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ActiveMom
ActiveMom asks:
Q:

Why is my son's school sending him home for inappropriate behavior instead of helping him work through it in the classroom?

My son was diagnosed with autism at age 2. Now, he is in 4th grade and according to the school, is having "behavioral issues".  They say he is dancing on the tables in the classroom and pushing them over. When they have tried to stop him in the past, they say he has lunged at them and taken hold of their arms, stomachs, or breasts (yes, I agree this is inappropriate, though) and pinched really hard. He will also throw objects on the floor and across the room. So when he does this, they call me to come and pick him up. This is beginning to happen every week now for the last month and a half. I am writing on a topic that I am finding is not all that uncommon - that is the schools calling us parents to come get our kids whenever they have any "out of the ordinary" behavior, aggression, or other misbehavior. How the heck do you define "misbehavior" with a person who has autism? What may be considered misbehavior by some may be considered regular behavior by others - including the person with autism! Perhaps they do not realize that what they do is inappropriate for the particular situation and they need to be taught a replacement behavior instead.  Why the heck can't the school system provide training for the teachers  so they better know how to deal with what they call "inappropriate behaviors"(they are "special ed." teachers for gosh sakes!  They should know that some of their kids will have "off" behaviors sometimes!)? Simply yanking the child out of the classroom is not helping him any. Why can't they hire a positive behavioral support specialist to observe in the classroom? These people were especially trained to deal with things like this!  It is written in my son's IEP that they can request a behavioral health person to come into the school if necessary.  So, then, why haven't they? When I ask them this question, they just reply with, "We were hoping it wouldn't have to come to that point." Well, people, it has! (Personally, I do not think that the school district wants to pay for it.  I think it is easier for them just to send him home). Anyone else out there have a similar situation and what all did you do about it? I am just so frustrated at this point I can burst!
In Topics: Autism & Aspergers Syndrome, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Feb 12, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

You have very valid concerns with your son and the way the school is handling his behavior.  Often times teachers in a regular classroom don't have the time or training to work individually with kids that have serious behavior problems or diagnosed autism.  It's great to hear that you have an IEP already in progress.  The school is required by law to provide services, so I would hold them to what has been outlined in the IEP.  Make your wishes known to the principal and if no action is taken, I would take this matter to the superintendant of schools.  Your child deserves an appropriate education and you deserve to know what the school is going to do to provide that.  Don't give up!!

Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000

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Additional Answers (17)

Dadof2
Dadof2 writes:
What you describe does not sound acceptable and probably violates your son's IEP.  I would suspect they are not calling in the correct specialists either because they aren't properly trained or they don't think you will demand it and they don't want to pay for it.

Since you have an IEP in place you are already ahead of the game.  Your IEP should have a Socialization component in it for your son if it doesn't have one added. You have the right to define your child’s IEP to a great extend.  Parents have many rights that schools and school districts try to prevent them from accessing.  Research some of the links I have attached.

We have friends who now send their child to a $40,000/yr private school at the public school district's expense because the public school could not meet basic IEP goals.  The public school may fight and delay and do everything they can to avoid paying for what your son needs.  (Their usual tactic is one of delay, delay, delay, until your child is gone from their school...)  From examples we have seen you will be able to get what your son needs either by working with the school or, if they are uncooperative and you are willing to continue to advocate for your full rights under the law, by taking them to court.  

Good Luck!

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kingman
kingman writes:
I totally understand what you are going through, everytime the phone rings I cringe because of my son's recent behavior. He hides under his desk and won't go to any of his other classes (music, art) and he is very disruptive. He says destructive things that are more aimed towards himself.He was diagnosed with ADD and now within about 3 months time his whole dimeaner has changed and now they are "thinking" about a bipolar diagnoses. I get a note home every other day,  and sometimes they call. I am at my wits end, just as you said they are the professionals and they should have the education to handle this but they are calling me !! I have to say that he is not this bad at home so I can handle him here, it's just the school thing. Although they do not send him home,  I feel like they are looking to me for help and I just don't know what to tell them. I wish you luck with son and I hope you get the help you need.
> 60 days ago

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ilovechefwilliam
ilovechefwi... , Teacher, Caregiver writes:
As a teacher for children with autism I always Applaud the parent that is so involved!  I know that in my past experience I have had to call a parent to come pick their child up, but that was the FINAL option.  I think that you need to call an ARD to reevaluate the Behavior Plan.  It sounds like it isn't working, and this is a very valid concern.  Not only for your child, but also for staff.  In the Autism Supplement there is a spot that says about more training, as a parent I might say something about that.  Good Luck!
> 60 days ago

