Modification for ED students

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by catnfiddle, May 22, 2017.

  1. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    May 22, 2017

    I'm an ELA teacher in a school that has full inclusion. One of our students is a very intelligent, literary young woman. However, she is so emotionally disturbed (anxiety out of control) that it severely interferes with her ability to function academically. Her behaviors are self-destructive, but not harmful, and she is falling far behind in school. My class is the only one she has had any success in completing work, but the school as a whole needs suggestions to alleviate her emotional issues. Do any of our SpEd teachers have any suggestions? We have a great deal of latitude in our interventions because of the small numbers in our school, but we cannot have her constantly hiding under the table in the principal's office.
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    May 22, 2017

    I'm watching this with interest. This year, I have 2 students with diagnosed anxiety disorders and the past couple of weeks have been very challenging. Neither is able to cope well at this point and they are struggling academically and socially.
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    May 24, 2017

    Testing is a major concern, especially after proctoring her twice. She gets so anxious about picking the correct answer that she needs to be in a room as the only one testing so she can talk through the answer AND her fears. Untimed tests are not the issue, but her need to lie down on the floor and hyperventilate is concerning.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 24, 2017

    This really does not sound healthy or sustainable. I have no idea about what should be done on the IEP, but I wonder if your school is the best placement for her. Perhaps she needs something more intensive, like a partial hospitalization program or something.
     
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  6. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    May 24, 2017

    She was moved to our school in order to relieve her of much of the stress / intensity of her former school. Right now we're doing what we can as a team (which isn't too difficult because of our school size), but I don't think she or her parents are willing to consider hospitalization. She came to us with and IEP that said she has sensory issues. We're now thinking that's just a part of something much more severe, but it isn't on us to make that call. Thankfully, she does have a counselor from the local children's hospital monitoring her.
     
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    May 24, 2017

    She would undoubtedly benefit from having a resident therapist. Perhaps she needs to be reevaluated medically. Our ED students are by far and away our most fragile and needy. They require constant supervision and therapy to grow and cope with their disabilities. Many of these students become cutters or are suicidal, and if you don't know what you have, it can be a recipe for disaster. I understand the sensory issues, which may indicate she is somewhere on the spectrum, as autism has more ways of presenting than you can imagine. The once thing to remember is that the IEP is a road map, but it can be changed - it is a living document. If those goals and objectives are not in line with current behaviours, it might be time to go back to the drawing board. There are many private schools that deal exclusively with ED students, and perhaps that should at least be something to consider. No one school is perfect for every student. So sorry that your student is struggling to this degree. Best of luck.
     
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  8. bros

    bros Phenom

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    May 25, 2017

    Can the OT evaluate her for the sensory issues and work with that?
     
  9. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    May 25, 2017

    Perhaps, but I'm asking how I, as the GenEd teacher, can help her and other students who have no academic goals but who have behaviors that interfere with academics.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 25, 2017

    With such severe behaviors, I'm honestly not sure what you could do other than have a frank and open talk with the teacher of record or special ed facilitator.
     
  11. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Other than additional professional help, medication, etc., there are a few things you can do in the classroom, even if they have not been required by an IEP:

    -Give her a manipulative or something for tactile comforting.
    -Provide a safe space where she can be on the floor.
    -Show her how to use a paper bag for hyperventilating and find a private space inside or outside the room to use it.
    -Agree with her on a signal to the teacher that she is nearing serious anxiety.
    -Provide her with a chart on which she can record her anxiety levels throughout the day - more than once a class period. It should contain questions that connect her emotional levels with her ability to focus as this will reinforce the idea that coping with anxiety will improve her success at school.
    -Set up a contact person for morning and afternoon with whom the student will check in and acknowledge her readiness to learn/work.
    -See if colored overlays for paper assignments help. I know I once got a sample set from Irlen Overlays.
    -Try different seating options - even a stress ball.
    -Provide clear and simple two-choice options.
     
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  12. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jun 30, 2017

    It sounds like there hasn't really been a good evaluation to understand the mechanics of what she's dealing with. Has there been a good eval done that has led to actionable information about what's causing, triggering, and perpetuating the behavior?
     
  13. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Jun 30, 2017

    I believe she has had a couple of psych evaluations. A major problem is that her triggers keep increasing, and her coping mechanisms are becoming more disruptive. It came to a head two days ago... literally. She is a furry (long story, look it up at your leisure) and has been bringing her suit to class. Normally she just gets by wearing her fuzzy tail or feet, but this day she decided to put on this giant blue (and adorable) wolf head. Another student thought it would be funny to hit the head, which rattled her inside of it. This didn't trigger her, but the principal swooped in and told her she couldn't wear it anymore. Next thing I know, she is lying on the floor in my classroom, which was the quietest part of the building, sobbing that she'd rather the principal had broken her neck than tell her to take off the wolf head.
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    This is out of control. Who is responsible for writing/handling the IEP? I think it's time to make a formal request of that person or team for a review of her case.
     
  15. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sad part? This IS the rewrite.
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    That is sad. If I were in your shoes, I'd seek direction from my supervisor and the director of the special ed program. I just can't get behind a high school student wearing a furry costume in class all day and then rolling around on the floor when she is asked to remove it. Is the furry costume part of her IEP? If not, there is absolutely no way that I would allow her to wear that, in full or in part, in my classroom. It is disruptive (clearly, as evidenced by this situation) and almost surely violates the spirit of any dress code your school may have. If it is part of the IEP, then I have some very serious qualms with that.

    As an aside, I am uncomfortable with the student's furry-related self expression in a school setting. There is often a sexual component to the whole furry lifestyle, and I don't think it's appropriate for school.
     
  17. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oh I didn't realize this was a high school student. If so, yeah - I'd say that kind of behavior with that age group is pretty squarely out of my experience, and I'm not sure what i'd do honestly. Even in an inclusion model, it would seem appropriate that a therapist somewhere (within the school system or outside) would be providing some guidance as to what would be most helpful in your environment. The idea that you'd be coming up with an intervention plan solo is a bit extreme, and the idea that you alone will be able to provide adequate support is probably not realistic.

    We'll keep our fingers crossed for you!
     
  18. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Please note that I am NOT the student's SpEd teacher, nor was I involved in writing her current IEP. That being said, I am trying to accommodate hers and those of other students as best I can.
     
  19. Maggie1999

    Maggie1999 Rookie

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    Jul 30, 2017

    I'm a teacher wannabe so hope I'm not out of line. I'm so used to schools where I live having a school psychologist. Maybe all schools don't have them? Thats the first place I would go to talk about this issue...she clearly needs psychological support/help. What are the parents saying? What has worked in the past for her and what has not? Can teachers recommend therapy to the parent (for the student)? Beside the point, I think it was out of line the WAY the principal came in and ordered her out of her furry suit. Granted, I'm a bleeding heart, however that sounded harsh to someone suffering from severe anxiety. He could have waited and had a gentle, kind conversation with her at an arranged time, not just ordered her she can't wear it. She definitely needs extra help. Is it often someone with serious psychological difficulties ends up in a special ed classroom?
     
  20. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    She's actually doing a LOT better in the past couple of weeks. Her focus on her studies is still problematic, but she is much calmer. She's allowed to wear parts of her "fursona", just not the head, mostly for safety reasons.
     

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