At a loss

Discussion in 'General Education' started by yearroundteach, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. yearroundteach

    yearroundteach Companion

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    Sep 30, 2011

    Let me preface this by saying that I fully intend to speak with our special education teacher, psychologist, and administrator. However, that will take a while to get answers from them and I need answers NOW before I completely lose my mind.

    I have a child in my class who seems completely clueless and lost. I mean that in the most literal and non-rude sense. He has never done his homework this year....ever. I have spoken with him countless times, written notes home, called home, asked for a conference (which has yet to happen) and had him sit out at recess to complete his homework. None of this has helped and he still doesn't do it. Today I sat down next to him out at recess and said "Can you please explain to me why you don't do your homework at home?" He said "Because I have to do it". Hmmmm confusing answer :confused: So I shortened my question..."Why isn't your homework done?" Answer..."Because it has to be done". Me...."What did you do last night when you got home?" Him..."Nothing" Me..."No you did something. You didn't just sit there". Him...."I watched TV" :woot: HALLELUJAH an answer that makes sense!!!! "Ok tonight before you watch tv you need to pull out your notebook and do your homework. What are you going to do tonight?" Him...."Because I have to do it." I finally had to walk away before I lost it or cried.

    It is the same way in class. I will give a direction and he sits there completely dumbfounded. I walk over and give the direction to him one on one with one step at a time pointing to items I'm speaking of and he just randomly guesses at what to do (still dumbfounded). He does not answer questions with answers that make sense. I don't mean that they aren't correct, I mean they have nothing to do with the question (oral or written). Example: What page does the chapter "Animal Life" begin on? His answer.... foxes.

    He is reading at or a little above grade level but has very little comprehension of what he reads. It is the same when someone speaks to him (as shown above)... no comprehension of what people are saying to him.

    I am at a complete loss of what to do, what could be going on, ways to help him (without ignoring all the other students in my class), etc. At first I thought it was an issue of never having any expectations placed on him (very babied at home, last year's teacher is known for low expectations, etc.). While I still think this is a small part of the issue, I think there must be something MUCH larger going on. I also thought at one point it was a motivation/effort issues and tried a behavior plan. This did nothing to help. He is not choosing to not do what he should. He literally has NO clue what he should be doing despite being told.

    I am open to any advice, suggestions, similar stories, etc. because I cannot go through the rest of the school year like this. I am beginning to fell myself resenting this little guy because of the extreme amount of attention he requires. We are behind in what we're supposed to be doing most days because it takes 5 extra minutes for every task to keep him with us. That adds up throughout the day. Obviously I do not want to feel this frustration towards him and want to find ways to help him and save my own sanity. And I cannot tell if this friend is learning anything because he doesn't seem to have a way to communicate it if he is. That won't be a very productive year for him. Thanks for any help you can give and sorry for such a long post.
     
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  3. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Sep 30, 2011

    What grade do you teach?

    Surely he has been referred to your child study team prior to this year? How could such deficits have gone unnoticed?

    One thing you cannot do is be a one on one aide to him. Until further intervention is initiated, have two very bright on the ball students sit next to him and have them keep him on track.
     
  4. yearroundteach

    yearroundteach Companion

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    Sep 30, 2011

    Thank you for your reply schoolteacher. I teach 2nd grade. No he has never been referred in any way. I am unsure of how these things have gone unnoticed by his parents and prior teachers. All I can offer is that his 1st grade teacher is VERY laid back. Not my place to judge but it is the general concensus at our school that she is too laid back. Perhaps it was not as obvious because he was never required to do anything on his own and wasn't held accountable for not completing things? I'm really not sure. I am hoping if his parents ever reply to any of my attempts to contact them to schedule a conference that I'll be able to find out more about if they see an issue or not.

    Our intervention team leaves a lot to be desired so I am not hopeful that I will get much help there. I will jump through all the hoops and follow the steps but typically unless the children have a very simple reading issue (difficulty decoding) then not much gets done in the way of interventions.
     
  5. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Oct 2, 2011

    Total shot in the dark...I had a similar student in the 8th grade. She was autistic. She had been mainstreamed per parent request for the social aspect. She spent the year with her peers and then went back to her self-contained unit. Good luck. Glad you care.
     
  6. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Oct 2, 2011

    Maybe an appt with a Speech Language Pathologist is in order?

    It sounds like there may be an auditory processing issue here. (Tho a lot more information is needed as well as testing and a diagnostician's expertise).

    He may hear your sounds but not be able to understand you or how your words fit together to make sense. He may just latch on to a word he understands, like "animal" and say anything that might relate (i.e. "fox") because he has no idea what you really want from him.

    You may wonder: If he has an AUDITORY processing issue, why can't he understand what he reads visuallly? This might be an explanation/shot in the dark: If a child has made no sense of oral language during the crucial ages of language development, maybe he will not understand how those word make sense when he reads them, either? Maybe he needs intense language therapy before he devops enough language skills to understand them in any form?

    Again, these are just speculations, but maybe they are questions worth bringing up with a speech and language pathologist.

    Any SLP's out there with an opinion?
     
  7. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Oct 2, 2011

    This might just be a normal behavior for this little guy. There may be nothing wrong other than a processing problem. Or...
    *he might be having vision problems
    *hearing problems
    *processing deficit
    *learning disability
    ... the list COULD be endless.

