Behavior Specialist and a Rubber Room

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by teacherman1, Jan 5, 2014.

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  1. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    And then what? Let him continue to endanger himself? Do you have someone run around the room trying to grab all the pencils, pens, scissors so he can't have a sharp object? How would that possibly work? Seems to me you'll eventually have to restrain him. Which sets some students off more. Why is holding a person down against his will less humane than letting him calm down on his own in a safe environment?
     
  2. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I taught in a school with a "rubber room" last year. It was called the "safe room." Under the previous admin (before I started working there) this room was apparently being used multiple times a day. The new admin that started when I did decided that kids liked going in there and that it wouldn't be used anymore. I had a severe behavior student in my class that year who would throw tantrums that lasted for hours on end. She had figured out that the only thing that got her removed from the room was violence towards others, so she usually would just scream at the top of her lungs, roll around, take people's things, topple desks over, throw objects against the wall to make noise, etc. She had an IEP, but she only got pulled out for academic services, and if she was misbehaving in sped the teacher would send her back to my classroom. I'm sure the thing about the kids "liking" the safe room was probably true, but I think it's preferable to an entire class missing out on hours of good instruction per day due to one child throwing a tantrum. I think it's ridiculous that I had to keep her in my room while she was doing these behaviors.
     
  3. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I think there's a big difference between having a "behavior specialist" whose job is to deal with behaviors and having a sped teacher who should be teaching academics deal with them. At my school, the school psych is the one that deals with all of the behavior issues. I may have some kids with EBD in my room if they need academic services also, but I would never see a kid just for behavior. Does your psych support you with behavior issues at all?
     
  4. Blue

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    It is interesting that this topic should come up now. In Portland, all of these isolation/rubber rooms were removed.
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I see I opened a can of worms. I try to stay out of these conversations because we, as a family, have gone through a lot over the years and I can be a bit sensitive to it. I only glanced through the posts but I will address a few questions that were asked.

    First of all, yes I know the word rape is very sensitive and I do know it isn't a direct comparison here. This is something I almost never tell anyone--one of my own children was forced into molestation by a teenager he was only exposed to for less than a week. I have some of that anger too. For one thing, the idea of restraint is supposed to have a clear purpose for safety, rape never has a good purpose--ever. I get that. If you can find another word that can get people to dramatically see just how traumatizing it is to be repeatedly held down against your will by people much larger than yourself that you are supposed to TRUST and again I have to repeat for emphasis, this happens repeatedly, I would welcome the word. I truly would. Most people don't seem to look at it from the child's perspective. It's scary. As his mom, I've had enough and I'm not even the one being held down.

    Is there a good solution all the time? Is there any one approach that works? I can't tell you that's true. You all know life is not that simple. I have, however, watched him in different schools under different teams and the effects can be dramatic. Dramatic, however, doesn't mean perfect. He still struggles, regardless.

    He benefits most from relationship building, therapeutic lessons/play, and structured flexibility. It's important to understand that while he has a high IQ and is very verbal, ordinarily, he still has some sort of inflexible thinking (there's a word for it and I can't think of it at the moment) and there is a developmental delay in emotional maturity and ability to self-regulate his emotions. As he gets older and ask he is specifically taught how to identify his emotions and how to express them or find some sort of coping mechanism, he does get much better. With the wrong team, that can regress and truthfully it can be a two step forward and one step backwards kind of deal anyway. Sometimes he will now tell you and if you don't listen, it is on you. Sometimes he won't remember or think to tell you or may not know but if you sit and work with him calmly, in spite of the fact that he may not be calm, it comes out and the situation can be dealt with much less traumatically.

    Mostly I've seen too much reactive strategies and not enough proactive strategies. The schools that work from the front and see him as a child first and one that needs their support and guidance tend to do much better. There was one school that went to the county IEP program when we were transferring and she literally stood up at the IEP meeting and said the IEP is written wrong. It's written to show what will happen AFTER he has a problem but fails to address how they will help support him fixing the problem. My husband and I almost cried right then and there and it is no surprise that he made changes in leaps and bounds under their care.

    What is always interesting is the times when adults swear up and down there were zero warning signs and their story to me is FULL of them. They believe it. They honestly can't see it. It's also interesting when I'm told he had no reason behind it. He ALWAYS has a reason. It may be an inappropriate reaction but there is a reason. Find the WHY and you'll have a much easier time finding the solution. Watch the cues and you'll save yourself more grief. One teacher made me laugh because she told all the kids all their telltale cues they had. She was trying to help them identify their own cues and their jaws dropped. They didn't know they each react differently and that she could see it coming.

