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altered minds
Old 11-16-2019, 09:12 AM
 
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So , I teach second grade in a rural district that has been hit hard by the opioid crisis. 1/3 of my class are dealing parents who are addicts. Many of them live with grandparents because parents are in full addiction, incarcerated, missing, deceased. So heartbreaking...but that is just some background info. What I'm really asking for help is kids who's minds are truly being rewired from having a phone or a tablet in their hands since they were toddlers.

For the last several years it's been getting harder and harder to keep their attention and control their impulses.(and when saying that I feel like the loser principal in "The Breakfast Club"!!) The last 2 years have been the worst. My theory is that they are the first generation who have been given electronic babysitters since they were old enough to hold a phone. And I get it. I'm not criticizing parents. I understand that it's so easy to hand a fussy kid some entertainment while you wait for dinner, in line at the grocery store, whatever. HOWEVER we teachers are now seeing the consequences up front.

I cannot get my class to stop talking. Literally THEY NEVER STOP TALKING. They can't pay attention. They can't control their impulses - if a random thought pops in their head, they shout it out. They have no patience and can't wait even a few minutes to have any need met. The result is that I AM LOSING MY MIND!! I am actually thinking that after 22 years, I need to find a new occupation.

I am a seasoned teacher and the queen of positive reinforcement. My school uses the principal 100 system of intermittent positive reinforcement, which I have integrated into my classroom behavior management. I am normally a very calm level headed teacher who uses humor and positive praise. I rarely yell...until this year. The talkers and impulsive kiddos don't respond to the positive reinforcement (I pass out tickets when I catch them being good). They are not getting the hint that "Oh, my neighbor is being quiet and listening; they just got something good"). I can calmly remind them of expectations. I can give negative consequences. I have done social skills lessons with role playing. We made a poster of what does quiet look like and what are quiet times, what are noisy times. These kids don't seem to respond unless I raise my voice and ultimatley yell. It's so frustrating and not fair to them.

Please help with any suggestions to help these kids (and me) to control themselves. Also several of them have anger management and emotional issues too, most likely from absent addicted parents.

Sorry for the long rant,
Frustrated in PA


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Old 11-16-2019, 11:36 AM
 
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I couldn't agree with you more. I see lots of the same types of families you describe. Children born to mothers who took drugs while pregnant. Children raised by grandparents. Children without coats, enough healthy food. Children given tablets and phones since they were old enough to hold them.

And the numbers of students in our EBD rooms are SOARING. In just the last 5 years, we've doubled the number of classrooms in my part of the state.

I have no idea how to stop this epidemic.
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I started to see this ten or so years ago,
Old 11-16-2019, 12:09 PM
 
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the lack of ability to stop talking. At that time, I came up with three reasons for the bizarre behavior.

One, kids were not being allowed to develop physically in a normal way. By that, I mean, they were not left to crawl. The instant they start being active, kids are put into some kind of contraption, which forces them to use their hips and legs incorrectly (because they have not developed from crawling, exploring their universe in a physical way, to pulling themselves up and learning to balance their weight in a way that allowed them to walk).

When a baby crawls around, they do things like touch and taste and rub up against, and roll over, and fall down, get up, etc. So sitting in a walker all day is bad for all that sensory development. Plus, the cross-crawl is very connected to the left-right brain coordination which helps them learn to read. They don't get that, either.

Second, their walkers get placed in front of giant TV screens (or they may be given a tablet, same difference), so now they are in a developmentally wrong physical position, being bombarded by noise and movement and whatever else is coming out of the TV to disturb their brain development. No matter how much they talk or yell or fail to pay attention, the person on the screen does not care. That is how they get conditioned to not be able to shut up when the teacher is talking. They cannot differentiate between the person on a screen and a real person and do not understand the give and take of communication.

Third, they are loaded down with sugar from birth forward, until their little systems are just cess pools of indigestion and constipation. I had a school nurse once tell me that the most common thing she saw wrong with kids in schools was constipation.

Add to that being shunted off to daycare at six weeks, little one-to-one contact and communication, being fed with bottles propped up against a pillow, no skin-to-skin or other type of holding contact when eating, no special person interacting with them on a daily basis. And there you have today's children, emotionally stunted, physically misdirected, and mentally overstimulated from day one.

