More re. accomodations & classification

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by klmno, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I didn't want to hi-jack someone else's thread, but I thought SW used a good example about her son shutting down and needing support in school as a result. In difficult child's school, they would look at that (and have in the past) as him needing motivation (rewards and consequences, even though we don't use a behavior contract with him). They do the same about hypomania- which came up this past week. I had told the case manager that difficult child had been hypomanic the past couple of weeks so I was not shocked that he received many praises from PE class and Independent Living class for participation, effort, helping other students, etc., nor when the report comes from the learning strategies teacher that he didn't want to sit down and focus on classwork, he wanted to look out the window, look up stuff on his computer, talk to other kids, etc. This is when I suggested that they talk to 2 teachers difficult child had last year to see exactly how they got difficult child reeled back in. she said that could step on people's toes.

    so, I tried to explain to her this is why I thought we need an iep meeting as soon as possible- that they need to understand what is going on with him and so things don't go in a bad direction this school year. She didn't want to hear of it- she said she's changing him to her learning strategies class, that she just wants him to "buy into it" (one of my least favorite phrases), she has ideas to keep him motivated, she's been teaching Special Education kids so many years, she thinks she can handle this. I shouldn't worry because no one is upset about his behavior at this point. I tried again to explain that this isn't about bad behavior (as in willful) and that the problem isn't a lack of motivation and that I was worried about more than whether or not he gets fussed at over the behavior- he needs help and support to learn to redirect what he can, prevent what he can, get reeled back in so he can concentrate and learn something, etc. I didn't even get to the point of saying that if they handle it in a certain way, it can trigger mania, but it can and has in the past.

    It was all falling on deaf ears. She just said she needed to extend the iep and wanted to extend it another 5-6 weeks. I said we could extend it a couple of weeks, but that's all. (It is for a typical IEP review) Anyway, it took almost 2 years to get some people at the school (maybe half the iep team) to understand that we're talking about more here than a behavior problem so by the end of last year, we actually had productive iep meeting and were really getting somewhere with ideas to help difficult child. This iep was written right at the end of the school year just as a basis for him to start with this year, but it states that it is to be reviewed by Sept. 28, and that was done so that we could give this year's team a background and make a smooth transition, but still incoporate some more accommodations for some things discussed last year before we get too far into the school year. This woman does not get that, apparently. And she seems to be doing a whole lot more than just being a case manager- it's like she wants to direct the iep herself.

    Anyway, I was wondering if anyone had any other ideas about how to educate her about mood cycling? I took the pamplet about educating the BiPolar (BP) child to the principal and Special Education director last year- I can take that to this new cm, along with a copy of some portions out of TEC. Any other ideas about how to word things when you're describing mood cycling and explaining why it isn't a motivation problem that needs him "buying into" a solution? Can something as specific as "when difficult child is acting hyper, say things 'this way' instead of 'that way'"? we already have it in there to send him to a "safe place" if they can't reel him back in, but they have never used it- they tell me they can't guarantee a certain place or person to be available.

    All i could think of was to push the classification issue- if they are convinced that ED means behavior that can be changed merely through rewards and consequences and getting the kid to buy into it, then I figured proving that BiPolar (BP) qualifies as OHI might get them to see that there is more to it and difficult child needs more than that. I can't believe they think I would have my kid on mood stabilizers if this was a discipline issue.
    Sorry so guys are great for advice though, so thanks in advance!
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2008
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I found this in the archives and thought it might be can change the ODD to whatever diagnosis you choose.

    Managing ODD in the classroom (AKA as roping the wind )

    There are many things that a teacher can do to avoid/diffuse meltdowns and ODD'ness in the classroom.

    I will begin to list just some of the basics here and I suggest that you make a copy for your childs teacher and send it to them.

    Often times this will be met with resistance especially with non-sped teachers because they say "its not my job".

    Allow me to assure you that Congress "invited them to the party" with the reauthorization of IDEA 97 in that they said... MORE children must be mainstreamed.