    The bottom line is you have to get to know the child. There is no magic bullet. You have to think through their eyes. You have to get over the idea that every child must fit in the same round hole and that standard approaches always work. They don't. If it makes you feel better, with all the "help" I get from others' expertise, I get turned around too and there are times when I could have deescalated and instead contributed or let it get to the point where it required me to restrain. It is much easier to deal with it before it gets to the peak than to try to deescalate at the peak. At that point it is just about damage control.

    You have to observe the signs and you have to be the one to help him through it. You have to assume there is a reason. All behavior is communication. Over time he gets better and starts doing some of it on his own but he isn't perfect at it and being highly verbal or having a high IQ has absolutely nothing to do with it. I can't tell you why sometimes he can do it perfectly fine and sometimes it is an odd reaction that seems unrelated to anything you might assume.

    I do, however, feel for general eduction teachers with larger classrooms to handle and not always being able to watch him as closely. I tend to fight against this scenario for a variety of reasons, including that. I have seen some teachers, even general education teachers and one with a classroom with over 30 kids, however, be more intuitive than others and have amazing rapport and insight with him.

    Sometimes you can do everything right and it still doesn't end well. But more often than not, with the right resources, culture of thinking, approach, etc. things can be turned around. Maybe not perfectly nor every time, but more often. At least that has been my experience.

    (I deleted a lot of my post. Sharing the personal stories publicly can be a bit too much sometimes).
     
  6. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    As for the sped teacher versus behavior specialist, I've seen both be able to deal and not been able to deal. Although one should have more training, it doesn't always boil down to that. I'll take an intuitive general education teacher with zero experience dealing with it before over a trained but stuck in a rut professional any day. Once I had a crisis worker insisted we could not privately discuss sensitive intake questions such as whether there has ever been a suicide in our family, etc. in front of my child who was at that time SIX YEARS OLD. He may not have known the language and topics we were discussing but I was not pleased with this "professional." I have some doozies stories. Yes, I like people to be well trained. But it isn't always the be all either.
     
  7. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    We don't have a school psych. Hence why I'm also responsible for writing evaluation reports and conducting observations on students who have been referred - on top of my full-time teaching duties. Our guidance counselors and principals deal with behaviors for non-sped students, but sped teachers get called when the student with the behaviors is a sped student, even if the behavior is not related to the disability sometimes. What you described in your post about the sped teacher sending the student back to your room would NEVER happen in my school. It would be the opposite that would happen. The sped teacher would get called out of his/her room to go help the regular ed teacher. It's always the sped teachers responsibility... Doesn't matter what else they're doing at the time. Well, maybe if we're in an IEP meeting with a parent, someone else will deal with it, but that's about it. It could be my plan time or lunch, and I'm expected to go. If you can't tell, I'm a little bitter about this.

    We used to have one behavior sped teacher and two academic sped teachers, but we divided caseloads differently this year. So now we all do both behaviors and academics for specific grade-levels. With the exception of less than a handful of students, this new arrangement works out well, but there are still those few students that make it difficult. Even with the old arrangement, the behavior sped teacher's classes were often canceled of disrupted in order to deal with behaviors requiring restraint and isolation. We've tried to get those few students moved to a more appropriate placement - a self-contained program that specializes in ED/behavior students, but we've been told to deal, presumably due to politics.

    It's just a mess the way my school deals with sped stuff. One of the reasons I'm determined to get out of sped after this year.
     
  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    During the summer of 2012, I worked extended school year, and had two students with emotional and behavioral disorders. One was fairly "reasonable" to handle, the other was outrageous. For the sake of the other 12 students I had in the classroom, I am extremely grateful that I had a "rubber room" I could send this student to when his behavior made learning impossible for the other students, and moreover, when his behavior made the classroom unsafe for the other students.

    That's all I'm going to say about this topic.
     
  9. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    cutNglue, thanks for sharing your story. I know that was hard for you to do. What you've described encompasses another reason I feel the need to leave sped. I agree with the alternative options you've suggested, and I strive to use them with my students. It's really hard to do though when the culture prevalent in the school is to just get the students out of the regular ed teachers' and principals' hair and use restraint and the isolation room. I know it alone is not helping my students, and, while it is warranted on some occasions, many times it is simply done because that is what is easy or expected for the those with no background in dealing with students who have self-regulation issues or other behavior concerns. And, when I try to use some alternative methods, I'm shot dirty looks and challenged with questions about why I didn't use restraint or isolation. And, the reality of my caseload is such that I just don't have the time to work with some students on proactive methods. I know I need to, but I just don't know when I'm supposed to do it. I guess I'm just sharing this to say that I don't want to use restraint and isolation when it's not absolutely necessary, but it feels like I don't have a choice in the matter due to the culture and constraints I work under.
     
