Tuesday, August 7, 2012

More Prep for Third Grade

Our intention as parents is to prepare and not scare the teachers of our children.  James has scary moments when his passion takes over.  Passion is his emotion for defiance!  In his own way it is a way of handling anxiety.  Here is my additional write up for the teacher to get a clearer understanding of who James is.

When “Angry, Defiant” James takes over…
James wears his emotions on his sleeve.  He can go from happy to really upset and angry in less than a heartbeat.  When the angry James appears, there are a few things you can do to help him through this.

Ø  Remain calm and do not verbally engage him; don’t listen to his rants and angry words.  He will be pulling out all of his strongest words to try to get you to engage. 
Ø  Don’t try to negotiate with him when he is angry as he can’t hear you or process anything when he is this upset  
Ø  Remind him that he can take a break to calm down.  He still needs to comply with your request when he is calm again.
Ø  James is an “all or nothing” kid.  He feels that if he has a few difficult moments during the day, the entire day is horrible.  The classroom behavior color chart is a good reminder for James about how his day is going.  However, if he ends up on red before the second bell rings at the beginning of the day, the rest of the day will likely be awful as well.  It helps for James to work in shorter behavior increments.  The “behavior clock” can get reset every 30 minutes or hour to give James chances to redeem himself. 
Ø  After James recovers he will likely spend time talking about how upset his family will be with him and they will not like him (he will use stronger words).  Just remind him that everyone has hard times and now he is making good choices.  Try not to engage in his “pity party”.  Just simply state, “James, your family loves you” and leave it at that. 
Ø  James will stomp his foot or pound on the desk when he is upset.  You will have to decide if this behavior will be acceptable in your classroom.  (For me, this is a huge improvement from kindergarten and first grade where chairs were thrown when he was upset!)  This behavior can have more than one benefit.  First, it punctuates his anger and helps him recover quicker.  Second, the jarring effect of banging or stomping helps to regulate his sensory system.  (you can have him jump if you don’t like the stomping feet) And finally, this is far better than some choice words that could come out.
Ø  Follow through on both natural and classroom consequences.  If he has to finish work at recess or take home to do with homework he will learn very quickly that it isn’t worth losing his free time. 
Ø  When “in control James” returns, it is best to get a case of selective amnesia.  For your records you can keep a log of his behaviors, but as far as James is concerned the incident is over and he has a fresh start to make good choices.
Ø  For James’ privacy, it may be better for him to leave the room if he is really upset.  He doesn’t need spectators and some of the kids in the class may get upset.  (I added the contact information here for his Autism program and the school psychologist)

I am a no nonsense mom and I don't sugar coat things.  James is amazing and he is also difficult.  It is what makes him uniquely him!! 

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully put! I wish all parents had such a strong understanding of their children - and such a clear way of expressing it. I hope James's teachers appreciate this.