In my last blog I mentioned three true scenarios that occurred at different elementary schools. Notably, these cases involved older students between ages of 7-10. I will detail how I believe this could have been prevented. By going back to the beginning when the goal was created and before it was implemented. By being the devil’s advocate and anticipating the worst you will cover your bases and ensure better outcomes for everyone involved.
Scenario 1: The student who is non-verbal came home from school with an injury in his private area. The parent knew it could only have happened at school. No one would admit fault.
What can a parent do to prevent this situation from happening in the first place?
Scenario 2: The student went to school clean but arrived home from school in dirty clothes and smelling of urine and feces.
The parent had to become a detective to figure out that her child was being neglected at school. Could better communication have prevented this from happening in the first place?
Scenario 3: A student requested privacy while being supervised by school staff due to other kids entering the public restroom, but the staff could not comply because she needed the stall door open to observe the child as safety was paramount.
Did the school have another facility they could have offered that would have provided privacy and allowed the staff to keep him safe as well?
If your child requires toileting assistance or accommodations while at school and is already on an IEP or 504 plan creating a functional life skills/self-care goal with accommodations should be discussed with the school team.
Please note that if necessary, a goal can be added to a 504 plan. Prior to your meeting you will want to think about your child’s unique qualities and challenges and the obstacles that may occur if self-care is not addressed. Think about rewards and incentives that may be motivating and create a list ahead of your meeting.
When creating a goal in an area as personal as toileting and selfcare you will want to ask all the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How questions ahead of time. It is important to request a policy if one exists regarding staff assisting students with toileting and hygiene and safety protocols. Also inquire If the district provides staff training on managing students with toileting challenges. This is a list of possible questions to ask at a meeting. Select the ones that apply best to your situation.
Questions regarding developing the goal:
First, if the student has a medical condition, incontinence or constipation, a doctor’s note will be critical.
If medication must be dispersed at school, the school nurse will need to be notified.
The goals should be labeled as Functional Life Skills or Self-Care and Hygiene.
What accommodations will be needed especially for a student that is blind, hearing impaired, has communication difficulties or has a physical handicap?
What baseline data is available?
What are the specific goals and how will they be measured?
What data sheet has been established to keep track of progress?
What steps are involved and how will they be taught?
What obstacles are preventing the student from using the restroom independently? Would sensory accommodations be helpful?
Can a self-regulation, sensory or behavior goal be established when the student exhibits oppositional behaviors or has socially inappropriate behaviors such as looking under stalls, playing with water, or hiding to have a bowel movement.
Will the school district consider working with an outside agency such as the local board of DD or a behavioral specialist (BCBA)if necessary?
How will the student be reinforced or rewarded?
Do other goals need to be addressed such as diet and liquid intake?
The district should be aware of any cultural, religious, or customs that may be helpful when implementing the goals and supporting your child in the restroom.
Stay tuned for part II on April 9, 2021!
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