Sunday, October 21, 2012

Approaching teachers with CPS

'My son finally transitioned from self contained classroom to regular inclusive classrooms, This occurred last year, when he started high school. But this year he is having a difficult time with the teachers. His remarks are offending them that he is sent out of the classroom and doesn't have to do the work.

 He also has had a lot of change in his life. His father found someone at his work and asked for a divorce. The divorce became final a year and a half. Before that I moved him into an apartment and his older brother stayed with their father. Six months after the divorce was finalized his dad married the girlfriend and her two children moved in part time. He also has had to deal with my breast cancer diagnosis and my being laid off my job.

He does well when working with his in home therapists and when working with teachers one on one. His teachers either like him and can see that he has a lot to offer or they can't see past the outbursts and can't wait to get rid of him. These are the special ed teachers that he is upsetting. I don't know what to do about the behavior. Since I don't want him going back to the self contained classroom.'

I agree that our goal should be to have a kid in a regular classroom  ,  but we have to ask where are kids needs being addressed the best. 

 The new challenges for him at home due to your divorce and other problems are something that the school can't work on to help your child at school. In the home , you can try and put your relationship with him first , promote his competence and foster autonomy, try and connect him with positive young adults or older teenagers who can ' mentor ' or be a friend of his. You can also use CPS to solve problems in the home and focus on perspective taking, identifying   people's concerns , seeking mutually satisfying solutions – in a word – help your son understand that ' living ' is all about ' relationship' . We need to develop in kids an awareness of relationships – parent- child, family, friends, class mates, teacher- student .

At school -  I would try to build a cooperative relationship with his teachers by doing CPS with them  by taking into account their concerns as well. We first want to help them wear the lenses -  children do well if they can -  your kid is lacking essential skills in the areas of frustration tolerance, flexibility and adaptability. Share with them a list of lagging skills – see the CPS sites – and then ask them to identify the conditions your kid is displaying his skill deficits , in other words -  unsolved problems.

Your kid's offensive responses and remarks are not the unsolved problems. They are behaviors . They are merely the symptoms of lagging skills in the context of  unsolved problems. Trying to give him ' replacement behaviors '  in the form of more appropriate language is unlikely to help him as the underlying problem is not being addressed. The lagging skills will be addressed indirectly by the CPS process itself. The process is so important as it uses and promotes so many cognitive skills.

The question whether he can control himself is irrelevant because the problem will be solved only we have a good idea what his concerns are about , and we need his input.  Extrinsic motivation , certainly removing him from the classroom and even trying positive behavioral supports like rewards or praise is not going to solve problems or teach skills.

Any approach must address the kid's need for autonomy – getting his input, his concerns and his ideas on a mutually satisfying solution , competence – life and problem solving skills and relatedness -  a sense of belonging and support
I also recommend a peer mentor , buddy-tutor and older brothers.

You can share with your school the various CPS books especially ' Lost at school '-  and the CPS sites  - , there is also a radio talk  blog program for educators  , ,   , and this blog 

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