Worst Day yet!

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by spedled, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. spedled

    spedled Rookie

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    Nov 16, 2011

    If you remember, I had previously posted about some problems I had dealing with aggressive outburst from an autistic student. Today, he pushed another teacher and she ended up leaving in and ambulance. I was told it was my fault for: 1 taking his tray away, 2 having him in the cafeteria, and three not removing the trigger. What a day! I am sitting here now trying to find the words for a letter of resignation. I have beat myself over the head all day trying to figure out what I keep doing wrong when it comes to this student. I have tried picture schedules, he won't even look at them. I have tried giving him computer breaks, but he constantly goes to unapproved sites. He refuses to do assigned tasks. I guess I do not know how to accommodate him and as a result he has attacked me and other students. The IEP meeting for revising a behavior plan went nowhere and my district bullies us into compliance or loss of employment. Now the result is another teacher being assaulted. They use his autism as an excuse for his behavior. I keep asking for expert advice, training, etc.., but they want to keep everything in house so they "handle" it. I am not even allowed to contact parents for behavior problems at my school.

    to clarify some questions let me say this:
    He had eaten breakfast and was asked to put his tray away. Instead of placing his tray in the tray area, he took it to the elementary side and asked for food. The cafeteria worker who knows he is not allowed to have seconds, and that he had already come through the line, wouldn't give him food. A teacher who was in line with her students got him some food. I reminded him that he had eaten and we needed to put our tray away. I asked hem to hand it to me. He handed it to me then stomped away screaming and ran toward the cashier screaming. She called his name and said don't hit me. He ran past her and pushed the other female teacher down. She hit several chairs before hitting the floor. He screamed and I told him it was time to go, and pointed to the door. I said go now in a stern voice. I got in trouble for taking away his second tray and said just let him eat. What a joke, he is not being taught, everything I attempt, they say it s out of his routine. He has been in my class for six months, when is my class routine going to become familiar?
     
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  3. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Nov 16, 2011

    This is absolutely not your fault.

    The student needs to be suspended as of now, an emergency IEP meeting/manifestation determination meeting must be called, and a police report should be filed by the teacher who was pushed by the student.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 16, 2011

    But if the school isn't going to support the teacher here, what can really be done? If the situation is really as bad as what's been described here, it seems like a toxic situation to me.
     
  5. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Nov 17, 2011

    A complaint can be filed by her or the parent against the school. Can't state any specifics, but I can take a shot at it. How is the student at their current level if they do not do work? So grade inflation must be a factor. The school is failing to put the student in the Least Restrictive Environment (Otherwise, why would the student be physically aggressive so frequently?)
     
  6. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Nov 17, 2011

    This may or may not be the case with this particular student, but public high schools have non-diploma tracks for students with moderate-severe challenges. They still move up by grade-level, but they graduate with a certificate of completion and they take functional classes vs. standard based academic classes.
     
  7. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Nov 18, 2011

    In my opinion, I think that you should have been closer to this student in situations where he is "learning" outside of the classroom. Your student is known to be physically aggressive when upset/frustrated and your telling him "no" would have led to frustration (btw, I would have said no too), especially after trying to get more food from the elementary side.

    We have a educational assistant being sued in parents of an injured student b/c the she was supposed to be watching a student with behavioural issues during recess. She went to pick up a piece of garbage and the student she was to be watching pushed another student off of the monkey bars. The student that fell now has brain damage.
     
  8. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Nov 18, 2011

    True. I wasn't thinking of that when I posted after writing an essay :p


    Honestly if the student was known to be aggressive, the suit is reasonable if the school is listed as the primary defendant.

    Perhaps for spedled, the district should consider implementing restraints, as they would be reasonable in this case, along with getting spedled trained in restraint techniques.
     
  9. spedled

    spedled Rookie

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    Nov 19, 2011

    Thanks for the insight, but I have been told by his mother that I invade his personal space when I attempt to help him, I did ask him for the tray, and went to take the tray to the tray return as he walked away. There is nothing I could have done to make it better other than let him eat again. The answer for so long has been give him what he wants to keep him from acting aggressively, but what am I teaching him if I carry on that tradition? He stomped and ran was I supposed to tackle him pr something? I have inquired of what to do many times, had an IEP meeting, changed my classroom around, got him an area of his own away from distractions, I mean I am trying to help him and teach him but I am not doing it well because he won't listen. He gets angry when he has to work. He would rather sleep.
     
  10. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Nov 20, 2011

    Restraint training may help. Or if the student has equipment on them such as a helmet.
     
  11. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Nov 20, 2011

    A helmet is considered a "very restrictive" option. I would not go that route unless there is significant data to support the need for such protective equipment.

    A helmet can be used in the case of self-harm, or excessive aggression (biting) towards others.

    I haven't heard either of these mentioned as a major issue by spedled. Just wanted to make sure that everyone takes the use of protective equipment very seriously as it is medical equipment.

    With that being said, spedled, it does sound like you're in an incredibly challenging situation.

    You are absolutely right that this child should not be "given what he wants" to keep him from displaying aggressive behavior. Although he may seem "old" to everyone here (high school), he is still relatively young and there is still the possibility for significant behavioral changes to be made.

    At this point, there is no reason to go back and have regrets about your decisions "in the moment." When a child is displaying severe maladaptive behaviors, it's very difficult to make decisions in the moment. This is why the child *does* need a very detailed Behavioral Intervention Plan. I would recommend getting your district behaviorist involved - if you don't have such a person, often districts have consultants who come in to help with these types of things.

