I have a child in my class who keeps biting.

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by crayonsandpaper, Oct 2, 2021.

  1. crayonsandpaper

    crayonsandpaper Rookie

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    Oct 2, 2021

    The child has a problematic home-life but is otherwise very polite and happy, unfortunately they bite themselves, objects (erasers, clay and so on) and has bitten another student. I don't know how to deal with it. I have been trying to distract rather than punish but obviously now the child has moved on to other students I have to punish.

    I don't know what to do, i have thought about by a special needs chew necklace but we are not allowed to give anything that may seem like gifts to individual students. The parents are "Too Busy" to meet with me.

    How do I deal with this?
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Oct 2, 2021

    What are the thoughts of your P, Counselor, and/or Child Study Team? I would imagine that now that the student has put other students on the list as something that can be bitten that at least one or more of those listed would already be aware of the situation.
     
  4. crayonsandpaper

    crayonsandpaper Rookie

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    Oct 3, 2021

    The Child study team have been aware for some time. Social services were contacted asked to do a welfare check on the household, The child has been moved around this school and others. It's not a wonder their behavior is all over the place. No one really knows what to do.
     
  5. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oct 16, 2021

    With most behaviors (if not all), the "topography" of the behavior is not always very helpful in identifying why the behavior is happening, or what you can do about it. For example, whatever the underlying reasons are for the student biting, the student may have instead tantruming or hitting other students. The trick is figuring out what the student is trying to get (or get out of) with biting.

    With this particular student, I might first start by separating the behavior into different subtypes - for example, biting an eraser may not be "functionally equivalent" to biting oneself or another student. Even though both involve the act of biting, one involves aggression toward another student, one involves self injury, and another could be more of a self-stimulatory kind of thing (I'm assuming a function with that last one).

    Another thing to think about: A lot of times, more work needs to be to connect a behavior with an underlying "issue." In this case, it does seem like that there is a connection between a problematic home life and biting, but there are probably mediating variables - a chain a things that home life leads to. Decoding this chain will be key in understanding and eventually stopping the behavior. For example, home life might lead to higher stress or lack of sleep (or both/neither), which would each have their own implications. If higher stress, then that stress could be leading to general anxiety, with biting serving as a stress reduction mechanism, or it could be leading to depression, or could be leading to a history of lack of social learning/skill development, with the child not know how to express wants/needs appropriately.

    In other words, I'd try to look at causes a little more "proximal" to the actual behavior. One way to do this is to look at the things happening before, during, and after the behaviors. For example, does "biting others" happen just before recess, or just before reading time? (Could be related to avoidance or anxiety of a particular activity.) Or, does "biting others" happen after a disagreement with another student. (Could be related to lack of conflict resolution skills).

    Some of the possible solutions, of course, would be beyond your means as classroom teacher given limited amounts of time you have to do them, but some might work. Certainly, providing alternative/replacement behaviors is a good idea, but without knowing more about the purpose of the behavior, it's hard to know what you're provided a replacement for.
     
  6. crayonsandpaper

    crayonsandpaper Rookie

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    Oct 23, 2021

    Thank you so much for this reply EdEd, it makes a lot of sense. I will certainly be looking for triggers before and after incidents and you could be right in that it's not one cause but a mixture of different triggers resulting in the child expressing themself with biting.
     
    EdEd likes this.

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