PECS Problem

Discussion in 'Special Education Archives' started by LuvPreKTeachin, Mar 15, 2005.

  1. LuvPreKTeachin

    LuvPreKTeachin Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 15, 2005

    I, as well as my student's other teachers, have been using PECS with him since October (I believe). He has been doing wonderful with it. We sent it home to be used in January. For the last several weeks we have been having SEVERE behavior problems. (I hate calling them behavior problems, but I can't think of another word so just go with me on this.)

    He has been trying to kick and bite at home. At school, he is going after the other kids and teachers, trying to pinch, scratch, bite and kick. We are seriously trying to figure out what is triggering these tantrums and are at a loss! He will be sitting on the carpet or in line and will be fine one minute and trying to hurt someone the next! He was eating lunch one day and all of a sudden jumped on the chair and table and started screaming. I pulled him down and he bit my chest. I had bruises on my arms from the pinching for a week and a half! Once he "gets it out of his system" he's fine.

    The difficult part is the teacher, her assistant and I aren't trained in restraint. We weren't aware that we would need it (we didn't have these problems in pre-k) and the course is only offered at the beginning of the school year. So legally we can't restrain him. I usually just lay him on the floor. When he gets up and comes after me or someone else... I just lay him back down. However, he still has access to my arms and is "killing" them! The teacher finally went to the asst. principal about the behavior last week and we were told to document everything for now.

    The only thing we can think of is that he is beginning to understand that he can communicate. However, he can't communicate everything that he wants to tell us and is getting frustrated. His EC teacher is wondering if some of the tantrums that are "coming from nowhere" are delayed reactions to something. We are documenting what was happening around him when the tantrum started, how long it lasted and what he done during it.

    For those of you unfamiliar with "John"... he will be 7 in July and is non-verbal. He is in Kindergarten and in Phase Two of PECS.

    HELP!! Have you guys experienced any of this and if so do you have suggestions?

    Crystal
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2005
  2.  
  3. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2002
    Messages:
    6,123
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 15, 2005

    I've got a little guy who screams... screams cuz it's too loud, screams cuz he's hungry, screams cuz he's thirsty, screams cuz he wants to do something different... you get the picture.

    First-

    You NEED to get them to train you in whatever restraint system they use... i HATE having to restrain kids, but it really *does* often help them get calm again...

    This little guy has a strip of "hungry, thirsty, help" and "break, bathroom" PECS velcroed on the wall of his "cubicle." He still has to tell us what he wants, but it's just as effective as making him look through his book to figure it out.

    Other things that set some of our kids off (might be a trigger and you don't even know it!)... needing to use the washroom... another kid making noise... noise from the hallway competing... someone else having an item he/she wants... being tired or sick... the way the light come in and bounces off the blinds... being hot/cold... etc. There is SO MUCH that can set our ASD kids off that we don't even think about because we don't have the sensory overload and can block out the un-important stuff...

    Things that have helped to varying degrees... turning the lights off (if you have big windows, this can definately help...) or dimming them... or using a lamp over his work area instead of the overhead (buzzing flourescent) ones... isolating work space... countdown boards and time timers... acknowledging a loud noise and assisting them in plugging ears or taking a walk away from it... headphones (although kids can get REAL dependent on them if you're not careful!)... getting up for a walk (take a paper to the office, go get water, etc)...

    For our kids that hit, pinch, etc... move away. Move THEM away... from everything... we actually have one who sits at his desk behind a cardboard "screen." Take away stuff they can throw, move them out of hitting/kicking distance... sometimes you just have to wait them out... as hard as it is.

    You just have to make sure that the sensory strategies aren't being seen as a reinforcement of inappropriate behavior... they scream, you take them for a walk... they're going to see that as a reward (oh, i want a walk... if I scream, I'll get to leave) (Instead... they calm down, then they get the _____).

    By having a field of common choices right there (and them not having to go through the whole process), it *is* helping curb some of it... I think sometimes they get so upset that the whole idea of "i have to go figure out what it is i want" just winds them up more... but having them right there accessible eliminates part of the step for him right now.

    Hope this can be of some use to you... if I think of more, I'll post... and if you need clarification or whatever, don't hesitate to ask. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2005
  4. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Messages:
    789
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 15, 2005

    I had a student that seems to have behavior "cycles". He did all of the things you described and like "John" he would stop when he'd gotten it out of his system. It was like he couldn't stop until he'd been able to hurt us. If we held him in time out (oops, I suppose that is restraint and I too have not had the restraint class) he'd settle down, or get tired perhaps and stop temporarily. I'm told he wasn't like that at all when the new school year started. The cycle seemed to be over.

