Violent Student (Opinions/help Please)

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by cgmach, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. cgmach

    cgmach Rookie

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    Oct 20, 2012

    I am having difficulties dealing with a student for the past couple of months. This student is constantly being violent with everyone in the room to the point where I have to evacuated the rest of the class. This student will punch, kick, spit and scratch. I have tried using many methods such as PECS icons and positive rewards. Icons did not work because he would just throw it at us. The positive reward did not work because once the reward was over he would just start being violent again. If he sees another student being rewarded he would try to harm that child. I had to remove and hide many materials in the room because he stabbed a staff in the face with a pencil. The parents are in denial about their child. They state that they have never seen that behavior before. I have been trying to set up an IEP for a placement change but the district is dragging their feet. I am currently understaffed and he does not have a 1 on 1 aide. Currently I am leaving him alone and letting him play with puzzles and reading books while I teach the rest of the class. However he is still violent. I have created a behavior support plan and also tried documenting using an ABC chart. Nothing has worked. He will even be violent when you ask him to get his lunch box to go out to lunch. I am at lost on what to do because we can not restrain him and his mother is complaining that we shouldn't be allowed to put our hands on him.

    PLEASE HELP!!!! I am at lost on what to do.
     
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  3. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Oct 20, 2012

    Keep documenting his behavior. Every single time. Document the date, time and a detailed narrative of the incident.

    Do you have a Special Services director? They might be someone useful to consult with. Also, I would invite as many people as you can (principal, assistant principal, other special education teachers, speech, OT, etc) to come an observe this child. When many people have witnessed his outbursts, it's harder to make it less of a priority.
     
  4. cgmach

    cgmach Rookie

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    Oct 20, 2012

    Hello BumbleB,

    Thank you for your help.

    The principal is helping me get the district involved. It has been about 2 months now and they are still lagging. The special education director left and their is a sub for her. It takes about 2 weeks for the program specialist to reply to my emails.

    I have documented every incident. Do you think it's okay if I recorded his behaviors or do I need parent consent?
     
  5. PolarBear

    PolarBear Rookie

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    Oct 20, 2012

    Yup, that's about all you can do. My wife went through this with a student last year. It took multiple observations from the Principal, School Psychologist, and finally the Student Services Head Psychologist to get an alternate placement. All the while, the parents were in complete denial.
     
  6. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oct 20, 2012

    A staff member was stabbed in the face and no charges were filed? That should be the course of action. At the very least, the next victim should file an incident report and request reimbursement for a trip to the doctor.
     
  7. unity

    unity Rookie

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    Oct 20, 2012

    My violent students was transferred to another school(to the class of the guy who teaches restraint for the district!:D)
    . We had started to use a para to teach him on one towards the end, she did a lot of entertaining work- reading only from types of books that he liked, spending large amounts of time on science experiments, as science related topics were the only ones he did without a fight. It really helps to have the personnel.

    At my school, referral forms are used to officially document these types of incidents.

    His mother doesnt get to decide that her son can be as violent as he wants to be. Is there anyway you could get a camera and record his violence?

    Why can he not be restrained, if you are properly trained in CPI, PROACT or a similar restraint/deescalation technique?

    The school isn't afraid of a staff/parent's student suing them? I was told that the parents of students who had been hit unprovoked needed to be contacted, and that the parent could order a police investigation, none of the parents I contacted did.
     
  8. cgmach

    cgmach Rookie

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    Oct 21, 2012

    We made an incident report on it and the incident reports are stacking up. The staff went to a doctor that was provided by the school district. This is my first year teacher and I am at lost on many procedures/rights. The district is not doing anything about it but the principal is on leave.
     
  9. cgmach

    cgmach Rookie

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    Oct 21, 2012


    How do I get him transferred? I have been trying to hold an IEP for placement change but the timing for everyone is always off. We are not trained in CPI and according to the district we can not restrain him. His mother knows that he can be violent but she is in denial. Her first reaction was stating that she never seen it before. When she finally saw her son being violent, she would reply with I do not know why he does that.

    We have mention to her that this school is not fit for him but she insist on staying saying that she does not want to move him to a school with all "special" students. This student is in 4th grade. I heard from his past teachers that he has always been like this.

    I am a first year teacher and I am completely at lost.
     
  10. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oct 21, 2012

    Definitely sounds like an intense situation. cgmath, there are really 2 conversations going on here - first, how to proceed with getting more help/pursuing a more appropriate educational plan/placement, and what interventions you might try to help the student (and yourself/the rest of the class).

    The first thing that might be helpful is more background info - what current program is he being served under? What age? Current IEP or other supports? Background on student? Any diagnoses? Academic/cognitive functioning? Etc. All of that might help us get some context when considering advice.

    Also on a more general level, just to give you some validation, it sounds like your administration is not appropriately handling this as they aren't making up the difference in support between what you have and what SPED is providing. Particularly during situations requiring restraint, it's absolutely critical that admin either provide you with restraint training (e.g., CPI) or be immediately on call to handle such situations themselves. If they are doing neither, that's highly inappropriate.

