Violent outburst.

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by spedled, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. spedled

    spedled Rookie

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    Oct 14, 2011

    I have a student who has Autism. He is 15 and he has been having extremely violent outburst for 3 weeks. I have been documenting each incident, have talked to my chair, principal and the Sped Assistant Director; all before I talked with his mom. After trying to do ABA with him, I did what his mom suggested as well as the chair and director. My principal said it was out of of her area. Nothing they have suggested has worked. He has pushed me down once this week, slammed me into a brick wall, hit my assistant with a broom, and slapped me on my arm with both his open fist so hard that I was bruised. I need someone to tell me any ideas on how to redirect his outburst. His stimming has gotten so loud that it is disturbing the other students in reg ed classes. I do not think rewarding him with music, food and sleep is acceptable, for this behavior. He has taken his belt off several times and swung at me, but he keeps calling me momma and giving me his belt. When i say no put your belt back, I am not going to hit you, he charges me. For the last three months he has been in my class I have put him on a different schedule but he won't follow it. The last teacherlet him sleep all day and fed him soda and chips to keep him quiet. What do I do? I fear for the safety of my other students, my aide, and myself.
     
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  3. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Oct 14, 2011

    Get the school psych in there NOW to do a FBA so you can get a BIP in place.
     
  4. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Oct 15, 2011

    Can you explain what you mean by, "trying to do ABA with him?" I am curious to know what you mean by that.

    What is the student's functioning level? You mentioned that he is in regular education classes... is he benefitting from them at all? Sounds like it would be difficult to, given the aggressive and self-stimulatory behaviors.

    You are right that you should not reinforce his behaviors by giving him the things he wants after an aggressive episode. Also, it is helpful to always remember that behavior IS communication. He is trying to communicate something to you and your staff members, but you just don't know what that is at this point. There may be some significance to the belt (some sort of trauma at home, maybe at home he takes his belt and his mom helps him put it on, it's the wrong belt, it's his special belt, etc.) you really never know.

    Also, you mentioned that you've put him on a different schedule. That's incredibly disruptive and upsetting to a kid with autism. I am not saying that's the cause of it, but it is very normal for him to not do well with the schedule when it keeps changing and he doesn't have time to adapt to it.

    First and foremost, you have to figure out what is causing the behaviors, or at the very least, what is commonly occurring prior to the behavior taking place. When you know this, you can have a sense of what may be causing it. Also, remember that (especially in this type of situation) the kids do what they need to do to get what they want. He may be trying to escape demands (i.e. work avoidance) - and he knows that every time he charges a teacher, a big scene ensues and he gets out of work for that period of time. From the sounds of it, he doesn't get much work done (period) because he just engages in behaviors and everyone reacts.

    Obviously, his safety and your safety are the most important. Keeping that in mind, it is VERY helpful to remain as calm as possible -- the words "No, put your belt back" could be taken harshly by him ("no" in general has a negative connotation for obvious reasons). Another way you could phrase that might be, "Oh, I don't need your belt. Thanks, though!" Or something similar. Even being a little silly about it and then going about your business. He might have learned this "chain" of events is that he takes it off, you say "no put it back" and then he charges you. You can throw him for a loop by doing something different, such as saying you don't need his belt - then going about your business.

    Stay very very confident. He (and others who engage in aggressive behaviors) can smell your fear. If you stand your ground and you are confident and calm, he will sense it, and there will be no need to charge you. If he knows that you think he's about to charge, he will fulfill that thought and go for it.

    If he swings at you, charges at you, etc. do what you need to do to move out of the way and then state the demand (whatever you were originally doing). "We're working right now, please sit in your chair" (as you move out of the way). Also, try to position yourself in a safe spot BEFORE these types of things come up (i.e. you notice he is removing the belt) - you could then stand on the other side of the table when you make your comment. Honestly, you could even try ignoring the belt thing. Just let him take his belt off. Continue with your normal routine. "Ok, let's get to work!"