    This is an excellent format for any 504 plan you write, and must be adhered to for students who are behavior disordered.

    * I write a 504 plan to compliment IEP'S.. so this is an example of what that looks like.

    504 Accomadations for J--- ( an actual plan )
    1) Parent will meet with all difficult child's teachers to present Parent Report and explain ODD, and its impact on their child.

    * this should be done at beggining of year and should take at least 1 hour, all teachers must be in attendance, and should come prepared with materials to take notes, and ideas or input on what has worked/failed for them with difficult child.

    2) Teacher will assess difficult child's mood and behavior as he enters classroom to determine "state" and observe any signs of agitation.

    * The most important thing is to not be asleep at the wheel... often times teachers fail to even notice warning signs of impending meltdown, as they just get on with starting class, and overlook clues.

    Remember difficult child has just passed class and was in contact with many triggers such as peers or perhaps are reminded that they dont have assignment done, and can be very anxious about class starting.

    A quick assessment of body language can cue a sharp teacher to act quickly to divert trouble. Given the fact that safety is a huge concern to all.. this should not be limited to just difficult child.. but all students.
    ( wonder if anyone did this at Columbine? )

    3. Inservice training will be provided to staff ( difficult child's teachers ) on non-confrontational techniques to utilize, and staff will be tested and acheive a 95% score or above on the test to determine competancy.

    * this is actual language in a 504 that I recently wrote, and the teachers... 7 of them all passed.

    4. A communication plan will be developed for staff, parent and difficult child. Good communication skills will be "modeled" for difficult child by staff & parents.

    * this means no pissin matches in front of difficult child ever! If parent or staff dont like plans or ideas.. they dont "feed' dsipleasure to difficult child.

    5.Parents and staff will model and promote appropriate self advocacy skills for difficult child, and encourage expression of feelings with out fear of retalliation.

    * this means that if difficult child has a complaint that he will be taught how to "FIX it once Fix it WRITE" and that the complaint will be heard and responded to appropriatley.

    If he feels a teacher or staff person is picking on him/her than he will be allowed to express that in a safe and reatalliation free environment. * staff & parent will model "mature" behavior, and readily admit shortcomings without excuses... or alibis*

    If the complaint is about treatment at school difficult child will be assisted in writing state complaint.

    * staff and parents will not defend, just accept and allow expression.


    This is an actual 504 plan in place this year, and I am Happy to report that neither the student, staff or parents have had ANY problems thus far.

    This is a big deal in this case where I was getting 4-5 calls per week on him last year.


    Understanding ODD and its origins is important but caution should be excersised when educators look for reasons WHY a child has ODD.. Blame plays no role in this query whatsoever.

    Far too often educators, simply diagnose ODD causation as BAD PARENTING. This is a myth and falacy in 99% of all cases.

    It serves no purpose to even consider it and quite frankly works against any hope of success with student in the classroom.

    An alignment with parents is critical to anything you may do, and failure to acheive this partnership will sabotage any ideas you may have.

    * Its important to understand that parents are extremely sensitive about being blamed for their childs poor behavior... a reveiw of the parent report should demonstrate all that the parent has done to seek help and assistance for & with their child.

    Furthermore... they have been at this longer than you, and may have their creative energies completly exhausted.

    The basics in ODD classroom management are:


    2.Affecting attitude

    Escape means to "get away" or "get out of"...
    and when your in a classroom full of children this may seem pretty tricky.

    What it means in term of an ODD student is to "get away" from triggers that bring on the ODD.

    And "get out of" old beleifs and habits that do so.

    Ways to move towards ODD confrontations:

    * responding quickly
    * trying to "convince"
    * threatning
    * raising the stakes
    * create an audiance
    * keep it going for long time
    * using sarcasm, anger etc.
    * bribes
    * "cutting" the difficult child with words

    Ways to move away from ODD confrontations:

    * simple, direct choices
    * follow the pre-determined plan
    * listening
    * breif and direct responses
    * private at all costs
    * walking away

    Now evaluate your self and track your progress... do a report card for your self!

