Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Response to School: Good or Not? (Long)

Posted by Anonymous
  • 277 Replies

This is something I wrote up tonight, for a school meeting on Monday to discuss her behavior. Please keep in mind that DD is SN and this is regarding how they are handling some issues (she is 6 years old).

Disturbing Reports:
"I Hate You"

Recently, I asked DD a few questions about her treatment at your school and received an absolutely SHOCKING, DISTURBING and UNACCEPTABLE response (which I have on video).

I asked DD how her teachers were treating her and was told that her teachers would physically "trap" her by force.  If this is not currently on her IEP, then it needs to be addressed IMMEDIATELY and THOROUGHLY discussed with myself and DH beforehand.

When prompted about things teachers tell her, she replied that her teachers tell her not to bite them, to which I replied "sounds accurate."  

What disturbs me most, is the fact that DD told me Miss M tells her she hates her. I reiterated the question and again received a "Miss M tells me she hates me" response.

This is a very serious issue and an absolutely unacceptable form of treatment, which I will not tolerate.

I have also read the report regarding the activities leading up to DD's suspension and the handling of the "bracelet situation" and found it a completely INAPPROPRIATE response for an Autistic child. 

I would like to note here that DD has a medical; as well as, an educational diagnosis of Autism (formerly Aspergers, until DSM reclassification), among other developmental delays. While she is high-functioning, there are behaviors and procedures to handling such episodes. 

I understand it can be frustrating to work with an Autistic child; especially when aggressive behavior is being displayed, but it looks like absolute provocation or ignorance in response  by this report.

A child who was punished with not going on a field trip because of aggressive behavioral issues related directly to her diagnosis through provocational means. I would also like to point out that some of the "punishment methods" being employed, are not only distasteful, but the opposite of producing productive results in Autistic children.

It is not surprising that an Autistic child would respond the way she did, nor is it surprising that if THIS is how such episodes are being handled, that there are more reports to follow.

As high-functioning as DD is, she is still developmentally disabled and does not understand WHY she is being punished in many of these situations. She only understands that she is being "targeted" and thus feels constantly attacked.

Allow me to go over the sequence of events and explain how such aggressive behaviors in Autistic children work in order to promote better understanding on how to deal with such episodes in the future.

Here is the transcript of the first letter received from April 14, 2014, along with notation provided by me (transcript is colored):

Student: DD
Date: 4/14/2014

Activity/Activities: beginning of morning, independent work
Time Started: 8:20am
Time Finished: off and on until 11:00
Description of inappropriate Behaviors: Refusing to do work and follow directions, crying/whining, yelling, trying to climb doors, kicking doors, hitting doors
Description of Event: When DD arrived she had a bracelet on her wrist. Last week, she wore bracelets and continued to play with them for 2 days. A note was sent home to parents stating the problem and asking for no bracelets to be worn to school because she wasn't doing any work with them on.

The bracelet was taken away and she began crying/whining, yelling, trying to climb doors, kicking doors, hitting doors.

So let's start here:

If I recall, my concerns with DD's compulsions were in fact stated at the last IEP meeting, so I am curious to know how this was not something immediately taken into consideration. 

Obsessions and compulsions are common with high-functioning ASD cases and are associated with significant levels of distress.

The difference between OCD and ASD in such behaviors is that people with OCD are usually uncomfortable with these behaviors, while those on the spectrum can be untethered by them.

That being said, a key factor here is that behavioral therapy can be difficult because children on the spectrum don't perceive these obsessions as wrong or intrusive in any way. 

Handling this type of behavior is done with POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT, NOT removal of the the item.
For example:

- Discussing things about the bracelet
- Incorporating work with the bracelet by using it as an example for the work being done
- Promising a reward for good behavior if she puts the bracelet away on her own
- Reinforcing the behavior

That is how I would have personally handled the situation.

As DD has consistently demonstrated such behaviors in the past; which have been discussed at full length in previous IEP meetings (Example: The issues regarding the cat and my concerns about her O/C behaviors in regards to such things), simply "not bringing in the bracelet" would still not have appropriated the correct response when such behaviors are demonstrated.  

She punched Miss M in the stomach. She was removed from room and taken to time out where she continued to cry, yell, try to climb doors, kick doors, hit doors. She was given visual cues: stop, breath, count to 5 and sit, be quiet, and be nice. Finally after 30 minutes, she calmed down and forgot about the bracelet. She came in to do her morning work. When it was time to do the math paper that she hadn't finished since last Wednesday, she again began crying/whining, yelling, and throwing the paper away.

Because of the psychology behind what was stated above, none of these cues would have worked by this point: The situation had absolutely no form of positive reinforcement to calm the behaviors. All this was doing was agitating the situation.

Let me point out that I find the behaviors unacceptable on my daughter's part; however, I also understand what warranted the episode and how to prevent it from occuring. As such, this situation has been carefully looked at in home.

After several minutes, she was crying/whining, yelling, trying to climb doors, kicking doors, hitting doors. She also hit and kicked Miss Kim. After 15 minutes, she was calm and returned to finish the paper.

Autism Aggression

Autistic children with poor social skills sometimes display physically/verbally aggressive behavior. Aggression isn’t always directed toward people but objects. Children with ASD can’t always verbalize what they’re feeling and therefore might react aggressively when they become frustrated or upset.

It's important to remember the types of situations that result in aggressive behavior and be prepared for them when these situations arise.