    Are you trained in Crisis Prevention? (There are a ton of different programs, CPI, NCI, SafeHands, Physical Control Technique (PCT), etc.) If you are not, I would recommend asking your supervisor that they provide this training for you immediately. Most all of these trainings include a de-escalation training - which includes verbal techniques (or lack of verbal language in some situations) to help de-escalate the situation before it gets physical. As a last resort, you can use physical methods to keep the child and yourself safe (this is a LAST RESORT and is really ONLY for those who are trained to safely administer the holds). However, given the intensity of this child, I would definitely recommend getting trained if you are not. There can be litigation issues if you are not trained and you put your hands on a student (even if you are protecting yourself).

    Is he able to speak? How are his verbal skills? What is his cognitive level?

    With more information, I could give you more specific suggestions - but the most important thing at this point is seeing if you can figure out a cause.

    I also have a few websites for protective gear, if it got to that point. Which is obviously only a temporary solution to keep you safe and you still have to search for the root of the problem. However, the protective gear, whether it's on him or you, can actually end up helping the situation because you're able to "stay in the game" so to speak (i.e. he hits you but you don't react because he doesn't harm you).


    Hang in there, I know it's tough. You'll make it through!
     
  5. MATgrad

    MATgrad Groupie

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    Oct 15, 2011

    I have several students are very aggressive and violent at times. One of these is a non-verbal autistic student. I have several strategies that we use with her. The first is a visual schedule. I also have a poster with visual picture cue cards placed on her desk. The third is a twist on a horizontal visual schedule. Its where I put her list of tasks she needs to accomplish. When she finishes a task she takes it off and places the picture card in the box. When she finishes her tasks she receives a reinforcement ie. sensory toys. It was very HARD in the beginning. She screamed/hit/bit a lot. The important thing was that it was done everyday consistently. Does she still scream/hit/bite? Yup. Does it happen less.

    Does the student have sensory needs? What is the student's history? I find the IEP meeting minutes to be where a lot of information is found. :hugs: I know its frustrating but hang in there.
     
  6. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Oct 15, 2011

    This is going to sound like a stupid question - I work with mild disabilities. How is it that a student is allowed to hit, push and bruise people without legal consequences? I don't mean to sound judgmental, but I'm pretty horrified that this kind of behavior is ignored, just because the student has autism. If one of my students slammed me into a wall I would call campus police. I'd understand if he was 5, or in a school for kids with autism, but it sounds like this is a gen ed high school and he's 15 years old! What if he attacks a gen ed teacher, or one of the other students ... would the police be called then?

    I know it sounds like I'm making a statement, but I'm actually asking these questions sincerely.
     
  7. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Oct 16, 2011

    Sometimes the student has no other way of expression. They do not know how to get the emotions out.

    The student needs to get a FBA to determine the cause of the aggression, and then a BIP can be put into place to help the student.
     
  8. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Oct 16, 2011

    Even if this is a learning curve for you, I want to take the time to say I really appreciate your attitude towards this situation. It is very important that you have an attitude of wanting to help the student, willingness to be flexible, and I can tell you are trying to reach out and find another way.

    The fact that you are also worried about you and your staff is reasonable. I don't have direct experience with autism so I can't help you there, but I do highly recommend that ALL of you take some sort of formal crisis prevention. As teachersk shares, there are many of them. One example that I am familiar with is NCI (Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training). It will at least help you learn some de-escalation techniques and how to stay safe while you are learning other strategies that help this student. Here is a link to help you get started looking into it. http://www.crisisprevention.com/Specialties/Nonviolent-Crisis-Intervention

    Your district may already have something set up. You might also start another thread and ask which of these crisis intervention training programs teachers here have experience with and recommend. This needs to be set up immediately.

    Asking here is a good start, but this year is going to require you to explore all resources you can. You may also want to observe a program that specializes in Autism.
     
  9. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Oct 16, 2011

    Thanks for the answer. It just sounds so dangerous for everyone involved.
     
  10. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Oct 16, 2011

    Special-T,

    I don't know the specifics for this child (original post), but I can give you some background on other students.