  10. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I haven't read all the posts - heading out the door shortly - apologies. But, having read the first few, here's my response:

    The idea of swift, immediate response to undesirable behavior by someone outside of the room when someone inside of the room has been unsuccessful is a very good thing, and in my opinion one of the most critical pieces of behavior management with more extreme behaviors that is missing from so many schools. Way too many schools expect teachers to deal with everything in the classroom, which ultimately undermines teachers' authority because they don't have ultimate permission to restrain, remove by calling parents, arrest, etc.

    That being said, yes - no brainer: Restraint as punishment is just a bad idea. It's illegal, unsafe, ineffective, etc. Locking a child in a room is restraint.

    Anyway, I think I see your point Steve.
     
  11. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    But it isn't punishment No more than holding a child down to give a vaccination. For some students it is a welcome release.
     
  12. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    EdEd, I do agree safety is paramount. If a child is a danger to himself or others, restraint is supposed to be used. I just see it used too often and too often when either it could have been avoided altogether or they jumped in too soon. I doubt it is used as a "punishment" per say most of the time or at least it isn't thought of that way, but it still serves the same purpose when the situations are happening far too often. In some cases it even causes death, which is why they preach the training so much.

    It was explained to me that some of the kids actually like smaller enclosed areas when they are feeling out of control. My child did choose to crawl under a desk in his younger days. But the one time I actually had to come get him out of one, let's just say I have never ever before that point or since that point ever seen his response to it the way I did that day. It was surreal.

    My irritation usually lies in lack of continual reflection by some staffing to try to improve on how they might handle the situations a bit more proactively. I had one school that literally did not understand this word but started using it because they understood it was my buzz word. They couldn't identify a proactive strategy if they tried! They often couldn't see any of the earlier behaviors as warning signs even though they were including them in their story and insisted that he had no warning signs.

    We haven't yet been to a school that didn't have restraint training. I was restraint trained in the school I worked at as well. I also currently have had an updated training to restrain adults for where I currently work. Let's just say there was a much much much stronger emphasis on hands off unless you absolutely have to in the adult training and it wasn't for your safety. It was for their rights. I found that interesting.

    My experience has been people jump to it far too quick and even in settings that have no other children around. I never forget him being in a safe room that was not needed by another class and the VP wanted to move him to her office so she could "work" and was thinking she might need to restrain him a bit if he couldn't walk on his own. Really?! That was nothing though. I've seen far more dangerous situations done to him than he has done in reverse and that says a lot because I will say at least a few were needed for safety, especially if they weren't caught or dealt with successfully early enough.

    My thinking is people think it is safe to do so thus there is really no "danger" involved and even though they've been told it should be used as a last resort, they don't see the traumatic part of it. They only see the "safety" of it thus jumping in sooner is perceived as a good thing.
     
  13. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Jan 5, 2014

    Holding a student down is illegal in my state, unless the restraint is being done by some trained to do so. There is a reason for this. It can cause serious harm (even death) and be terrifying to a child.
     
  14. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    My point though is that the restraint training language isn't strong enough. I've been through it myself several times. People hide behind the training as if that makes everything they do okay. To be fair, it doesn't really teach much except the holds. Every school, in other areas, that I've discussed the training with focus on the holds. Sure they talk about the escalation and deescalation cycle and "it should be a last resort" kind of thing but it is very brief and it doesn't teach you how to avoid getting to that point all that well. The learning how to recognize and minimize these behaviors before they get to the damage control stage is what I view as missing from a lot of places.
     
  15. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Jan 5, 2014

    Thanks EdEd for your comments.
    In 98% of the cases I saw, *restraint was not used. But only a person trained in restraint could actually drag/lift/convey a punching-kicking-biting-scratching child out of the room.

    That was the point. They were removed from the room so that the teacher could get back to teaching.

    And the door of the rubber room was never locked. It had no lock. The worst case I saw was Mr. Bill holding his foot against the base of the door as a swearing and flailing kid smashed up against it. Luckily, it was rubber or this kid would have really injured himself.

    Oh, and at the same time the kid was smashing against the door, Mr. Bill was calmly talking to another "offender" he had just fetched from a classroom.

    * I've only seen true "restraint" done one or two times, and that was in a different school. The teacher would sit on the floor with her back against a wall and embrace the child on her lap - almost a "hug". There was no yelling or threatening on the part of the teacher at all. In fact, she whispered reassurances into his ear as she embraced him. She told me later that sometimes she would have to continue this for 10-20 minutes before the child calmed down.

    It wasn't violent and callous. On the contrary, this teacher was loving, caring individual who was simply doing her best to keep others from getting hurt....
     
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