Inclusion...some kids in my opinion shouldn't be with the regular kids

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ok, I just got a job at Head Start, mostly on the bus, but I also have to sub in the classroom. The last time I was in the classroom I was shocked at how little things could get done and how many kids got hurt because of three particular children who obviously have special needs and an inability to not hurt people. Combined with that, they use "Conscious Discipline" which means you can't punish/discipline the children since they are only four years old. It is quite a trip.

    Child #1 is obviously autistic from the screaming, to the obsessing, to his getting violent when asked to transition, to his spaciness and lack of contact with others, to everything. I've been around enough Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids to spot 'em. But his diagnosis. is ADHD...haha. I like this child a lot, but when he gets upset (and nobody in the classroom understands him) he freaks out and throws dangerous items at the other children. This is very disruptive and happens often. After he takes his ADHD medications he is better...almost in a stupor. He just sits and stares (I have no idea what he takes). Sadly, then he is safer, but he isn't learning anything since he is practically sleepwalking. He does not like to be touched. If you try to touch him, he will kick you or kick another child.

    Child #2 is a cute little girl who came up to me, smiled and said, "Hi, A (figure the word out) then kicked me hard in the shins and laughed and ran away. She is the most disruptive child there. She routinely swore at the other children and teachers, kicked them (and looked like she liked doing it) and had kids crying all day long. It was appalling that the teachers could not even move her to a corner. They are not allowed to use time outs. They are not allowed to use time outs in many preschools anymore. This little girl obviously has no control over herself, no remorse, and is very mean. I understand she is just four years old and desperately needs help, but she is very dangerous to the other kids. She cares nothing about poking them in the eyes with her fingers and laughing.

    Child #3...not sure what's going on. He can't share. If he plays building blocks and another kid tries to join in he will wallop them and cry. He spent almost the entire day crying. It's heartbreaking to see, but also disruptive to the other kids.

    Seriously because of these three kids the other kids could not really play normally or learn as much as they could have without them. During story time, none of these three children listen. They run around making noise and the teachers can not do anything and they don't.

    Before I got this job, I worked at a You Pay Preschool and it was the same thing. The kids who had obvious problems could not be reigned in. Teachers are not allowed to say "no." They have to say "That is NOT OK." They can not put them in a time out. They can not remove them from the other kids.

    I think inclusion is great for special needs children who do not hurt other children or who can be relatively quiet. But I wouldn't put my own kids into a regular class if I knew my child may hurt another child. I'm not sure the parents have a choice. I really don't like total inclusion. in my opinion it doesn't help the child who needs the help and it hurts the others. I'm afraid that one day Child #2 is going to kick somebody in the eye. I guess I'm venting, but am also curious about parental opinions. And has anyone else ever heard of "Conscious Discipline?" It must be a new fad and in my opinion it's the worst one ever and will blow over fast! by the way, I love all the kids, even those (maybe especially those) with obvious problems and I love the job.
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Never heard of the "Conscious Discipline" term. I agree that those three should not be in a 100% inclusion setting and for exactly the reasons you stated. The teachers aren't equipped to deal with them AND the other kids and everyone ends up suffering. The school is doing a disservice to all of the children by trying to treat the challenging kids as if there were no issues at all. Whether I had a neurotypical kid or one with serious issues like the three you describe, I don't think I would stay in a setting like that at all.
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    in my opinion, it should be called "Conscious Non-Discipline".

    "that is NOT OK"?! WHAT?! All the kid hears is "OK"!!! You cannot tell an out-of-control kid "don't" and then ADD something. "Don't" gets lost. Learned this one and used it on Jett - instead of "don't...spill your milk" (milk everywhere), we changed it to "let's move your glass away from the edge of the table."

    "No" by itself is good. But jeezie pete.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This conscious discipline sounds more like unconscious discipline - the adult is unconscious and no discipline happens! How nuts - have they lost ALL vestiges of common sense?

    These children do NOT have a right to disrupt the other kids' educations. It was one of the things I worried about when Wiz was disruptive in class. Can you get parents to complain? The kids ALL have a right to FAPE in LRE, but none of them are getting an appropriate education in this setting!!

    I hope you can keep your sanity while you work this job. I couldn't handle it, so I admire you for trying.

