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NCteacher NCteacher is offline
 
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Wwyd
Old 03-28-2018, 03:37 PM
 
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I have a student named Bob. Bob sees everything in black and white. He has no empathy, cannot get along with peers, sees everything in a negative light, never accepts responsibility for his actions and is like a grouchy old man. (Bob isn’t the real name) He cannot have a conversation with other kids. My kids try to include him in their games and groups every day, but he ends up offending them or stomping off because he feels something is not fair.

For example, he called a girl in my class a maniac. She was trying to partner read with him. It hurt her feelings. I went to Bob and asked if he called the girl a maniac. He started listing everything that had gone wrong in his life since kindergarten! I asked him again and again. Finally I told him he could only nod yes or shake his head no. That is when he nodded yes.

I believe that he shows several behaviors that might place him on the autistic spectrum. Have any of you approached a parent with
concerns like this? He is in 4th grade and I love him to bits because he
also has a heart of gold and smart as can be. He hates school. I want
him feel good about himself and make a friend. Kids generally don’t get more tolerant and inclusive as they get older and I’m really worried for him. His mom and I have a great relationship. Didn’t know if you might have some ideas about if I should approach her about it or not. He is in counseling now.



Last edited by NCteacher; 03-28-2018 at 04:41 PM..
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Old 03-28-2018, 04:06 PM
 
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A lot of what you are describing applies to my son, who is in 4th grade. My son also "shows several behaviors that might place him on the autism spectrum". People, including his grandmother, wonder about that. My son may or may not be on the spectrum, I don't know. But I do know my son is gifted, most likely "profoundly gifted". Have you looked at the common characteristics of gifted children? There is a lot of overlap in characteristics for children with high functioning autism and those who are gifted.

For my son, we have never pursued any kind of testing or diagnosis for him because he is himself. We know we have to deal with specific behaviors and ways of thinking that cause him difficulty (stress, anxiety, social relationship difficulty, etc).

I am on our student referral team at my school and we discuss this type of situation with our students occasionally. Do you suggest a doctor's visit for possible autism? In our building, we are not allowed to name a specific diagnosis at all when talking to parents. We can suggest that a parent might consider a doctor's appointment to share concerns because [insert behaviors or factors that the parent is concerned about that are impacting school]. Here is where I come down on that --- what is to be gained if this child goes to the doctor and is diagnosed as being on the spectrum? If you review the characteristics of children who are gifted and discover lots of your student's characteristics there, does that change how you see him? Sometimes teachers want a student to be evaluated (autism, adhd, etc) because they want to know. And I get that.

I have supported our SPED team talking with parents about a doctor evaluation in the past, but only if there is something we would be able to do from the school side with that information. We have an Autism special program in our district, so if we are suspecting a child might qualify for that program and we need the diagnosis to place him and it would make a difference for the child, yes! Discuss it!

As a parent of a child like this, the label does not matter to me at all and I would get nothing from it. My son would not benefit academically or in any other way at his school by having an Autism (or gifted) diagnosis attached to him. I want to know that my son's teacher KNOWS him, knows what types of situations will be difficult for him, and will work together with us on that. If this mother is asking for help or guidance, offer your perspective. If she brings up testing, tell her what you are seeing. Your student is already in counseling so she is obviously already aware of at least some of what you are describing here.

**I get passionate about this because it is personal for me. My opinion may not be the same as other teachers who answer, but hopefully hearing from a teacher/parent will give you a different perspective. =)

**ETA - I am not at all implying that you don't know or care about your student. In fact, the details you know about his behaviors and the fact that you see the underneath real him tells me that you are a good and caring teacher for this boy. I hope it didn't sound like I was implying something else. I am glad you are his teacher. =)
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Old 03-28-2018, 04:49 PM
 
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Thanks for the reply! This child is just shy of being gifted. He was tested for the gifted program, but did not qualify. I guess I am hoping if he is evaluated for being on the spectrum, I am hoping that they might be able to "prescribe" some specific therapy for him to help him in social situations. I just heard from his mom tonight that he hasn't actually started counseling. They have an appointment over spring break. He seems eager to have an objective person to talk to. Maybe that will give him a safe spot to practice social situations. If he could just make one friend this year, I think he would be so happy. He wants a friend, but I don't think he knows how to be a friend. I've worked with him as much as possible, but I just don't have the time to devote to that. Maybe the counselor will be a big help. He wants to do well and feel good about school. He's precious and I hate that school is such a negative place for him. I know he has, in the past, been victim to some severe bullying on the bus and at school. This year has been better, but I am afraid for him in fifth grade.

In does help a lot to hear the view of a parent. Definitely clarified my thinking about what I am hoping a diagnosis of some kind would do for him.
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Old 03-28-2018, 06:58 PM
 
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I would advise listing the noted difficulties, but I would advise against labeling the child with a specific disability such as Autism. You can always recommend speaking to the child's pediatrician about the specific difficulties the the children is showing.
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Diagnosis doesn't matter.
Old 03-29-2018, 12:00 PM
 
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As the parent of an autistic child, I can tell you that his diagnosis (in 6th grade) had no bearing whatsoever on his schooling or his behavior.
What WAS effective was noticing his difficulties (social situations, attitude), and getting help for those issues. My son has been in counseling since he was 5, and has also benefitted from several social skills groups, and a tutor/mentor who helped him by sharing his (far above average) interest in math and science, while simultaneously helping him navigate the social issues.
I would point out the difficulties he is having to the parent, but would not mention autism. There is no benefit in having him Dx unless it is to get accomodations/services.


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Old 03-29-2018, 03:47 PM
 
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Very true about the diagnosis being useless for him. His grades are above average and he does his school work just fine. I would love to have him in a social group that could practice interacting with others.
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Old 04-02-2018, 10:44 AM
 
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Quote:
If he could just make one friend this year, I think he would be so happy. He wants a friend, but I don't think he knows how to be a friend. I've worked with him as much as possible, but I just don't have the time to devote to that.
Short term, practical idea...................

Is there a community adult (grandparent/parent volunteer, Rotary/Kiwanis, retired teacher) who could come in once or twice a week at lunch (usually) and work with your student to foster friendships? We had some volunteers that came in a played board games with a couple students. One or two other students were invited to play with the adult/student team. This provided lots of modeling for the kid who needed a bit of extra social support. Turn taking, conversation, winning/loosing, kindness --- all sorts of good things. It wasn't an overnight miracle but it was a positive experience for the kids and volunteers. It worked well at our school.
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