    I can't remember if John is medicated. Our student was in the process of finding the right dosage. Though who knows if that was the real reason. They'd found the "right" dosage but then just before summer school he had a seizure and they had to back off on the dosage. They never did seem to find the right amount during the summer session, it was only 5 weeks long.

    Back to "John", I'm wondering if it has to do with the fact that his life at home has been very much the same for a very long time. It has been the place he could count on being the same all the time. Now he is facing PECs and it is not the same. It has turned his routine upside down. Improvement for these kids means change. Change is not easy in their lives and sometimes seems beyond their understanding. Maybe too much is being introduced into his home at once. Maybe his parents could start at a lower level. I don't know the PECs system very well so I don't know what that would look like. Was it Dana who said in the other thread that it could be hard for him to transfer skills into different situations? Maybe he has to learn these skills in his home environment too.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2005
  5. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2003
    Messages:
    1,237
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 16, 2005

    When we have kids who have behaviors frequently and we can't determine an antecedent, we call our supervisors who come out with a video camera and will tape our kid all day to try to help with an informal FBA. This can help you determine antecedents you might be missing.
     
  6. LuvPreKTeachin

    LuvPreKTeachin Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 17, 2005

    I have been trying to give him more breaks. When he starts to get upset or frustrated, I have been trying to redirect him to the water fountain in the back of the classroom, ect. The hardest part of the day is protected reading time. Our protected reading time is 90 minutes and technically, nobody is supposed to leave or enter the classroom. (He is is a regular classroom. Our school doesn't have all-day EC classes.) If I see it coming, I can try to calm it before it gets out of control. The hard part is most of his tantrums we can't see coming. He doesn't "puff-up" or show his frustration or anger like "normal" kids. He is even smiling sometimes while he's coming at you! I can't read him half of the time. And even if I don't catch it, by the time he starts... the more I try to calm him, the worse it seems to make him.

    clarnet73... you made a good point about seeing it as a reward. I made that mistake at the beginning of the year, during the first two weeks of school, and it took me awhile to correct it. He would throw himself in the floor when it was time to do his work. I would let he lay there for a few minutes while talking to him and trying to "coax" him back to the table. He would get up and come to give me a hug or walk around the room but the second we headed back toward the table, he would fall out into the floor again. It's just weird that this behavior is just starting. It's never been this severe. It's almost like he is intent on hurting someone.

    I've mentioned to some of the EC teachers that I would like to be trained in the restraint. Some have tried to show me some "moves" but without the certified training, I'm not comfortable using it. I'll be honest with you... I'm kinda scared to restrain him. The EC teacher (who is trained) had to one day and he got loose from her three times and then went after the other kids, me and her. He is SOOO strong. I hate to see him 10 years from now when he gets mad.

    He had his first ear infection (since I've been with him) a few months ago. We could tell he wasn't himself. All he wanted to do was lay around and whine. That was on a Thursday. Friday morning his brother stopped by the classroom and said he was home sick. He never got violent though. I figured a time like that he would "show out" more. Being sick and not being able to tell anyone. :confused:

    ViolaSwamp... John isn't on any medication. His parents are pretty much on the basic level of PECS. They technically aren't even doing PECS like the program does it. They just have his cards out for him to use when he wants to. They don't make him use them... they are there for him when he wants to use them to communicate.

    ellen_a... That is an interesting idea. How does that work, as far as, protecting the school from a lawsuit? Invasion of privacy, etc? Do you have the parents sign a release?

    Crystal
     
  7. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Messages:
    789
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 17, 2005

    I hope I'm not being more of a hassle by suggesting stuff, I just like to problem solve. Don't feel like you have to answer all of my posts. Have you worked with him on any communication skills regarding his feelings? Does he have a PECs card that he can point to that says "I'm angry" or "frustrated". Do you have a task(s) for him to do when he is frustrated? One of our kids is sent to jump on a trampoline when he needs to get his frustration out. He is communicative and will often say "no", but he will do it. I forced the kiddo I mentioned above to jump, got on with him and held his hands. It wore him out though it didn't really get him to stop his attacks. Maybe it could work with John? I've also heard of swinging as another option.
     
  8. LuvPreKTeachin

    LuvPreKTeachin Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 17, 2005

    Please... suggest away. It can only help or not help! ;) His speech therapist is going to start introducing emotion cards within the next few weeks. She suggested making them on a keyring and see if he will wear it like a keychain on his pants. That way he always have access reguardless of where he is.