    A detailed plan would help you determine what the right course of action is for each particular situation. It will not 100% eliminate the need for decision making, but it will significantly decrease the number of times that someone can say "Well why'd you do that" or "When he does that you should do this" - because you will have an actual document that says:

    When XXXX does behavior A, we will respond with action B.
    When XXXX does behavior C, we will respond with action D. Etc. etc.

    This way, if anything happens, you will know the plan of action and will know how to respond.

    These decisions need to be based off of a functional behavioral analysis which will give you more insight into why the behaviors are occurring.

    It very much sounds like these are behaviors as a result of either:

    Non-compliance (student doesn't want to follow adult directives)
    and
    Avoidance (student has no desire to engage in school work or other academic activities)

    and throughout the years, his negative behaviors have worked for both of these situations. (I haven't seen the child engaging in behaviors, so this would not substitute an actual FBA being done...)

    My recommendations would be:

    • Child should be removed from situations where he can endanger other students or teachers. I have had situations like this, where a child has issues in the lunch line because it is related to food/anger issues. Simple: child eats lunch in the classroom, office, or some other location and the lunch tray is brought to him. You graduate from this situation slowly (one day a week he gets to get a tray, if he does well, you move up). Due to the nature of "LRE, etc." these are decisions that need to be okayed by the IEP team. I don't think there's anyone out there who would dispute that he should not be in the cafeteria if he is sending staff members away on ambulances.
    • A set of walkie talkies should be purchased (some schools have them for custodians, administrators, etc. - ask around) - so that any aide who is working alone with this child (going to bathroom, walking in hall, etc.) is able to call for help if needed. The other person on the other end of the walkie talkies should have it with them and be able to leave to help in that type of situation. In our case, we would just say TEAM 402. Which would mean, I need help in room 402. Or, TEAM hallway 322. I need help in the hall by room 322. This way, it's not alarming to those who hear it on the walkie talkie (kids pick up on it, but still there's at least an ounce of dignity in that type of announcement). So, on that note, you need a TEAM of people who are able to help you in this situation. With a protocol of how you're going to respond to certain things. This is where restraint training really comes into play. You need to REQUIRE your admin to get you restraint trained, or you're going to keep having ambulance rides at the end of each day.
    • You haven't mentioned whether he's be specifically harming adults who work with him, just those who give him directives, is it just those who take his lunch tray, etc. There are protective gloves that can be worn to keep your arms free of scratches. Yes, this is stigmatizing, but if he is harming those who come in contact with him, it is absolutely necessary to protect you and your staff. I have had many children who display severe (SEVERE) maladaptive behaviors (biting, spitting, behavioral vomiting, scratching, skin picking, grabbing, hurting, harming, pushing, kicking) and having the arm guards are very helpful in keeping your arms scar-free.

      I can't remember if you said this student engages in biting behaviors, but a "jean jacket" is a very successful way to keep your arms safe.

      For serious biting behaviors, you may need something more significant.

      Our behavior department has many of these:
      http://www.centurymartialarts.com/Sparring_Gear/Gloves/Cloth_Forearm_and_Hand_Pad.aspx
      Which, upon first glance, seeing a "Martial Arts" website, you may think, but I didn't sign up to be in a sparring match! At any rate, we have to play with the cards we've been dealt. So, in the name of protecting yourself, I don't think it's an issue to provide protective gear to yourself and your staff. They also have shin guards, just hand gloves, etc. They are so effective in being able to ignore the behaviors. The child bites you and you're able to continue with your demands as if nothing ever happened because you don't have to react to his behavior. You'd be surprised how quickly many behaviors end when there is no reaction from the adult. Also, the century arm guards don't look that weird when they're under a long sleeve shirt.
    • Communication. You have got to, got to, got to, get a way for this child to communicate. Behavior IS communication. It is! Think about not being able to say, "Gosh I really just wish I could have another lunch tray, I am sooo hungry today and I love those cafeteria green beans!" You'd be frustrated too! If he can read, you can make little cards that say different sentences (That made me mad, I need the bathroom, I need a break) etc. If he can't read, you can take my earlier suggestion of trying the ACTUAL PECS protocol, not just giving him pictures and expecting him to know what to do with them. They need to be specifically taught how to do things. Since he's so motivated, PECS will REALLY work with him, I bet.

    I gave some other suggestions on structuring this child's education. You've got to gain compliance and control, first. That's your first task. Academics are secondary to behavioral compliance. If he can't even do what you tell him to do, you're not to the point of academics yet. You've got to get him set up in an academic-ish situation but give him things you know he likes/knows how to do (puzzles, word searches, worksheets he knows and is familiar with, matching flash cards, etc.) Then, you can slowly sneak in new things. Find out what he likes and build off that. If he's really into volcanoes, make volcano worksheets and flashcards, etc.

    You CANNOT resign. You CANNOT give up. This child has made his way through his entire school year plowing everyone in his path. He NEEDS you to help him through this. He NEEDS you to help him learn how to learn.

    Teaching is hard - especially the first year. Teaching kids with autism is even harder. But, believe me, it'll get easier and you'll start to see results. Hang in there, keep doing your best, and try to start with a fresh attitude with this kid. You HAVE to keep trying new things, reading books to get new ideas, asking colleagues for suggestions, posting on this forum to get outside input, just gotta keep plugging along. You can do it!
     

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