If you could talk to future teachers...

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by FutureTeacher, May 27, 2009.

  1. FutureTeacher

    FutureTeacher New Member

    ... what would you have to say?

    Hi everyone, I'm in a teacher preparation program in Ohio currently in a class about inclusive classrooms. This week we are having a discussion about various special needs we might face as teachers, and I'm presenting on conduct disorder(s). I've found lots of information about this topic from a medical perspective, and a little bit about teachers' strategies, but I would like to know what you as parents feel would be the most helpful thing(s) we could know about conduct disorder and especially how teachers could improve at including your children in the least restrictive environment.

    Please note: Our class is very diversified in our specialty areas (middle school, high school, early childhood, Special Education, all the academic content areas including foreign language, art, phys ed and ESL), so any information will be likely to help at least one of us!

    Thank you very much!
  2. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Welcome to the site.

    I need clarification on whether you are talking about the diagnosis of "conduct disorder" or whether you are referring to various disorders that are sometimes referred to as conduct disorders.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Hello! First, I commend you for seeking out input from parents. I'm not an expert on this- Sheila and Martie have much more experience. But as a parent of a kid who had several diagnosis on the mood disorder "spectrum" and has had more than a little trouble legally and some at school, the two things that stand out most in my mind are 1) when the child is young and being disruptive, there is probably more going on than being a "bad kid". Please do not label or arrest the kid for this, unless he/she is being a serious threat for bodily injury to self or others (then hospitilization should be considered over arrest)- help look for and advocate for getting to the underlying cause(s) of the disruptive behavior and work on those issues; positive reinforcement usually goes further than negative reinforcement; and 2) try to work with the parent instead of viewing the parent as an "enemy" who is just biased toward their child. Although there are many parents like that- shoot, we are all somewhat biased toward our kids- if teachers treat the parent as a team member and try to treat the child fairly, the parent is much less likely to stay on the defensive and more likely to work with the people at school for a team approach.

    The only other things that come to mind are a suggestion to read a newer book by Ross Greene. He had written a very good one titled "The Explosive Child" but has written a newer one that is based on the same concepts but is written more for people in the school setting. Also, advocate for more funding and adequate/thorough assessments for kids with special education needs and behavioral or emotional problems.

    Again, I really commend you for seeking out the input from parents. Good luck!
    Last edited: May 28, 2009
  4. FutureTeacher

    FutureTeacher New Member

    I'm actually not truly sure which of those my professor meant, but I can tell you that the class would be interested in both. The University I'm at really stresses an inclusive classroom environment, so even if it isn't diagnosed as "conduct disorder" specifically, we'd like to know what this disorder commands from us in the classroom.

    Hope that clarifies! Thanks for the input!
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I rarely check this forum, since my daughter was fortunate enough to have teachers willing to make modifications without an IEP, and she's graduating in five days. I'm a substitute teacher, fully credentialed but subbing by choice (because subs don't get pink slips).

    On the mommy side, I would like to see teachers that listen and don't automatically blame the parent for the child's behavior. Sometimes behavior is an indication of a more serious problem, and sometimes it's not. Don't think you know more than the parent. You don't. Especially if you don't have a child with a special need. Help my child be the best that she can be. Help her feel safe in your classroom. Work with the parent, make it a team effort. Don't make everything a battle. We get enough of that at home.

    On the teacher side, be clear about the expectations for the child. Read the IEP/504. Understand it. Inform subs of any modifications a child needs. Subs are not mind readers, and we can create an international incident without knowing it when we don't have the necessary information. If you're just talking about a child acting up, that may not actually be conduct disorder. Get the facts. Focus on the positives. Do your own research to be better informed.

    My pet peeve (one of them, anyway) is when an educator assumes I cannot understand something. I got that attitude more often than not when I was a single parent and had gone back to school for my credential. School personnel would see I was a full-time student and start talking down to me. Give parents credit where credit is due, and lose the patronizing tone.
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I agree with everything said so far. I do have something you may want to keep in mind. When a child's parents are separated or divorced, there can be some push-and-pull between them. Whatever you do, don't take sides. Now sometimes it is pretty obvious where the problem is, but keep an open mind.