    I have heard about the swing and the preschool class has one but it is on the other side of the school. I could try that and see if it works and if it isn't being used. (Preschool has three autistic children... and one of them has alot of "emotional" tantrums, as well.)

    His Occupational Therapist has a mini trampoline and he enjoys that. However, her "classroom" in the hallway enclosed by partitions. Our O.T's aren't full-time at our school... we share them with the district. Since we share her, she takes her things to different schools. So either she is working with someone and we can't go in or the things aren't there.

    Hopefully, the introduction to the emotion cards will help once he understands them. We have tried taking him outside in the sandbox, when the weather is good. During his last tantrum, the EC teacher and I carried him out there. Once we had him in the sandbox, he calmed down and began playing. After about 10 minutes of playing, he was okay about going inside. I guess they are just something he is going to have to work through with time. We'll see...

    Thanks,
    Crystal
     
  9. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2003
    Messages:
    1,237
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 17, 2005

    Crystal,

    Most of our students' parents sign releases at the beginning of each school year. Video taping can be a nice way to see antecedents you wouldn't normally notice (i.e. maybe another student is moving too close or maybe someone is walking into the room or maybe the lights are flickering or maybe the noise level is getting really bad). But then there are so many antecedents that CAN'T be seen on a video tape (i.e. changes in temperature) and that's really where an FBA would come in. ABC data is a great start, but sometimes it just isn't enough.

    If you were to get restraint trained, what program would it be? Some are awful. I have MANDT currently and dislike it very much.

    Ellen
     
  10. Dana3

    Dana3 Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 20, 2005

    In your first post you described my son to a T. He is 7, in kindergarten nonverbal, uses pecs and ASL. We have tried everything under the sun, which is also everything suggested throughout this thread. We know he is terribly frustrated and desperatly wants to communicate beyond his ability. So that is what we are going to teach him. We are going to have him spend less time in the frustrating, overstimulating Kindergarten room, and more time in the calm, relaxing, safe environment of the CD room where the focus is going to be social skills and verbal behavior. We have made the same changes at home as well. 3 hours of his therapy is academic, the last 2 hours are pure verbal therapy. In the first week he learned 20+ new signs, began combining signs, is seeking us out to tell, show, request. He went from pinching to get my attention to taking his little pointer finger and gently touching my arm to get my attention. All in the first week. He is a lot happier and the only time he has a meltdown is when he doesn't get his way which I never cave in on and even look at as a good thing (hey, he understands the limit and is expressing displeasure, no different than his sister whining when told no.)

    I guess my point is that "John" is 7 and he NEEDS to communicate as does my own son, maybe a stong focus on verbal behavior is what he needs. We have been using pecs since ds was 3, his preference is always signing. We also feel that my forcing school to put him into the K room no matter what didn't do him any favors, and eventually he couldn't handle it any more and we started to notice these behaviors creap up on us and they only got worse. The decrease in the K room, the decrease in demands and increase in communication skills have changed him for the better.

    I know first hand how frustrating this is, and as a parent it is also so heartbreaking to know that your child is hurting people....please hang in there and I hope something in my rambling story here will help. Everyone has offered wonderful suggestions and I can't tell you guys enough how proud I am of you all and how fortunate our kids are to have teachers like you :)

    Dana
     
  11. LuvPreKTeachin

    LuvPreKTeachin Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 20, 2005

    This may be a stupid question... but what's the CD room?

    Crystal
     
  12. Dana3

    Dana3 Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 20, 2005

    Hey now, I am the queen of stupid questions!!!

    Cognitive Disabilities :love:

    Dana
     
  13. LuvPreKTeachin

    LuvPreKTeachin Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 21, 2005

    Thanks! I've never heard of that before. (Of course, I am still learning!) I'm guessing it's like an Exceptional Childrens class?!?! We have that but the teacher is in and out with other students throughout the day. That's why he only has her for an hour and a half a day. And when he's in there, he's with 6 other kids with other special needs. He is the only autistic child in Kindergarten at out school. Most of the special needs children that need a lot of special or "out of class" help go to a "special school" in the county.

    Well we had a pretty good day today... only one tantrum in the hallwall. It only lasted about five minutes though and then he got up walked to class. Mom said he had a pretty rocky weekend. He had several tantrums at home. We are just taking it one day at a time.

    I am beginning to wonder what will happen next year in first grade? The teacher I am with this year has a degree in Special Education, as well as her Elementary Education degree. She has also worked with special needs kids. I don't think we have any first grade teachers that have.