    That being said, support doesn't necessarily mean changing an IEP or removing the student from your class. Those are certainly 2 avenues, but not the only ones. The other options, of course, are providing other outside support (e.g., counselor, admin intervention directly w/o SPED involvement) or assisting you in developing a better intervention plan. It's quite possible that the right combo of interventions are out there waiting to be implement, which would render a change of placement/IEP less necessary.

    So..... with all of that being said, let's return to question #2 which is what you might be able to do now given the fact that you don't have a better SPED program or admin involvement. The first step is getting back to my initial line of questioning with more info on the student. In addition to the background info, could you provide more info on these:

    1. Could you describe the behavioral episodes more specifically - how many times per day, how long do they last, what causes them to end, and how do they progress? With progression, are they different toward the beginning of the episode the progress into more extreme behaviors as the episode goes on? Does his cognitive clarity/rationality decline over the course of the episode? Do all of the behaviors occur during every episode? Are there other problem behaviors that occur separately from the violent incidents you're describing?

    2. What other events or situations are going on in his life to make his behavior more or less likely to occur (e.g., divorce, high crime neighborhood, depression).

    4. What things seem to trigger his behavior (specific actions such consequences, times of day, certain people, certain needs/wants, etc.)

    5. Can you describe the class/teacher reactions to his behavior in more detail? You mentioned providing positive reinforcement, but could you be more specific - how much reinforcement, what kind, and how frequently? What about when he doesn't do the right thing - how do you respond then?

    You mentioned having recorded the behaviors on an ABC chart - what were your findings?

    Sorry for all the questions, but sometimes behavior can be complex and the more info we have the more accurate our advice can be.
     
  11. cgmach

    cgmach Rookie

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    Oct 21, 2012

    Hello EdEd,

    Thank you for helping and for all your great suggestions.

    The student is in 4th grade and is 10 years old. He is currently placed in a moderate to severe class. He has autism. He is pretty high in academic compared to the others in the class. He can read a whole story to himself, can add, and write. He is pretty verbal and can form a complete sentence. He does not have any other services beside speech. The mother said that he was adopted at 3 months and he was abused. She also stated that his abuse lead to him being violent and aggressive. She also said that he remembers being abused. In my honest opinion I do not see how the child can remember anything at 3 months but I could be wrong. She then also stated that he was bullied when he was in preschool however I talk to sub para’s and the previous teachers and they all stated he was very violent towards students back then.

    I have set a schedule for him in class that way it can establish a routine. I have called his previous teachers to ask them about their class room routines and schedules which could allow me to create almost the exact class room setting. I though this could help him feel more comfortable with a familiar setting.

    The behavior is that when you ask him any questions such as: can you get your lunch box, can you help us clean up, do you need to use the potty (he is not fully potty trained), do you want to work…etc Once a staff have asked him a question he will either say “No” and starts kicking. When you walk away from him he will try to spit at you. When you tell him to stop and be nice he will run towards you and attack you. They can last from either 2 minutes to 45 minutes. We have tried using “First and then” method with visual icons and also the task cards to earn an award. Those did not work because he would fixate on “yes bathroom and no bathroom.” When he did work such as complete a worksheet which is very rare we would reward him with turning on the water fall and then set a timer for 3 minutes. When it would end he would become violent again and would try to attack other students. He almost kicked a child that was laying down in the face when we didn’t intervene. He can be violent anytime of the day. I did not want to reward him to much. I have tried making the break longer or shorter and his reaction would still be the same. What I also noticed is that he tends to express different personalities during his day. He can either be very happy, sad, angry and mad. I’m not sure if he is just role playing and acting.

    When he starts being in his attack mode I try using expressions of that’s not nice, you are hurting me, hands to self while using visual icons.

    What I noticed from the ABC chart was that any time anyone asked him something he didn’t like to hear he would be violent. If its not on the topic of something fun he would become violent. I tried saying sponge bob likes to clean up and since I stated clean up he would be violent. However, if I just say sponge bob wears square pants he would listen and sit down.

    I am tired of being scratched up, kicked and having him spit in my face.
     
  12. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oct 21, 2012

    Definitely sounds draining, and it's definitely great that you're open to trying new things and getting help. Many people feel that getting help is a sign of weakness, when in reality it's a sign of strength.

    Just to make sure I understand, it sounds like the antecedents/triggers in the situation are the presentation of a nonpreferred activity or task demand, the behavior is noncompliance, and the consequences are reinforcement of positive behavior when it occurs (but that it doesn't occur very frequently). Also, given the fact that he has Autism, he's more likely to dislike transitions and have a harder time managing emotions and expression of emotions. It also sounds like you've paid attention to arranging the environment in a way that has previously been successful, and tried picture schedules/cues as well.

    One more follow-up question: you said that even when you leave him alone to do fun things, he is still violent. Can you describe the process of him becoming violent? It seems that typically he is violent when he is asked to do things he doesn't want to do, but even when he is doing fun things it seems he's still violent? What is the trigger for violence in those situations?

    Pending your answer to this last set of questions, based on what you've described, here are a few ideas. Some of none of these strategies might work, so what might be helpful is to try some and report back on what you find. That will give us more information about other things to try or modify, if that works for you.

