Does the teacher complain about your special needs child’s behavior?
Stories and advice on what to do when problems arise at school.
We have had our share of terrible stories about school and sadly everyone has a story or knows someone with a story. My son was pretty much non-verbal in preschool. This seemed to cause a problem because my son could not verbalize how he was feeling about school and the teacher. We would get story after story about the things our child had done in class and the way he was behaving.
I would speak with the teacher and talk and offer suggestions; there wasn’t really a resolution. The stories kept coming and the blame kept coming onto my non verbal child. I was nice and that was also a rising problem. Notice I said I was nice…now I’m all business; the business of growing a successful person inside and out of a classroom.
So, when you are getting stories home that make you question your child or their actions, go visit the classroom. Ask the teacher one time (in writing); provide a suggestion of what you would like to see in the classroom. For example, transition to therapy or circle time. Explain that you are concerned about the behaviors brought up by the teacher and want to observe your child. If the teacher does not allow you visit within a week without a great reason then you need to go directly to the principal and request to observe your child (again a written request).
I would highly recommend emailing the request to confirm so that it is in writing. Also, do the same thing after meeting with the principal.
The most frustrating experience for me as a parent was when my nonverbal son was speaking; well, really screaming that there was a problem with the teacher and classroom. He was running away, screaming, kicking and hitting. He wouldn’t nap and the teacher was recording how he was trying to flee the room at almost 18 times a day. He started to run so far that no one was catching him…all the way upstairs to the principal brought him down. At that point I had an immediate meeting set and spoke with the principal directly about changing his teacher.
When safety became my number one concern I knew that I had to advocate for him to be in a new environment and trust that my son was telling me something was wrong. We had his room and teacher changed the behavior completely stopped! No negative behavior at all!
It was a very frustrating but eye widening experience to how children and parents with special needs are treated at the school and within that district. The wrongs that occurred were never admitted or apologized for by the people that were involved. Those adults that witnessed the change from teacher to teacher were in shock with how abruptly his behavior turned around.
When problems arise you have to advocate and document what happened, with all the details. Be sure to have an IEP meeting to record your conference notes about the occurrence.
We had a lengthy meeting with the principal and a formal IEP conference in great detail. All of the behaviors were discussed and a plan was put in place. As parents we refused to allow the school to get out of changing his classroom teacher. We knew that something serious was wrong with the environment our son was in with the classroom teacher. I was unable to observe the class (which I later found out is a BIG no-no). I knew that if the teacher was refusing to allow me to visit or observe via the window that my son needed to get a new teacher that could respect my requests to observe my child. We were going to set up a behavior plan (PBIP) but abandoned the plan because the behavior was 100% eliminated. The plan was abandoned because we were granted a teacher change and with that change our son stopped running away!
*A note about PBIP (positive behavior intervention plan) is a plan to tell teachers how to deal with a student’s behavior with strategies that are successful. On your child’s IEP there is a box on the first page that asks if the student has a behavior plan. When checking yes that will always stay with your child. Good thing is that everyone will know how to deal with your child and his/her behavior. Bad thing is that some teachers/aids will assume that your child is “bad” and he/she has an expectation that they will have to deal with problem behavior. If you have concerns about behaviors and solutions that are successful then you can check no in the behavior box and add a note. In the note you can put what strategies give your student success. -separate blog on this in the future
when problems arise at school…
observe the class environment and the behaviors of your child
make all communication in writing
request an IEP conference to revise or write a Positive Behavior Intervention Plan (PBIP)
meet with the principal and follow up with an email summary
stop being NICE