 PM
AllHeart AllHeart is offline
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 17
Western NC, USA
Working with a BD Student?

I'm a regular education teacher who has a student in the classroom with serious emotional problems. It has taken a lot of patience and a lot of class time working this child. Though he has made progress, I wonder if I'm doing the right thing, and am looking for support from other teachers. Anyone out there work with children with behavioral or emotional disorders? Would love to talk to you!

Old 04-12-2004, 04:23 PM
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Amanda Amanda is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 3,722
Former K/1 Teacher
I'll bet we all can relate to you in some way or another! There seems to always be at least one in every class. I have one this year that has bipolar disorder. She has quite a year with being on 2 different types of meds and dealing with a misdiagnosis. It has been really hard for me because I suspected bipolar disorder from the beginning, and she was just now diagnosed and taken off the meds she was taking for ADHD. (Antidepressants/stimulants make the bipolar disorder worse. )

It does take a lot of class time to deal with students like this, and a lot of emotional energy. However, sometimes I have MORE trouble with those kids that are not emotionally disturbed, but equally disruptive. My girl with bipolar disorder is more predictable than them, at least now that I have known her all year.
Old 04-12-2004, 05:26 PM
AllHeart AllHeart is offline
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 17
Western NC, USA
In my fifteen years of teaching, this is only the second child I've had with such a severe disorder. (I feel that I failed the first one in my ignorance. I really want to be effective this time.) Sometimes I am encouraged with progress, and then we have a big setback that takes days or weeks to overcome. You're right about the other children in the classroom. They don't understand why this child is different and why he is handled differently. When J. is having difficulty, it changes the atmosphere of the classroom, and most of my other students seem to feed off of that negative energy. What do you do to keep the rest of the class on track while you're intervening with a specific child?
Old 04-12-2004, 06:37 PM
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Keeping others on track.....

I think that grade level plays a big part in the type of intervention you design.. I know that intermittent rewards really work. If the individual or group does not know when the reward is coming, (interval of unknown length) then the behavior is strengthened. For example, in a negative sense, if you occasionally "give in" after your child begs or pesters, then the behavior of begging or pestering will be strengthened. In a postive sense, when a child is rewarded for an appropriate behavior, but doesn't know how frequently they will have to perform that behavior, then the behavior is strengthened as well, and they tend to increase the frequency of the appropriate behavior.
Initially, you might have to reward small approximations of what you want, say, most of the students, after a small incident, continue with their classwork. A whole class reward of homework pass, or extra time for something they like, in this case will identify the "good behavior". Next time, after an incident, if there is marginally improved responses, reward with something else, candy, whatever. Keep increasing the requirments, and don't reward every time, so they will not know when the reward is coming. This will continue to strenthen the behavior. Hope this helps.
Old 04-13-2004, 08:10 AM
AllHeart AllHeart is offline
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 17
Western NC, USA
That's a great idea. Thank you for the suggestion. I'll try that.
Old 04-17-2004, 11:27 PM
aimes aimes is offline
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4
working with children with emotional disorders is the most difficult job that I have ever had. I was a residential therapist when I graduated college and worked in a group how for about a year. so hard.. I feel for you..would love to talk if you need an ear..sounds like you are doing a great job..the first issue with alot of these students is developing a relationship where you have "money in the bank" another words it takes so much giving before they start to respond in a positive way sometimes..hang in there and ask for help..happy to see you over here

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