One of the most frustrating parts of sending your child to school, is when they are sent right back home for poor behavior or sent out of the classroom to sit in the office. All the while you are constantly being called by the school to remedy the problem in some form; speaking to your child on the phone, picking your child up from school, coming into the school to mediate, etc. Every parent wants their child to be happy at school. Knowing that your child has behavioral incidents daily, is certainly not a happy place for either child or parent to be in. We don’t want our children to struggle and at the same time there is a defensiveness that kicks in as a parent of a child that is always the one getting in trouble. We don’t want to feel that our child is under attack. AND most importantly, every parent wants to know that their child is in a school where they are understood and wanted. I understand what you are experiencing, because I have advised countless parents in this same situation.
Here is what I want you to understand if your child experiences regular conduct issues in school…
The school is obligated to provide support to your child through the course of his or her behavioral difficulties, this help isn’t a matter of “favor”, it’s a mandate by section 504 and IDEA 2004.
The school’s primary role when behavior problems form a pattern is to initiate proactive strategies that come in the form of a Positive Behavior Intervention Plan (PBIP) based on a comprehension Functional Behavioral Assessment. A Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) is an evaluation tool used to determine the function or reason for a student’s problem behavior(s). Without understanding the reason, we cannot create an appropriate plan of action, which would come in the form of teaching the child replacement behaviors that will get them what they are seeking.
Your child, disabled or non disabled, should NOT be removed from his/her educational setting more than ten days in a school year without proactive measures in place- including evaluating the behavior from a scientific perspective (FBA), creating a scientific behavior intervention plan and considering if further services/related services are needed. Before a student reaches 10 days of suspension a Manifestation Hearing must take place to determine if the behavior was a result of a student’s disability (if applicable) or unrelated. If the behavior was a result of the student’s disability (yes adhd constitutes as a disability), then the school must take proactive measures to modify behavior and to provide support where there is a need.
Both federal, state and district policies protect children that are experiencing behavioral difficulties in school, in many cases even when the student is not an official student with a disability. If the school has suspicion of a disability and action wasn’t taken to evaluate and consider the development of an IEP, then your child still qualifies for the same procedures and protections that students with a 504 Plan or an IEP have as a student with a disability.
Whether a child is a student with a disability already, in the process of becoming eligible for an IEP or 504 Plan, or a general education student… if there is a pattern of misbehavior, regular classroom removals (in or out of school- official or unofficial), it is important that guidance is sought to determine if the correct procedures are being implemented to ensure the student gets the help that they need with the social and emotional challenges they are facing. When a child is “failing” or regressing academically and/or behaviorally, general education interventions should go into effect and response to intervention data must be collected. Response to Intervention is a three tiered system of research based instruction with regular data collection to determine if a student responds positively to interventions, and thus might not need specialized instruction, but rather continued interventions to close gaps. In the case of behavior, this data would be collected while implementing a research based Behavior Intervention Plan with daily data collection to measure the frequency of target behaviors. While general education interventions are going on (12-16 week process), the child find team should determine if additional evaluations beyond the FBA are required to conduct a complete evaluation of the student. During this period, the child would already be under the legal protection of students with disabilities, given that suspicion of a disability is evident, as the process has been initiated. Suspicion of a disability can also come in the form of the parent alerting the school of a concern or a diagnosis.
Parents, when you make the school aware of your concerns, do so via email, conversations get forgotten but email creates a paper trail. Remember, a Functional Assessment of Behavior is considered an evaluation measure, and just like any other evaluation, in order for the evaluation to take place, the parent must sign consent to evaluate. On the frontend, at the time that you sign consent, make sure that you reiterate all of the concerns that you have and that you have heard from the teachers and outside professionals. Make sure that the evaluation will cover all areas of concern.
We hope this article has helped.
If you have any further questions about the content presented in this article, please contact [email protected] or Krista Barth directly at [email protected]. Blog posts are intended to provide general information on a topic. For more individualized information please fill out our contact us form and/or book a consultation.
Krista Barth, Special Needs Advocate