Help Autistic Kid hits when he does not want to work

Discussion in 'Special Education Archives' started by Giggles1100, Oct 2, 2006.

  1. Giggles1100

    Giggles1100 Comrade

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    Oct 2, 2006

    I have an Autistic boy in my HS class, that I noticed on Friday did not want to work,w ell he gets headaches frequently so I did nto push too hard IMade him do some work butI let some slide. Friday when eh did not want to work he started banging his head with his hands and getting louder and louder. Well he came in today and absolutely refused to work, kept getting up to hop around the class and banging his head as well as lashing out and trying to hit me. I did all the trick my CT told me to do, quiet hands, quiet moputh giving hima 3 minute time out or redirecting his behavior away fromt eh task for a few minutes but as soon as I tried to get him back on task he would start over again, one tiem I was asking him to write his phone number, which he knows, the other time I was askinghim to weigh some rice on a scale, he got so made and flung all the rice all over the room and then cleaned upt he table but not the floor. One of the teachers who had him in Summer school came in and got right in his face and was tellign him what to do when he slugn the rice across the room, she said you had to do that to get himto listen, but I have a real hard time accepting that is what I am suppose to do. I can get him calmed back down but not back onto his work. Any suggestions, I told him to be prepared to work tomorrow, not sure if he understood me. I was going to try to give him 2 options fo tasks to choose from, I tried today but I think he was too far gone because he refused both. Any o ther suggestions would be appreciated, especially from you Aspie Teacher.
     
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  3. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    Oct 2, 2006

    Are you absolutely certain this is not a medical concern--you mentioned he gets headaches, and head banging (SIB) is frequently communicative of a medical concern. Can you rule a headache out in this instance, or is there a case that this was the antecedent for his behavior?

    How does he typically communicate?

    I wouldn't necessarily condemn the other teacher's actions, but its okay to recognize that they won't work for you. Faking that sort of bravado with a highly agitated individual will likely accomplish very little. You're right to realize you need to determine your own strategies for addressing his concerns.

    How are you structuring his tasks? What is he earning for reinforcement? How is his reinforcement structured?
     
  4. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Oct 2, 2006

    If participating in assignments is the main issue you are dealing with now, why don't you try giving him break cards. I used this strategy with one of my students' who would lose it after being given an assignment (even when he would request to participate in it). I gave him 3 to 4 -5 minute break cards during 40 minute periods. He could decide when he would take a break and he could take them one after another. We discussed what he would do during the breaks and I wrote them down on the break cards (ie. computer, drawing, book corner, sit quietly...), so when he handed them to me there was no discussion as to what he was to do and I just had to turn the timer on for 5 minutes.

    You may also want to give him a prompt card to help him verbalize when he has a headache.
     
  5. Giggles1100

    Giggles1100 Comrade

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    Oct 2, 2006

    Well I am not sure he still did not have a head ache I had given him Tylenol an hour before, basically right when he got to school he had a sore throat 2 weeks before, had a virus I took him to the nurse to make sure his throat looked ok, I normally might think he was sick but he was like this on Friday too. I wrote a note home to Mom telling her sometimes she can shed some light on the subject too.

    As for reinforcers, food has always been a big reinforcer but that and computer time w as not working, and I am leary of using computer time because once he gets on I cannot get him off easily with out him melting down he will do this again only worse. He is given a reinforcer after he completes a task, sometimes I start him out with a bit of a pretzel stick to get him motivated, but he gets anpother when finished, in the past the other teachers said he got to where he would finish a task and ask for reinforcer, but he has not donethis with me and I ma not sure I am doing it the same.

    He does not communicate but very littel with yes or no answers and even then I have to ask several times to get and answer, occassionally I will get a real word out of him, but he is like rainman, he is in his own little world living out sesame street episodes and cartoons and songs, he quotes stuff all day long and is never quiet.
    I have gotten in his face before and it worked but it is not my style, do you think I should or basically let me ask this, how forceful should I be in making him pull his fingers out of his ears and doing a task.

    i thought about giving him 2 tasks and letting him choose the one he wants to work on tomorrow, that way at least I get him to work on something.
     
  6. Giggles1100

    Giggles1100 Comrade

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    Oct 2, 2006

    Good ideas Proud, I have a card for his headaches and feelings, he does not use them much btu then again for a strong as I am in behavior I am a little lax with him in other areas. I might have the speech therapist maybe make me up a small PECS system I can use for days like today.
     
  7. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    Oct 2, 2006

    I would try to make sure his reinforcement schedule is visible to him--i.e. do math cards= pretzel. Make sure the task itself is structured so it has a clear, distinct ending point--i.e. give him only the cards he needs to do, not 12 extras. You could try having him choose the reinforcer, but I would also supplement with intermitten reinforcement throughout the activity, especially when he is first on task (as you indicated that you try to do with a little bit of pretzel). The more days he is off-task, the less likely he may be to want to get back on task, so you may want to "lavishly" reinforce for a while to get him back in a work mode. I'm probably repeating all the things you already know, but sometimes listening to even basic pointers from others can clue you into something you might be missing.

    I have lots of students like this! One thing you can listen for is for clues that might tell you how he is feeling or what he is thinking--one of my students would quote from specific movies or shows when she was angry, and that was one of the most reliable ways for us to know she was getting upset. Some of my other quoters respond really well to the teachers quoting--i.e. I would figure out what movie one of my students was quoting from, and pick another scene and start to quote. It focused his attention back to me, and then sometimes he responded better to my academic demands when he had been re-focused.

