Author Topic: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...  (Read 13952 times)

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CaptainObvious

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #135 on: January 11, 2013, 05:32:06 PM »
I believe the teacher the OP has posted about previously is the current "good" one, not the one discussed in her post in this thread, which is the one before the current one. I may be wrong about that.

Personally, I find the teacher discussed here's behaviour inexcusable, in that she completely ignored the input of the parent and continued pursuing an ineffective course, even though she had been given advice to use a different method.

Based upon a search, the date on that post would be consistent with the teacher mentioned in the OP.

Acadianna

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #136 on: January 11, 2013, 11:14:40 PM »
If purple is what I think it is, then the teacher should have had some sort of training.  Many techniques for working with students who have purple disability can be somewhat counter-intuitive, and without training it's easy to do precisely the wrong thing.  The situation mentioned by the OP (viewing the behavior as willful "misbehavior" rather than as a response to sensory overload) is a perfect example of this.

Even if no workshops were available to the teacher, there are dozens of excellent websites and books available on the subject.  In our district, there are lead teachers with both training and experience in this area whom we can and should consult when needed.  There's really no excuse for a teacher having a complete lack of background knowledge about her student's disability.

As for the BIP -- yes, the teacher should have followed it to the letter.  If we disagree with a BIP, then the proper procedure is to call an IEP meeting and propose changes -- not simply to go ahead and do what we think works better. 

I also agree -- I think it was Toots who said it? -- that the child doesn't get a "do-over."  He/she has only so many years before moving out into the world, and we can't afford to waste a year by staying in the same place, let alone by moving backwards.

I do think the OP was somewhat out-of-line to bring up the teacher's personal circumstances, but if I were the teacher in that situation, I'd give the OP a pass and not look for an apology.  I expect that sometimes parents will react with emotion -- after all, these are their precious babies.  As a parent myself, I know how that feels, and I find it helps a lot to try to walk in their shoes for a bit.

NyaChan

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #137 on: January 11, 2013, 11:40:35 PM »
As for the question for what the teacher should have been doing - the Education Plan for OP's son had a list of different steps laid out in the order that the teacher was supposed to follow.  She skipped all the initial steps and went for the last resort option, ignoring the less upsetting options that could work for the student.  She should have followed the plan that had already been created with the OP's son's needs and behavior in mind.

TurtleDove

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #138 on: January 12, 2013, 03:04:54 AM »
As for the question for what the teacher should have been doing - the Education Plan for OP's son had a list of different steps laid out in the order that the teacher was supposed to follow.  She skipped all the initial steps and went for the last resort option, ignoring the less upsetting options that could work for the student.  She should have followed the plan that had already been created with the OP's son's needs and behavior in mind.

For me, I still would like to know what, specifically, the teacher was supposed to have done.  I didn't see where the teacher was punishing the DS at all.  I understood she was trying, in an emergency situaiton, to prevent a violent child from hurting himself or someone else.  What, specifically, were those steps that she skipped?  If the steps were, "1) sing lullabyes; 2) walk away from child; 3) sing lullabyes in Spanish; (etc)" I would feel quite differently than if they were, "1) grab child's hands to calm him; 2) pick child up and move away from wall he is kicking; 3) take shoes off child so he will do less damage if he kicks another child in the face; (etc)."  I would really need to know what the teacher should have done, specifically, compared to what she actually did in an emergency, to villify her in any way at all.

Iris

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #139 on: January 12, 2013, 04:34:51 AM »
As for the question for what the teacher should have been doing - the Education Plan for OP's son had a list of different steps laid out in the order that the teacher was supposed to follow.  She skipped all the initial steps and went for the last resort option, ignoring the less upsetting options that could work for the student.  She should have followed the plan that had already been created with the OP's son's needs and behavior in mind.

