"Shadowing" difficult child and his 1:1'1 at school, input please?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Shari, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Before the meeting with the school district Friday, I talked with difficult child's early intervention preschool teacher. She was AMAZING with difficult child. In fact, in her class, you wouldn't know he WAS a difficult child. I asked her for tips and input to give to the para's now.

    We talked about having me or someone else who works closely with difficult child and who can diffuse him go to school and sit in the back ground and watch. Hopefully to be able to see what is triggering difficult child at school and to give the para's pointers to see difficult child "losing it" soon enough to stop a full blown melt down.

    difficult child has never had a major meltdown with one uncle. Uncle handles him a little more "manly" than I do, and doesn't keep him terribly often, but when he does, he can handle difficult child. I'm not sure, tho, that he will be able to see the early signs and point them out. He's retired, and has helped with difficult child being suspended.

    I am still struggling to recover from mono and every other bug I've picked up along the way. I literally have been in bed ALL weekend. I haven't left the house. If I am the one who shadows difficult child, I will also be taking time off work without pay.

    And there's always the possibility that difficult child will act differently with either Uncle or me just being present in the classroom. I guess I'm torn right now what the best avenue is. Do I go tomorrow, do I send uncle, do we even try this...or just start bringing difficult child home after half days...? I don't know.

    Any thoughts?
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I don't have any first-hand experience with this, sorry. But, when my son was young I asked his pediatrician about something along these lines. He said that if a parent or someone the parent knows sits in the class, the difficult child will not act the same if it's someone the difficult child knows. And, he said that no matter who it is, the teacher ususally won't act the same. So, if it was necessary, and it might be a good idea in your situation, if there was a person you trust to be objective who knows something about your son but your son has never met, maybe you could get that person to sit in and just tell the teacher that the perosn is there to watch difficult child and keep him in line or something to keep the teacher acting as normally as possible.

    I doubt you would get accurate observation with a family member or someone from school district there.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    What does school say about it? There is some merit to what klmno says about teacher and student not acting the same if a parent is in the room. however, often we moms can see triggers FAR earlier than anyone else. I think maybe if you waited a week, or just went in for 2 hours right before you pick him up, or if he melts down at a predictable time, 2 hours before that, you could give pointers AND not overly tire yourself.

    It has to be a balance between what difficult child/school needs and what YOU need. You might give the uncle a try. You can always go in after he does for a day or two.

    I am sorry you feel so yucky. Glad you got some sleep this weekend.

  4. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    That's my concern. I think difficult child will act differently, and I don't know of anyone we could send in "under cover".

    That said, tho, another "strategy" the university team suggested was some way to make difficult child successful... Their thought was pulling him out at lunch. But with uncle or me there, its very likely difficult child will have a good day, so maybe its not all for naught. I don't really know, I just don't see difficult child acting up with us there, and without that, there may not be any teachable moments. But then again...success breeds success, so if we go this week and he has a full week of no or minimal meltdowns....

    I'm going to bed. Thank!
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Have you thought of the nanny cams that some preschool programs have for parents to be able to see their precious kids throughout the day? I have seen these doo dads on tv where mommy or daddy can log into a computer website and just watch jr on the webcam. Im sure it is available commercially...or you could just use a regular webcam and film him. You would just have to work out the logistics of it. Get a wide angle camera to pan the room, figure out how to transmit to you, etc. Can be done.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    From my experience, especially with a very young child - if it's only for a few days especially, I'd be having him at home and getting him to do schoolwork at home. It will give him a break from the intense need to cope, it will give the school a break, it could help on a number of fronts.

    However, there should also not be too much trouble having you or Uncle as aide. At difficult child 3's last school it was quite common for parents to come in as volunteer helpers. I tended to stay out of eye line of difficult child 3 because I felt my presence would distract him, but I was generally helping other kids so the teacher was more free to work with difficult child 3. It was this that showed me that difficult child 3 simply wasn't functioning in mainstream as well as I had been led to beleive. I worried that his high distractibility was due to my presence, but the teacher said, "No, he's always like this."

    It's worth a try. If you can do this and support the teacher, to let the teacher work more with difficult child, it might be interesting. But I would talk to the teacher ahead of time, to make sure you're both on the same page.

    If you choose to have him at home, maybe Uncle could help? And do make sure that he doesn't see being home as a holiday - it's still school hours, he still has to be educated. There are many options - documentaries, eductional computer games, work sheets from the teacher, workbooks. Writing tasks. Experiments. It needn't be onerous, it is allowed to be fun. But he DOES need to learn.

    Good luck with this. Sometimes you just have to flip a coin and have a go.

  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Janet, classrooms cannot be filmed with-o releases from parents of all children. Even then, releasing the footage to any one parent is not allowed. It is said to be a violation of confidentiality.

    I wish it were available though.
  9. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    as the mother of a parent who has had a 1:1 for a number of years, I would like to give you my opinion.

    Personally, I believe the 1:1 is a fresh start. I also believe that our children, especially the younger ones, do act differently when we are around (many times it worse when we are there).

    If I were in your place, I would put difficult child on a modified day, perhaps coming home right after lunch. It will hopefully be less taxing on him and the class/teacher. Perhaps he can hold it together in the mornings which means he will build a bank of good days. Never underestimate the effects of continued discipline in school on our difficult children.

    When the 1:1 starts, I suggest a meeting with you, the teacher, whoever will be the 1:1 primary contaxt at school, and the 1:1. Apraise him or her (and I believe same sex 1:1s are best) of his history from your perspective and allow the teacher to do the same from hers. Then I suggest an informal meeting with difficult child, the 1:1 and yourself. A nice low key time. Perhaps give difficult child a little boost by saying, "difficult child, why don't you walk down and show Mr. X where the library and the lunch room are?" Give them a little time to be togther outside the classroom but still at school.

    I think it's best if the 1:1 develops his own opinion of difficult child (armed with your and the teacher's input). A good 1:1 can figure out our difficult children fairly quickly. The two good ones we've had, had difficult child pegged in a matter of days.

    Good luck.

  10. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I think I'm at the flipping a coint point, Marg. While I don't this will work like we'd hoped/talked about, I don't really know what else to do except go to half days, and no one was really excited about that (we'll do it, but we were all digging for other options first).

    He was off school for 3 days last week, which he spent mostly with uncle, and he's home sick today. I normally make sick kids do their school work, too, but I think I will allow him to not do work today to attempt to distinguish being sick today (he is physically sick) from his time out on suspension. Sick is ok to miss school; suspension is not. He likes school, so I dont think he'll play sick to get out, and if he does, we'll adress that then. I just want there to be a difference, if he's capaoble of getting any of this.

    I emailed the support staff my concerns this morning, and they have replied that they have the same concerns and will send more info later this morning when they have some more time to write. So dialogue is open about it, which I think is good. We'll see what we come up with.

    I wish the cameras could be done. That would be the best way to do this.

    LDM, thanks for your experience. Wee difficult child has 3 para's that rotate in and out during the day. At first, we thought that was a terrible plan, but looking back on it, difficult child seems to handle the para's swapping fine, and he really tests their limits. I'm not sure its all bad. Half days was our next plan as of Friday, so we'll see where we go from here.