What would you do?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Tired Teacher, Sep 14, 2019.

  1. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Comrade

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    Sep 14, 2019

    I am hoping to figure a problem out that I have this year. It is not huge compared to some and I am lulling it over. I have a student with influential parents. He is very slow in catching concepts. Academically, he is way behind. We are not allowed to hold kids back here.
    Teachers before me have seen problems with this child and most were afraid to "push the issue." 1 former (gutsy) teacher suggested he be tested for sped. The parents had a fit and bad mouthed the teacher to anyone who would listen. ( Causing the teacher a lot of problems with admin.)
    One of the parents approached me and told me he wonders if the child has a specific disorder and asked me to look out for signs.
    The parents are at the point that they are thinking of putting the kid on meds. To me, meds are a last resort. Over the years, I have seen kids who took them in elementary to grow up and have worse problems as adults. I can't say for sure it was the meds because they already usually had some problem. However, I have seen parents who lack parenting skills use meds to keep their child from causing problems that if they were willing to work with their kids and had decent parenting skills would help the behaviors and teach the kids to compensate.
    I really believe parents and teachers should work on teaching their child to compensate for any difficulties when possible as opposed to drugging them as a quick fix.. I think parents should take about 80% of the responsibility for this because it is their child and they have more influence and power than we do as teachers.
    I am just getting to know this kid...5 weeks into the yr. ( Although I have known him or who he was for a few years) I am not sure what is causing his problem, but I know he has been spoiled for years. He has all of the newest and desired things a kid could want. I don't think they say, " No!" to this kid often. If they do, I am pretty sure they cave in when he sulks or insists. He has seldom been held accountable by his parents. They blame whomever he has the problem with for any situation. I have noticed that they do not follow through after they tell him to do something. They'll tell him to do something 3 x and then just do it themselves when he doesn't do it. They will not take any responsibility for helping this child with homework as they find it "frustrating." The kid has shown some bad behaviors ( not horrible) in the past and the parents think a lot of it is "cute."
    For the moment, I am just observing. I'm trying to figure out what makes this kid tick and how to teach him. He zones out when I try to show him how to do something. His peers do not have the patience to help him because he does the same thing to them. To me, it feels like he is wasting my time often. I have actually told him an answer, written it on the board, and he acts like he doesn't know what to do and doesn't do it. I did insist he learn a couple of skills and did not back off for 2 weeks. He missed some fun activities until he was able to do the skills. He did eventually learn 2 skills to mastery that most of the kids learned in 1-3 days. A part of me feels like he has never learned to listen to anyone. My 1st thought was to check his hearing. He does behave in class.
    Our sped dept. is extremely inexperienced. When a kid gets put in sped almost immediately all expectations go out the window. Teachers hands are tied from trying to get the child to learn and behaviors are allowed to get insane. The main sped teacher told me this year that they are in overload and really just warehousing kids. I'd like to see if this kid has a learning disability, but know being pulled by sped will hurt him in the long run.
    How long would you observe this situation? Would you recommend him to sped despite knowing it is not going to help him in any way just to find out if he has a LD? I am seriously baffled at the moment and I have a MA and have worked in psych diagnosis with children for a few yrs. I am only seeing 1 possible diagnosis for him there. It is JUST a possibility. Do you think there is any way to get these parents to learn and try different parenting skills? It bugs me when I can't figure a kid out! lol Thanks for any advice or suggestions. PS I will add I am very thankful I do not have any extreme problems this yr. I know a lot of you do.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
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  3. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    Sep 15, 2019

    I wish I could offer advice based on experience, but I'm finishing student teaching and have never been in that position. I've worked in a psych setting before going back to college in teacher education, and I worked in special education for preschool children and college age adults, so I can see where testing would be ideal to understand what is going on with him. Then, you have the parent issue, which sounds like a big factor. I would see where the parents are in regard to having him tested. If they're not willing, then testing isn't possible anyway.

    Then, there's the issue his LD may be caused by environmental factors. If you continue to work on changing his maladaptive behaviors into healthy ones, like you have been doing, that will help no matter what.

