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Inclusion of Kids with Severe Behavior Problems


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There is a kid on my step-son's baseball team with severe behavior problems. He can not participate as part of the team. He throws tantrums, refuses to participate, throws items, runs off and sometimes delays the game. He has already caused our team to lose a game we were winning.

When my son was in 6th grade there was a boy in his class that had behavior problems and ended up screaming at my son in public at a class outing and then punching him in the stomach.

Where do you draw the line at allowing "special needs" kids into a regular classroom? I believe in tolerance and compassion, but when you see one of these kids injuring someone or disrupting either the whole class or a whole team of kids, it gets hard to understand why they are allowed to do so, and why they must be included in everything.

Update to this situation:

This is not a school-related activity. It is a youth baseball league where everyone pays a fee to enroll their child for the season. It is run by volunteers. It is also a very competitive league even at such a young age.

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It is very hard, I think the behavior is more of a problem at home. “Strong parents are needed” You may need to talk to parents. Could be the family is also having a hard time financially or lose.  last it could be the child is having problems learning and because of that nobody understand him he gets mad with everyone?

 

I don't think there is an easy answer to the mainstreaming debate, so I am not even going to try. I used to be a teacher and we dealt with these types of issues regularly. At times it was maddening. However, do remember that it isn't necessarily a lack of discipline or willful jerkiness, and could just as easily be Asperger Syndrome or another autism spectrum disorder, so compassion is key.

Original Post by theholla:

I don't think there is an easy answer to the mainstreaming debate, so I am not even going to try. I used to be a teacher and we dealt with these types of issues regularly. At times it was maddening. However, do remember that it isn't necessarily a lack of discipline or willful jerkiness, and could just as easily be Asperger Syndrome or another autism spectrum disorder, so compassion is key.

 I agree with you but what is Asperger Syndrome or autism spectrum disorder?It could be lots of things parents is a good start. With friendship so they do not feel threatened.

Tough situation ... my 2 cents would be that I was punched in the stomach in grade 3 by a boy who was perfectly normal, so that behaviour isn't limited to special needs kids.

As far a sports are concerned, it's a kid's sports team - winning is irrelevant, they should be allowed to play if they can and if the proper supervision/help is available by either the parents or the school.

At the end of the day, I guess it would come down to assessing if it impacting the education of the other students, regardless of what happened on a field trip.

I was a teacher in a charter school program for kids with severe behavioral problems. These kids had been kicked out of public school because the behaviors were SO severe. It was incredibly hard to work there and inevitably, it was this program that made me decide to leave this organization I was working for (they ran multiple social services programs and I had worked with a different program before changing jobs). 

For sports teams, I agree, winning is not the most important thing but STRONG parenting is needed and the parents should be helping the coach. Our charter program ran on a token economy system. The kids got scores on their behaviors for each hour block of the school day. We kept them up-to-date on their scores so if they had a 'tantrum' during one hour, they could work hard to turn their behavior around the rest of the day. I don't know how these kids compared to kids within the public school system with behavior problems though. I tend to think these kids were extreme cases. I had a girl who was mute (by choice) and would only talk to certain teachers at certain times (I was one of the teachers) but she would just run out of the classroom and go outside. If she did this (or any other kids), one or two of the teachers would have to leave the class to chase these kids. There were some days where two of us would be outside 'chasing' a kid for the entire day, leaving one teacher to deal with 8 other kids like this. Because of the special nature of our program, we were allowed to restrain the children if they were being a danger to themselves or others (our kids had incredible anger issues). For example, I worked with the 6th graders and up. I had one student who was 13 but was 6'2 and solid muscle (he looked about 19 years old, seriously). One day, he started a fight with another student. We separated him and took him to the 'time-out room' (a small room without a door so the kids could calm down) and he began to attack the teachers. Due to the level of his aggression, we restrained him a prone restraint on the floor until he could calm himself down. After the restraints, the kids were made to talk about why they felt the need to be so aggressive, why they didn't use the anger coping skills offered to them by the teachers and what they could do the next time they were in the same situation. After restraints, they kids couldn't return to class until a nurse checked that they were ok (and there were cameras in the hallways, classrooms and 'time-out rooms' to make sure no unnecessary force was used on the kids.