For me, I still would like to know what, specifically, the teacher was supposed to have done.  I didn't see where the teacher was punishing the DS at all.  I understood she was trying, in an emergency situaiton, to prevent a violent child from hurting himself or someone else.  What, specifically, were those steps that she skipped?  If the steps were, "1) sing lullabyes; 2) walk away from child; 3) sing lullabyes in Spanish; (etc)" I would feel quite differently than if they were, "1) grab child's hands to calm him; 2) pick child up and move away from wall he is kicking; 3) take shoes off child so he will do less damage if he kicks another child in the face; (etc)."  I would really need to know what the teacher should have done, specifically, compared to what she actually did in an emergency, to villify her in any way at all.

I really don't see why you need that. An IEP is not a program just randomly plucked from the air. It is carefully crafted by a team of qualified and involved people and tailor made specifically for each individual child. I think that is all we need to know to know that it would have been a reasonable sequence of events entirely appropriate for the OP's son and his known behaviours. Whether you mean to or not, your post is coming across as "submit your child's educational plan to me for my evaluation, and then I will decide whether or not it is a valid educational plan and whether the teacher was free to ignore it at will". Even if you are an expert in children with disabilities I would consider that overstepping the mark.

Now, I will freely admit as an educator that if I had a child that was new to my care I may forget his/her IEP (we call them PLPs but the principle is the same) if it has a really convoluted and involved series of events, particularly if there is a situation that I feel may harm the child. So I am not vilifying this teacher based on this one incident. However, it really is outrageous that after a full YEAR of caring for a child with a specific disability she had still not found/made the time to do ANY training in that disability. There is no other way to slice it. From a professional standpoint I am happy to say that one fact is simply not adequate. Teachers teach out of their primary discipline all the time, but IME they put a LOT of effort into ensuring that they master that discipline to the extent that they need to to teach it competently.
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TurtleDove

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #140 on: January 12, 2013, 07:14:25 AM »
Whether you mean to or not, your post is coming across as "submit your child's educational plan to me for my evaluation, and then I will decide whether or not it is a valid educational plan and whether the teacher was free to ignore it at will".

No, not what I mean at all.  I would like to know how what the teacher should have done varied from what she actually did.  The IEP allowed her discretion in an emergency.  And if her discretion varied her move from the Purple techinique of "pick up child and move into hallway" to "restrain child" under the Pink technique, that is very different than if the Purple technique said "sing softly to the other children" and instead she chose the Pink technique of "restrain child."  I hope I am making why the specifics matter to me clear.  It's not at all that I think I know what is best.  It is that I have no way of knowing how what the teacher did was egregiuos or not because no one has said what specifically she should have done.

buvezdevin

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #141 on: January 12, 2013, 09:07:09 AM »
Whether you mean to or not, your post is coming across as "submit your child's educational plan to me for my evaluation, and then I will decide whether or not it is a valid educational plan and whether the teacher was free to ignore it at will".

No, not what I mean at all.  I would like to know how what the teacher should have done varied from what she actually did.  The IEP allowed her discretion in an emergency.  And if her discretion varied her move from the Purple techinique of "pick up child and move into hallway" to "restrain child" under the Pink technique, that is very different than if the Purple technique said "sing softly to the other children" and instead she chose the Pink technique of "restrain child."  I hope I am making why the specifics matter to me clear.  It's not at all that I think I know what is best.  It is that I have no way of knowing how what the teacher did was egregiuos or not because no one has said what specifically she should have done.

I think the reason you want to know specifics actually highlights why the lack of this teacher's training for purple techniques was an issue, and the teacher's year long absence of training was egregious.

To you, me or anyone not trained in purple techniques, the steps of a purple IEP might or might not make sense.  OP's first post is clear that techniques which are suited to pink are counter productive for purple, so what techniques work for purple and why they do or don't work would not be intuitive, but would need a specific understanding - through training.

