Advice for mom whose child shuts down?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by TeacherGrl7, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    Mar 8, 2012

    I have a student right now that completely shuts down when he is in trouble. The other day he was sent back to his seat for inappropriate carpet behavior, and he refused to speak, move, or acknowledge anyone's existence for the last 25 minutes of the school day- he wouldn't get up and put on his jacket to go outside, missed recess, and his father had to go to my classroom and physically carry him out because he refused to move to pack up and go home and I'm not allowed to touch him.

    This is an extremely rare occurrence in my classroom, fortunately, but Mom says it's common at home and not getting any better. She's at her wits end and looking for advice. Any ideas on how to help her deal with what she calls "the most stubborn child in the world?" I really want to give her something to hold onto to get her through this, and set him up for success in kindergarten- where I'm sure he will inevitably be reprimanded more often than he is in my classroom.
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    If she asks, I would suggest she turn to her pediatrician for advice.
     
  4. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    She has spoken to him, and she has an appointment with a food therapist soon because he refuses to eat and seems to have some sensory issues with food. I'm hoping that maybe that will provide her some answers and some solutions...
     
  5. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I'd think about what it is that you do in your classroom that leads to him NOT engaging in the undesirable behavior, and pass that wisdom along. Unfortunately, we don't know much about what causes his shutting down, so it's not going to be too productive to hear our strategies :).

    I'm not sure a pediatrician would understand behavioral intervention, though...
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I wonder what happens at home when he is in trouble....

    Does he shut down every time he is in trouble or does he shut down only sometimes? Maybe try something different with the redirection...more like a 1, 2, 3 magic approach?
     
  7. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    From my understanding in speaking to her, it's every time he is in trouble, and the smallest reprimand can set him off. For me the other day it was simply, "Please go back to your chair, you may not lay on another child on the carpet." 25 minutes later he still wasn't speaking to anyone.

    I actually checked out the "1, 2, 3 Magic" book from my library earlier today to skim through and see if it might help her. I only just started it, but I'm not sure if it will be effective. My concern is that her saying, "That's 1," might be enough of a trigger to shut him down. It's not the behaviors that she is concerned about changing, it's the shutting down and not being able to cope with the reprimand.
     
  8. tgim

    tgim Habitué

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    I always suggest starting with the pediatrician - to rule out any physical or medical causes for the issues. The peds I have worked with have actually been very intuitive about behavioral issues. A food allergist can help, too. Keep us posted...
     
  9. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    By saying "That's 1" it is not supposed to be a consequence, just a way for the child to change his behavior. However, I could see it leading to a shut down of some type.

    Does anyone try to process with the child after he calms down from the reprimand? I know he is young but he might be able to shed some light on the reasoning...

    You might suggest some role play activities or use of a social story. Not sure if they would be helpful, but somewhere to start.
     
  10. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    You know, I have never asked her if she has spoken about it with him after he is back in a good frame of mind. It has only happened at school two times- the other day when he was still upset as he got carried out, and way back in October when he shut down and actually fell asleep until it was time to pack up and go home! I wonder if she has spoken to him about it.....I will ask. Thanks!
     
  11. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Another idea might be to use the 1, 2, 3 magic with the shutting down behavior. Maybe she can count this behavior and if he continues, then he takes a time out in his room until he has moved passed the behavior.

    I also wonder what happens when he exhibits this behavior. Do the parents just let it go on and on, is there something that ends the behavior, do they offer a reward for ending the behavior?
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    My pediatrician is pretty bright; I think he would understand it just fine.

    And the pediatrician tends to have a history with the child that few teachers have. Mine has seen my kids grow up. He would have insight that their teachers simply wouldn't have.
     
  13. teacherpippi

    teacherpippi Habitué

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    I think I may have your student's twin!

    What finally worked for us is a sticker chart. He earns stickers for three things:

    -acknowledging he is upset or frustrated
    -taking a break (when asked or if he initiates)
    -coming back and getting right to work

    It seems to be working well so far. Many times he needs to be helped to a break, but I can now say, "Why don't you get a drink of water? I will go put a sticker on your chart and we can get back to work." Many times getting up and getting a drink or cooling down in the hallway is enough to break the cycle.
     
  14. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Sorry if I phrased that wrong - didn't mean pediatricians don't have the cognitive capacity to understand behavioral issues, but their training is just different. Not saying they wouldn't have a good ideas, but they wouldn't be my first or sole recommendation if a parent was having behavioral difficulty with their child. You bring up a good point about knowing the developmental history, though.
     
  15. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Pediatrician is a good stepping stone. So they are a decent first recommendation. For a behavioral issue a neurologist w/ sub-specialty in psychology/psychiatry or a child psychologist would probably be best. If disability suspected, neuropsych to confirm.
     
  16. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    This is a great suggestion! Something concrete for the student. Just be sure to explain what this would look like when he is having a good time and not in the middle of the behavior.
     
  17. Speechy

    Speechy Comrade

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    Agreed, though I wouldn't suggest a pediatrician. It definitely sounds like a behavioral issue.

    Then again... some children just shut down as a coping mechanism. That, or he's just truly stubborn.
     
  18. traveler

    traveler Comrade

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    We have a student like this in our grade. He refuses to do almost everything. If you correct him he shuts down and refuses to budge. He is labeled with Oppositional Defiance Disorder. something like that. He is not in my home room. Because of his IEP there are a lot of things we can't do. It seems to be getting worse as no one knows how to deal with him. His parents are at a loss too.
    Good luck!
     
  19. tgim

    tgim Habitué

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    An added benefit could be that a recommendation to see a psychologist or neuropsych might be better received coming from a healthcare professional rather than an educator, even though we spend more time with the child on a daily basis. Also, most mental health professionals will want a recent check up from child's doctor.
     
  20. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Many insurers are likely to expect a visit to a child's pediatrician - or whoever else is the child's primary care physician - before they'll approve a referral to any kind of specialist.
     
  21. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I encountered a student with ODD when I did observations in Fall 09. The student was fairly subdued but they had a good support system in the classroom. When the student was good, they were allowed to help the other resource room teacher with bus duty, which he liked to do. If he acted out that day, he would not be allowed to help the resource room teacher with bus duty.
     
  22. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    I have another student with ODD, but this boy doesn't feel like that to me. He respects my authority and is more than happy to follow my directions and do as I ask in the classroom. However, as any child, he does get reprimanded from time to time. The behaviors that require me to reprimand are typical and not a cause for my concern. The shutting down bothers me. I am now thinking maybe it is because he is embarrassed? But I know it happens much much more often at home than it does in my classroom, and mom has never expressed concern about his behavior- only this shut down thing.

    I asked mom about whether she has spoken to him about this after the fact, but she hasn't gotten back to me yet. She may come to regret asking for any advice, because now I am pounding her with questions and requests for more information to better help!
     
  23. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Here's something I have tried with children I have taught with similar issues...may not work with a child that young, though. If you identify the child doing something that needs to be corrected, don't make the correction. Call the child over to you, "Billy, can you come be my helper for a minute?" Then ask the child to give the other children a demonstration of the acceptable behavior. "Billy, can you show the other children how we sit on our circle on the carpet?" What you have done is used positive reinforcement to redirect the child's behavior. The child has not been disciplined (which causes the embarrassment which may cause the shut down, etc). I use this technique with many of my children with autism or behavior problems. Yes, it may seem counter productive, or that you are giving in to the misbehavior...but, sometimes you have to try something new to fix an ongoing situation. This may be a child who is just not mature enough to handle any negativity.

    As long as the poor behavior is not putting anyone in imminent danger, I prefer to use this patient way of dealing with smaller issues.
     

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