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PollyCarp PollyCarp is offline
 
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PollyCarp
 
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Possible motivation
Old 11-29-2017, 05:59 PM
 
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I have a student who has been acting out ridiculously the past couple weeks. It's become a daily thing in the past week or so. Admin is supportive (surprise!) but we are all stumped on the kid's motivation. Today I started an informal FBA spreadsheet and that, coupled with observational data in the past few weeks shows the following pattern:

Antecedent: I give the child a minor reprimand in line with class expectations. (E.g. "Put your pencil down.") Child does not comply and I impose a logical consequence that is in line with what her classmates receive (e.g. take the pencil away temporarily).

Behavior: Child becomes aggressively defiant. In the example above, she pulled out a crayon to continue working.
The child has an option to take breaks in a buddy room when she feels overwhelmed. When I see aggressive defiance, I ask her to take a break and she either refuses or goes to the buddy room as disruptively as possible (i.e. stomping). She does this all with a little smile on her face, or while laughing.

Attempted solutions: Requiring her to go back and walk properly before she takes her break (does not work - I'm not sure why I tried it).
Entire class ignoring rude behavior. She escalates to throwing pencils or loudly drumming. We once ignored her for 20 minutes (as an experiment) and there was no expiration of behavior.
Calling for administrative back-up. She will escalate as I call and while we wait, but as soon as another adult steps in, she will immediately stop, pick up everything she's thrown, and walk out of the room apologizing. The principal has called her out on how manipulative this is.

We can't figure out her motivation for this! There is some stuff going on at home. We are trying to figure out what she's trying to get out of us so that we can reach a compromise (a la Right Response).

She seems to enjoy a power struggle, so I'm really trying to back off from that.
She seems to like admins taking her away, but if I don't call she will hurt the other students. (Literally, a pencil bounced off of someone the other day.)
Although she doesn't seem to be motivated by lack of obvious attention, I did notice today that the students who were "ignoring" her were laughing behind books.

Does anything else pop out as a motivation? Similar situations with solutions? TIA!


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Ucan Ucan is offline
 
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Seek Expert Advice
Old 11-29-2017, 07:33 PM
 
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Everyone's an expert when it comes to speculating about a child's motivation for aberrant behavior and I imagine you will receive many different opinions and suggestions. Personally, I would recommend that you have a school psychologist or behaviorist observe the child in your room - their specialized training and first-hand observations will enable them to provide you with the insight and advice that you seek. Schedule a visit as soon as possible.
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My 2 cents
Old 11-30-2017, 01:20 AM
 
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First, I agree to get an expert in.

But, given the info about home and how she reacts with admin, she is screaming for attention and control but is deathly afraid of getting into trouble.

Does this student have any positive attention opportunities? Choices?

Implementing a behavior plan sounds in order.
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TeachNFriend TeachNFriend is offline
 
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Old 11-30-2017, 04:28 AM
 
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More information is needed. When doing your FBA, have you noticed whether these behaviours occur during certain routines? Is there any kind of pattern to when she’s doing this? Is there anything she is clearly trying to avoid? Writing, math, reading? Is there a particular time of day you notice them?

Is she academically capable? Does she lack particular skills?

How are her peer relationships?

What is her home life like? Did this behaviour just pop up now? The beginning of this year? What was her last years teacher’s experience? If it was more successful, what strategies did he/she apply?

If attention seeking is the actual function of her behaviour, having the whole class ignore her is challenging because even that is giving her attention. Have you tried a room clear? The next time she starts stomping around your classroom in defiance, train everyone to grab a book for silent reading and head out into the hallway until you can take them to an alternate location. She’ll get some attention as they leave but then it’s gone. You should leave too, but stay right outside the door. I would say something like, “once you’re ready to make a better decision let me know and we can talk about this”.

I deal with a tough case of ODD that’s clearly moving into conduct disorder so I feel your pain.

Defiance can be difficult. Hopefully it is attention seeking because you can always find ways to give her positive attention. Defiance for the sake of defiance gets really tricky.
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Just a Thought...
Old 11-30-2017, 02:29 PM
 
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Instead of having this child leave the room when the principal comes, have the principal pull up a chair next to the child's desk while the child completes work.

I cannot tell if this child is seeking attention or trying to get out of completing a task.

What kind of consequences is the principal giving the child? Seems to me whatever time she misses in your classroom should be doubled and spent with the principal at recess.


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Old 11-30-2017, 06:53 PM
 
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Thanks, you all. I'm definitely going to implement some of your suggestions and ask the questions I haven't already asked.

Child has been told she cannot return to school unless her parents come in for a meeting first. Fingers crossed it happens tomorrow, as is scheduled. (Mom has stopped answering the phone!)
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Old 12-01-2017, 04:02 AM
 
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Is she only getting attention when she misbehaves?
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PollyCarp PollyCarp is offline
 
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Old 12-01-2017, 06:22 AM
 
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Good question. I don't think so. She works in a small group with me (although not on her favorite subject). She is an eager hand raiser and I do call on her quite often. She loves to help out and I let her do that. She often stands next to me at morning meeting and we chat on the way in. She used to walk out with me, although recently other kids got jealous so we made a rotating system. (She had started her huge behavior meltdowns before that change occurred.) Her previous teacher moved to my grade level and she goes to him for walk-to-read. He showers her with attention at lunchtime as well, especially to build up positives. She also eats and plays with a large loose friend group, and I've heard no rumblings from there.

All of this attention occurred before the meltdowns started. Since the meltdowns, the only extra attention she's received is from the admins.
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