    The thing is you really need his parents on board. I would try to build that relationship before springing things like testing for a learning disability on them (if they are against it). Hopefully, you can get them to trust you, so they can get into reality about what's going on with their son and will make the decisions and changes at home that will help him and support what you're trying to do for him.
     
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  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 15, 2019

    In my school, there are several steps before referring for sped testing. First there’s an intervention and referral committee - the teacher documents what is being observed and takes documentation to mtg where other teachers help set goals and brainstorm ideas/strategies. It’s mostly for the teacher to get ideas, but this step definitely waves a flag and shows you had concern. There is a timeframe during which the teacher would try the varies strategies suggested. After that time, sped referral is considered. To do nothing is educational negligence and the school can be liable. Is your P approachable to have a conversation about this issue? Regardless, you need to do what’s right by this kiddo.
     
  5. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Sep 15, 2019

    I would refer this student to a student support team. Usually, they will meet and talk about the possibility for testing him for SPED. However, like czacza said, they will give you strategies to try first before you have another meeting. You will probably have to notify the parents that you are having a meeting.
     
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  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Sep 15, 2019

    What grade are we talking about? If you would be more comfortable listing in a range of three years, that would be better than than us assuming the student is in first grade when he might be getting closer to HS. How these things are handled, however, is often dependent on the grade level, which gives some idea of things that might have been tried before. Thanks.
     
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  7. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Sep 15, 2019

    Unless the parents are of the mind to request the school test, I'd take it to your school's variation of child support team.

    Unfortunately, there is little you can do to change home parenting.

    The trick is, it's really hard to tell if it's more medical or more environmental. Hence the need for a good child study process.

    If I were you, I wouldn't go either way on medication in your speech. It's simply not your place. Even recommending parenting tactics is a gray area.
     
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  8. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Comrade

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    Sep 15, 2019

    Skyline, I am really hoping I can get them to trust me. It is very possible the parents already know how our sped dept is functioning. ( Word gets around in the area.) You are right about if the parents refuse testing, it won't happen. I am leaning towards trying to see what he is capable of learning before doing or saying anything. Once he caught on to a certain math concept, he has been able to do it daily as practice. I know I can't do this all yr though. :) I will definitely try to build that relationship before springing anything on them. Thanks! :)
     
  9. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Comrade

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    Sep 15, 2019

    Czacza, As much as I am worried about it, you are right. I do need to take him to what would have been considered an I-team yrs ago to document my concerns. Our resources here have become very limited when it comes to a professional team for I- team. We do not have an interventionist or counselor anymore.We will be having something like that meeting in a couple of weeks though. We finished testing last wk. He tested low and I need to bring it to the attention of a small group that includes the P. Also, I'll have to let the parents know we are meeting.
    Our P is friends w/ this family. He does not like us to make any waves, but deep in his heart, he will know I am telling the truth. However, he is pushing towards the goal of retiring w/ as few problems as possible.
    I truly am trying to do what is right, I am just not sure what that is, yet. I have seen the way things work around here and know he will likely get pushed into sped IF the parents agree and the suggestions don't work.
    I have never seen a kid tested for sped that did not qualify here. I may be cynical, but I think the school gets more $$ for kids with labels. In the old days, I remember their IQ and achievement had to have a discrepancy which made it hard to get services for kids with low IQ's.
    I feel like anything I do is not right because of the way everything changes once they are considered sped. It is almost like I feel I am throwing the towel in on him. I did not mention above that he is a friendly kid and loves to talk about his latest adventures. I like him. It is just frustrating to feel like you are talking to a wall when it comes to anything academic.
     