    Exactly what is wrong with the word "No"? Why are so many people afraid it will damage the little kiddies' curiosity or self esteem? Reminds me of one parent who wanted all kids to get A's on everything because getting a B was somehow damaging to their self esteem - it would tell them that others are better than they are. My reaction was Huh??????? It will tell them that the kids who got A's did better work, not that they are somehow better people.

    Who thinks of stuff liek this conscious Discipline and is the school interpreting it correctly?
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know they use time outs with Keyana because she has told me they do. Whether it is "approved" or not, I have no idea but it would be nuts to just let kids run wild.
  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I absolutely agree with you, MWM. It's amazing how much time is taken away from instruction when the teacher has to spend a huge portion of the day "redirecting" one or two children. It's completely not fair to the other 20 or so in the room...and I see it almost every day.

    I'm also not a huge fan of the "conscious discipline" or being constantly positive. Without a little pain, there is no incentive for the child to change behavior. Turning your card, group points, owing minutes at recess, sitting out part of recess for a recess infraction...usually these are effective. If the teacher uses a token system, I load up my pockets and hand them out to "good workers," and then everyone wants one!
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I just googled conscious discipline. They have a website, . Some of the ideas are good and could work. Many of them if used exclusively are nuts. From what I read int heir discipline tips, youa re supposed to see a refusal to do something or bad behavior as a sign that the child needs more from you. They don't advise giving in to tantrums, but say that the role of the adult is to help the child move through the tantrum. They want you to show breathing exercises and help the child breath through a tantrum. WTF?? They say this in the sentence after they say you cannot reach a child during a tantrum. So How in the world are you to get them to breathe your way?

    These things are fine iwth pcs. They actually can work. Their idea with don't actually can be helpful. If you are taking a kid to a store with a kid section and you need to go to the next section, many of us would say "don't leave the kids area". It actually does work better to say "stay in the kids area, the area with this boundary". It is easier and clearer for a kid to understand. If you figure kids are like the dog in the old cartoon wehre the guy is saying "Fido, we don't eat off the table. Fido, you did a bad thing, you won't get bones" and all the dog hears is "Fido eat table fido get bones". Kids aren't that simple, but this really does work.

    But it should be the ONLY thing you do with kids. If it is CLEAR that a child will NOT respond to this you should be allowed to move on with them. They called it positive discipline and had 4 levels of problem behavior at our school in past years. When combined with techniques from Love and Logic the teachers did pretty well with it. thank you was in first grade when they started. They did find that in the special needs classes, and in reg classes with special needs students, it took a LOT more people to use this because it was incredibly time intensive because you have to make the child care about making you happy.

    Without these kids I think you would see good things with this plan, but as it is there is little chance things will get much better. It is a bad situation for everyone - esp the other kids who are at the mercy of the bad behaviors of the 3 kids you described.

    I am sorry you have to deal with it.
  8. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I'll piggyback on KTMom91 and go one step further. Most of our classrooms in the elementary grades have a full time aide in the classroom with the teacher. In theory, he/she is to help the teacher by preparing supplies/materials, help reteach when a large % of students struggle with a concept and help with minor supervision even though the teacher is the authority in the class. In reality, the aide almost always works to keep the 3 or 4 difficult students on task and hopes to minimize their distractions from preventing the other students from learning. The schools attempt to create balanced classrooms by spreading around the difficult children, the pcs and the top students, so each class has its fair share of difficult students.

    I don't know what the answer is, but what's happening now doesn't seem to be working.
  9. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    OMG! My grandson is right smack in the middle of that defiant stage and throws the occasional tantrum - the kicking, arms flailing, scream till your face turns purple kind of tantrums! The thought of trying to teach him breathing techniques to use during his tantrums is absolutely ridiculous! That's almost funny! I've never heard of "Conscious Discipline" either but to me it sounds like the equivlant of no discipline at all! Just kids running wild with no consequences at all! And while these kids are running wild and not learning anything, the other calmer kids won't be learning anything either because of the constant disruption. What (probably childless) idiot came up with this one?

