Need input for an inservice for general Ed.teachers.

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by Crista, Feb 2, 2008.

  1. Crista

    Crista Teacher

    I am a Special Education teacher for Emotionally and Behaviorally challenged students. I have seen how general education teachers have a rough time connecting and teaching students with IEP or 504 plans. I have been asked by my administratioon to have an inservice to give teachers ideas and stratigies to teach students with ADHD, Autism, Bi-Polar, and other types of diagnosis. I would like to get input from parents and other teachers on what you would like teachers to know or stratigies that you have found helpful for you and your child or students. Thank you for your input. :redface:

    I forgot to say that I teach younger kiddos. The inservice is for teachers pk-2nd grade. Thanks again for any input that I get.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Personally, I think they need first of all to keep an open mind and have continuing education seminars that teach these strategies. They need to understand more about their own administrative structure so that if a child is on an IEP and has a collaborative teacher, don't call the parent complaining that their child forgot a pencil, or didn't stay focused that day, or that they were expected to spend 1 minute addressing something with that child that is written in the IEP- that is what the collaborative teacher is there for- if the regular teacher didn't have that assistance, don't complain to the parent. Furthermore, the parents are trying to learn strategies so when a parent calls or otherwise asks for information about specific situations- dates, exactly what happened, exactly what was this assignment that didn't get turned in, instead of getting defensive and saying "I just did what I had to do", answer the question, the parent is trying a H*** of a lot more than any teacher to get to the bottom of what is going on with their kid. There are medication changes, cycles the parent is documenting and reporting, etc. The school isn't taking responsibility for all this, and I'm not saying they should, but as long as it is the parent's responsibility, then the school district needs to be getting on board with the other aspects of the treatment plan and assisting with these things by providing requested information- instead of acting like the parent owes them something. The parent owes them nothing. It is the parents' taxes that pay their salary to teach their child.


    Not your fault- you just caught me on a roll!!

    Edited to add: There are good teachers out there for difficult child's, but they are not the norm. I have seen a couple on this board though, so I don't want to criticize those that are truly trying to do a good job- and I especially hold in high regard those that try to help kids when they don't have parents who are trying very much, or at all, to help. Educating the teachers and administartive staff of the school is the key- in my humble opinion
  3. Crista

    Crista Teacher

    I can tell you are very fustrated. This is why I have agreed to conduct this inservice. I want to show the general education teachers how much of a joy teaching any kiddo can be. Just because they have some challenging behaviors, have trouble sitting down or have a diagnosis, it shouldn't matter, they are precious children who need our love and patience. Keep in mind I am talking with teachers from pk-2nd grade. This is the age where it all begins. You blow it now with the child or the parent and it is going to be a hard road to gain the trust a love of learning back for all the teachers they are going to have in the future. I got in to teaching not only to make a difference, but to help those who really don't know how to help them selves and to help parents who are having a difficult time and need and want guidance. I have ran into some very difficult parents who I really had to show that I wanted to help them as much as I wanted to help their children. That's why I want to educate teachers who really don't have a clue who to relate or except children that aren't the "perfect" child. Define perfect. None of us are, so why expect children to be. I hope that what ever experince you have had, that it gets better. It makes me sad that you and your child haven't had pleasant experinces. That's why I decided to become a teacher. Good luck and thank you so much for the input!
  4. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Dear Crista,

    I am one of the Moderators of this forum. Most of the parents who post on this section of the board are having problems, sometimes extreme problems, getting their SDs to comply with Federal Law. What we do here is try to educate, or actually help parents try to become self-educating in regard to IDEIA 2004. It is a sad fact of life, as exemplified by both my son, who is beyond public school age and the other Moderator, Sheila, whose son is not, that IF you know Sp Ed law, the child gets a LOT better services. It should not be that way, but it is.

    I have taught EBD children off and on for many years. At the moment, I am training School Psychologists at a university. I think what you are trying to do is admirable, but also somewhat unrealistic. We devote YEARS to teaching people how to design intensive, specialized programs for severely involved children who are the larger part of the child population on these board. Gen ed teachers spent four years learning how to teach. It sells special personnel short to suggest that all they know can be easily or quickly taught as an "add on" the a gen ed teacher's training. I know that the pressure for inclusion is what puts many students who do not learn/behave well in regular classes, in regular classes none-the-less. The current "favoring" of inclusion is what we live with. MANY children on these boards are in highly specialized programs including therapeutic schools and even RTCs.

    Other than trying to work WITH parents rather than against them, I think the best thing gen ed teachers can do is adopt your attitude toward children, especially young children. If you really want to teach new skills to gen ed teachers, then you need to organize a series of workshops to help teachers learn to interact differently with our children (who are usually, but not always, disruptive.)

    I have done various in-service programs over the years, and the only ones that are effective are ones that the teachers decided they needed via a needs assessment. In-service imposed from the top does not work particularly well.

    Perhaps someone else will come along with a nice list of the ten things they wish their child's KDG had known or done. I hope so and I thank you for posting your question and responding positively to a frustrated parental response.

    WARNING TO MEMBERS: Over the years, some have wondered why there are so few professional members of, and those who are here are like me: a professional with a difficult child. I hate to put it this way, but we cannot keep teachers. social workers, or JJ personnel involved because the responses tend to be of the venting variety.

    I would like any of you who have suggestions for what would be helpful (and realistic) for primary teachers to do to help our kids, to post to Crista. I will remove any posts that have a hostile tone. Crista is trying to help and she is not part of the problem; she is part of the solution.