  10. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Comrade

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    Sep 15, 2019

    Mrs. H, We don't really have a student support team. We bring scores in for kids who are at 25th percentile or below to a meeting w/ the P and another teacher. Sometimes the parents come too. They will make some suggestions or interventions for me to try. Yes, we will have to notify the parents and they may show up too. From what the dad told me, they are strongly considering getting him on meds which is pretty easy to do around here. I really don't feel right about trying meds 1st. I am pretty comfortable about telling them that too. I am probably going to have to accept the fact that this may be out of my control. :(
     
  11. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Comrade

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    Vickilyn, He is in 3rd grade. The teacher last yr was afraid to address the issue and I do understand why. I have less to lose, in a sense, so I am going to need to go through the hoops with him. I just dislike the possible outcomes.
    A part of me wishes we could tell parents to go to parenting classes and get a grip on reality, but I know that has to be something they are willing to do. To do that, they would have to admit/ or even recognize they have made some really bad choices for this kid.
    It is odd how parents seldom do that until after the kids are older if they ever do. Once mine grew up, I could see what I had done right and certain things I should have done differently. I think most people see their own kids through rose colored glasses.
    My kids grew up to be good human beings, law abiding, productive members of society, but I see times I should have done things differently now that they are older. Plus, when my son got to his 30's, he jokingly confessed to all kinds of things I had never known about. ( Nothing really bad, but things I'd have been really upset about if I had known then. lol
     
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  12. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Sep 15, 2019

    Tired Teacher, I am going to assume that this student is in your favorite grades group. If so, that means that several teachers have had the opportunity to address remediation that may or may not have made a difference. What it would have done, however, is created a rule out list of things that had been tried without success. Where I am at, those changes could have been made to help rule in or rule out the need for child study team involvement. If this child is nearing the middle of that K-8 elementary span, however, it is probably time to do more stringent documentation of strengths and weaknesses, since this student doesn't seem to be catching up on his own. It may be time to have teacher/parent conferences, backed by what the documentation shows. It would be nice if the parents could see that their son has been on the radar for quite a while, and his shortcomings haven't gone unnoticed. But just as his shortcomings have been tracked, so have any of his strengths. Perhaps he makes friends easily, reads better than he deals with numbers, etc. The more complete the picture that there is to share with the parents, the more they will accept that you only want what is best for him.

    Best of luck.
     
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  13. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Comrade

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    Backroads, Thanks! I am def going to have to report his scores on recent testing. I know you are right about my lack of control on parenting. I just wish so badly that they could see what they are doing and change.
    I need to let it go because I have no control over it. I feel pretty comfy and safe saying I do not think meds should be the 1st option tried. We do not have anyone skilled to do a child study process. I guess they can do testing to see if he has learning problems though. The more I process this, I think he may have a LD along with parents who are making the problem worse. Sometimes I have to step back and realize I may never know and it is out of my control. I may need to let the chips fall where they may.
     
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  14. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Comrade

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    Vickilyn, We must have both been typing at the same time...lol Yes, definitely my fav groups. Yes, one teacher really tried and got blasted. Last yrs teacher pretty much did nothing with him. She was afraid of the parents and blowback from admin. She did not like him and most people could tell including the parents.
    I have already seen a lot of good qualities he has and I think he is very likeable. It is just at times, he acts like you are talking to a brick wall. When he does that, it is frustrating as all get out. ( Not all of the time)...…He is polite, has a sense of humor, and a few friends.. You gave me an idea that I for some reason missed. I need to start keeping a portfolio on him showing his strengths along with his struggles. I need to start a notebook on him too. I am going to start Monday. Then I will have some things to bring to the meeting. I have a feeling his parents will show up. The parents will not be able to see their son has been on the "radar." They were not told much last year.
     
  15. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Sep 15, 2019

    TT, be careful with that generalizing. You may be surprised to find out that what you were told isn't the exact story and what you claim to be the norm isn't really the norm.

    I know many parents blamed because their children have disabilities that aren't easily compensated for.
     
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  16. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Or a school system making the problems worse......

    Sounds to me like your school lacks the skills to educate students with disabilities if they don't even have a person who can do a child study process.
     
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  17. skyline

    skyline Companion

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    Sep 15, 2019

    I think you're doing the right thing given the circumstances. It's evident you care and want the best for him. He's improving under your guidance! Follow your instincts and keep doing what you know is best.

