5 Myths About Students with ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder)

Sunday, April 14, 2019
What's Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD)? According to the DSM-5, ODD is "a pattern of angry/irritable mood, argumentative/defiant behavior, or vindictiveness lasting at least 6 months as evidenced by at least four symptoms from any of the following categories, and exhibited during interaction with at least one individual who is not a sibling." To read more about the symptoms and categories, check out the DSM-5 definition. So let's get to it - let's bust some common myths so we can better understand the needs of the students we serve. 

1.) Every student who has ODD also has an IEP. 
Well, false. ODD isn't one of the 13 disability categories, so we can't say that every child with ODD has an IEP. Diagnoses like conduct disorder, ODD, bipolar, depression, etc. are clinical diagnoses and can only be made by specific clinical medical professionals. Just because a child has a clinical diagnoses and comes in with paperwork, this doesn't necessarily mean that the child qualifies for an IEP. The school evaluation team will have to follow their process in order to determine if they are eligible under one of the 13 disability categories, which could potentially be emotional disability. Some students qualify for OHI (Other Health Impairment), a 504 Plan, but only a school eval team can actually made that decision. Check out my blog post about emotional disabilities.

5 MORE Behavior Books for Teachers

Monday, March 18, 2019

1.) Self Reg by Dr. Stuart Shanker
I LOVE this book - it taught me so much about how our brains work during certain elements of the dysregulation and self-regulation cycle, as well as the real difference between self control and self regulation. While I'm not crazy about the push for using "self-reg" as it's own system created by the author, I do love how it's all rooted in psych research and brain based learning theories. So good, and helpful to learn the science behind students behavior.

Coping Tools Choice Boards Reveal!

Saturday, March 16, 2019
Coping Tools Choice Board - EDITABLE!

Coping skills are some of the greatest things we can teach our students - because you can't get too far if you don't have the ability to regulate your body and emotions! In school we often have a variety of tools for students to access to help them with regulation, but offering elements of choice for them can really make this system more effective!!

Just the concept of choice making ALONE is evidence based - Shogren et. al, 2004 tells us that implementing choices throughout the school day is consistently effective in reducing the frequency of problem behaviors, and additionally promotes self determination most specifically in students with identified disabilities. So yeah, let's give our kiddos choices, shall we?

5 Alternatives to Suspension that REALLY WORK

Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Suspensions often feel like the only answer to certain behaviors. When schools do not have an overall climate of positive behavior supports, trauma informed practices, and ethical behavior practices - as a literal framework of the school - suspension absolutely can feel like one of the only solutions. While it can be hard for a single educator to overhaul an entire school climate in order to reduce suspensions, it's not impossible. The prerequisite to suspension alternatives must be a school climate that supports them. Without all the gears turning, it can be a consistent uphill battle to put these alternatives into practice. Before we get started on the alternatives, here are some frameworks to consider as a school to help build a culture of positive behavior and ethical practices for student growth.

Using Real Photos to Teach Emotional Identification & Classification

Saturday, March 2, 2019
Real photos matter - because they work. 

I love clip art, too! It's easy to find pictures of children depicting a variety of behaviors and emotions, and typically they're really clear and easy to identify (if you invest in quality clip art!). But what about our concrete thinkers - kids who need explicit instruction and plans for generalizing our lessons into REAL life?

Photos can be so beneficial for our kids. It's a primary source of sorts, which we all know is best practice with our lessons. So, what do we do with these photos?!

A Peek Inside the Ultimate Behavior Bundle

Expected and Unexpected Behavior Activities
This is one of my favorite resources I've ever created, and very well loved among my former students and teachers around the world who have purchased and used these materials. You can check it out on TeachersPayTeachers here!

Let's take a peek inside!

5 IEP Meeting Considerations

Thursday, February 7, 2019

IEP meetings can be super daunting - for both teachers AND guardians. We as educators spend so much time crafting effective (seeming) IEPs with our students best interests at heart - but the meetings don't always go as smoothly as we'd like. Here's 5 considerations when planning for these important and often stressful meetings.

1.) Plan with the family 
Family members (guardians, parents, etc) are an integral part of the IEP process, they even have a spot in the IEP for "guardian concerns". I feel a common mistake is using that box DURING the meeting - it can be really overwhelming for a family member to be asked in the middle of a meeting where an already written IEP is being presented, "Any concerns?"

Some school districts allow teachers to send home drafts of an IEP, while some do not. Either way - get family involved!! Two ways I have done this are hosting an unofficial pre-meeting. During this short meeting, it's guardian focused. I gave them the opportunity to share barriers their see at home, and anything they'd like to see their child completing. This allowed me to ask follow-up questions and the guardians knew that I was taking their considerations seriously and making them an integral part of the team. Another idea is sending home a simple (KEYWORD: SIMPLE!!!) questionnaire asking what their child's biggest barriers are at home and any tasks they'd like to see their child completing - essentially, any questions I would ask in that unofficial pre-meeting.

Listening to home concerns, implementing that into the IEP, and during the meeting pointing out where you addressed that concern is a HUGE way to create a fluid sense of communication, build trust, and ultimately ensure carryover is an important way that we can support our students holistically in our IEP writing.

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