Teacher's Aide needs help fast

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by teacher's aide, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. teacher's aide

    teacher's aide New Member

    I start a new job as IN SCHOOL SUSPENSION AIDE tomorrow. My charge is a 7 yr old undx/un-medication little boy. The principal spent an hour telling me (so I would be prepared) he is:

    1. violent - has to be restrained (usually two people - the second helps to restrain but is also there as a witness.
    2. "its never his fault" blames everything on others.
    3. Extremely manipulative.
    4. Shows no remorse.
    5. Terrorizes the other children
    6. Telling him "NO" sends him into a rage.
    7. Doesn't care about others feelings.
    8. Only one perspective - his.

    I'm obviously not a trained professional or they wouldn't be paying me $10,000 for the year. But, I would like to be a positive influence in this childs' life. I have found lots of information on ODD and CD but very little information on the
    "how to" relate effectively. I am VERY anxious about our first meeting tomorrow. I will be spending 7-8 hours, 5 days a week, with this child. I need some tips and lots of advice, QUICK!!!
    The school has sought advice from behavioral experts, counselors, etc... but a big part of the problem is the fact that the parents refuse to seek out help for the child. I expect to learn more about that soon (during interview, not being an employee, confidentiality rules were in effect). They seem to be okay with the status quo!!!???

    Any insight, advice, tips on handling behavior, behavior modification techniques, etc.... would be greatly appreciated!!
  2. morningcuppa

    morningcuppa New Member

    Hi I don't know if I can offer much advice really but I am also an aide and have worked with a similar child . He was ok with me until I told him no then he decided he wanted to kill me. I used to wear shin pads as he kicked me a lot.

    It sounds like he needs a diagnosis fast! I wonder how the parents handle him. Do they give in to him all the time? I feel it is vital to be consistent and the school and parents all have to agree to a certain way of handling him. It is no good you trying to be firm if the parents undermine that.(That's what happened with me.)
    Make sure you have enough support from the other staff in the job as it sounds tough. The school experts should give you clear guidelines so don't be afraid to seek their advice.
    Some strategies we tried were:
    A visual timetable using pictures - the child was autistic
    Stickers gained for compliance. He could earn a reward for enough points at the end of the day.
    Praise and encouragement as much as possible.
    No must always mean no. I did not back down if he freaked out.

    If you are expected to restrain him do insist you have training to do so safely.There are certain ways of doing so that do not cause injury but you must be trained for your own protection.

    Good luck. It can be very rewarding but hard work.
  3. morningcuppa

    morningcuppa New Member

    Oops the most important bit I missed off the last post.
    I suggest you try to find out what he likes to do. Lego, clay, playing cars etc. Be prepared to spend lots of time playing with him in the early days with him taking the lead.

    Try to mirror what he is doing and get into his world. You might be able to build a realtionship with him this way and he may decide he wants to please you. If so this will help if you have to confront him later.
    If he has an obsession about one particular play item it could be used as a reward for good behaviour. E.g. if he works quietly for half an hour without hurting anyone he can play for 10 mins with his fav item. Maybe he would let a class mate join in too to help build up some social skills.

    Best of luck.
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Can you get your hands on a copy of The Explosive Child by Ross Greene? It explains a lot about how kids like this little boy see the world and how we, as their caretakers, can help head off explosions.

    Good luck tomorrow!
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I have no advice except do make sure to protect yourself. My
    children have never been that out of control but I know at two
    of the elementary schools they have a "padded" room that is used
    when the children are a danger.

    It really makes you wonder how parents could deny their child
    diagnosis and help, doesn't it? Good luck. I hope the year turns out to be rewarding for you and the students. DDD
  6. morningcuppa

    morningcuppa New Member

    One other thing. Are you expected to work with this child alone or will the hours be split with another aide. I only ask because if he becomes dependant on you he may have real trouble if you are off sick or on a course etc and someone else has to work with him.
  7. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Since you start tomorrow, there is an introduction to The Explosive Child in a thread on the Early Childhood board which might help you. The examples are from the homefront since that's where us parents have our struggles but you should be able to get an idea of what the strategy looks like.


    In a school setting you'll probably have less freedoms/more restrictions than we do as parents. Where is the child's teacher going to be while you're spending all this time with him?

    Good luck with this and I appreciate the fact that you are checking in. When parents refuse to admit there's a problem when the child is totally nonfunctional, it's often because the parents have the same issues and won't/can't see it.

    Let us know how it goes tomorrow.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    The Explosive Child thread posted above will very likely be your best friend.

    Get some info on sensory integration disorder, it plays a role in many of the problems kids have, even if it isn't something someone wants to actually diagnose.

    One resource that will help as you go along is The Out of Sync Child Has Fun. It has activities to provide different levels of sensory input. After a while you will get an idea of what the child likes as far as noises, movement, textures, etc... This book is mostly easy and inexpensive ideas to help provide these things. And just like lavender relaxes and a soft blankie can soothe, certain types of sensory input can tame the savage 7yo (well, help at least)

    Proper training in safe restraint methods for children is crucial for both your health and the child's health.

    Most of all, please remember that no matter how hateful the child may seem, no matter how violent, he clearly has some sort of real problem (or likely group of problems) going on. He isn't CHOOSING to be BAD. He may be making bad choices, but he may also not be able to make other choices at this time.