Typing this out I see how crazy my job sounds so I really don't know how these kids compare to other kids with behavior problems. But I really think with strong parenting these kids can be successful. My kids had horrible home lives and many had pasts of extreme physical and sexual abuse so if your kid is in a class or on a sports team with this kid... while you shouldn't put up with the aggression and violence from these kids towards your own children, try to remember that there's always a reason for kids behaving like this and try to empathize. 

 Go to the childs parents in a friendly/understanding way. In all honestly heightened stress/drama at home could be contributing to it. It's important to attempt to understand him. I'd encourage him to express himself when he's seemingly angry/distraught. Listen/Watch as he's trying to express himself too. Sometimes children with special needs are angry because nobody understands. Just like Nieto was saying above. It's important to give other children guidance. It's difficult for children to understand another child with special needs. It's important to teach them to reflect on things. You should do the same before you respond. People let their frustration lead their reaction too often. It often leads to children with special needs being abused/mistreated/neglected and/or left out by adults/other children. Parenting a child with special needs is one of the hardest things anyone will ever do. It takes a lot of patience/strength and you have the information/inspiration needed. 

My suggestion:  Watch and Listen to the child. Reflect. . . Then respond. It's important to help/teach your child understand in a compassionate way.

The best thing you can do is talk to the parents in a rational/considerate manner.  And/Or: School.

Original Post by sybil878:

Tough situation ... my 2 cents would be that I was punched in the stomach in grade 3 by a boy who was perfectly normal, so that behaviour isn't limited to special needs kids.

As far a sports are concerned, it's a kid's sports team - winning is irrelevant, they should be allowed to play if they can and if the proper supervision/help is available by either the parents or the school.

At the end of the day, I guess it would come down to assessing if it impacting the education of the other students, regardless of what happened on a field trip.

True. Completely normal children can throw a game/cause equal disturbance. I love to see special-needs kids getting to do things normal kids get to do.

Alibsam,

I hope this is not the case, having said that the last paragraph does hold true and the young child is normally not the complete picture.

 Enchantingimage,

Thank you for your comments.

Original Post by nieto914:

 I agree with you but what is Asperger Syndrome or autism spectrum disorder?It could be lots of things parents is a good start. With friendship so they do not feel threatened.

Asperger's Syndrome is included in the umbrella description called Autism Specturm Disorder (or ASD).  Asperger's is, in short, a form of autism but the person is considered "high functioning."

As the parent of a young child with ASD (not as high functioning as Asperger's), I'm a very big proponent of inclusion whenever possible, as my son's biggest strides in behavior, speech, and self control has been because of the example that typically developing kids set for him.  However, in his school situation, he does have his own personal aide that is always with him when he's away from the special education classroom.  He does not have violent tendencies or severe behavior problems, the aide always helps with his interactions, so the arrangement is working out for him.

My older son, who is not autistic, has had some behavioral problems in school, and upon some evaluations, he qualified to have out of class time for a specific "social skills" group, and it has helped him a lot.  Now, is it because he has naturally occurring problems, or because me and my husband aren't good enough parents?  I don't know - I do know that when an effort is made to include a child with problems instead of treating them like an outcast, more progress is made.

Original Post by santonacci:

 I do know that when an effort is made to include a child with problems instead of treating them like an outcast, more progress is made.

:) I absolutely agree with you there.

Some people don't understand their own frustration can cause harm. Simply put: Frustration arises when the path toward a goal is blocked. That can be ' winning the game ' or ' a child expressing himself. ' w/e. Most people think of it as a bad emotion, but it is actually more complex than that. Frustration starts as a good emotion,imo. Think about it when we get frustrated, we are motivated to remove the obstacle that is blocking our path toward our goals. Right? That's why it's so important to encourage kids with special needs to express their frustration/feelings. To communicate. We try harder and that extra effort frequently results in clearing that path enabling us to continue pursuit of our goals.

However: In the regard to a child with special-needs to remove the child isn't progress in my view. It's just something done out of frustration. The progress is to help the child in question.