When DD displays aggressive behavior:

- Remain calm
- Avoid providing attention
- Avoid any type of reaction (even a slight facial expression change or body language)
- Avoid scolding or reprimanding, which could exacerbate the problem

As noted, these issues have been discussed in her IEP meetings, but it seems they are not being implemented.

If possible, I would also like to request Miss M no longer work 1 on 1 with my daughter and that another aide provide her with counseling and behavioral care therapy.


Posted by Anonymous on Apr. 18, 2014 at 7:15 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
by Anonymous 2 on Apr. 18, 2014 at 7:19 AM

I honestly wish you luck.  I have no experience with this so here is a BUMP for you.  

by Ruby Member on Apr. 18, 2014 at 7:20 AM
7 moms liked this

by Anonymous 3 on Apr. 18, 2014 at 7:22 AM
2 moms liked this

homeschool her with outsourcing some activities for her...sounds like the school is doing more harm than good

by Anonymous 3 on Apr. 18, 2014 at 7:22 AM

Good luck fighting a public school...parents rarely win, ever.

by Anonymous 4 on Apr. 18, 2014 at 7:22 AM
11 moms liked this
Why did you send her to school with the bracelet after they asked you not to?
by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster on Apr. 18, 2014 at 7:22 AM


Quoting cybcm:

by Anonymous 5 on Apr. 18, 2014 at 7:23 AM
7 moms liked this

Yeah, that wasn't condescending or entitled or anything...

by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster on Apr. 18, 2014 at 7:23 AM

She actually snuck it out without me realizing.

Quoting Anonymous: Why did you send her to school with the bracelet after they asked you not to?

by Anonymous 6 on Apr. 18, 2014 at 7:24 AM
Too long. At least one sentence doesn't make sense. "A child who was punished with not going on a field trip...." doesn't seem to be an entire sentence (obviously I didn't type the whole thing).

Otherwise, I agree with what's been said, but I think you need to condense it.
by Ruby Member on Apr. 18, 2014 at 7:24 AM
61 moms liked this

I've been taking care of autistic children for over 40 years.

I think you're expecting far, far too much from the teachers, and far, far too little of your daughter.

I think you need to completely rethink this situation.   Your child is kicking, hitting and biting.  

She may be in a class where too much is expected of her.   You put SO MUCH emphasis on her being 'high functioning' yet in the next breath say she has developmental delay and autism.

You may have pushed to have her in a situation that is too much for her.   She may need to have more support and structure in the school.   When a kid is CONSTANTLY or OFTEN being aggressive, especially biting and hitting, it MAY mean the parent is so over-zealous to have the kid 'fixed' that they have pushed for a situation the child just can't handle.

It can also mean the parent has an extremely unrealistic view of what the child can do.  No, no don't scream at me that I don't understand how brilliant your child is or that I want you to 'give up'.   That's not what I am talking about at all, just be quiet and listen for 2 seconds.   With these kids you need to be PATIENT.   They can learn a lot but it TAKES TIME.   Parents OFTEN don't get this.   They push for too much too fast and as a result the child is in a situation at school that they can't handle.   That translates into aggression.  

Often the problem comes down to this: School is EXTREMELY different from home.   I've seen kids name their colors or objects at home, yet cry and hit themselves when asked to do it at school.   That's because the child is dealing with so much more at school.   School is far, far more challenging to kids than their familiar comfortable home.   It's very, very important than parents recognize this.

OFTEN the parent doesn't realize that the way they deal with the behavior at home, doesn't work at school.   They try to impose what THEY do at home, in a house with ONE child, on the teachers at school.   I've seen a few of these parents have a little 'Come to Jesus Moment' when they insist the school do everything the way they do at home, and have marched over to the school to 'demonstrate how it's done' and have found, Gee Whiz, what I do at home doesn't WORK here.   The kid is more distracted, more is going on, and the way the parent deals with the behavior at home VERY OFTEN DOES NOT WORK AT SCHOOL.

And I seriously doubt the teachers are saying, 'I hate you' to this child.   I think your child feels like people hate her if she isn't allowed to do things she wants to do, just as many younger children feel.   I can't count how many toddlers I've heard of telling mommy, 'sitter said she hates me' when sitter said, 'no, you can't shave the cat'.  

For that matter, I've seen kids with no diagnoses at all, at 7, 8, 9, have a melt down, and kick and scream and throw themselves on the floor when they didn't get something they wanted.   If you simply sit there and 'remain calm' and 'don't pay attention to it', it WILL go on for some time and it WILL disrupt the class.   A teacher can't always just sit there and ignore it and 'remain calm'.  

This is a serious problem I see with many parents of children with disabillities but it is also extremely common with parents of autistic kids.

You expect nothing of yourself, nothing of the child, and everything of the aides and teachers.  You expect everyone to follow INCREDIBLY impossible to follow directions as to how to deal with it.  

You say this child is 'high functioning' yet she is actually behaving in a very low functioning manner.   If she is kicking and biting now, imagine what it will be like in ten years.   She has GOT to start learning to behave better, NOW.  

I think you need to completely rethink this.   This child is turning into a spoiled brat and performing way, way below her potential.  

'Be calm' is just really not adequate 'procedure' for a child in a multi child classroom when said child is kicking and biting.  

Rethink it.   You doing this stuff is going to have an extremely negative effect on your child.

Trust me on this one.   Stop making excuses for yourself and your child, and work out some far more effective ways of improving this child's behavior.  

WORK ON IT AT HOME - EXTENSIVELY.   AND PLEASE don't tie the teacher's hands behind their backs and then blame them when things go wrong.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)