    This is really a personal call for you to make--how does he typically respond when someone gets so up close and personal with him? For the most part, if he is simply refusing to work, I personally would not choose to physically remove his fingers from his ears. I try not to intervene physically unless absolutely necessary for health and safety reason. I DO get close, somewhat louder, and VERY STERN with specific students, but only those that I know respond well to that approach. If this approach further agitates a student, I do not use it. Even with students who respond well to it, I reserve it only for significant behaviors. My opinion would be go with your gut on this one, but if it makes you uncomfortable, it probably won't be all that successful.

    I think this is a great idea--this is a strategy often recommended for contrary or non-compliant kids. I would also remind you to be conscious of how you are prompting him--do not imply a choice if a choice is not given. Many teachers will say "Are you ready to finish your math?" and then wonder why the student refuses, either verbally or through his/her actions, to complete the activity. Adding the question "okay?" following a prompt/demand is another example of this. Be firm and clear when prompting--do not imply a choice if one is not available, but offering choices within reason (as you did) will likely be helpful. Having visuals of your choices (i.e. PECs or task pieces, etc.) may prove helpful.
     
  8. Giggles1100

    Giggles1100 Comrade

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    Oct 2, 2006

    Thanks Ellen, I feel betetr about going in tomorrow, funny you mention abouts stuff he quotes about how he feels the first thing I think of is when he gets mad he starts singing something about Car 57, I have no idea what it is from, but anytime he does not want to work that phrase comes out of his mouth. I might ask mom about that.
     
  9. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    Oct 2, 2006

    One of my kids used to quote all the time--she would become completely wrapped up in the scripts in her head. I discovered that if I took whatever script she was running through and changed it slightly, it would often refocus her.

    So, for example, we would be working on writing sentences, and she would start quoting aloud a script from a movie (or quoting the credits from a movie--i.e. "Mary Poppins, theatrical release day, August 22, 1942" or whatever it really is), which would distract her from her sentences. I would then pick up on the same script and quote aloud incorrectly, saying something like "Mary Poppins, theatrical release date January 15, 1997." That would INSTANTLY refocus my student, who would laugh at me, correct me, and then be very easily redirected to her sentences (I could just point to the paper once I'd gotten her attention back).
     
  10. Giggles1100

    Giggles1100 Comrade

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    That's funny because sometimes he will tell me today was brought to you by the letter "a" or something and I have turned around and said and the number 7, he laughs at that. I will try that , I bet that could work I just never put 2 and 2 together. Thanks Ellen.
     
  11. Aspie_mom

    Aspie_mom Rookie

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    Oct 3, 2006

    Getting in his face with a rigid display of authority is not working, even if you get temporary compliance.

    In fact, that kind of line drawing the sand may be fueling future behavior. He doesn't understand that kind of thing. If you escalate your behavior (bravado), you are escalating his. Only his has the potential to escalate to dangerous porportions.

    I find it extremely disturbing that the other teacher would come in and get in his face. That's a harrassing situation that would be difficult for a neurotypical child to handle, much less one who really doesn't get how social situations work.

    DO NOT pull his fingers out of his ears to get him to work. There's no need to touch him. My Aspie wildly resents it if someone pulls his hands away from his ears. The hands go up to the ears for a reason.....they are trying to cope. Back off.
     
  12. Charyl

    Charyl Rookie

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    Oct 3, 2006

    Hi! This may not work with the kid your dealing with. But at home, with my autistic, mostly non-verbal daughter---when she begins to get mad or throws a screaming fit. We immediately get down on her level, get her attention with an abrupt sound or jerk (not abusively)---like a firm "hey" or a loud finger snap---which snaps her brain's attention away from the object/behavior and quiets her. We then get her eye contact--by saying "look at my eyes" or "eyes Anna" and pointing to our eyes. When we have her attention. We firmly say "Anna---no screaming" or "no throwing" or "that's enough". With as little wording as possible, because the more words she doesn't understand--the more agitated she becomes. When we are sure she isn't going to continue the fit, we hug her and say "good girl, Anna. Now, what do you want?" She can typically answer back "I want computer please" or "Boo-boo" or " I want bed please." or "I want help please"-- or she points to what she wants (or pulls us to what she wants). We try our best to accomodate that need. But when something else is expected of her, we let her know "no" or "do this
    1st, then that". and not give into her.

    Gradually, she has learned that she can't scream/throw fits to get what she wants. That we are the parents and she is the child. It has also encouraged her to communicate her need (or what's wrong) in another way, before getting upset. It takes a lot of work (and maybe some embarrassing situations). Now, in school, they are just learning this---so they've had problems controlling my daughter's behavior. But at home, we rarely get long tantrum fits or loud screaming from her. When she wants something or is bothered---she lets us know (although she has almost no verbal skills) what she wants or what's bothering her. When she is truly hurt or really suffering over something mentally or physically---we deal with that much more gently (not discipling). At home, she seems very happy and much more adjusted than most with this disability. Hope that helps!

    Charyl-
     
  13. Charyl

    Charyl Rookie

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    Oct 3, 2006

    Just wanted to comment that the re-focusing works well. If my daughter is obsessed with trying to draw a particular thing over and over or something like trying to arrange the chairs in the class when it's time to leave---we've asked the aide to take a chair she's already placed and put it out of place and firmly say "No chairs---time to go". It really snaps her attention from it and let's her know that she needs to concentrate on what needs to be done, instead of the obssession.

    By the way---'Car 57' is an old black and white TV show. Their catch-phrase was 'Car 57--where are you?' ;-)
    Charyl-
     
  14. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    Oct 3, 2006

    Charyl,

    I just wanted to say I'm really enjoying reading your posts, glad you are here on the forums! You seem to have a really superb understanding of your daughter, but also of the notion that autism is different for every single person, so using one single rule for everyone isn't going to be effective all the time.

    I hope you'll keep posting!
     

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