Given that OP also mentions that this was an on-going problem, not a single emergency event, also indicates that the question of reasonable discretion teacher had to apply the IEP was not a one time question, but resulted from the *teacher's* failure to understand the IEP and purpose/reason for the  actions which should have been undertaken prior to using restraint.  So, to me, "what" steps should have been taken first is not of consequence.  The teacher's lack of training in relevant techniques, and lack of understanding would make it difficult for me to trust the teacher to effectively determine when to omit multiple steps and move to "emergency" technique.
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Bethalize

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #142 on: January 12, 2013, 09:49:03 AM »
So the teachers knows she is lacking in training, says she is going to get training, doesn't get training and instead continues with actions that are contraindicated, then when the inadvisability of this is flagged up to her she ignores it and carries on with her own sweet way? Even though her own sweet way is against the IEP carefully put down by a group of professionals? Then she ignores yet more attempts to draw her attention to what she is doing is not working and making the child very unhappy.

How arrogant and self-centred does someone have to be to continue making a child unhappy because they have a fixed idea about what should work? That is the same kind of thinking that used to force left-handed children to write with their right hand. In this day and age when professional expectations and standards are different I find this teacher's behaviour unacceptable. It might not have come from malice, but ignorance, laziness and stupidity can be just as harmful.

The mistake the teacher made was ignoring input from others. When dealing with a person who is NOT LISTENING (caps intentional) how else can you get through to them?

OP, it would have been good if you hadn't brought in the personal that you did. It was a counter attack that it would have been good if you could have managed without (although from what you've written perhaps it needed saying). However, what else could you have done to get through to the teacher? Personally if I had done what you had done I wouldn't apologise for what I said because of the multiple errors on the teacher's part that created a situation where you had very few powers left. So I say don't apologise. Not unless the teacher has apologised for (1) making herself a liar by not doing the learning she needed (2) not responding to concerns (3) not having the wit to see that her fixed ideas were hurting a child in her care.




Elisabunny

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #143 on: January 12, 2013, 12:05:56 PM »
We don't know.  Regardless of what it is, you don't get certified in "it" without working with the kids.  It would be like becoming a heart surgeon before you ever got near a heart. The way you learn is practice, discussion, documentation, writing ...

But on the way to becoming a heart surgeon, you do lots of classroom work learning about the heart before you ever get near one.

I don't think the OP would have had a problem if the teacher had put in the time to actually learn about Purpleness before practicing on her son.  However, Teacher did not do any of the necessary research, and so (continuing the analogy) insisted on treating a heart like a liver.

You must remember this: a ghoti is still a fish...

artk2002

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #144 on: January 12, 2013, 12:24:47 PM »
TurtleDove, perhaps I can give a slightly more concrete example that would help. Only slightly more concrete since I'm not a SPED teacher and don't know what OP's son's particular challenge is.

As others have said, an IEP is put together by a team of experts who are familiar with the child and with the generally accepted practice for dealing with that child's situation. They may start with a template and then customize it for the child. An expert in purple children would be familiar with the purple template and an expert in pink children would be familiar with the pink template. The specific IEP for that specific child takes precedence over the template, though.

So, here's a sample snippet from an IEP for a pink child, dealing with some behavior. Let's say it's playing too roughly with a toy:

  • If the play is a danger to the child or others, take the toy away
  • If behavior escalates, physically restrain the child

For a purple child, the plan might be:

  • Verbally correct the child
  • If behavior doesn't change, distract the child with a new toy/activity
  • If the play is a danger to the child or others, take the toy away
  • If behavior escalates, physically restrain the child

The first two steps don't exist for the pink child because they are known not to work for those children. The last two steps are included for the purple child because you need a "backstop" to deal with dangerous situations. They are not recommended actions because they will result in upsetting the child. They're there for emergencies.

The problem in the OP is that the teacher went straight to "take the toy away" or (worse) "restrain the child" without trying the first two steps. No emergency, she just went straight to them. That's going to damage the child. Why she did that is immaterial to the child's welfare. From the OP's description the teacher lacked any of the training and experience that might justify going against the IEP in a specific situation. But even then, the right thing for the teacher to do would be to go back to the committee that produced the IEP and have the IEP changed. Arbitrarily bypassing it is bad for the child (and may have legal ramifications -- those IEPs can be powerful weapons against indifferent teachers and administrators.)
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Sharnita

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #145 on: January 12, 2013, 12:42:40 PM »
We don't know.  Regardless of what it is, you don't get certified in "it" without working with the kids.  It would be like becoming a heart surgeon before you ever got near a heart. The way you learn is practice, discussion, documentation, writing ...