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janemarks
janemarks writes:
You need to request a "behavior plan".  This is usually developed by the teacher and your school district's AI consultant.  The AI consultant will take all the information on your child, this is taken from the teacher, any para-professionals who work with your child and yourself.  They try first to see what is triggering these behaviors and how to counteract them, and if they do occur how to handle them.  Everyone should be handling the behavior the same way so the child learns what to expect if he misbehaves.  The plan is very detailed, it tells how many times and how you remind a child to stop the behavior, how long in between the warnings, how many warnings and then an agreed upon consequence.  The consequence is not a punishment, but rather a time for the child to calm and learn a better way to express himself or handle the problem.
My son had a quiet reminder to stop the bad behavior as his para-pro. saw it starting, then she used a velcro board with three warnings.  He could hear the velcro rip off and knew that after three he would have to leave the room.  When he left the room he went to a quiet place where he could do some simple work.  He didn't get out of work but didn't go back into the classroom until he was prepared to behave.  The teacher liked the velcro because she didn't want the para-pro. making noise with verbal reminders.
Your son by now could be behaving this way just because he knows you will come and get him and take him home.  I refused to pick my child up voicing this concern.  The school couldn't refute that this could happen and agreed to try other measures.  Many times the school will do whatever is the easiest for them.  But your AI consultant should be able to help remedy the situation.  He/she is a perfect go between with you and the teacher or other staff.
> 60 days ago

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AZMom
AZMom writes:
If your son has an IEP you can request that the team convene to discuss the problems.  I would suggest that you request a "functional behavior assessment".  When the assessment is completed you will do a "behavior intervention plan".  These two steps will gather data and formulate a plan for addressing behaviors and triggers.  Don't let the school just send him home without these two steps.
> 60 days ago

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JOSHUA7
JOSHUA7 writes:
By law, as long as your IEP is still valid, you have the wright to have a para pro. Regaurdless what the school says.  They do not give you this, you go to the state(yours) and talk to someone in protective services. His teacher sounds lazy, not good enough reason.

I have a six year old autistic child, I'am two blocks away from the school(mainstream), in his IEP I wanted bus transportation(he loves), and a para pro to keep him focused.  He has excelled so much this year because of the assistance.
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
Well, this type of issue can be stressful for many. What you have to is face that your situation is different. You have a son with Autism and he needs something to help him in a controlled environment. Sometimes we depend on the school system too much. We think that they have all the answers, when in reality, you have a better chance of helping your own son. First of all, I would start researching alternative methods to education. The public school may be too much for him. He may need a smaller environment, etc.. Also, diet may play a factor. IS he acting out worse in the a.m. or p.m.? After lunch? Do some research on diet. You may also want to observe a couple of days and get an objective point of view of whats really happening. It may be time for you to seek some help too. You may be so worn out with this that you can't focus on helping. So don't for get about you. :)
> 60 days ago

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Gail2
Gail2 writes:
I have been through this over the past 2 years and I have great empathy with you and your child.. You don't say if your child is in a mainstream school?
It is illegal for schools to ask parents to pick their child up during school time without formally excluding them. The practice the school are carrying out is called informal exclusion and is totally illegal, even with the parent's consent. The school is ignoring the Disability discrimination Act and the gov't guidance states that schools must put everything they can in place to save the child from exclusions, especially where the behaviour is related to his disability.
 You need to call the school's bluff and refuse to collect him early and quote the act this is from. They won't like this and this may be enough for them to review your child's needs formally. This also, may force their hand and provide a fixed term (usually 1/2 day to start. This sounds quite drastic doesnt it, but you will need to start building up your evidence that your child is in need of greater educational support than at present. The exclusions are registered with the LEA who will also be looking for evidence that  more support is needed.
I have found the National Autistic society really helpful. Your local Parent Partnership team who are employed by your LEA,  are also there to help you navigate through the SEN education minefield.
If the school is failing to take responsibility for addressing your son's needs, those organisations are brilliant. Remember, it is the school that is failing to meet your child's needs, not that there is a problem with your child not being able to fit in.
If your child has a statement of special educational need, and it has not been amended in the past 12 months, you can demand a review.

If your child has no statement, you should discuss this as an option with your school SENKO. They may then apply to the LEA for an assessment of need to be carried out. If they don't agree with this, you as parents can refer your child directly for assessment. Again, the NAS will be able to guide you through this.
Good Luck with this, I hope you have found this useful
> 60 days ago

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CarringMother
CarringMother writes:
Dear Mom,

If your child was clinically proven that he has autism, put him in a special school for special kids.

Teachers of regular schools are not prepared to deal with this type of situation. Speaking generally, many teachers of today are what I call "teachers 15/30".

This means teachers that follow the curriculum 100%, without any creativity, patience and love of what they do, or they are 100% lack of love to kids. They are only thinking and carring about the 15 and 30 payday!