I used to call my middle school kids feral toddlers. They were constantly tapping on things, playing with stuff, putting things in their mouths, and yapping. I wished I could clear out the room, lay down a giant mat, and let them crawl around with pacifiers in their mouths all day long, so they could maybe recapture some of the developmental gaps.

Is it just druggie parents who do this to their kids? No. This is how kids are raised. I have seen kindergartners who did not even know how to respond when an adult addresses them. They literally had never had a real conversation with an adult or probably with another child, either. By the time they get to K, they have missed out on so much human interaction. The only thing that is real to them is the screen.
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Old 11-16-2019, 12:11 PM
 
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We are at the point where we are seeing third generation kids who are affected by addiction. It's really sad.
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Old 11-16-2019, 04:06 PM
 
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Research is showing that these kids brains are less developed than their peers in many areas.


https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/04/healt...ess/index.html


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I dealt w/ that decline for maybe 10 yrs
Old 11-17-2019, 09:32 AM
 
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or more. I noticed the biggest change when parents got addicted to FB.

When I 1st saw a device in a 2 yr old's hands I remember being shocked thinking, "What a smart kid!" My bad for thinking that!
It has definitely rewired and screwed up lots kid's brains and the last generation of parents imo had a lot of moms who wanted to be their child's friend instead of parent.
I am out of the classroom this yr and probably retiring next due to the high demands of the job, whacko kids, and lack of any meaningful consequences allowed in schools.
It is sad, but I truly never wanted to be a sped teacher. That is why I never got that degree. The reality of it here is every teacher is a sped teacher now.
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It's not electronics.
Old 11-18-2019, 05:01 PM
 
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Trauma causes brain changes, especially in young children. Substance abuse, domestic violence, FAS and FDS, child abuse: physical, sexual, emotional, neglect: physical and emotional, divorce, mental illlness.

All of these cause actual changes in the brain, and I think that's what we're seeing in many of these kids.

Electronics figures in the neglect category, though. Parents relying way too much on electronics instead of interacting with their children.
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Old 11-19-2019, 07:20 AM
 
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So many good points about the causes!

As for surviving:

1) background music - Sometimes, I think they talk because they're so used to noise that they're actually uncomfortable with silence. Try adding some soft music to your room, and see if they stop trying to fill that gap with their own voices.

2) focus training - They no longer come to us with much practice controlling their impulses, so right now, they can't do that and learn at the same time. Isolate the skill and start small. Tell them you are going to practice being still and quiet for 15 seconds. If they can do that, try 30 seconds, then 1 minute. Practice every day, grow the time, and reward whole-class progress on some sort of visual. (Or if you have a particularly competitive group, make it a table contest.)
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Old 11-19-2019, 08:07 PM
 
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So does anyone have any suggestions about how to get them to stop talking without yelling?
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Old 11-24-2019, 06:11 AM
 
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Quote:
So does anyone have any suggestions about how to get them to stop talking without yelling?
Well, I tried to give a couple (background music and practice). Are you upset that those are long-term solutions and you're looking for short-term ones?

Some teachers swear by the "I'll wait" method. - When they start talking, you stop, and just stand there until they notice. Most of the time, it freaks them out enough to stop the behavior (or they shush each other) but it can backfire, so not everyone is comfortable with it.

I've also used (in desperate situations) "quiet critters"/flat marbles/sticky notes. How it works is you put something on the corner of each kid's desk. If they talk out of turn, you remove it. Do not say a word when you remove it! - That's key. You cannot reward their talking by talking back to them. (You can explain the system when you initially pass out the items, you just cannot engage during the follow-through.)

All privileges (lining up, passing out papers, whatever they like to do) go first to kids who still have their item, and you can reset on whatever schedule works for you. (With 2nd grade, I might do a fresh start in the morning and after lunch, at least at first.) It's not easy, because you have to be reeeealy consistent (even if it's a usually-well-behaved kid who talks first, or the blurted comment actually advances your lesson) but it does work.


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sorry not upset
Old 11-25-2019, 06:18 PM
 
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Sorry, either your first response did not post when I asked for suggestions or somehow I didn't see it. So no, I'm not upset at your suggestions; they are actually ones that I may try. Thank you for responding. I will definately try the music (I always play music when they arrive) and possibly the quiet critters. I'll wait does not work. I've tried, they just keep talking or it takes SO loong that I would never get any teaching done.
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