    Did you buy into the struggle or did you just "window shop"?

    When you are done with your evaluation.. share it with some one else... another teacher perhaps or administartion who is struggluing with these issues them selves.

    Orrrrrrrrr..... be really pro-active and give the parent a call and tell them of your shortcomings and success in a situation and you may find that not only have they tried that but that when they did it.. "it turned out like this".. this is called "sharing"... unique concept that somehow teachers and parents have lost the ability to do.

    Affecting attitude:

    This is where it gets real tricky.. most difficult child's are pretty savvy when it comes to attempts at positive reinforcement.. and you must understand the they need to "save face" with their quality of ODD'ness and will reject positive strokes cause they think they are being "played".

    So this will make them "on guard" even more.. if they think you are trying to "control" them by "strokes"!

    Thus ... they get even more determined to "outsmart" you and sabotage your game before the first quarter!!!

    So without the fanfare that works very well for other students you must give them the positive stuff also.

    Just gotta "sneak" it past them is all!

    1. Whisper it as you pass them ... "hey nice work there" or "love the dreadlocks"... be breif and sincere.. plan your shot early and be determined to fire it as soon as you can.

    2. Notes... wow this can do alot.. a simple note left somewhere for difficult child to discover and the fun for you is in finding cool hiding spots for it. * imagine difficult child finding a note from you inside his 9 page outline for his science project...*

    Most people have done secret pals.. and the fun was in leaving the surprise with-o being discovered. Same concept.

    Flash cards... I love this variation!!!

    Emotion flash cards.. kept in a pocket or on a clip board... small and discreet are the keys to this.

    Make a "level of emotion flash cards... 1-5 works great...

    Start with

    Thrilled... and use it very very sparingly.
    difficult child should not see this except when its really something very big.

    Happy... this should express your contentment with difficult child simply doing whats expected and with some effort.

    Encouragement.. this should be cmon.. you can do this I know you can.. and should be used often.

    Concern.. this should be flashed when difficult child is beggining to show signs and to "open the door" for difficult child to talk to you if needed.

    Disapointment... use this when difficult child makes an inappropriate comment during class discussion.. a "cue card" that your unhappy with something they are doing.

    Now the way to use them... these should be small... palm size if neccesary... and should be very casually flashed to students when appropriate.

    Color coding works very well... and if difficult child is placed properly in your class ( near where you give lessons ) and way from distractors.. only they will see it.

    * plan in advance to explain these flash cards to difficult child.. this will be a part of your written plan to avoid confrontations.

    This works very well for student who are ADD, ADHD, and have processing deficits or reading difficulty.

    Flash cards dont have to used you can develop a secret system with difficult child and parents in advance if you like.

    * small plastic figurines on your desk work
    * color mood charts... with slide to indicate color ( very discreet )
    * hand signals
    * audible signals like morse code
    * anything thats just b/t you and difficult child

    2 Rules for success:

    1. When difficult child is nuetral or positive you should be positive and engaging, offering encouraging feedback and instruction.

    2. When difficult child is negative, you should be nuetral ( emotionless ) and business like.. and follow through on pre-determined plans and consequences.

    It takes a great deal of tolerance to not "buy" into confrontations... but the cost of buying can bankrupt any plan or class.

    Recognize the Stages of anger:
    * irritation
    * agitation
    * loss of control
    * resolution

    Do's and Dont's with ANGRY difficult child:

    * use students name
    * remove the audiance
    * use humor to de-escalte
    * double your distance
    * attempt to distract
    * minimize discussion ( not a time to "process"... just allow cool down )

    * touch the difficult child
    * raise your voice
    * threaten consequences
    * point your finger
    * crowd the student
    * feed the rage fuel

    Watch your own body language!!!

    * are you giving personal space?
    * hows your posture.. firm and rigid or relaxed?
    * eye contact... are you avoiding or engaging and asking to help?

    Take inventory of your thoughts:

    * are you concentrating or annoyed?