But on the way to becoming a heart surgeon, you do lots of classroom work learning about the heart before you ever get near one.

I don't think the OP would have had a problem if the teacher had put in the time to actually learn about Purpleness before practicing on her son.  However, Teacher did not do any of the necessary research, and so (continuing the analogy) insisted on treating a heart like a liver.

Yes - I was just address the issue of certification and the idea that it came before working with the children.

Acadianna

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #146 on: January 12, 2013, 03:50:02 PM »
For me, I still would like to know what, specifically, the teacher was supposed to have done.  I didn't see where the teacher was punishing the DS at all.  I understood she was trying, in an emergency situaiton, to prevent a violent child from hurting himself or someone else.  What, specifically, were those steps that she skipped?  If the steps were, "1) sing lullabyes; 2) walk away from child; 3) sing lullabyes in Spanish; (etc)" I would feel quite differently than if they were, "1) grab child's hands to calm him; 2) pick child up and move away from wall he is kicking; 3) take shoes off child so he will do less damage if he kicks another child in the face; (etc)."  I would really need to know what the teacher should have done, specifically, compared to what she actually did in an emergency, to villify her in any way at all.

I've worked for many years with students who have emotional disturbance and behavior plans.  For a long time, I worked in a self-contained classroom for such students.  (We no longer use that kind of classroom.)  Here's how these things are handled in my district.

Unless I misread the OP's additional information, the problem was destruction of property, and not danger to a person.  If only property is at risk, then there is no justification for going off the Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP).  Property is less important than the child's welfare.

Now if a student has some sort of melt-down but is not endangering himself, the first thing the teacher should do is clear the room of all other students and non-essential staff.  (A staff witness should remain in the room.)  This ensures that there is no danger to other children.  Again, no reason to go off-BIP.

If another child has been attacked, then the teacher should separate the students (using approved techniques for which the teacher has had training -- see below) and remove the attacked child from the room.  The BIP would still be followed with the child who has the disability.

It's likely that the BIP already provides for situations where there is danger to the student himself, or there may be a separate "action plan" for such situations.  If not, then this would be a situation that might justify going off-BIP.  Restraint should be a last resort though, if there is anything else that can be done (removing dangerous objects, putting a pillow under the student's head, etc.)  Restraint is itself potentially dangerous, both to the student and to staff.

Danger to staff is a little more of a gray area, I think, but again restraint should be a last resort.

If there is any possibility that a teacher might need to use physical restraint, then he/she should be specifically trained and certified in appropriate and acceptable techniques.  (These are designed to minimize harm to both student and staff, as inappropriate restraint can lead to injury or even death of the student.)

I can't cover every possible situation that can arise, but a teacher who goes off-BIP had better have reasonable justification for doing so -- and this means that there was danger to a human being.  Going off-BIP just because the teacher disagrees with the BIP's effectiveness is never an acceptable reason, as the BIP is a legal document which must be followed.

ETA:  If the BIP of a child who is prone to violence does not address this issue, then the case manager needs to call for an IEP meeting immediately and revise the BIP.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2013, 03:54:16 PM by Acadianna »

Twik

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #147 on: January 14, 2013, 12:44:03 PM »
We don't know.  Regardless of what it is, you don't get certified in "it" without working with the kids.  It would be like becoming a heart surgeon before you ever got near a heart. The way you learn is practice, discussion, documentation, writing ...

I guess my point is that if the teacher only wanted to get credit, she would be pursuing the accreditation.  And based on this, then, the teacher WAS learning and working toward her accreditation.

It doesn't sound as if the teacher was learning anything - she was sailing ahead with the idea that a toolset for one disability is suitable for all of them.

