Need some input please

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Jungleland, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. Jungleland

    Jungleland Welcome to my jungle!

    Hi family,

    Little update: Things are still intense in our home. difficult child is up-down-all around mood-wise. Everything is always dependent on her getting what she feels she is entitled to-at all times.

    Behaviorist is finally coming out to do the assessment on the 4th of May. Will be pretty intense, 2 hours with husband and myself, then 4 hours (during dinner and pre-bedtime) with the whole family. He wants us to pick the most pressing issues first. Uh...where do we begin!

    Tomorrow we are having our annual end of the school year IEP update meeting. Teacher is ready to throw in the towel as far as difficult child's attitude and work ethic. She is hoping for a group effort to come up with ideas for the remainder of the school year.

    This is where I would love some input. Yesterday teacher calls me to confirm the IEP time and then states that difficult child has been off task the entire morning. She went on to say that if difficult child does not get her act together and get her work done, difficult child will not be allowed to participate in the track meet that afternoon. This is difficult child's first year in track and yesterday was her first meet. She is their fastest runner and best long jumper.

    difficult child is very challenged in all areas of her life, every area...except for athletics. That is the ONLY area she can proceed with confidence and succeed.

    Her IQ is low, she has been diagnosis'd mildly M.R. I know this is not an excuse for not applying herself in her school work. But she has such low self esteem where anything academic is concerned. It saddens me to no end that she is getting to the point of hating school.

    With all that being said, do you guys feel it is appropriate for the teacher to use track as a reward/punishment if difficult child is not completing her work, as long as she is trying as hard as she can? I have been in the class (a SDC) and they are given a ton of worksheets to do and then correct their mistakes (over and over in my difficult child's case).

    I hate the idea of not allowing her to participate in the one area of school that she loves and is great at-sports. I do understand that if she is misbehaving or refusing to do school work, then of course no extra curricular activities should be allowed. But when I have been there, I saw someone who was doing all that she could possibly do to hold it together and stay on task.

    Sorry this is so long, but this is a real tough one and I don't want her to completely refuse school, which is something I can see happening soon.

    Thanks for any suggestions.

    Hugs, Vickie
  2. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Vickie, I think my gut feeling is hovering around where yours is.

    I agree that rewards and consequences might be the key to getting your difficult child to improve her behaviour and academic performance in school. However, I balk at the idea of taking away the one area in which she excels as a form of punishment.

    I know that a lot of schools used to insist on maintaining grades in order to stay on a team, but in your difficult child's case I don't think it's the right approach.

    I wonder if there's some way of using track as a reward rather than a punishment, or working it into her IEP, as part of her school day.

    For example:
    If difficult child has too much excess energy, take her down to the gym to run a few laps and then have her sit and do some of her school work.
    Once she's reached a small goal, e.g. getting through the first 3 problems on a worksheet, then she gets to do another track activity.

    That way, she's not losing out on the one thing she loves. Instead, it's being put to use to motivate her to perform better in other areas.

    Don't know if that will work, but I think taking track away altogether would be a serious mistake on the school's part. What would they have to motivate her then?

    Sending gentle hugs,
  3. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Was this punishment known to all before today? If not, I would not allow it to be taken away. If it was known that it would be the result of poor behavior. I would allow it today, but I would ask that a different punishment be established as the athletic area should be avoided. I agree that the one place a child excels should not be removed from their life if they can not hold it together in other areas.
  4. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I don't think, in this case, that taking away track is a good idea.

    difficult child 1 was brilliant. But his executive functioning hoovered. He was a butt in school a lot of times. Very few incentives/punishments worked with him (the one exception being his horse and we used it for years). But when he got to be 14-15-16...sports was all he had. And he hung right there in the crowd of kids that were drinkers and dopers - they were always right there on the outside of his circle of friends. If I took away sports at any point, they'd have gladly taken him in. For that reason, I never withdrew sports as a punishment for him.

    Part of that was an age thing, but nothing is black and white, and if she only has one thing that gives her something to be proud of, to take it away because she struggles elsewhere, in my humble opinion, is just not a good idea.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I don't think taking track away is a good idea. I scanned the other responses but didn't read them carefully (sorry) so I hope I'm not repeeating things too much. I think in general, the concept of "low grades, no school sports" is fine for easy child's, but not our difficult child's who struggle to get to school and just maintain and who generally struggle with social skills and self-esteem issues.

    I had used a scout camping trip as a reward for difficult child once but then difficult child didn't do what he was supposed to and I was unhappy because I didn't really want to take the trip away from difficult child- I thought it would do him well to go for a number of reasons. So, I discussed it with psychiatrist and he suggested giving difficult child a chance to earn the trip back, which I did so it worked out. Anyway, psychiatrist also said that we (parents) need to remember not to use the constructive things that we want our difficult child's to do or that promote their growth and wellness as a reward/consequence. It's hard to think of other things sometimes but I tried to keep a list of things after that.