    Typically, this type of behavior would be seen with students with limited verbal abilities - either non-verbal or minimally verbal students. However, with that being said, autism in general causes impaired language and communication skills - so even students who are in regular education schools, may have or appear to heave higher cognitive abilities, etc. can have behavioral challenges that can cause some of the behaviors described.

    Something else to note, is that - just like we say "students with autism" or "students with disabilities" - it's important to not call these children "violent kids" or "aggressive kids."

    Maybe it's just me, but I prefer to say, "I have a student who engages in challenging behavior" or "the student engaged in aggressive behavior towards another teacher." It's probably just a little thing, but it seems like it describes it much more appropriately (as in, this is a child who is engaging in a behavior that is difficult to deal with but not his fault, obviously our children do not "charge" or "attack" teachers because they want to).

    There are many, many kids on the spectrum who have SEVERE behavioral challenges, and I have worked with quite a few. They need to be given tools to communicate and deal with their feelings. It's our job as teachers to figure out what's going on - and try to solve it. We have to constantly "Change it up" to come up with ways to deal with these behaviors.

    I would say that "calling the police" would do very little to fix the situation. To be honest with you, I'm not certain a police officer would know what to do or how to handle a child who was engaging in these types of behaviors. Biting, charging, punching, kicking, these types of things are all quite common but can be terribly nerve-racking if you've never encountered them before.

    So, hopefully it is easier to understand that this is not necessarily something that needs to be disciplined, rather something that needs to be problem-solved to figure out the cause and how to deal with the situations the arise. Does that make sense? I can imagine that a teacher who has never worked with such students before would be incredibly confused as to why the kids can "get away" with these behaviors - it's really not getting away with it as it is engaging in the behaviors and those around them not knowing what to do... because it's not a typical kid getting in a fight that you can discipline and that fixes it.

    Make sense? :dizzy:
     
  11. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Oct 16, 2011

    Teachersk, good post.

    You'd be surprised at how much of a difference a little change in vocabulary can also help you deal with parents. It's a signals care and understanding. That perception is the starting point for building trust.

    As for the "getting away" part of your post teachersk, care to come to my child's school and talk to them? Let's just say it has been a hard week and I identify with so many points in your post. Thanks.

    I love this statement: So, hopefully it is easier to understand that this is not necessarily something that needs to be disciplined, rather something that needs to be problem-solved to figure out the cause and how to deal with the situations the arise.
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 16, 2011

    If I were in your position, I'd approach the school counselor and/or psychologist and ask about the possibility of referring this student for services elsewhere. When I worked in an inpatient psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents, we frequently received referrals from schools about students like the one you've described who started displaying aggressive and violet behaviors. The students stayed with us for a couple of weeks, during which time they were evaluated, their meds were adjusted (if appropriate), and the therapists worked with them. It was a good environment for most of the students because they received true 1:1 attention and support 24/7 during their stay.
     
  13. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Oct 16, 2011

    I know what the police will do....they will place the student in handcuffs and write a police report. My student's family had to phone the police a couple of times when they could not control him. They ended up placing him in a residential setting.

    I had an extremely violent student in my class last year. He was placed in my room b/c I was the only special ed. in the district that wasn't full and had a time out room. He did have autism and was 12 years old, weighed around 150 lbs and was about 5'5. He weighed 3 times as much as some of my other students. He functioned around a 2 year old level and did not "fit" my program but we did the best that we could. The one big difference was it was thought that he might have been bipolar or some psychosis too. He worked with the top doctor in my side of the country and the doctor was at odds as to how we could help him b/c medication had no effect with him. I also had highly recommended behavioural strategists working with me (both from his residential setting and from my school district). When he was "on", he was able to request items and show that he needed a break. When he was "off", he was very unpredictable, he would react violently if a student accidentally brushed against him, if you spoke to him when he didn't want to listen to you, if you looked at him at the wrong time, etc... We pretty well had to work with him the best we could when he went through his "cycles".

    The students were scared off him (couldn't blame them, b/c he would strike out against them when upset with no provocation) so we had to work hard in showing that we didn't have to be scared of him and that we are all different and reacted different. He actually allowed us to help teach the other students how important it is to be aware of their surroundings and how their actions could impact others.