    1. Start giving a number of task demands that are preferred. Right now you are asking him to do a number of things he doesn't like, which has conditioned him to dislike pretty much anything you ask him to do. If you increase the ratio of preferred to nonpreferred task demands, you might be able to neutralize his reaction to directives. So, ask him to do things he likes - a lot. For every 1 thing you ask him to do he doesn't like, ask him to do 3 that he does. Over time you should be able to reduce this.

    2. Significantly reduce expectations in the short-term. Ask him to do as little as you can, and let him do preferred tasks pretty much always. If you do ask him to do things, ask for much smaller amounts of it. So, instead of a worksheet, ask him to just do one problem. This will help create a more positive climate and a starting place to increase challenge. High expectations are important, but when a child is in a state of constant frustration and failure, it's time to drop back.

    3. Reward for smaller things. Similar to the last strategy, break up expectations into smaller chunks and reward each chunk. So, rather than expecting an entire worksheet to be done, ask for just one problem to be completed. If you can't get him to do even one problem, then break that up into even smaller chunks and reward accordingly (e.g., picking up pencil, putting pencil to paper, writing one number). Over time, you can gradually increase length/amount of behavior expected as you experience success with smaller amounts of behavior (e.g., once he's good with 1 problem, ask for 2). It can be helpful to adjust rewards as expectations increase as well - more reward for higher expectation (so he doesn't feel that more is being expected for less).

    How do you see these strategies working for you?
     
  13. cgmach

    cgmach Rookie

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    Oct 23, 2012

    That is strange. I replied to your post but it's not showing up. Maybe it still waiting for it to be approved?
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 23, 2012

    :yeahthat:There shouldn't be an opportunity for a next victim, IMO.:mad:
     
  15. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Oct 24, 2012

    Interesting! I've never had my comments held, but not sure. Maybe there's a new policy. Would it be helpful to try to post them again, or would that take too long?
     
  16. unity

    unity Rookie

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    Oct 28, 2012

    Is there anyway they may give you an aide to train in intensive behavior interventions, or so that you can do these interventions while the aide keeps the class running?These have to be done so frequently that you'll probably risk losing you class if you try to do them with fidelity.

    Agree with all of EdEd's answers, just remember to keep it all visual, maybe an If/Then picture schedule with a picture of his work expectation(a book for reading)followed by one of his preferred activities. If he completes the reading, then he can play his music, for example. A visual timer(a 5 min hourglass or something similar) is what I'm trying to get for my student and sounds like it would be good for your student.

    If necessary, the IEP document can be signed in absentia by those required. There is a written excusal form in which staff explain why they are unable to make the meeting. If the parent cannot make it, they can be talked with via email/phone/SKYPE and then mailed the IEP for signature. Make sure your admin and SELPA are truly okay with this, they should already know that this is a possibility. Is his new placement out of the district and one they have to pay for? Non-public placements are easily 10,000 a student, usually more due to their low staff to student ratios.

    Verbalization can actually be irritating to a student, my kid responds best when I shorten my speech- If I want the student to get her potty chart out of her desk, I might say: Show chart. If I'm teaching sight words, I will say: show it" etc.


    I'm currently working on my visual schedule for my autism student, this website works well.
    http://www.setbc.org/download/public/vss.pdf

    I find that she sometimes needs the actual manipulatives/realia to respond to during tantrums. I asked her to pickup bingo markers after she was calming down with music(works great with her, only problem is getting her to transition back to work) from a tantrum, then pointed to them, then
    picked up some in my hand and brought them to her and asked her to pick up 30, and she finally did.

    When she gets in her moods and doesn't get something she wants, everything has to be very hands on, very concrete and very finite.
     
  17. AspieTeacher

    AspieTeacher Comrade

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    Dec 5, 2012

    CgMach,

    Make sure you keep copies of all your documentation. Even copies of what your administrator said and document this input and what was the consequence. Document the time, date, ect. Keep the originals for yourself. If you need to contact anyone, make sure it's in email form so it's in writing. Document any emails that are not answered. You may have to go to the administrator and show your documentation of what you have been trying to do with the student. You have the right to protect yourself and the rest of the students from a volatile student. If you have a union representative, please contact them with your predicament as well. I hope this information has been helpful.
     
  18. Muddle

    Muddle Rookie

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    Dec 6, 2012

    What about not "asking" him.. but telling him exactly what your expectations are.. "get your lunchbox", "go to the bathroom", we do this, this and then this... no options, routine is routine. Stick to your First-Then visuals. Use Visual schedules in the room for the whole class. If he refuses to do something, then he can choose between 2 options - do the required task or _____ . Of course you have to have the support to carry out the "____", whatever that is. The "___" choice depends on the student and what would be a negative alternative for him. For some, no recess/computer/free time might work. For some, going to the office, a call home, note in agenda, extra work might work... depends on the child.
    Your situation sounds very difficult. A colleague of mine is in a very similar situation and I feel for her. I hear that other students are scared to even come to school because of the violent child - that is so wrong. And so frustrating when the parents are in denial. I hope it all works out... all the best, good luck.
     

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