It is easy to become frustrated especially when a staff person may be having a tough day and the student is not cooperating or may have behavioral challenges. Being aware of one’s frustration and having a support system is key to keeping a good attitude staying positive. Here is a sample list of questions as well as consequences that have occurred when frustration has not been properly managed as I illustrated in Scenario 1.
How staff copes with setbacks and accidents when frustrated.
It is natural to become frustrated especially when a student has an accident or refuses to comply with a toileting task. A parent should discuss this with the assigned staff. It is important to have this tough conversation because it is not uncommon for these situations to happen.
How does an assigned staff deal with their own internal disappointment and frustration?
Will the staff entrusted to care for the student have a good attitude regardless of the level of assistance needed?
How is staff supported to avoid becoming overwhelmed or frustrated?
How will staff deal with an uncooperative student especially if it becomes a power struggle?
Frustration can manifest in many ways and an individual may not even be aware of it. Therefore, the questions need to be asked to prevent the following scenarios from occurring.
Speaking negatively to other adults in ear shot of the student,
Being passive aggressive by praising other students and deliberately alienating the student,
Shaming (directly or indirectly)
Any attitude or action that alienates the student from his/her peers.
Using demeaning or derogatory language.
Angrily dressing, or undressing the student,
Rushing the student or not adhering to the toileting or diapering schedule
Using language that is not age appropriate such as” time to go potty” when talking to an older student.
Sending a child home smelling of urine or feces and/or in dirty soiled clothes. (As referenced in scenario 2)
These actions are traumatizing, punitive and a violate an individual’s Civil Rights. It invites bullying, destroys opportunities for friendships and creates needless suffering for everyone.
The team should decide the frequency and manner of communication. The parent can decide if email, phone call, text or sending home a binder with the log daily is best. Frown faces can also be punitive, and I would recommend against them. Create a communication system that is objective and does not show disappointment in the student’s progress. Due to the sensitive nature of information, it may not be suitable to include on class dojo or other school communication programs.
The daily report/log should include the frequency of restroom visits, if the student was able to void in the toilet, the staff person assigned, and skills that were worked on. It should also detail if there was an accident requiring a change of clothes or if any reinforcers were given for complying with a task.
The school log should avoid frown faces as they are punitive! I recommend against them. Use a Morse Code system that only the parent and school understand because it is the most neutral and objective mode of communication and does not alert the student to disappointment or feeling like a failure.
Any change in strategy or plan should be discussed as a team prior to its implementation.
Who should you speak with if you have concerns with the assigned staff person or would like to share pertinent information?
Having a good communication plan in place, asking all your questions, and addressing your major concerns and fears upfront will minimize and can prevent nightmare situations from occurring in the first place.
We will be blogging regarding Why punishments don’t work and some sample IEP goals to consider.
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