    I miss my big guy!
     
  14. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Oct 16, 2011

    Thank you for all the responses to my response. I got a little freaked out thinking of a teacher being hit and shoved! And, I was picturing the potential disaster of this student acting out with a gen ed teacher or another student.

    Another thing to consider is getting this student his own 1-1 aide. I have a student, on the mild end of the autism spectrum, who displays aggression when he perceives he's being teased. He has a 1-1 aide that stays with him all day. This aide has been with him for a number of years. This works really well in a gen ed inclusion setting. One of the bonuses of the 1-1 aide, is that when my student gets restless or disruptive, they can take a walk or leave the gen ed class to another setting.
     
  15. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Oct 16, 2011

    When I was a toddler, nobody could understand me except my mom. It resulted in most of my family having black eyes for a few years.
     
  16. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Oct 18, 2011

    Yikes, lucky you didn't pack the punch of a 15 year old! By the way Bros, I really appreciate the insight you give from someone whose been on the other side of an IEP.
     
  17. spedled

    spedled Rookie

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    Nov 12, 2011

    I have figured out that he is trying to communicate that he doesn't want to do what I ask him to do. He does not follow his schedule because in his ninth grade year, the first with me, he is just being introduced to doing so. He has been allowed to sleep at school for several years and with it being his first year with me, I am trying to teach him to do things as best I can. He doesn't like to work at all. I can get about 15 minutes after breakfast and lunch, then he wants to sleep or listen to music. I realized he liked the computer, so we tried to put programs on ours. He took and went to websites that play music but won't do the work.
     
  18. spedled

    spedled Rookie

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    Nov 12, 2011

    I appreciate all of your thoughts and comments. Teachersk, you are so right, the police wouldn't know how to handle him and I do not think jail is what he needs. He is definitely attempting to communicate, but I can not get him to use his pictures. He has gotten so set in his school routine that he sees me as an enemy. I want him to be successful, but I do have other students to care for as well. We spend a large amount of time in class now learning how to respond when he becomes violent. He put me through a door last week because he wanted me to write for him when he was supposed to be adding his numbers. He refuses to do anything but write. I am not able to write certain things for him, he must write his answers himself. He wants to sleep and eat. I am actually worried about my students, staff and myself.
     
  19. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Nov 13, 2011

    Spedled,

    You said that your student has difficulty using his pictures to communicate. Does he have a PECS book? If this student is non-verbal or minimally verbal and has difficulty expressing his wants and needs, I would recommend purchasing the PECS protocol/manual and utilizing that with him. You mentioned that he likes eating, sleeping, and the computer. Ironically, these are great motivations to learn the PECS system.

    http://www.pecsproducts.com/catalog...id=28&osCsid=fa6a3123f42234decdf7552be8511bc7

    This manual gives detailed explanation of why and how to introduce the Picture Exchange Communication System with individuals with autism of all ages. I can nearly guarantee that your student's challenging behaviors have somewhat to do with his inability to effectively communicate. This book is $69.00 but it is well worth the money given the outcome you will get. I have not ever had a student who has not been successful with the PECS protocol - though some students take more time than others to move through each phase.

    As a high school teacher, it may seem silly to be teaching him to ask for food, ask for computer, etc. and using that as instructional time, but having the ability to express yourself is one of every human's basic rights. (You could correct me if I am wrong in his inability to communicate, but from what you've written this is what I've gathered).

    It also sounds like this student would highly benefit from a reinforcement system. If he is motivated by sleeping and eating and computer games, you can use these tools to your advantage by motivating him to do other things. Are you familiar with Discrete Trial Teaching? This might be a method that you can look into for getting your student on track to comply with adult demands.

    Depending on your student's cognitive level, there are a variety of "programs" that you can implement in your classroom. I understand that you have other students and cannot utilize all of your energy on this one student - but this is one of those cases that if you can get this child's behavior in check, give him the ability to effectively communicate, and help him become more independent, your classroom will be a more effective and efficient learning environment for ALL of the students. Sometimes some kids need more attention than the others, especially when we're not given the resources we need (i.e. an instructional assistant, behavior consultant, etc.). However, just knowing that if you're able to dive into this specific student's education for a little while to get things under control, it will be worth it in the long run to not feel threatened, in danger, etc. for yourself and your other students. Does that make sense?

