Downs Teens and her imaginary friends

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by Giggles1100, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. Giggles1100

    Giggles1100 Comrade

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    Nov 24, 2008

    I have a Downs Teenager, that is 15 years old, mentally about 6-8 year old so an imaginary friend fits in with her mentality, although she tends to act like a teenager too, loves Hannah Montanna, Tony Romo, and lots of pop music. THe problem with the imaginary friend was not a big deal at the beginning of the year even though mom kept telling us it was at home, well now we are really seeing how big of an impact this "friend" is having. She is ALWAYS talking to it, playing tennis with it feeding it, pulling its chair up etc. We thought she might have done it when she was bored, but she has it ALWAYS even when doing stuff she likes to do, like surf on the Cowboys website or art time. It has gotten so bad that sometimes she cannot even do her job at work and we have to touch her to snap her out of it. After talking to our Diag, she said she has to exhibit this behavior over a period of time with us taking data on it before we can get a psych analysis, so in the meantime we have had to take a harder stance of "XXXXXXX, you are at school, your friend should stay home and not be at school." We have even said , "XXXXXX there is no one there, you need to refocus on your work." to even rewarding her when she does a job well done on her own without her friend, which we have to do in very short increments before the"friend" returns.

    It has gotten out of control in class and at her job site that we have talked about not letting her go to work next week.

    Before we go that drastic, and before our 3 month data collection period is up, does anyone have any other suggestions on how we can deal with this and be consistent between all 3 of us teachers and Paras when we see this?

    Oh yes, she does have friends in class and did not exhibit this behavior but twice, that we noticed, the first 9 weeks.
     
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  3. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Nov 24, 2008

    We had a special closet in my school for one of my students with autism. We would put his "imaginary" things in it to wait for him until school was over.
     
  4. Rockys_Mom

    Rockys_Mom Rookie

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    Nov 25, 2008

    Pretend friend time. Her pretend friend sits "quietly" while she does her work and it can be used as a reinforcement if Mom is okay with it. Even if you designate a chair/space for the pretend friend to "wait" in.
     
  5. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Nov 26, 2008

    Good luck dealing with it. I have a 29 yr old brother with Downs and he has his own "friends", too. He also talks through his puppets. I honestly do not know if you will be able to curtail it. Like I said, he's 29 and still, puppets and imaginary friends are his thing. Frustating to no end at times.

    I don't know if you know who Red Fraggle is from the kid show Fraggle Rock. Well, Red Fraggle is like Miss Piggy - Type A personalities. When he played with both of them, they would argue and fight ALL THE DANG TIME!!!!!!! Almost knock down drag out fight!! Dad had to finally put them up and they stayed up for almost a year or so because it had gotten soooooooooo intense at times.

    He is "friends" with Elvis... YES Elvis. Also Vestal Goodman of the Happy Goodmans Gospel singing group.

    Anyway!! I hope you can find a way to deal with it, but it you can't, please, don't be disappointed.
     
  6. Giggles1100

    Giggles1100 Comrade

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    Nov 27, 2008

    Thanks so much Special Preskoo It is frustrating at times and I know her mom is more frustrated than us, but we might just get her friend a special place in class possibly a diorama type sho box all done up girl teenage style so the "friend has a nice place to stay while she works on school stuff and when she completes work she can go spend some time at that station. I will let you know if that helps, I don't want to discourage the friend but I also don't want it to inhibit her from getting a job or going into a sheltered workshop either.

    Keep the ideas coming :)
     
  7. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Nov 27, 2008

    This is an interesting thread because I also have a student with downs who has an imaginary friend. The paras told me that last year it got so bad, they had to take the student to the doors and a para told the imaginary friend to go home. My para also has an old cell phone in her desk. She's used it to "call" his mom to come and pick up the imaginary friend if they keep acting up.

    I haven't really noticed anything wrong with it though. Just every once in awhile he'll point and correct his "friend" but then go about his business.

    I don't know if I would ever tell him "there is nobody there" though. In his mind, there is. ??
     
  8. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Nov 27, 2008

    Oh you can't argue with him that Elvis or Vestal aren't talking to him. He'll get fighting mad with you. You can't convince him his puppets aren't real either. I mean, when you are MR and you grow up with Sesame Street and other muppets, to you it is probably real. Anything on TV probably is real to him.
     
  9. Giggles1100

    Giggles1100 Comrade

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    Dec 1, 2008

    Oh I like the idea of sendign the friend home we might try that one. Thanks guys.
     

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