    Crystal
     
  14. LuvPreKTeachin

    LuvPreKTeachin Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 21, 2005

    Ellen... I'm not sure about the type of restraint our school uses. I'll find out and you can fill me in about it... if you know anything about it.

    Crystal
     
  15. Dana3

    Dana3 Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 21, 2005

    This is going to sound a little strange, and I feel awful that he is going through such a frustrating time, but the *good* part is, that if he is also tantruming at home, it is not just something at school that is setting him off. I agree with an earlier post that it is the change and the new system/demands that he is adjusting to. If he is having a hard time at home, good news, that means his parents are carrying over!! YEAH!!! This is a major adjustment for him, and I am sure he will pick it up as he is reinforced for his hard work. The best advice I can give is to just keep offering him more and more ways of using his pecs, in work, play, personal care, snack time, show and tell......and help Mom as much as possible, this is new to her too and pecs are hard work to make, use and organize. Show her how you are creating schedules and binders so she can duplicate, this will help her and also make it easier for John by having the same system at home and school. Does she have access to boardmaker?

    Keep us posted :)

    Dana
     
  16. LuvPreKTeachin

    LuvPreKTeachin Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 25, 2005

    Mom doesn't have access to Boardmaker. We created a "form" when we sent the PECS binder home. We told her to write down anything that she can think of at home that she may need. We will make and laminate it for her and then send it home.

    Crystal
     
  17. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2002
    Messages:
    6,123
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 26, 2005

    Crystal... my little guy at school, in addition to Boardmaker PECS, has digital photos of particular videos, software programs, etc. in his book that he uses at home... that might be another option for mom (or, of course, cut pictures out of magazines, ads, catalogues!)

    So glad mom's getting on board... that consistent carry-over is SO important... :)
     
  18. Dana3

    Dana3 Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 26, 2005

    My son's teacher lets us borrow her boardmaker CD on vacations so I can print everything I need and make more of the schedules. Picture this is a decent CD and it usues mainly real photos insted of drawings. Though I do not know where I would be without my digital camera. I have also been able to draw some of my own "pecs" when in a pinch ;) I also cut out the pictures from his favorite foods right from the box, like cereal, fruit snacks...

    Dana
     
  19. LuvPreKTeachin

    LuvPreKTeachin Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 26, 2005

    Several people have suggested cutting pictures straight from items. That sounds like a good idea. Our school licensed the Boardmaker so that it can only be used on school computers. (We can't send it home.) Plus, with three kids, I'm sure she is probably limited with her computer time at home. It's not that hard for us to make them here at school... plus we have a laminator at school to laminate them. There are three of us, teachers, that compile our lists and just make a bunch of print-outs and them run them through the laminator. I figured that she would be asking us to make more cards since they have had the binder at home for almost 3 months now. But she says that she doesn't need anything. We only sent home basic cards... so I don't know.

    Crystal
     
  20. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Messages:
    5,087
    Likes Received:
    462

    Mar 27, 2005

  21. beetsjeep

    beetsjeep Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2004
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 13, 2005

    I skimmed the whole thread so sorry if I've repeated something. But when you said that after he "gets it out of his system" he's fine. I wonder if it's also a sensory issue as well. I did see that you said you have an OT that is not full time. We as well do not have a full-time OT (one day/week) and her services are indirect so basically any sensory integration is implemented by our program. We have a "sensory/break" area in our room with a beanbag, excercise bike, and swing. Using the PECS with the motions I'm mad/angry is great and also trying, "I need..." then break or give a selection of sensory activities when you can see he is escalating before he gets to his breaking point. I would consult with your OT and ask for things that you can keep in your area or activities that would be appropriate. Hope this helps. Good luck.
     
  22. kristen keenan

    kristen keenan Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2005
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 8, 2005

    I think that the parents need to work with their child more. If they haven't asked for any more pictures besides the basics, I would be concerned that they aren't really using them at home. One reason for his behavior might be because he doesn't have to use the pictures at home. You should stress to the parents the importance of keeping things at school and home consistent. My daughter is speech and language delayed, and I always asked what I could do as a parent to help my child. We would all see great imporvement in my daughter when we were all doing the same things and expecting the same things from her.
     
  23. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2002
    Messages:
    6,123
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 8, 2005

    Another way to get what the parents need/will use... we tell parents to keep a list... and every time there's a specific picture they could use but don't have, to jot it down, and periodically, they'll send the list to school with their kid or email our parent coordinator, who makes sure they have the right pictures.
     