    I would also recommend the book, "A Work in Progress," by Ron Leaf and John McEachin.

    http://www.amazon.com/Work-Progress-Management-Strategies-Curriculum/dp/0966526600

    This book really breaks down the most well known instructional methods for teaching students with severe autism and/or students with autism with severe behavioral challenges. It includes data sheets and troubleshooting for specific challenge areas.

    Yes, it does start with very basic things such as, "Block Imitation" (you building a tower and your student doing the same) - I am not sure what level he is currently functioning at, but I would assume he is higher than this. At any rate, there are skills assessments in the book that you can use with your student to help determine which skills are appropriate to be working on. That might be another thing to consider - how did you determine which things to work on him? (Even if he "came with an IEP" - it is important to know that he is working on appropriate skills for his developmental level, as this is something else that could cause major frustration for him. Too easy, too hard, etc. can definitely cause behaviors.)

    I had several challenging students during my first few years of teaching and "A Work in Progress" got me off on the right foot. It really helps you understand how to totally break down instructional objectives and meet attainable goals in small steps. It sounds like this is necessary for your student - - to really celebrate the small achievements that he makes in his education.

    Another thing that I would recommend utilizing (upon gaining a meaningful means of communication) - is a token board. You can do this from a lower level (actual tokens - 3 or 4 pennies with velcro on the back that are adhered to a laminated strip with a picture card at the end, depicting what the child is working for) all the way to a higher level (a check sheet or tally mark system of some kind, earning 50 checks means you get 5 minutes of computer, or something similar) - based on the child's developmental level. Typically, with such challenging behaviors in the classroom, it would be very common to start out with the lower level system of earning 3-4 tokens to gain a preferred reinforcer or preferred activity. Literally, using this throughout the day. "Computer! That sounds so fun. Let's earn it!"

    "Show me clapping!" Nice job - you listened to your teacher! (place token on token board)

    "What's your name?" You told me your name! Thank you! (Place token on token board)

    "We're going to do this one problem on your paper." Wow! You wrote your answer! Nice job. (Token on token board!)

    "Check out your token board! What'd you earn?" (Student verbally responds or points to picture/word of whatever reinforcer was selected prior to work...) You say, "Yep! You sure did earn computer! Enjoy!" (Set timer, remind student of time remaining).

    Typically, in the beginning, "Disappearing" reinforcers are better than those that are "Timed." i.e. Giving a few M&Ms works better than 5 minutes on computer - simply because then you have to go through the struggle of getting the student off the computer. Whereas, when the M&Ms are chewed up and in the belly, the student wants more, and is therefore motivated to get back to work! Without the struggle.

    Again, I don't know your student's levels (cognitive/developmental) but all of these strategies can be modified to meet every student's needs.

    The basic principles of behavior - reinforcing the behaviors we want to see and ignoring the behaviors we don't want to see - will help your student move forward in the classroom.

    Hope this was helpful..
     
  20. spedled

    spedled Rookie

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    Nov 16, 2011

    read too late.

    My goodness, Teacherisk, I wish i had read this before today! I have a book I bought from Pecs for him but he throws it down when I say use your pics. He won't do what I ask him to on the computer, he only wants to listen to music. He will write his days of the week, and anything I write before hand in his journal. He will not do math even with help. He just sits there. He can rote count, but has problems counting items. He requires do much individuals time, that We had to get a one to one assistant for him. He won't cooperate, he goes to the changing table and lays down. He is trying to communicate, I agree, but he refuses to do academics. I guess I have not done enough to ensure his work is pre-written for him to copy. He won;t copy from the board, he writes his days of the week on everything. The people at my school say to let him do what he wants; if his sleeping keeps the students safe then let him sleep. His mom says that it is me that triggers him into this aggesive behavior, she doesn't see it when he is with her.
     

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