    It sounds like a discussion with folks at school is in order, to me. Track would stay in the picture, in my humble opinion. Maybe the get-together afterwards (for instance) would be the reward/consequence, or something unrelated to track altogether. Maybe if she has her work caught up as much as feasible, you can take her for ice cream after track or something.
  6. 'Chelle

    'Chelle Active Member

    Another who thinks that taking away the track is a bad idea. As you said, she's already at the hating school stage, and the track probably is one thing making it worthwhile in her mind to go. This would be taking away one area that she succeeds at, and gives her self esteem a big boost. Our kids struggle so much, they need all the boosts they can get. I'm sure (I know my difficult child does) that your difficult child probably feels that she can't do anything right sometimes, so why take away one thing that she's pretty good at to punish her for things she struggles with.
  7. Jungleland

    Jungleland Welcome to my jungle!

    Thank you all so much. It feels so good to bounce stuff off you guys. I am going to that meeting with a plan that does not include difficult child missing any track activities.

    Thanks, you guys are the bestest!

    Hugs, Vickie
  8. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Drop me and Dude in the basket that says - if it works for normal situations it will not work for us.

    Mainstream kids who are able to discern quicker than our kids right from wrong - may benefit and have shown us historically that if Johnny the football captain gets a D- he can't start the football game Friday night, but will sit on the bench until his grade improves.

    Learning Disability (LD) and ED kids are able to discern right from wrong but if you look at my son I SWEAR it took 15 years for him to stop touching the stove when you said it was hot - he'd still touch it. SO to take Dude and deny him the one thing that he was good at, that we could encourage him in - that HE could feel a sense of accomplishment and normalcy in ? BIG MISTAKE.

    Dude had the attention span of a gnat. (Swear) so giving him long term goals and long term punishments NEVER worked. They would backfire everytime. Backfire to the point that you would SWEAR he sabotaged his situation to GET the punishment. Then once in punishment? He'd up the fire; do more bizarre behavior, break even MORE rules and if I had grounded him by the rule of 5 minutes for every year of age he is - then at 18 he would STILL be sitting in time out JUST for the bad behaviors he committed when he was in 2nd joke.

    And like every parent the minute you figure out what that favorite toy, doll or game is? THAT seems to be what you hyperfocus on. It becomes like an obsession to TAKE THAT THING away from them. SURELY taking THAT thing away will change the behavior! But nope. Either you start to wonder whether your kid even LIKES ANYTHING at all - or you start to belive your kid is such an evil genius he won't divulge which toy or game or bike or anything is his favorite. I always ALWAYS felt like he was ONE step ahead of me - and probably was.

    Taking away things from Dude - solidified the same behaviors his biofather demonstrated with him as a baby - so for us - it was a struggle to say "No one is going to take anything from you or hurt you." and yet find the (ONE THING) that got his attention......we never found it. We spent years looking but unlike that movie National Treasure - we never found gold. INstead we found Tums BOGO at the Walgreens and stocked up.

    What did seem to help was figuring out that our kids like INSTANT gratification - and starting with that thought and backing away from those ideas so you didn't end up with and ED kid with BRAT syndrome....But you have to start somewhere. SO work on short term goals, with instant rewards and short term punishments. It's the way that their brains work - and eventually with this cycle you can stretch each goal, reward, or punishment a little longer, a little longer and a little longer until eventually they get it. IT takes a lifetime.

    Also as goofy as this sounds - try the exercise I posted about for Autistic kids in the NEWS section - My Mom is gaining years of clarity - and it's helping me too. The difference in MR and Aspergers and autistic kids that are doign this - and just run of the mill folks with bad memories....and have great improvement after 1 week.

    Best of luck - Hugs to our girl.....and RUN LIKE THE WIND ALLY!!!!!!
  9. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    We are setting up a meeting with this in K's new plan. We are putting in a kind of "clause" for being reprimanded.
    Because she is not in any extra-curricular yet we did not have to add this, but we would have.
    If she is trying as hard as she can, I don't see why she has to finish her work?
    Maybe her work load needs to be modified or modified more?
    Or adapted more to her needs?
    Doesn't seem to be working for her?

    I know for K, even though I hate it some days, I HAVE to give her and let her know she is loved and doing a great job a few times in the hour sometimes in the half hour. Or she becomes depressed or frustrated.
    This happens at School also.
    Our new report has this written in also, "She needs to hear and see frequent evidence that she is valued and appreciated"
    for example, "I am happy to see you" "Good work" "great job".

    Even if it is a stretch... Our kids NEED this especially if there is a Learning Disability (LD) and BiPolar (BP).

    It doesn't matter if they are manipulative, they still need to know they are doing well throughout the day~ :)
  10. lizanne2

    lizanne2 New Member

    I agree. My 15 year old is severely Learning Disability (LD) adn also went to State tournament in Indoor Shot Put as a sophomore. She is pretty quick, also. Sometimes, track is the ONLY thing she can do. At 15 she is leaving school, leaving class, sleeping, and all sorts of yucky things. She has track consequenses and school consequences and they are separate.
    It has certianly been a sustaining positive in her life.
  11. Jungleland

    Jungleland Welcome to my jungle!

    Thanks so much. Star, I love your ideas, will check out the post you are referring to as well. FOR ME!! CRS stinks!! Totoro-I like the wording you used. I am leaving in a few minutes for the meeting. Kinda frustrated as teacher didn't realize I wanted an actual IEP meeting, so she didn't put together the whole team. That will have to be in a few weeks. It was my fault, I didn't put it in writing this time, oy vey, it's CRS I tell ya!!!

    Still will be helpful to plant the seed of our concerns and to brainstorm other reward/punishment ideas.

    Thanks again family!

    Hugs, Vickie