Happy Fri-yayyy!! This has been an interesting week and I am tired! I feel like that exhaustion hasn’t exactly gone away in awhile. This post is a little different because I’m really asking for some help and advice on one of my students. This student is in the process of being tested for EBD but we’re having some hesitation with parents….because of that, I’m trying to find a way to help them the best I can, with as much support as we can give him/her without extra special ed support.
A little background…this student has had some pretty traumatic experiences in their life and because of that, already meets with our social worker pretty frequently. Over the year, I have learned that this student has extreme highs and extreme lows all in a matter of minutes. They can go from throwing a tantrum to giving out pictures saying “I love you” to everyone in the class in a matter of 5 minutes. He/she has also been removed from group interventions in reading and speech because they were a disruption to the other students in their group. They had to be placed in individual groups with just them and the interventionist. This student strives when they get one-on-one support. They LOVE when they get to be alone with myself, the social worker, or their intervention teachers. This student is the sweetest thing in the world but needs stable emotional help that we cannot provide them unless they are qualified for special ed. I’m at a loss.
This week, for example, is the perfect summary of who this student is and why they need someone to work with and a safe place to escape to….
Tuesday morning, this student came in to the classroom in a great mood (around 7:50am) and was ready to start the day. By 8:00, when the bell rang to officially start the day, I looked around and couldn’t find them. I looked around the room and found him/her in the corner sobbing while holding their breath and plugging their nose. I went over and had to sit next to them to see what was going on. He/she told me that another student (one of their super close friends) made fun of them and they just wanted to leave because “what’s the point?” They then plugged their nose again and I took it away to ask why they were doing that. He/she told me they were plugging their nose because they wanted to “prevent oxygen from getting to their brain so they could pass out.” What 3rd grader knows that (or has a tantrum like that in front of the whole class)!!?? I had to sit with them pulling their hand away from their nose until the social worker could come in to calm him/her down.
Later that same morning (about 30 minutes later), I couldn’t see where this student was. I looked around the room and then headed to my desk to let the office know this student had left. I then found him/her under my desk sleeping and when I say sleeping, I mean passed out completely! He/she was sound asleep. When the social worker came back and we all talked, the student was able to calm down enough to go outside with the rest of us for our morning mini recess time. When he/she came back in 15 minutes later, they were with the student that had turned them off in the first place laughing and talking because they were “best friends again”…….They were then inseparable for the rest of the day.
The next few days were okay but then today, when we went outside for morning recess, things turned sour again. He/she left for outside happy go lucky and came back in a TERRIBLE mood. A student from another class told me that my student tried to choke them because they wanted to play with whoever my student was playing with. When I approached my student, they didn’t deny it but then started to get very upset and angry and said that the other student deserved it because they were a bully. I tried to calm them down but he/she was so upset, they couldn’t control their emotions (something that happens ALL the time) and took off down the hall away from me. I contacted the social worker to come and when I went back out to the hallway, they were missing. I was panicked (this student has NEVER run away before until this week) and said I was going to call the office when the social worker arrived less than a minute later. That’s when he/she opened their locker showing us they were hiding in there the entire time. The social worker and him/her went for a walk to talk and calm down while I went back to try to teach the rest of my class. 10 minutes later, the student came back smiling and in the best mood they had been in the entire week. (Extreme low to extreme high….)
I have done my best all year (with the social worker) to give this student everything they need to feel safe and happy while also being successful in school but it has been an extreme challenge. We are not enough for them. His/her reading interventionist will tell the social worker and me that 15 minutes out of their 30 minutes together every day is pretty much a therapy session to release all of this student’s emotions and feelings that have built up throughout the day. When we finally had enough data to start EBD testing and had to reach out to their parent for agreement, this parent was completely against it. We tried explaining that the whole point is to give this student a place to go and a person to talk to whenever they are having a bad moment instead of crawling under their teacher’s desk and falling asleep out of exhaustion from anger but they still don’t want anything done. I don’t know what to do.
I’m posting this because I need help. I need advice on what I can do if this student is unable to get the support they need because the parent doesn’t want to go through with the process and have their child “labeled.” They need more support than myself, the social worker, and the interventionists can give together combined. Please, if you have ANY ideas or strategies that I can utilize, please share because this student needs everything and anything that is out there. UGH this is a case that breaks my heart. I want to do everything I can but my hands are tied. I feel useless. I will take anything you can give me!!