Trying to get a student to stop sitting "indian style"

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by Bangert, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. Bangert

    Bangert New Member

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    Feb 17, 2011

    I know saying "indian style" is politically incorrect, but since I am Native American, and really don't know what else to call it, I'm going with it.

    Anyways, I have a 17 year old student with Autism that sits "indian style" wherever she is. Her mother would like her to stop this because she gets the car seat all dirty as well as any other surface she is sitting on. This is also inappropriate because she wears skorts every single day, which means we are constantly trying to cover her so her age peers do not see her.

    Other than continuously pushing her legs down and reminding her not to sit that way, what are some other ideas of how to stop her from doing this?
     
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  3. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    Feb 17, 2011

    I do not have a solution for you, but mostly around here I have heard it called criss cross applesauce.
     
  4. bethechange

    bethechange Comrade

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    Feb 17, 2011

    What about using a T-stool or other adaptive seating that would require her to put her feet on the floor for balance?

    Could you tape X's on the floor and tell or show her, "feet on the X's?"
     
  5. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Feb 17, 2011

    It's too bad the parents waited till 17 to address this. At this point the habit of sitting criss-cross is completely ingrained and probably feels natural and comfortable.

    Perhaps it's time for her to stop wearing skorts if they are too revealing. If she's not able to discern the dangers of revealing herself, she should be given clothes that protect her modesty.
     
  6. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Feb 17, 2011

    I'm not autistic, but I HAVE this constant urge to sit criss-cross. When I work in the classroom and have to sit in a normal chair, I am constantly wiggling and moving, and putting one leg up, and the switching them. I am most comfortable sitting criss-cross. I'm on my rolling chair, pretty small one, and I'm scrunched into a criss-cross position as we speak. I also sit like that in the car when I'm the passenger (I just kick my shoes off).

    So, I feel for her. Can she at least wear shorts underneath her skirts?? Can you talk to the parents about this option?
     
  7. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Feb 18, 2011

    I think you could try having her sit on a balance ball or other seating where she is unable to sit how she prefers. Try giving her other objects so that she can get used to it.

    Maybe she will need to take off her shoes in the car and put them back on and not wear skirts to school for awhile.
     
  8. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Feb 18, 2011

    Skorts have shorts underneath, yes? If so there is nothing to show heh

    But yes, several possibilities: wear pants only, x's, different type of chair, etc. However, autistic children are fairly set in their ways so addressing this at 17 yrs old is kind of late...?
     
  9. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    Feb 19, 2011

    First, find out why she is doing it. "Indian Style" might be more stable for her than other forms of sitting. I would consult the OT at my school to see if we could figure out why she is sitting like that. It could just be a bad habit, but the behavior would be a lot more likely to be extinguished if you could figure out why she does it. Maybe she needs the extra balance it provides or maybe she doesn't like the feeling of her feet hanging.
     
  10. CanukTeach

    CanukTeach Companion

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    Feb 19, 2011

    I would recommend starting with Social Stories. If you force her to sit a different way it could lead her to another habit to compensate.
     
  11. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Feb 19, 2011

    Same here! I prefer to sit criss-cross as well! :eek:
     
  12. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Feb 19, 2011

    I say that too, criss-cross applesauce.
     
  13. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Feb 19, 2011

    I have a question. What does sitting criss-cross and wearing shorts have to do with making things dirty? Is she having accidents??? Sorry, I am just not sure what you are saying here.
     
  14. Lindager

    Lindager Companion

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    Feb 19, 2011

    Is she short? My daughter who is short always sits either crisscross or on her knees it is just more comfortable because her feet don't touch the floor in normal chairs and car seats. Maybe she just needs a stool for use wherever the seat is tall and her feet don't touch the ground.
     
  15. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Feb 19, 2011

    So, an interesting side note about the whole "Indian" term - not sure if "Indian-style" adds a new dimension, but I used to live in Phoenix, and the name of one of the "Native American" communities out there is the "Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community" - unless that was a name forced on them by the outside, it seems that at least that group still uses the term "Indian" to refer to themselves!

    Alright, side note aside, I think there are two routes to go:

    1) Accommodation. Like some others have said, accept the behavior and find ways to deal with it - skort seems fine, or let her wear pants.

    2) Try to change the behavior. First, with any kind of behavior change, its important to ask if its worth the effort. While her mother may want the behavior to change, I'm guessing if she's Autistic that there are a number of other behaviors in the communication/social interaction/stereotypic behavior categories that would likely be more important than how she sits, especially given that accommodation is fairly easy. However, it could be important for reasons we don't know about, so if you want to, there are basically three sets of interventions that would be needed:

    A) make the current behavior more punishing/less reinforcing by adding some kind of punishment/response cost plan - e.g., if she sits "Indian Style" then she loses a token, point, etc. (typically folks with Autism will already have some kind of reinforcement/response cost system in place, and tying into existing plans will be the easiest/most efficient and probably the most effective since you won't have to re-teach a new system.

    B) Reinforce the alternative behavior - depending on the severity of her Autism, this may be as easy as saying, "Don't sit 'Indian Style'" (leaving interpretation of the alternative behavior up to her), or with more severe Autism may require teaching a specific sitting style for each environment - car, floor, chair, couch - and in each different setting - bedroom, living room, church, classroom, etc.

    C) Use specific teaching strategies (introduce/describe, model, allow for practice, provide performance feedback, perhaps combined with pictures of her sitting the appropriate way and other strategies depending on severity of Autism) to teach alternative behaviors. This is different from (B) because (B) involves rewarding the behavior, while (C) is teaching it. Sometimes (C) can be skipped if she already demonstrates independent performance of the skill (i.e., she already sits the right way on her own at times, she just doesn't want to), but you'd want to make darn sure she already has the skill in her repertoire before doing the punishment/reward thing or it won't be fun :).

    Finally, in the different schools I've worked in, I've found some of the Autism teachers/consultants in the SPED department to be simply amazing, and full of strategies in the categories above since they use them day in and out. That Autism teacher/consultant would be my first stop, before trying anything myself.

    Hope this helps!
     

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