    I would start by making him a list of what your expectations are:
    1) Put away bookbag
    2)sharpen pencil
    3)complete morning work

    Start small and reward him when he completes these things with minimal prompts

    Assign a buddy to the little guy. The buddy will point to the child's paper and say, get started. When he zones out, the buddy will say... keep working... This is sometimes helpful.

    I would put a small chart on his desk. Every time he is on task and completing his work, give him a sticker. When he gets 10 stickers, he gets a prize.

    These are some little things that can get you going until you can meet with the RTi team. Good luck!
     
  8. yearroundteach

    yearroundteach Companion

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    Oct 2, 2011

    Thank you again for all the replies. Auditory processing issue is the way I was leaning as well, Tulips. I printed out some pages from a website of things I can begin to try to help him if that is indeed the issue. I intend to pick one starting tomorrow and see if it begins to help while I am waiting for help (hopefully) from some of my colleagues. I will also add our SLP to the list of people I will be emailing for help tomorrow. Thank you for the ideas SCTeach. I had him with a buddy but had taken her away because they seemed to feed off each other. He seemed to try to listen and understand less because he knew she would always tell him what to do. And she just loved to try to get answers from him. :unsure: Perhaps it just wasn't the right partnership and I'll try again.

    I am determined to get something figured out because I refuse to let a year go by with both of us frustrated and not enjoying our days.
     
  9. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Oct 2, 2011

    I don't teach elementary, but I like the idea of a buddy, too. At least until you can figure out what else is going on.
     
  10. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Oct 2, 2011

    I have an autistic child who has a major delay in processing. He reads well, but he doesn't "get" what he reads. He also doesn't usually "get" what is said to him, and he will give really bizarre answers.

    He needs one-step directions, and he needs to repeat them back to me. Sometimes it still takes him awhile to get to it, and I have tried to give him a checklist, which works sometimes.
     
  11. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Oct 2, 2011

    My first guess would be a language disorder. I would speak to your SLP. We have a 2nd grader at our school who is EXACTLY like you described. If you ask her something, she either doesn't reply or replies completely off topic to what you just said. She was diagnosed with both a language and auditory processing disorder last year and now works extensively with the SLP. Many people don't think of that first, because people think of SLPs as working with kids with articulation disorders or "speech" things rather than "language" things.
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Oct 2, 2011

    Deficits like this do NOT usually go unnoticed, but often they are excused by reasons such as home factors or a child choosing to behave in the manner seen.
     
  13. isabunny

    isabunny Comrade

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    Oct 2, 2011

    Make sure you document everything. Document behaviors during the day. Document any times you have been in contact with parents (emails, calls, written notes home). Start a file with any work that he is completing in class and look through his CUM file. Just make sure you have all your ducks in a row before referral. It might make the referral process run smoothly and also let the team intervene quickly.
     
  14. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Oct 2, 2011

    I agree with this and also prior to 2nd Grade they are very reluctant to even consider any kind of testing, as it could just be a maturity issue.

    OP-I could have posted the same post about one of my students this year. I have been struggling with trying to figure out what is going on with him (and even how to approach mom about discussing the issues because she claims he's fine at home). His answers are always out in left field. We were reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and I asked a question about Willy Wonka and his response was "I like soccer". This happens all the time.

    They get hearing tested next week, so I was waiting to see if maybe it was just a hearing deficit. I see some things in the responses you received that I'm going to try.
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 2, 2011

    Document everything.
     
  16. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Oct 2, 2011

    Give the student written instructions, perhaps a visual schedule.

    Sounds like there may be some auditory processing issues.
     
  17. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Oct 3, 2011

    I had something similar to this a few years ago. She had been born drug addicted and as the years went by and she was more challenged with school they realized she had some pretty severe problems. They involved both auditory processing issues and also an issue with her short term memory. You could tell her something one minutes and she would repeat it, but 5 minutes later she acted like she had never heard it before in her life. Very frustrating.
     
  18. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Oct 3, 2011

    So it could be Fetal Alcohol Affects. This is a very difficult thing to diagnose. It sounds a lot like FAE.
     
  19. bros

    bros Phenom

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    FASD is tricky as hell to catch.

    It can be confused for quite a few LDs, like ADHD.

    A member of an advocacy forum I visit has a daughter with FASD (Adopted, I believe). She pretty much has no executive functioning skills. She has no organizational skills whatsoever.
     
  20. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Oct 4, 2011

    Fas is different, not as severe, and more difficult to pinpoint. But that is what this sounds like.
     
  21. yearroundteach

    yearroundteach Companion

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    Oct 4, 2011

    Thank you for all the replies. I didn't realize some of them were here because, for some reason, my computer was showing this topic as already read with nothing new in it. It wasn't until I looked over to the right and saw that there were 18 replies that I excitedly hopped back over!

    Thank you for all the input. I am slowly trying to change my own reaction to his struggles as that may be the only thing I can control for awhile. I will absolutely take everyone's advice and begin keeping even more extensive documentation. I have a meeting tomorrow with our Literacy specialist, school psychologist, and (hopefully) our SLP...though she didn't respond to my email so who knows. Hopefully after that meeting I'll have a clearer direction of where to go from here. Thanks again for all the help.
     

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