The parents of the child may help understand a lot in all actuality. Parents of kids with special-needs are very keen to signs. They can probably gauge different emotions/based off his movements. They may be able to share signals with you that means he's trying to express different emotions/wants/needs. It's the same as when a parent knows their baby is hungry due to signals. Parents know their children better than anyone due to patience,imo. :)They'd be able to tell you exactly why he punched your child. The child may have trouble expressing his frustration/anger to you/others. But, with the help of his parents you should get some answers. If frustration isn’t dealt in a productive way, it can morph into anger. :( The goal is to attempt to avoid that with children with special needs. On both sides.

Original Post by nieto914:

 Enchantingimage,

Thank you for your comments.

You're more than welcome. :) I totally agreed with your opionion here.

Moon, you have the same concerns as the parents of kids at my little nephews school (he is autistic) unfortunately these concerns for a while actually added to his behavioural problems but thankfully for him his twin brother is in the same class and spoke up for him (they are 5yrs). It turned out that the reason he punched a kid in the play ground was because the other kids were teasing him all the time, the reason he turned his desk upside down was because he felt like he was being excluded, you get the picture.

After my sister went to the school and spoke to the teacher and head they spoke to the other parents (with my sisters permission) who in turn spoke to their kids and now i am not saying his behaviour is perfect but it has greatly improved and to the relief of my sis it has been a few months since she has been called to the school to take him out of class.

Understanding goes a long way but everyone has to understand other kids, teachers, parents, the child in question and his parents.

you also cant rule out there being a problem at home. kids (and most adults) are more likely to act out rather than verbalise a problem

I don't know where the line should be drawn, but two things that come to mind are that the safety of other kids shouldn't be compromised, as with being punched in the stomach, and the comfort of the special needs child themselves. What if they're lashing out because the mainstreaming is too overwhelming for them? 

andie-1, I'm glad to hear your nephew's behavior has improved and he's having a better time in school, I remember you writing about him and his brother at school before.

 

I say it's simple: if you can bring in special needs and they are not disruptive to the other students and/or players in a situation, then fine.  If a child is disruptive or ruining the learning/participating experience for others, they are out of there.  It's not fair to the other kids if a consistently disruptive student is allowed to stay, whatever their situation.  Not everyone can or should be mainstreamed.  Sorry. 

it's not at all simple, and i won't pretend to have the answers.  but i will say that, after working in schools for over a decade (primary, elementary, and secondary), i've seen the benefits of inclusion.  the most profound of these is the compassion, empathy, and understanding it fosters in the so-called "normal" kids.  in my book, those skills are more important than the ability to memorize math facts and analyze sentence structure any day.

Original Post by texanlovestotravel:

I say it's simple: if you can bring in special needs and they are not disruptive to the other students and/or players in a situation, then fine.  If a child is disruptive or ruining the learning/participating experience for others, they are out of there.  It's not fair to the other kids if a consistently disruptive student is allowed to stay, whatever their situation.  Not everyone can or should be mainstreamed.  Sorry. 

It's not that simple.

One of the girls in my school is autistic and I have a list of what she has outbursts over:

~ Skirts over pants
~ Holding a plate like a waitress (or anything for that matter) and not having a skirt on
~ If something wasn't packed in her lunch that she wanted
~ Certain words (Like "available" and "on sale")
~ Once she freaked out over not having the money to pay for a ribbon (we were in chorus and the ribbon was $6)
~ Complains that we should be wearing uniforms in school

And if something doesn't go her way, she threatens to kill herself.

That's all I could think of for now. I've just learned to ignore her. She's also obsessed with Japan and anime.

She is a good person if her mouth stays closed.

I'm not saying all autistic people are bad.

My boyfriend has Asperger's, and he's an absolute angel.

People who just don't really help themselves and complain over little things really make me mad. And also saying stuff like it's the end of the world also makes me mad. ><

Eh. Being a psychologist to your friends is really hard. >>

I'm not sure you would make a very good psychologist based on what you have said annoys you, lol.

Original Post by twilitwing:

People who just don't really help themselves and complain over little things really make me mad. 

So, are you saying this autistic girl just needs to "help herself" to stop being so annoying?  Really?  All autistic people need are just a pair of bootstraps?

Perhaps if you were little more educated as to what autism is and what kind of therapies an affected person needs, you might be a little less irritated and more understanding.  There are a lot of resources available.

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