    In our case, last year the teacher was very open and outgoing to husband and I - until biomom (BM) started coming in and dosing difficult child 2 with Concerta unknown to husband. She then had the school giving it to him, and husband would not have known if it hadn't been for difficult child 2 mentioning it. When we went in for an IEP meeting the teacher told us that it was obvious difficult child 2 needed to be medicated and was very cold toward us. The kids lived with us at this point.

    This year, the teacher was open to begin with... We let him know there might be issues with BM. We kept in contact and tried to help as much as possible without being helicopters. As a result we still have a great relationship with the teacher, and as of March 31, husband has full custody. The school has been most cooperative this year where they were not last year. Same school.

    As it turns out, the ADHD diagnosis is possibly (probably) incorrect. We are taking him to a neuropsychologist in a couple of weeks to find out, but in my humble opinion he shows a good many signs of Asperger's or other Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). I'll wait for the official diagnosis, though.

    Anyway, the child with issues may have an official diagnosis, may be undiagnosed or incorrectly diagnosed, or there may be more going on than you know about. You're there for the kids - not their parents.
  7. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I could write a book on this subject, but I'll keep it short.

    "Conduct Disorder" is specifically defined in the DSM. in my opinion, and speaking as a mother, it's a list of socially inappropriate and unacceptable behaviors that are more in line with "willfulness." Technically, this diagnosis can not be give to a child younger than 16 or 18 (can't remember exactly). Yet time after time we see parents come to this site with young children -- some 5 yrs old and younger diagnosed with-conduct disorder.

    I believe that in most of these instances, it's lack of communication from professional with parent. There are a lot of behaviors that are a part of various disorders, however, that is not explained to the parent. Then there are times that I think the confusion also lies with the professional. lol

    Most of the kids that you'll see discussed on this board could have been diagnosed with "conduct disorder" because the almighty "List of Behaviors" cited under CD is seen in any number of disorders.

    Frankly, it's sad to see "conduct disorder" given to a young child. What parents and teachers need to know is, " What is the underlying disorder that is causing the behaviors?"

    Undiagnosed and inappropriate treatment of disorders can cause Conduct Disorder to be the end result. Statics show that these kids typically end up in very bad places.

    A short personal story. When my son was in 1st grade, he was a major behavior problem. The school wanted to put him in an Alternative School where by there own account, "very little teaching is done there." His evaluation via the sd flat out said that all his problems were due to difficult child's "willfulness and lack of structure in the home." (Just so you know, if our home had been any more "structured" at the time, it would have been a boot camp.)

    Because school professionals gave us this information, we tended to accept it at first blush. I learned to step back and think through the information, e.g., "Is what I read in these reports and hear consistent with what I know about my son?" 9 times out of 10, the answer was "no." So we (parents) pushed on.

    If you'll review my signature, you'll see that the mark was missed by professionals many times over.

    So yes, he exhibited many conduct disorder behaviors, but he did not have Conduct Disorder. Had we not seen to it that he got appropriate therapies and intervention......

    So one of the things that teachers need to know is to look below the surface. Do not let a diagnosis define a child. Understand that a specific behavior is not treated the same across the board, e.g., it doesn't do any good to put a cast on a leg when it's the arm that is broken.

    Highly important for the success of a student is that educators must realize that they are part of a multimodal treatment plan -- whether a sp ed teacher or not.

    I wrote a Letter to Teacher when my son was in the 4th grade. You'll find it at https://web.archive.org/web/20070810124316/http://www.sbm121693.homestead.com/index.html. So much for "conduct disorder."

    Hope this helps.

    KT: "...and she's graduating in five days." Big ^5 for you and yours!:D:D
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2009