    Hugs to you, you are truly a warrior for this child, even if you aren't his mom. It is obvious you care, and that in itself may be something new in his life (or it may not, as evidenced by the numbers of us with kids like this here).

  9. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    I recommend a structured schedule. All 3 of my difficult children do much better with a schedule that is printed out and we don't deter from.

    I also recommend the book "The Explosive Child" as suggested above.

    I'm sorry that the parents won't seek help for their child. I can't imagine how their home life must be.

    Get training on restraining him and stay safe.
  10. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    One person should never restrain a child. A legal and safe full physical restraint requires four people. Are you serving as this child's 1:1 or are you in charge of inschool suspension. How long will he be in suspension and what are you expected to do? Is he expected to do work? If he is supposed to be in in school suspension all day I suggest you find some physical work for him to do--because I can't imagine him being able to stay on one room all day--Physical work could be having him sweep/clean up lunch room at the end of lunch--perhaps consider having him move dictionaries from one room to another or carry some xerox paper upstairs...I just think he'll need some motor breaks--

    Good luck--
  11. Jessica mom of 2

    Jessica mom of 2 New Member

    Good luck with what you are doing! I hope he benefits from your time spent with him, because it sounds like you really care about what your doing!
  12. teacher's aide

    teacher's aide New Member

    Thanks to everyone who replied. I am kind-of in the dark as to what is expected of me. From my interview I am under the impression that I will be with him all day and that he will be in ISS indefinitely. So I guess I am serving as his l:l. It is to the point that other students parents object to him being in the classroom. I know I am out of my league. I will get a copy of the Explosive Child and try to play catch up really really fast. I have jokingly told my family that Monday may be my first and last day.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    ISS indefinitely?? that sounds strange to me. Is there a Special Education classroom at all? Will you be responsible for other children at all? Please be sure to ask your principal or school secretary BEFORE the day starts. If you will be alone all day in a room with him, I would have a few hard questions.

    Other students parents can object, but I am not sure they can keep him in ISS forever.

    Hugs, and sending you strength. Touch base with us when you can. I will look for your messages.

  14. starcloaked

    starcloaked New Member

    Oh wow, this poor kid. He's lucky to have you, but wow, too bad you're not in Mass. because my school is hiring for an aide, and at least we've got a plan and professionals who are charting the course a little. I'd suggest you ask the SPED staff to give you some sort of behavior plan, though I imagine they probably haven't done one, since it seems to require a team of lawyers to get SPED services and this kid's parents aren't helping. You might want to mention "child find" responsibilities to the school, since if you have success with him your job is probably incredibly secure. That's the law that says they have to get him into SPED even if the parents aren't advocating.

    One thing that has worked with my son, who could be described like this, is to become his ally. Develop trust, look for what he's communicating with the behavior, spell EVERYTHING out for him about what's expected in a supportive tone of voice (along the lines of Greene, the behavior is probably a symptom of fear or an inability to understand what's going on, which translates to fear). My son has confided in my, in a whisper, that his new class has "too much guessing." This has resulted in awful behavior from him--he just gets overwhelmed and scared and lashes out. It can be hard to see the fear when someone's swinging punches at you, but if you think "caged animal" it comes through. It can be hard, but compassion is key.

    The suggestion to find out what he's interested in is really valuable. Then you can keep him engaged (and have leverage) by getting him focused on that.

    Finally, I really posted (I *do* go on lately) because I've just been trolling a site for teachers and school staff. It's here http://www.behavioradvisor.com I was impressed by how practical the advice was.

    Good luck. Let us know how it goes, okay?

  15. teacher's aide

    teacher's aide New Member

    Thanks, I am adding all these websites to my favorites list.
    I feel ill-prepared for my initial meeting with my difficult child.
    I do feel better knowing I have support from all of you and finding out where to look for information.

    I know I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight but I better go and try.
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    As a person whose son has an aide, I'm appalled that aides can have NO training. I'm flabbergasted that they don't require some sort of degree. Fortunately for my son, his aide is a 1-3 and he rarely needs her, nor does he have behavior problems, but...well, it's sad that somebody who was hired to help a child has to come HERE for support. Where is the training?????
  17. morningcuppa

    morningcuppa New Member

    Midwest Mom I take your point about training and hope to reassure you. I am a Learning Support Assistant as we call them in the UK. A lot of the training kicks in when you are hired as you then have access to all the professionals and training centres. I am highly trained and have done most of my training on the job. Also all special needs are different and expertise in one field does not always transfer to another. That may be the case with your son's aide at least I hope that is so in the US, so don't worry too much. :its_all_good:

    I do hope you get offered lots of support Teacher's Aide. You have the most important quality which is empathy and a caring attitude. I would however strongly advise against restraining him at all until you have been properly trained.

    Good luck.
  18. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Note that her job title is in school suspension aide and not 1:1, which can only be done legally through an IEP. Technically the school can't provide a true aide for this child because they parents haven't signed for evaluation.
  19. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My quick advice:

    Do not use the word NO.
    Keep him busy.
    Make all rules and consequences very clear. Post them if you can, to be reviewed daily at first.
    Do not ask more than one task at a time.
    When you see the frustration, do something different.

    Be silly when you can.
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the clarification...lol. Good luck. This child sounds difficult!