    * are you reacting to your plans for the day and left over resenentment about previous failed plans?


    * calm voice

    * slow cadence repeating calmly directions and support.

    * communicate your confidence in difficult child to bring it back

    Time out!!!

    LOL this is where so many rigid school rules really fail.

    Time out MUST get creative.. and MUST involve being:

    * reasonable
    * respectful
    * fair

    Sending difficult child to principals office to "fully report" his failure does nothing short of lighting the fuse and adding insult to injury.

    Sending them to the School Prison or the land of lepers only exascerbates the already low self esteem that the difficult child has for him/her self.

    So by knowing this in advance a plan MUST be developed wit all involved to accomadate difficult child's predictable meltdowns!!!!

    They must be anticipated and plans made to fully adrress them.

    Not a single teacher that I have ever met would send a child with a bladder disorder to either of these places when his/her bladder failed!!!

    So why on earth do we persist in doing so to a behavior disordered child?

    It doesnt work!

    Never has!

    Never will!

    This is where you must get creative..

    In my sons behavior plan... * remember indidvidual is first word in IDEA... he walks it off!

    He is 11, and he gets a walking pass, and is respected enough to bring himself under control, and return when he is "composed"... he has only done it twice, but his self confidence doubled each time.

    Eventually he will bring himself under control in his seat.

    His teacher "notices" the impending meltdown ( thru her assesment of him ) and gives him an errand to run for her. ** hint hint ** wink wink ** She doesnt "out" him in front of class.

    He is handed his plan and reads it on his own in hall walking and follows it.

    I will:

    1. Will walk fast not run down halls a,b,c.
    2. Will not stop to look in classrooms or talk to students or staff in halls.
    3. Will walk until "icky" feeling is gone.
    4. Will think about breathing and remeber to do breathing excersises.
    5. Will return to class with smile, return pass to teacher and take seat as quietly as possible.
    6. Will talk to teacher as soon as possible about "icky" feeling and where it came from.

    This works for him!

    And modifications of this can work for any child.

    Allowing them to maintain dignity and self respect are the key.

    54 Classroom modifications to insure
    success at school!

    * I found this in my old stuff.. its from
    " reducing the deficit" Frank & Smith 1996.


    * This should be simply copied and attached to every IEP and 504 plan!


    * near teachers desk or instruction point
    * surround with good role models
    * avoid areas with distractions
    * dont isolate or put in leper land
    * reduce stimuli area for working
    * neat orderly rows of desks


    * establish clear & observable rules
    * reveiw rules regularly
    * reinforce positive behavior
    * offer positive incentives
    * change incentives often
    * determine consequences consitently & with-o emotion
    * maintain daily consistency and warn or alert difficult child of changes
    * Strong supportive communication back and forth with parents
    * include & involve difficult child in setting rules and consequences


    * provide outline or key
    * make them breif & broken up
    * include variety of activities
    * activley involve difficult child during class
    * keep eye contact with difficult child during instruction
    * be near student during instruction
    * behavorial cues ( flash cards etc)
    * use visuals to keep attention


    * be consistent with daily instructions
    * avoid multiple commands
    * breif and clear
    * repeat in calm positive manner
    * check for understanding
    * encourage and seek ways for difficult child to ask for help
    * use computer to assist in written work if needed
    * incorporate cooperative learning skills
    * utilize peer tutoring or allow difficult child to tutor
    * monitor frequently, then reduce
    * allow headphones to be used to block out noise


    * abbreviate assignments
    * increase work time allowance
    * highlight key directional words
    * re-write directions at difficult child's level
    * reduce quantity of "busy work" problems
    * small group learning
    * provide manipulative objects for fidgets
    * tape records materials
    * read orally if possible or needed
    * use daily assignment sheets
    * write assignments on chalk board


    * use dark black print
    * write clear simple directions
    * underline or highlight key directions
    * provide practise tests
    * divide test into sections
    * test orally or tape record tests
    * frequent short quizzes
    * provide quiet traffic free are for tests

    None of these modification lower standards, yet can help students experience more success and better tolerance for educaction.

