ED room/point system...Does it work?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tictoc, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    Hi, We visited an ED room this week and are thinking about placing difficult child there. Overall, we liked the program and we were quite impressed with the teacher. But, we were concerned about the use of a point system for grading behavior and granting rewards/privileges. Our difficult child is diagnosis'd with BiPolar (BP) 1 and he is cycling badly these days. His psychiatrist is aware of this and we will be adjusting his medications this week.

    difficult child probably can handle the point system when he is stable. He has some challenging behaviors even when stable, so the behavior management program could be very helpful at that point. However, we have yet to acheive real stability. We get a few good days or maybe a couple of good weeks with each medication adjustment. When difficult child is unstable, I have trouble seeing him making much progress with a point system. Our fear is that he will be unable to meet the point goals because of mood issues and will never make progress on earning rewards or privileges. Plus, seeing others get a reward when he does not is a HUGE trigger for him. So, it could just become a very, very bad never-ending cycle of failure, massive fit, and more failure.

    Any thoughts?
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    It depends.

    Tigger rarely responded to a point system, yet his current teacher was able to get him to buy into it. Each child in the room has 5 goals that are the same as every else (no hitting, speak nicely, do your work, follow the schedule and listen to staff) and then each student had 2-5 personal goals. Some of those goals are things the kid can do well and are on there to be reinforcing. I think it depends so much on how the teacher implements it. For Tigger, he can get a smile if he does well, an X if he does poorly or it can be left blank if he was in the chill zone or other calming place - he isn't "punished" for using his coping skills.
  3. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member

    hey tictoc,

    Our gfg17 was in an ED room in fifth grade (a while ago). He was in self-contained for some classes and out in general ed for two classes.

    The teacher in the ED room was a behaviorist. He was completely inflexible in his thinking. The other teachers in the school had seen a lot of successes from this teacher, so they believed he could do no wrong.

    Our son did not do well in his class (and worse in the general ed classes). This teacher also came to our home and taught us some techniques which were very unhealthy for our son, for example taking everything out of his room until all he had left was a bed. This might work well for others, but our son began to stab at his feet with a pin due to boredom and lack of stimulation.

    So it was OK that the teacher was a behaviorist and did not care to change his approach -- but I wish I had given this more thought before I put difficult child in his class. I kind of knew it in the back of my mind, but went ahead because this teacher was so highly recommended and I wanted so badly for it to work out. Maybe you could talk to the teacher and share your concerns, and ask what the plan would be when your son is cycling and unstable.

    I pulled my kid out of school after fifth grade and homeschooled him for four years. I'm not suggesting or recommending that (it worked out for us but it's a very personal decision). But I did learn a lot during those years of being in a support group for homeschooling moms at CABF, the main thing being: a kid who is unstable can't learn. On days when our kids were sick, we would bag the homeschooling and concentrate on self-care for the kid: warm baths with Epsom salts (which have magnesium which is a muscle relaxant), watching a quiet movie, reading aloud to the kid, quiet play with legos. Oh how I miss those simple days of just "being."

    Maybe your son could stay home the days he is unwell? Just a thought. I was in a position that I could be home. Or, the teacher could work out a plan for what to do when your son simply cannot work with the points system.

    Just brainstorming. Hope it works out for your son, tictoc. Our son was very unstable during those years.

  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I remember well the look of helpless confusion on his various teacher's faces to Tigger's reaction to any sort of point system

    2nd grade...Tigger walked up to the stoplight when he got to school and moved his name from green to red; when the teacher asked him why? he said it saved time

    3rd grade...Tigger sat and listened to the teacher explain the whole point system; she but his point card on his desk, he mostly ignored it and at the end of the day when the other kids were putting them in their backpack to take home, he put his on the teacher's desk..."it seems so important to you so here it is" teacher: but don't you want to show mommy how good you did today "why? i didn't color that, you did"

    5th grade...in a bad mood, Tigger gave himself all Xs for a class period (even though the teacher would have given 1 X and 6 smilies) "you don't know what I was thinking about doing{"
  5. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member

    Too bad the teachers had looks of helpless confusion, as what Tigger is saying makes perfect sense to me. Of course I had to learn this the hard way (long years of personal experience).
  6. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    We are facing similar issues here. I am really fed up with behaviorists. If a kid can manifest the behaviors, they probably will. And if there is something keeping them frodmmanifesting the behaviors then they need some kind of help. Can you tell that I have been influenced by Ross Greene?! I was trying to think of an analogy that would make some sense for the school personnel here. We don't have behaviorists coaching football teams, we have coaches who work on skill development.

    Ross Greene says inflexible children + inflexible adults = explosion.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Behaviorists assume one method will work for all kids. Haha. Not so.

    in my opinion the point system is pretty worthless. But this is again JMO.
  8. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I don't like point systems AT ALL for any kids -- stable or unstable. Can you you tell I've been influenced by Ross Greene as well?

    When my son was in a high school ED program with a point system, he threw his point sheet in the trash every morning. He thought it was demeaning and disrespectful to him. The staff didn't quite know what to do with him. At the end of the year we pulled him out and sent him to a Utah Residential Treatment Center (RTC) that was modeled on Ross Greene's theories and the "Love and Logic" methods (www.loveandlogic.com). He thrived there. Today he is home -- a high school graduate -- with hopes and dreams.
  9. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Ross Greene is my hero! Our asst. Special Education director read Lost At School with 48 hours of me telling her about it. She is now Tigger's administrator and it helps so much that she agrees with it and we have Collabarative Problem Solving and all the stuff that makes sense and tenure gives her a position of strength to fight the old-school building principal.
  10. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I love Ross Greene too. I do have to say though, that difficult child's classroom at his alternative school this year does use some sort of point system. difficult child is buying into it. Not all days but many. He is more stable than he has been in a long while (which still isn't saying a whole lot; he always seems to be teetering on the edge). difficult child didn't start to buy into it until after winter breatk. He is actually very excited that he has made "manager" a few times. This is a classroom with only 3 students so they do a lot differently not just the point system.
  11. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    It seems that most school personnel think "one size fits all". That is what I am dealing with also. tictoc, I would opt out of the point system until he's more stable with his BiPolar (BP).
  12. 4timmy

    4timmy New Member

    My difficult child entered the ED program in 6th grade and made honor roll the entire year. His grades were much better. The point system only made him freak out more though. He will literally have meltdowns if he even imagines he will have a bad day and be on a Level 1.

    But, on the other hand there have been days where he knows exactly what he need to do in order to get the points he needs for whatever it is they are letting them do on Fridays!!! I think they get to pick out a toy or something.
  13. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    Hi all, Thanks for your input. Here's my plan: I'm going to arrange to see the room again and I'm going to set up a meeting with the sp ed people to discuss the point system, i.e. what to do if difficult child won't buy into it and how to opt out of it.

    husband and I met with the psychiatrist today to get his input. He is familiar with the school and the room we are considering and thought it would be a good move. But, I fear that difficult child will be heartbroken at leaving his school.