    I'm pretty darned old and I can't help but see the differences between schools when I was a kid and the way they are now. We were disciplined by our parents at home and most of us wouldn't dream of acting like that in a classroom. And if we ever did, there were consequences at school, and more consequences from our parents when we got home! We KNEW who was in charge and we KNEW that it wasn't us! We had 35, sometimes 40 kids in a classroom but it was calm and orderly. There was no such thing as teachers aids in a classroom, we barely had a library, of course there were no computers, and if there had been such a thing as pocket-sized calculators, we wouldn't have been allowed to use them. If you were capable of doing the work but chose not to, you failed and repeated the grade. When it was time for college,you either had the grades to get in or you didn't ... no such thing as remedial work of the things you should have learned in high school in the universities. And I can GUARANTEE you that we received a better education back then than my own kids did when they graduated in the 1990's. And my kids received a better education back in the 1990's than the kids who are graduating today. And when you compare what is different between now and back then, a huge part of it is discipline! The school staff is not in charge anymore, the kids are, and they know it! And they all suffer from it.
  10. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    I had never heard of conscious discipline before this post but when my kids were young (toddler to like grade 1 or 2), I used to do something I called "The Rock" with them. When they were acting up or out and I couldn't calm them, I would pick them up and sit on the couch or the bed and just rock them. While I was doing this I would talk to them calmly and soothingly - I NEVER sang to them because that would have inspired tantrums. If they were kicking, I would adjust our position so they couldn't hit me. This worked even with difficult child when he was at his worst. HOWEVER, I can't imagine a teacher in a classroom full of kids doing something like that. After a while, I could say to my kids "Do you need to rock?" and they'd just come over.

    As for the three kids described here... The 3rd sounds like he might have maturity issues - is he very young or immature, an only child or a child who has no toys at home or has never been taught to share (as a parent of 5, I can attest that the desire or willngness to share doesn't come easily to many kids). I think that with some focused attention, he might be ok.

    The girl sounds like she needs serious intervention before she harms someone irreparably. The school director should call her parents in and suggest an evaluation. She sounds conscienceless and I wonder why. Are monsters born or made (sorry, just saw a promo for an Aline Wournos show that asked that question)?

    I don't envy people who work with kids on a daily basis.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I wasn't taugaht Conscsious Discipline. I had to copy the teachers. She refers to all the kids as "friends." She may say "Friends are nice to friends" or "I wish my friends would listen to me read" when they are not behaving. It's all positive and in my opinion it's nuts. This has to be a new method. My kids had normal discipline in preschool too. I laugh thinking of telling my kids, "Hey, that is not ok." Huh????? As for tantrums, for the most part the teachers and aides just let the kids have tantrums. They try to stop them in a nice way, but we all know how tantrumming difficult child's behave...they get worse if you talk to them. Since you can't put them anywhere else in the room (take them away from the others) they are screaming while the teacher is trying to teach and the other kids are trying to listen. Actually, these three kids are the only kids I've ever seen throw a tantrum. The "typical" kids may cry for a minute, but they stop pretty fast and move on.

    I work on the bus. I could never do the classroom job on a regular basis. I am exhausted after just one day of "that is NOT Ok" and trying to prevent the dangerous kids from hurting the others. Last time I subbed in the classroom, Child #1 almost slammed a toy shovel over the head of his "friend" I almost didn't get there in time to pull the innocent bystander away from the line of fire. Then what did I say to Child #1??? "That is not OK. Let me help you put away the shovel" in which he screamed and wouldn't let me take the shovel from him and I got a teacher to do it. God bless the teachers, really. I would never last in the classroom with that sort of discipline plan and dangerous children hurting the other ones. In practice, this Conscious Discipline simply doesn't work. The teacher probably raises her voice more than she would have to if she could remove the acting out child from the classroom and put that child in the hands of an aide or the school head.

    No wonder the US is falling behind other countries in education. No kids can learn in this environment.
  12. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    I've heard things like "Friends don't hit friends" but have never heard a teacher refer to the students as HER friends. They are not her friends, any more than my children are my friends. I am responsible for them; I am not responsible in the same sense for people I choose to befriend. That's ridiculous - there has to be authority, whether it be based on fear or respect. A classroom teacher is not a peer.