Probably, if your kid is doig all this things in the classroom, is because he wants to express his unhappiness with the school or teacher.
If the teachers called you to pick him up, this tells you that they are not prepared to deal with your kid condition.

Move him from there before is too late, because they are despising and expressing their disconfort to your kid, and he is feeling this comtempt from them. Some autism kids are extremely intelligent and need a special school for them to express and develope their intelectual GIFT.
> 60 days ago

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dmillerteach
dmillerteach , Child Professional, School Administrator, Teacher writes:
Hi Active Mom,
As a child advocate, I have learned a lot about what is "appropriate" and "inappropriate" ways to deal with children's behavior. Unfortunately, when I was trained as a teacher, I got a different message. Parents are often frustrated with the ways schools deal with their children -and rightly so! Teachers and administrators are frustrated now more than ever with the lack of resources and students who are struggling are getting the brunt of the situation. The best advice is to use a firm, positive approach with the school, which shows you know of your rights. Always speak about your child's behavior in context of his continuing growth, situations he is dealing with, and where appropriate his disability. This way, the school will be reminded to deal with him as a whole child, and not a number or problem kid. It is also useful to use key language and refer to current laws, as it triggers a certain "uh-oh-she knows her business" response in the principal that cares about being taken to court. Below is an AMAZING resource from Advocates for Children in NY. Some of the legislative info applies directly to NY laws, but similar laws exist in your state (you may have to comb through the DOE website or contact the DOE directly to find out). There are many special systems in place for protecting students with disabilities. Check out the second link below for advice on that topic. Good luck!

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stebbinsd
stebbinsd writes:
Sue the school for an ADA violation claim.  I guarentee that they'll either stop what they're doing or pay you so much in punitive damages that you can use the proceeds of that to send him to another school.
> 60 days ago

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deanswife
deanswife writes:
Your son is displaying highly inappropriate behaviour - and I have to say I doubt it is only happening at school.  Children learn behaviour.  I am not saying tht the school should not put different interventions and plans in place, but I am saying it needs to be a team effort.  The school is there to educate children and i think that some behaviours should not be acceptable in school, especially those that endanger or threaten the safety of other students.  Is there a safety plan?  Is there a behaviour plan?  Do you find this behaviour acceptable - would you if it was another student in your child's class?  Not all teachers are trained to deal with these beahviours - they are trained to teach.  Go to your school board and see their policies.  I believe you need to have a meeting with your school and come up with a plan that doesn't include allowing this behaviour, and teaches him how to behave.  Putting the blame on the school or teachers isnt going to solve any issues.
> 60 days ago

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CynthiaInlow
CynthiaInlow writes:
As a teacher, I'm sure the school has tried everything possible to get your child to follow directions including behavior modification, rewards and the few punishments school can actually do.  I've found that a suspension often "wakes up" the child and he or she realizes that their behavior can actually have consequences.
> 60 days ago

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EdnaRogers
EdnaRogers writes:
i feel for you. i am the grandmother of a child who was not paying attention to her teacher. i finaly went to the school and had a talk to anyone who i thought might help. then i called the teacher, well that was a waste of time and all her could tell me was i dont know how to teach her.things got worse after they suspended her. the dr finally diagnosted her with autism. they didnt want to help and my patients were getting to the breaking point till i am now home schooling her. she has medicaid which was supposed to pay for all the help she needed.well i think that they were pleased when i took her out of school because she was too much for them to handle. I found help with councelers and others. if the schools are at such a state that they can not handle the children with special needs. they should rethink the way that the teachers try to teach our children or get others in their place. i use the internet a lot to help me get through this. i wish you lots of luck and their are other schools out there for our children.
> 60 days ago

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zzkidz
zzkidz writes:
My son is in the 1st grade and is just starting to exhibit agressive behavior and the school is now calling me every other day to come and get him. I agree, why isn't there a support/teacher for this. Surely the answer is not just sending him home.  Does anyone know who we can contact to get help with this situation?
> 60 days ago

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hope4danny
hope4danny writes:
I am in the same situation this past month.  Everyday I've been getting a phone call from my son's school to go and pick him up because of his behavior.  School just don't want to fund for behavioral support and the staff have lack of training.  My husband and I decided to get an attorney and call an IEP, because it is against the law for schools to do that.  Parents work, they can not all the time be in the classroom with their kids, it is the districts responsibility to train appropriate personnel to work with special needs children and many are verbal abusing our kids, they have no clue how to use the proper techniques to calm the child down.  My family has been in lots of stress and frustration, I'm almost ready to break down and cry because it's not fair what they are doing to our kids!  You need to call an IEP and push to get one on one behavioral support, and you can choose outside agency, you don't need to get what they want to offer you.
> 60 days ago

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respitmom
respitmom writes:
swear i just typed a 3 page response to you and my pc erased it uuuuugh
> 60 days ago

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