Should I be concerned?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by Ambrosegirl84, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. Ambrosegirl84

    Ambrosegirl84 Companion

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    Mar 30, 2009

    Hi, I am a teacher in a rural school (as in, I'm the teacher/principal/lunch lady, although I do have a part-time aide).

    I am concerned about one of my students, whom I've had for two years now. He is in second grade and has poor coordination. I wouldn't say he trips or stumbles, but always seems to be in a "hurry." I've always told him to "slow down" which has given only marginal success. I'm wondering if he is maybe unable to slow down? My aide said this morning when they said the Pledge that he "rushed through" the song and when she tapped him discreetly on the arm he seemed quite upset about it.

    Some things I've noticed: He gives up easily and/or gets anxious if he doesn't understand something RIGHT away. He's a very bright kid, excellent reader, but has trouble with some "common sense"-type things: fact/opinion, rhyming took a long time, has difficulty understanding the "meaning' behind a math problem and how to do it. He has a hard time making up reasonable estimates and will often "echo" his buddy's estimate. So he pretty much "hates" anything that is any kind of a challenge, to the point of giving himself a mental block over something he KNOWS how to do.

    General coordination: One-to-one correspondence in counting was a huge challenge in first grade and he still has a little trouble with it. He was also unable to cut a large oval out of construction paper today (we ended up tracing it for him) and has a really hard time cutting curves unless he is cutting along a line. Handwriting is hard for him, as well.

    I had the kids try to balance on one foot the other day and this was quite difficult for him to do.

    Apparently entering kindergarten his speech was almost unintelligible (i.e. "pido" for "spider") but he recently stopped receiving speech services (it was just his 'r's that came last). He's shown a lot of improvement but has a scratchy/squeaky voice at times.

    Anyway, sorry that got so long, but I don't have anyone to ask about this unless I were to call the multidistrict special ed unit, but I really don't feel comfortable doing that without the parents' permission. I have conferences tomorrow and wanted to know whether I'm overreacting (because kids DO develop at different ages) or if I had legitimate concerns. The parents are pretty "old-school" and would likely not pursue anything I wasn't "sure" about.
     
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  3. AspieTeacher

    AspieTeacher Comrade

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    Apr 4, 2009

    In response to concerns:

    Ambrosegirl,

    I would document everything that you observe behaviorally and specifically and what triggers the behaviors. Make a file of what you observed, patterns of behavior and you might want to share this with a school psychologist and your concerns. The parents may want to have him screened for "sensory integration" if possible or even autistic behaviors. How are his social skills with his peers? Does he seem to be a "loner" and keep to himself? It sounds like he is displaying behaviors which are most likely seen with students with Asperger's Syndrome or High Functioning Autism as well. He may have OCD issues, but the coordination factor is what stands out with me. I was uncoordinated in school and I was always on the rush as well. I still am. I think he rushes because he wants to avoid too much sensory input.

    Aspieteacher
     
  4. Ambrosegirl84

    Ambrosegirl84 Companion

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    Apr 20, 2009

    Interesting, I have been thinking that it has something to do with sensory integration or maybe anxiety. I did "buck up" and talk to one of the parents and we have made an appointment with the special ed unit (that serves several other rural schools in the area). I told the parent I didn't want to be a "hypochondriac" teacher, thinking something was going on with any kid that was different. But they agreed.
     
  5. GeorgiaSPED

    GeorgiaSPED Rookie

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    May 3, 2009

    I am a parent of a child with Aspergers syndrome, and I also am the support teacher at my school for these students.

    Reading your post reminded me quite a bit about my son. If you present this to the parents I would begin with the positives that Aspergers could offer. Of course, I am kinda jumping the gun since he needs to be diagnosed first. Anyway, at my school it is frowned upon for us to "suggest" things to parents, because of the possible legal implications. (ie if we suggest a kid needs medication the system could end up paying for it). I would find someone in your school or district to observe the student, and review your observations over the past two years. Many times to someone who knows the disorder it is quite apparent, but there are rating scales you can find online for autism and asperger. Remember though when using those scales nothing with this type of issue is exact, students do differ in presentation, but there are similarities.

    As someone who has lived it personally, and worked with a variety of students on the autism spectrum professionally it does sound like this student is on the spectrum, and would benefit from assistance. I currently have a student who no one is allowed to touch. It is very upsetting to him, and painful. I tried to explain to him (9th grader) that for many people a light touch is comforting. He just couldn't wrap his head around that, because a light touch is painful for him. My son was released from speech for similar issues in kindergarten. When we moved to another district more informed about autism he was placed back in speech for pragmatics. A 1st grader calling a boy...her or a girl...him just isn't appropriate.

    Hopefully, you can find a way to assist this child. With early intervention students often have much better outcomes. Without early intervention students do okay in elementary school, but by the time they are in middle and high they struggle in ways that are painful for me to watch knowing if they had help earlier it would be easier for them.

    By the way, I am an advocate of focusing on the positives....the following people are thought to have Aspergers...Bill Gates, Thomas Jefferson, Einstein, DaVinci, and so on....Oh and Dan Ackroyd was diagnosed with Aspergers as a teenager....so I think these students are in great company...now if we can just help them through the social world called middle and high school :)
     
  6. Ambrosegirl84

    Ambrosegirl84 Companion

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    Jun 9, 2009

    Wow, very interesting about the famous people with possible Asperger's. I had "general" testing done with an OT for motor skills and stuff, and he had beautiful handwriting and will probably score very well on the fine motor stuff, which really surprised me. She was more concerned about the gross motor,and I'm waiting to hear the results of those tests...

    I'm thinking now it's more on the lines of anxiety, as I think other family members struggle with it, and his symptoms are far more pronounced (sometimes only pronounced) when he is anxious about something.

    Anyway, I'm glad I had testing done, as I agree that it's better to catch something early than wait and have the student struggle more than necessary in JH/HS.
     

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