  5. Mickey2255

    Mickey2255 New Member


    Communication. That's #1 in my book. My difficult child's best year was first grade because the teacher called me several times per week to let me know: 1. What was going on with difficult child and 2. For advice. By working together difficult child had a great year because we acted on his behavior as a team. She also realized that even though the school is a Glasser school and believes all rewards should be intrinsic, my son needed that outside positive reinforcement. She would "catch him being good" WAY more often than being bad and provide that reinforcement.

    Taking time to call parents is no doubt time consuming but handling difficult child's outbursts are also time consuming as well as disruptive to the whole class so in turn, it probably worked out even!

  6. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! Hope I'm not too late! I think I'd like general ed teachers to understand that all behavioral issues are not necessarily behavioral issues. Quite often they are sensory integration issues.

    Take a look at the following website to see what I mean!

    It might give them some insight as to when to look at things from a different perspective!

    Hope this helps!

  7. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    I really appreciate your question. Let me start by saying I don’t know if inclusion is really all that great. I have several kids in sp ed or with a 504 and their needs are varied. I don’t know if the reg ed teacher can reach my kid while trying to keep the whole class moving forward with the added pressures of “No Child Left Behind”, but that isn’t what you asked.
    I would like the teachers to understand that behavior modification can’t fix everything. I would like to work as a team. I would like the teacher to understand that we have different goals. While the teacher wants a solid mastery of the curriculum for that year, my goals are for my son to grow into an adult capable of living, working, loving, and staying out of jail.
    Sometimes the noble goals of the teachers endanger my goals. I would like my goals to take precedence. I have had little success in getting reg ed teachers to “lower” their expectations for my son. I am sure my request frustrates them a lot, but that is because of our different goals. They don’t see my son banging his head into walls, refusing to attend school or threatening suicide due to the pressures they put on him. I do.
    I’ve been very blunt, yet they don’t understand; they don’t live it. I would like teachers to realize the powerful ability to harm our kids they possess and to understand there are some things that are more important than education. I wish they would understand that I also value education and fully understand how much it can improve lives; I have older children with very successful careers secured by great college educations that were only possible with merit scholarships. Reg ed teachers gave those kids the skills needed to obtain that success and I am very grateful. My sp ed students can’t be thought of as reg ed students with behavior problems, that isn’t what is going on. They have disabilities!
  8. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi Crista,

    I read and then reread your post and if I were wearing my teacher's shoes right now I can think of two approaches that would help me most.

    The first is inservice on The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. This is a strategy that has helped many parents here and can be adapted to the classroom. The title is misleading--it really is useful for dealing with inflexible children as well and parents who have inflexible but not really explosive children are surprised by this. It really stresses prevention and flexibility and I think teachers can benefit from that, plus there would be something in it for everyone given the variety of disorders you've listed. There is a book that targets the school and clinical setting which may be more appropriate for this situation. Also, there are parent trainers at various locations which might be the way to go for an inservice situation. There's a sticky post at the top of the Early Childhood board for adapting it to young children.

    The second thought I have would be to give teachers practical helps that they can easily implement in their classrooms. Example: my oldest easy child's son was the most hyperactive child I've ever met and that was WITH a full dose of Ritalin in him. His mom was telling of the struggle he had in the classroom and I suggested she ask the teacher if it would be okay if he would use a gel ball at his desk. They went with it and it was incredibly helpful for the child as it allowed him to channel his energy into physical motion in an appropriate, non-disruptive way. It was a cheap, simple, easy solution which made a big difference in the life of that child- (it's a shame they didn't arrive at that solution until he was in 4th grade at the suggestion of a parent who doesn't even have an ADHD child). My difficult child had a type of hard foam taped to the underside of his desk for sensory/anxiety reasons and it worked very well. There are zillions of cheap, easy ideas that teachers can try but often they just need the ideas.
  9. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Please don't judge the parents harshly if their child is a little unkempt or they have difficulty being organized or completely homework. Many of us struggle greatly to help our children meet the bare minimum requirements. Also, if we say there is a problem, please listen. I brought up my daughter's handwriting difficulties to her teacher this year. She advised me to pick up some rubber pencil grips (it can take a few days through the school) that day. She didn't poo-poo my concerns, especially because my daughter was exhausted at the end of each day (teacher noticed this as well). She did tell me that these problems aren't usually caught this early because the writing demands aren't daunting yet, but we were better addressing the issue now before my daughter hated to write. I felt validated. But many other parents here are beaten down emotionally by school staff that think they know what the child needs better than the parent. Or, they know services are warranted but they are under budget constraints so they resist providing the services. Both these examples are demoralizing and demeaning, ultimately harming the child.
  10. Crista

    Crista Teacher

    I should clarify that I have two God sons that are Autistic. I have seen the fustrations, heartache, helplessness and desperation my best friend has gone through with her two blessed children in the public school setting. I keep both boys for her 2x's a week. I would love to say it is a blast every minute, but it is a challenge. My heart goes out to every parent that lives it on a daily basis. They are the reason I gave up a high paying job to go back to school and get my Masters in Special Education and a Certificate in ABA. I thought about being a consultant for Judivine and I have had an offer to be a proffessor at the university here, but I have to hold out hope that I can make a difference in the public school setting. It may be a pipe dream, but as long as there are children and parents that are out there who need a voice in the schools, I want to provide it. The inservice that I am doing is for educators who want help, it will last for 4 weeks with 2 sessions a week. I am hoping to show them a parents view by having My Best friend (with- the 2 autistic children) to came and describe and show a video on what she goes through everyday. I also want to provide strategies, the importance of parent involvement, ect. I don't want this to be pure Autism, I want to include all forms of CD's. I have already gainned a lot of insight from all the responses. I know this seems like a pipe dream, but I feel that if as an educator of EDBD children and a Godmother of 2 wonderfully spunky boys, I have to try and educate the educators! Thank you again to all who have posted! I will definatley take all of your suggestions!