  24. jcteach

    jcteach New Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2005
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 30, 2005

    I just skimmed thread so I hope I don't repeat! Is something different in the room, new wax on the floor, furniture moved, flourescent bulbs which were burned out have been replaced? I've found when 1 child starts getting agressive, some of the lightbulbs have been replaced and it is too bright. Have the custodian remove 1 bulb near his desk. If not, another idea is to see if he has a pattern to the tantrums. Like, if he tantrums today, it usually happens after lunch or it always happens on Wednesday- music day. If he has a predictible pattern, tied to the schedule- change the schedule-he won't generalize the behavior into the new schedule. You could find that his behavior is tied to certain objects in the class... rearrange! He won't generalize that response to mandatory reading time if you move the books to the other side of the room.

    Other options without restraint- Ask your OT to try brushing, joint compressions, or I call it burrito (think of how nurses wrap newborns in blankets). You may not be able to go to a restraint class now, but if Sensory Integration techniques can be taught to you, it may work out. A stern voice during the tantrum saying "GO GET YOUR BLANKET" and he may follow the direction and stay calm long enough to let you burrito-wrap him and them it may not be possible for him to continue the tantrum.
    Hope this helps!
     
  25. cgraham7

    cgraham7 Rookie

    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 31, 2005

    Hi, I work with a 3 year old autistic boy (at his home) who does the same meltdown thing as these kids... for him its usually because he can't communicate. He doesn't like to/ know how to use the PECS very well. For a kid as young as him, I'm not sure how to help him "express himself". Laying him down on the floor and walking to somewhere where he can't see me often helps. If I stay where he can see me, even if I don't look at him, he will continue the tantrum. But if he know's there's no way I'm going to pay attention, he gives up pretty fast. I usually do that if I've taken away his beads (his obsession) and he's mad.
    Otherwise, he likes to bite at me if he doesn't want to do something. One time he bit me really hard on the arm and WOULD NOT let go, and- out of sheer surprise- I grabbed his hair and pulled him off. I felt TERRIBLE, I've never laid a hand on him before, but it worked...the next time he bit me, I grabbed his hair but didn't pull at all...he let go. Now if he goes to bite me I put my hand on his hair and he'll usually stop. Obviously you can't do this in a classroom, but the idea is- if you pair something that's immediate and unpleasant with the misbehavior, they get the point.
     
  26. cgraham7

    cgraham7 Rookie

    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 31, 2005

    I have the same problem. Especially since I'm working at this kid's home with his mom watching over me, it's hard to just let him throw the tantrum and not intervene or make him stop. I feel like she thinks I'm torturing her kid!
    I told her this before, and I don't think she gets it. I take away his beads (his obsession) a lot and he'll have a tantrum, and she'll say "Give him back the beads." So the kid is trained that he's gonna get his way...SPOILED!!! It's no different than any other kid having a tantrum. I don't know what to do.
    Is distraction the same as "giving in"? I'm trying to figure out a way I can keep him from having these huge meltdowns (so I can satisfy his mom) but not give in and reward him for misbehaving.
     
  27. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2002
    Messages:
    6,123
    Likes Received:
    0

    May 31, 2005

    Distraction isn't giving in unless the distraction results in them getting what they want without having to do what YOU'RE asking... for instance...

    Justin really wants to look at a particular CD, but you've asked him to put the CD down and work on your colors task. He refuses, and throws a tantrum when you take away the CD. Here, of course, you have a couple of choices...

    1) give in and let him keep stimming on the CD
    2) ignore the tantrum and, when he stops, give him the CD
    3) take him for a walk (or whatever distraction works for you) until he's calm, then give him the CD
    4) take him for a walk, etc, when he's calm, he finishes (even a modified version of) the colors task, THEN gets the CD

    You definately don't want to do 1 and 2... 3 can work for some kids, but seems the most effective is 4... 3, imho, would be the distraction that's just giving in, whereas 4 is distraction that's different from giving in, and one that would work... he pretty quickly learns that the sooner he does what YOU want him to do, the sooner he gets to do what HE wants to do.

    I think the hardest part about working with kids like this is that it's so hard for them to tell or show you WHY they're upset... I mean, is it just that they want the particular item or don't want to do their work? Or is it something like are the lights buzzing? They're hungry? Something in a shoe? The seam on his socks is bugging him? Something from last week? Knowing what's coming up? Some combination or a totally different thing all together?

    It's so important... but at the same time sometimes impossible!... to figure out the cause of the tantrum...

    oh, kinda off-track, sorry. ;)
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. TeacherNY,
  2. Colliemom
Total: 207 (members: 4, guests: 181, robots: 22)
test