Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Like a Kick in the Stomach

Note from teacher: D. kept picking up the other students and squeezing them hard.

Note from WG: I talked to him about the squeezing. He does it when he's excited or frustrated. Try giving him words, like, "I know you're excited to see John, but we don't squeeze. You can say, 'I'm so happy to see you!'" Or, "You're angry because it's time to sit and work. We don't squeeze. You can say, 'I'm feeling angry!'"

Note from teacher: We give D. constant reminders and refer to words that you've stated. It's just that we are getting complaints from parents who are tired of seeing him hug and squeeze their child in that manner.


moplans said...

What exactly does the teacher expect you to do?
You aren't there to do anything about it. That's their job.
I say this as a teacher, and as a mom of a kid who will most likely be doing this too.

Anonymous said...

as a spec ed teacher - teaching an primary autism class, we have kids that do that all the time. basically we continue to reinforce that hugs are for home/family and teach replacement greetings. and yes, it's an ongoing process!
also, some kids are seeking the sensory feedback - so we teach appropriate ways to ask for squeeze from staff - and use squeeze toys, weighted blankets/vests...and PRIOR to them going to seek it inappropriately.
good luck!!

Cate said...

I would be sorely tempted to write back, "I am tired of notes about situations that are not my problem."

I have sympathy for the teacher, but she needs to be working with ALL the kids and ALL the parents. Your kid is working on his side; she needs to figure out how to do the work from her side. Maybe that means talking to the other kids, or the other parents.

Sheesh. I'm sorry.

Kelly Rose Hirt said...

I am laughing out loud on this one! My sotos 6 year old is having the problem. Although I do not consider it so much of a problem...can u imagine if more of us were like this! Her teacher refers to it as dealing with playground etiqeutte. I just gotta say I am glad I am not the only one with this issue at this exact moment!

Bob said...

There must be found a way to prevent any child from repeatedly being on the receiving end of unwelcome touches - and in the short term. Cate recommends talking to the "other parents"; but if I was one of those parents, talking to me about the issue would not cause me to decide that the touches were tolerable so long as there was an "ongoing process" (Anon's phrase).

Some of the parents in my child's kindergarten used to say: "People have to understand that children hit!" I responded: "Not my kid, they don't." Nor anybody else's kid, for that matter.

Nonconsensual touch is not OK.

WriterGrrl said...

OK, Bob, so what's your suggestion? Because -- and I realize that I say this from a place of emotion -- right now, you're about as helpful as the teacher. Is it your opinion that my kid shouldn't be allowed in the classroom with "normal" kids? I'm really asking -- I'm curious to get inside the other parents' heads.

Bob said...

I don't know the answer, Wrtergrrl. I come from a place of emotion too, about safety from unwanted touch. I suppose that yes, I think that a child who cannot be prevented from repeatedly subjecting others to unwanted touch should not be in the classroom. But I find it hard to believe that this prevention cannot be accomplished. Couldn't a reasonably energetic para prevent such touches? Isn't that precisely what we would expect if a student was a physical danger to others, or to themselves? Why is this any different?

I'm curious to be in your head, too. If another child were handling your child against her will, repeatedly, and she were upset and bewildered and anxious and not wanting to go to school - would you think that an "ongoing process" was good enough, and, meanwhile, that it wasn't the touching child's parents' problem because those parent "aren't there to do anything about it" (quoting moplans)?

moplans said...


I was stating a fact. WG is not there. She cannot prevent the touching.

I agree that an classroom aide should be dealing with this.

I have been in your shoes and the school dealt with the situation by removing the child who was physically aggressive with my child. I had mixed feelings about this for many reasons. one, it never bothered my child enough for her to mention it to me, two she has a sister with sotos syndrome who I expect to be in the reverse situation and three because while it was best for my child, I felt sorry for the child who was removed from the class.

From a place of emotion, after a long day I just want to say that the tone of your comments are pretty irritating and judgemental. Quite frankly this is the wrong forum for you to take the other side. WG was looking for suggestions, not criticism.

Ani Od Chai said...

Bob, seriously? Unwanted touch? It's not like D is hurting these kids, he is hugging them. I think that if a child without special needs was doing this it would be overlooked, but the parents are probably getting touchy because they can. I have seen and interacted with D on many occasions and he is one of the most loving kids I know. I think these parents need to worry about more serious issues that might be plaguing their kids. Honestly, an eager hugger would be the least of my worries. If someone else's kid, even a big kid who likes to hug your child is something that you are going to devote any negativity to, I say you need to get a hobby post haste.

Cate said...

Oh, Bob. It must be nice. My suggestion about talking to the other parents was about the cold reality that there are things that happen, especially in school, that do not respond to "FIX THIS NOW" directives.

I mentioned the other parents but really I was focusing on talking to the other kids in the class.

If the teachers and staff are working on it, and the kid is working on it, and no one is being harmed (and your description of the kids being "upset and bewildered and anxious and not wanting to go to school" is purely speculative), then what more do you want? The teachers should talk to the kids about what they can say to him when they get an unwelcome hug. Give them some options and coping strategies that might actually help them in the long run, and at the same time help the hugger to learn that it's not okay.

If you really want no one in the world to ever touch your kid, you have to keep them at home. In a bubble.

I'm a sucker idealist who thinks we might be able to teach tolerance and acceptance, though.