Caution: This is a hot button topic for me. And may offend some people.
While Aggression and Autism are not a constant. They do have some very real statistical ties to each other.
HOW MANY CHILDREN WITH ASD HAD AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIORS?
Among the entire group of 1,380 children with ASD, the researchers found that 56% were engaging in aggressive behaviors towards caregivers, while a smaller number (32%) engaged in these behaviors towards non-caregivers. Similarly, 68% of the children had previously behaved aggressively towards caregivers and 49% towards non-caregivers. These are extremely high rates, especially when compared with those for people who have intellectual disability (ID) but not autism. Aggressive behavior has been documented in only 7-11% of these individuals.8,9This study therefore provides solid evidence that aggressive behaviors are a major challenge for families of children with ASD
Information provided by IAN http://126.96.36.199/cs/
simons_simplex_community/ aggression_and_asd Which is my “go to” for Autism research, “Reproduced with permission of Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, MD.”
As far as parents are concerned. This topic accounts for a significant amount of stress.
Or this (caution long vid) http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=NLZADAQmZDM
To make things worse. Schools seem to be completely surprised by this.
I hate to place blame. Blame typically does not solve issues. And it clearly has been my experience that Special Needs Teachers are not the group that would be assigned the bulk of the blame. It is not reasonable for us to expect them to be everything, for everyone. I would expect them to have read historical IEP’s (Individualized Education Plan). And especially any accompanying BIP’s (Behavior Intervention Plan). In order to anticipate and possibly avoid issues. I might point a small, a very small amount. In the direction of the AEA (Area Education Association) I will address that in a bit. In this particular situation I would have to lay the bulk blame at the feet of the administration. I say this for several reasons. To understand the first reason you have to be familiar with:
Which is long and not particularly entertaining. The short version for this story is that the federal law requires the state to provide an appropriate education to everyone, period, no exceptions. And that the state shall address “the unique needs of individuals with disabilities” to get this done.
When I hear “We dont know what to do” I can understand I guess, to a point. Because, I also do not know what to do. If I did I would fix things. What I don’t understand why I am not hearing “We dont know what to do. But we have a plan.” And they should have that plan. Because it is not uncommon for these issues to appear. . “Not knowing what to do”, in no way absolve’s the state from it’s responsibility for FAPE.
I am particularly blessed having TG (Team Gillywacker) to work with at the Ft Madison Middle school. Although we are not without our growing pains. I am grateful that I have a group of people who are both professional and knowledgeable to work with. Even in that environment the wheels of progress sometimes move slower than I would like. I don’t understand why when there are significant aggression issues it would take months (3 and waiting) to have an intervention team of professionals on site. But that is not specific to that district. I have been watching a worse, much worse situation unfolding with friends in the Keokuk schools.
How can these issues possibly be a surprise? There is a vast amount of peer reviewed data that is telling us this is likely to happen. In fact the data suggest it is more likely to happen than not. Why if we are making calls, involving police, is there no sense of urgency on the part of the school district’s? There are provisions in the IDEA that allocate fund’s for interventions. Is there no one in the districts who know how to apply for this aid? And is no-one aware how this type of stress plays out on the parents? What I see happening in many places is the “system” is intent on making an already bad situation worse. Is the intent to go backwards to Pre-1973 when these kids would have likely been institutionalized? That is not acceptable in my opinion.
Ultimately this is the way it will work out. Parent will need legal representation, at a significant (likely Non- Recoverable if resolved though mediation) out of pocket cost. A cost that is compounded because they already have special needs children which has it’s own price tag attached. After that process launches. Then the school must add man hours involving additional resources costing them x amount of billable hours. And running the risk of being labeled as a “School in Need”. Additional requiring over-site adding even more cost. To react to something they should have been aware of and had a plan for to start. Something that is statistically speaking, likely to happen. Who wins? The parents out thousands of dollars and now have an adversarial relationship with the school? Or the school who is out significantly more in the way of tax payer dollars, Which FYI now runs the risk of having the state looking over their shoulder. In addition to having created, an adversarial relationship with the parents? Or both who still have a child, who simply needs an education?
I really don’t know who to blame. The AEA I know can advise. But I believe that is it. I don’t believe they have authority over our districts. And it has been my experience that the AEA does know the law and what is required. The people I am familiar with in our AEA know their business. They could, I would think. Be better prepared to react quicker. But the fact remains why would they allocate the funds. If the schools are simply not going to utilize the service. I believe if the AEA felt that the schools would utilize a tool like intervention teams. They would then have the needed personal in place. To get the job done.
When I say “The administration is to blame” Its really a generic statement. I dont know who specifically I would blame. I know Mr Dirth Fort Madison Middle School Princpal is both extremely knowledgeable and accommodating to me. In fact he has basically allowed, or facilitated our local team to get together and implement interventions prior to the “intervention team”. Who I think will arrive around the three month mark of the original issue I can not to blame him. I don’t know who to blame. I guess I am just not smart enough, or have researched hard enough, or looked high enough. To figure this out.
I would expect that it is not uncommon for parents of special need kids. To throw their hands up “Your the professionals. Do what you think is right.” I am blessed having both time and limited resources. I have devoted a significant amount of time studying researching and learning the law, and my cause. Think for a moment about the single parent, The single parent with more than one child, more than one job. Or ask yourself if you can handle a couple 2K a month for lawyer fees.
I know writing this is likely to ruffle some feathers. That’s OK sometimes feathers need ruffled. Part of the point this entry of my blog is intended to illustrate that it is not all joking around all the time. That while I want to keep the blog about how special needs is not all gloom and doom. And I think that message is critical to our sanity. At times getting outside our comfort zone and saying what needs to be said. Simply cant be crafted into a funny entertaining blurb.