    Look here for more updates in next few days!

    Hugs N Love!!!

  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Wow, Janet! This has some great, specific things! Thank you! I wish I could get them to have someone come in for training. I tried that last year but they told me that all their Special Education teachers and ed spec had already received the county's specified training. Well, they don't know c**p about mood cycling- that is obvious. they told me I could bring a therapist or psychiatrist in. I would if I could find one- but the therapist's don't understand it either and the psychiatrist's are too expensive.
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    • Bipolar disorder (also known as "bipolar illness" or "manic-depressive illness") is a treatable and heritable brain disorder characterized by severe fluctuations in mood, activity, thought and behavior.
    • The onset of illness can be triggered by trauma, but often appears with no identifiable cause. Symptoms can emerge at any time of life, including during preschool years.
    • Bipolar disorder is believed to occur in at least l-2% of the adolescent and adult population, with bipolar spectrum disorders (such as recurrent depression) believed to occur in 5-7%. There are no studies that measure the prevalence among younger children, but the number of children diagnosed is rising as doctors begin to recognize signs of the disorder in children. The incidence may also be increasing, for unknown reasons. CABF conservatively estimates that at least three quarters of a million American children and teenagers, mostly undiagnosed, may currently suffer from bipolar disorder.
    • Children with bipolar disorder are at risk for school failure, addiction, and suicide. The lifetime mortality rate from bipolar disorder from suicide is higher than that for some childhood cancers.
    • 59% of adults with bipolar disorder surveyed by the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association in 1993 reported that symptoms of their illness appeared during or before adolescence. The time between onset of symptoms and proper treatment is often 8-10 years, longer for pediatric cases.
    • Bipolar disorder in children often begins with major depression marked by not wanting to play, chronic irritability and sadness. Preschoolers may talk of wanting to "make myself dead." Mania (the activated state) may include decreased need for sleep, hyperactivity, daredevil acts, elation and grandiose thinking. Racing thoughts, separation anxiety and intense temper tantrums (also called "rages" or "affective storms") can occur during depression or mania. Sometimes symptoms of both states occur together in mixed states (depressed mood with high energy) or in quick succession within a single day (called rapid cycling).
    • The symptoms of bipolar disorder resemble symptoms of ADHD with some important distinctions. About l5% of children diagnosed with ADHD may also have bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder may first emerge with an episode of depression. Treatment with stimulants or antidepressants can trigger mania or mixed states in children with bipolar disorder or a family history of the illness.
    • According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over l.5 million children under the age of 15 are severely depressed. In one recent longitudinal study, nearly half of children with major depression before puberty developed mania (necessary for a diagnosis of bipolar disorder) by age 20.
    • A good treatment plan may include medication, psychotherapy for the child, multi-family psychoeducational groups for child and family, peer support for parents, and accommodations at school.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thank you! I've found that extremely useful in the past but had never looked at the article on classification, for some reason. I just read it and think I'll take it to the case manager. It isn't too long to expect her to read and it explains BiPolar (BP) pretty well, I think.

    Also, the very areas it uses as examples to point out that kids with BiPolar (BP) have cognitive issues are the areas that difficult child scored low in on his neuropsychologist testing, which was done privately a year before he was diagnosis'd with BiPolar (BP) but the school has copies of. I'm glad they used the example of difficulty getting up and going to school sometimes, too.

    I wonder, though, why they would have schizophrenia(sp) listed as ED. Not that it matters but that doesn't sound right to me-

    Edited to add: I just emailed the link and pdf files of the education pamplet and the classification article. Also, I mentioned that difficult child isn't very stable right now and I'm very concerned about having effective strategies in place because this is more than a motivation problem, so I believe we should have an iep meeting as soon as we can.

    I have copied the suggestions that Janet posted from archives and I'll go over them before the meeting.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2008
  6. Superpsy

    Superpsy New Member

    Janet, great information! Thanks for reposting that.