It is unfortunate that parents, in advocating for their children with special needs, sometimes have to fight dirty, but they do. It sounds like the teacher, and her supporting administration, had decided "there is no problem here". In that case, the only way to affect change is to make it clear that there is, indeed, a problem. If that takes screaming, so be it.
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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #148 on: January 14, 2013, 01:37:40 PM »
We don't know.  Regardless of what it is, you don't get certified in "it" without working with the kids.  It would be like becoming a heart surgeon before you ever got near a heart. The way you learn is practice, discussion, documentation, writing ...

I guess my point is that if the teacher only wanted to get credit, she would be pursuing the accreditation.  And based on this, then, the teacher WAS learning and working toward her accreditation.

It doesn't sound as if the teacher was learning anything - she was sailing ahead with the idea that a toolset for one disability is suitable for all of them.

It is unfortunate that parents, in advocating for their children with special needs, sometimes have to fight dirty, but they do. It sounds like the teacher, and her supporting administration, had decided "there is no problem here". In that case, the only way to affect change is to make it clear that there is, indeed, a problem. If that takes screaming, so be it.

The teacher even admitted herself that she hadn't done any training.  You don't just magically learn how to deal with something as complex as a disability by osmosis.  Either you learn it by figuring out what techniques work and don't work, or you get training.  The former puts the poor child in the position of being a Guinea pig, which is unnecessary as much of that groundwork has been laid out by others before.  And the latter is  something the teacher - for whatever reason - failed to do.  If she was truly interested in her own development as a teacher, she would have remedied that in some way - heck just reading some teachers' forums and a book or two would be better than nothing.  Or, if she truly didn't have the time, but still cared about her student, she would have spoken to the administration herself and got the poor kid some help.  The fact that she did neither of these really seems to speak volumes.
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rashea

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Re: Yes, I know I'm making it personal...
« Reply #149 on: January 14, 2013, 01:52:20 PM »
OP, generally, I think you made a mistake in bringing it up. I also think the teacher and school were so out of line they couldn't even see it anymore. Frankly, with most disabilities a quick google search will give you the basics of supporting someone with that disability. And if not, well, that's why you have a detailed IEP.

Frankly, I think you would have had a lot more credibility if you had escalated the problem when you couldn't get it resolved with the teacher/principle. Loosing your temper doesn't help in most situations, and it seems this teacher was able to get at least some spin on this situation to make you look like the bad guy.

If you had been asking this right after the incident, rather than months later, I would have suggested sending a letter to the school and copying the teacher on it. Something along the lines of saying that you wish you had approached the issue in a different way, and that isn't how you wanted to get things resolved, but that you hope they would own their own failures in the situation.

I also would encourage you to seek legal advice if you're every advocating for your child unsuccessfully in the future. You probably had a lot more clout in this situation than you realized. Start by contacting your local Center for Independent Living. They may also have support groups that can help you navigate the system, or simply give you a group of people going through the same thing.

And to give an idea of what an IEP might say for a student whose behavioral problems are secondary to their disability.
1. Ask child to return to current activity.
2. Ask child to calm themselves quietly.
3. Have child repeat calming phrase (maybe with hands over eyes)
4. Remind child that they have a goal of not having harming self, others, and property.
5. Offer child a chance to go to a separate room to calm themselves.
6. Attempt to lead child by the hand to the separate room where they can be separate from others to calm themselves.
7. Remove other children from the room.
8. Play soothing music for the child.
9. Bring child something they are allowed to hit.
10. Restrain child using appropriate technique..

This is culled from various IEPs, and isn't one example, but is a possibility.

And kicking a wall should never have resulted in restraints. It seems unlikely to result in real property damage (depending on the wall I suppose) and seems very much like a self-stimming issue. At that point, the child is trying like crazy to deal with an overload of sensory information. Restraint is likely to increase that sensory information. This is pretty basic knowledge for some disabilities, though without knowing which disability we're talking about I can't say for certain.

Finally, the school let down the child, and the teacher. I would feel that school actually holds the most responsibility in this situation. You don't put a student with a disability in with a teacher that isn't trained to help someone with that disability. And if you do, and I recognize that sometimes it happens when things shake out that way at the beginning of the semester, you make sure you get that teacher appropriate training and supports.
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