    Little kids do hit, some of these kids may not be ready for pre-school yet. It's the little kids who hit and seem to enjoy it that scare me. The little kids who don't yet have the skills or the vocabulary to express themselves are probably those who will grow out of it.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Don't know anything about the third child. I do know that there are a few only children in class that are fine with sharing. This little boy is so unhappy...always crying...that I think more is going on than just immaturity. He is either in tears or making others cry because he hits them when they won't surrender the classroom toys to him.
    I love working on the bus. We see none of that. I can't imagine how teachers can be in the classroom these days if this new funky "discipline" is the rule of t he day. Since I saw it in two preschools, I'm thinking that it's currently popular. And if we ever tried rocking these kids, we'd get hurt. These kids do not respond to teachers being gentle and understanding. Child #2 never cries. She just makes all the other kids cry.
  14. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I can't even get my kid to practice breathing exercises when she's calm!
  15. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    difficult child 2 went to Head Start. He was one of the terrible kids. Ultimately, they did a lot of good for him. When he was initially in there, he would disturb the class, had a speech delay, ran out of the room, had tantrums, etc. He was there on an IEP, so we added a 1 to 1 and did much better. He had major sensory issues so they gave him Occupational Therapist (OT) and Speech.

    They need to set up IEP's for these kids and the gov't will fund the additional expense.

  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure the parents know their kids are as "different" as they are. I know Child #1 is only diagnosed with ADHD.Clearly it is much more than that.

    I do think the troubled kids get better, however it is at the expense at the rest of the kids. My son also went to Head Start but he never hit other kids or swore at teachers and when he had to sit, he would listen, even before he could speak. He also spent 1/2 day in Early Education where he got his PT, Occupational Therapist (OT) and speech. He did not get those services at Head Start. I don't think they have them at this school either. They don't have 1-1 aides either. It's kind of scary.
  17. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    This is the kind of krap that makes me glad I am retired from teaching. I don't know where all of these stupid ideas came from but we are way down the road toward having a nonfunctiioning system of education. If my dog can be disciplined and learn from it, surely it could benefit a 4 year old child. We are so worried about their self esteem and their feelings that we are failing to give them the boundaries that kids need. Letting them run wild harms them, their peers, their teachers, and their parents. I'm not suggesting we go back to beating kids into submission but until the administrators grow some spherical parts and are willing to stand up to parents and kids and see that they have some semblance of order in our classrooms we would be better to invest our money in prisons because that's where a lot of these little darlings are going to end up. And then they will wonder why nobody taught them about the real world.
  18. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    And they wonder WHY bullying is such a problem in schools today? omg:sigh:

    I certainly would not want to teach now days. I don't know how those who do manage to keep their sanity under the ridiculous rules and restraints that are now in place. If I were raising children again, they'd be home school via computer, they would not be sitting in a classroom, or in a private school setting that had normal rules/discipline.

    The ever changing school curriculum and methods of teaching are bad enough. I thought helping my kids with homework was almost impossible......most especially math omg they had the stupidest ways of doing simple things.......but trying to help Darrin is out.....not a clue what the heck it is they're even trying to teach the kid. Kayla had issues with math and her and Travis sat down forever hunting on the internet to figure out how to do it. They finally found out, but c'mon!

    This is lack of discipline completely. For now it's just the difficult children out of control because they can't help it. But it won't be long before the whole class follows suit because they see the difficult child kids don't get into any real trouble for doing the stuff they do.

    I've had parents look at me in horror when I tell them I don't believe in integration or inclusion or whatever they call it now when a special needs child is placed in a normal class setting. In my day they called in mainstreaming. If a child is behaviorally and academically up to a normal classroom, then great, let them join. If not, then they should be placed in a classroom setting that would be more appropriate for them, because usually it's the normal setting that triggers some of the issues with difficult child kids. It's overwhelming for them. Or heck, let them mainstream for short periods or something that better suits their needs.

    But in my opinion when they place a child with special needs into a classroom setting they are not capable of functioning in they are harming both the difficult child child as well as the other children. Because you're not going to convince me the difficult child child is going to learn as well or the reg kids are going to learn as well with that set up.

    Parents were horrified I'd think that way due to Travis being disabled. Phht. I spent 4 yrs trying to get him into a special classroom because the normal classes were too overwhelming for him. Poor kid was drowning in sensory overload, had issues due to his poor vision.......and a half dozen other things. If it weren't for several awesome teachers who went above and beyond and then some........Travis would've been totally lost and would have learned nothing.

    They use the excuse alot that these rules are in place to protect the children from possible abuse from teachers. Piffle. Travis was horrendously abused by a teacher (who had taught Special Education by the way) and I still think it's and outrageous philosophy.

    In this classroom setting.........the children are in control. That is disturbing.