    My sister works in pediatric psych. She tells me many parents bring their kids in to get them fixed when the parents are the ones who need the fixing. Unfortunately, we don't do a very good job as a society in educating people about appropriate child rearing practices consistently or across the developmental domains and ranges . It's not easy being a parent, and I understand how sometimes decent people just have no clue and aren't necessarily doing harm on purpose.

    I know I made mistakes, but I did okay enough that my son is able to function as a productive adult. Most parents just want the best for their kids, so hopefully after they come to terms with the issues, they'll realize what they need to do. Good Luck! Wish you and your student the best!
     
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  18. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Comrade

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    Sep 21, 2019

    Update: I have been working with and watching this kid closely. I didn't really say this before, but I have actually seen the parents interact w/ this child for yrs now. He is treated very special compared even to their other kids. The other kids are special snowflakes. :)
    After this week, I am feeling even more like this kid is capable of learning. He may have just mentally "checked out.". Maybe he never learned to check in at all, but 1 of the aides who worked w/ his class 3 yrs ago told me this week that he was brighter than he appeared.
    It has taken some pushing to see what he can learn.
    I think it maybe took awhile for him to realize I was serious and was not going to move on ( with him) until he got it. This wk, I had to still make sure I had his attention, but he learned certain things actually quicker than a few others and was proud and happy with himself. He remembered what he learned the week before too. He even went home and bragged to his parents about something he learned how to do.
    I am still going to report his scores, but suggest my own interventions for now. I'll see how it goes for now. Hopefully, uphill. If not, lesson learned, hopefully. I have a hard time of "letting go" when I think there is a chance a kid can do it to a fault....I know. Life would be easier if I let a lot go.
    The school does lack a lot. I worked in an excellent school for many yrs before moving here and after yrs here, I still catch myself saying, " I can't believe this!" New programs and equipment come here that were new to me 20 + yrs ago. I am about done in education and have family here so it doesn't make any sense to move.
     
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  19. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Sep 22, 2019

    I'm happy you made some success.

    What I found very odd was after a year of homeschooling he no longer qualified for services. Home made progress but school was so bad he was removed. This highly suggests that the school environment was not what he needed. I'm not saying it can't be the right environment, but it does suggest that it wasn't in the early years.

    I'm hoping you find something that works for him and the year gets easier.
     
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  20. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Comrade

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    Sep 22, 2019


    This kid was never homeschooled. The dad told me not to send homework home with him because it was too "frustrating " to try to get him to do it. GRRRR Then he said something worse, " That's why we have teachers!" lol
    He wasn't being mean, or joking, just matter of fact! I had been hoping they'd help some. The kid is different. He can read, but not real well. He understands what he reads even. ( I have him in a below grade level rdg book.)
    It is mostly during math that he looks at me like a brick wall. I am thinking if he learned to read, he can learn math. Maybe he learned to avoid it last year. The teacher who had him really did not like him. She told me he was a major behavior problem (actually she called him a PITA, but (thankfully) I have not seen that yet.
    I know her well enough to know if the parents give her grief, she'll just totally back off and say the kid is doing great and pretty much avoid the kid.
    I work in a highly dysfunctional school that gets away w/ a lot because most of the parents are not on top of things. It runs on emotions. If the kid loves you, you are considered a good teacher by the parents. If the kid has a problem or is unhappy, you are considered a bad teacher. Admin is scared of the parents. The climate is trust only your very close friend or friends. A lot of gossip, lies, and bad mouthing of people goes on there.
    The school is really faraway from admin offices so we never get dropped in on. ( Unless a major event occurs.) We are considered the best district in the state, but I am at 1 of the worst schools in the district. We lack a lot of personnel that the other schools have. I had a couple of chances to transfer to a better school over the yrs, but both times I got offered some pretty sweet deals to stay. At 1 time, we had a P I loved too, but he is gone now. I am almost done. I keep saying 1 more yr....lol
     
  21. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Sep 22, 2019

    I apologize. Somehow I confused this post with another. It was definitely my fault.
     
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  22. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Comrade

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    Sep 22, 2019

    No biggie! I figured as much! :)
     

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