Military Special Needs Network

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Your Box is Broken



As we are in the process of PCSing cross-country, so too am I in the process of registering the boys for their new school. This involves a ridiculous amount of work: duplicate forms (two boys, after all!), repeat information, and copious copies of IEPs past, medical records and assessments, oh my!

I sorted through various drafts and IEPs, making sure I had the final, signed IEP. I dug through medical reports. I pieced together everything that would be of interest to our future special education department. The kids were quiet for an unprecedented two minutes, and so I took a trip down memory lane. I started thumbing through old reports.

And then I found it.

I found a “procedure plan” for Ted. It appears as though this was a precursor to a formal behavioral assessment. It went through all of his maladaptive behaviors and talked about possible reasons why – all really informal stuff, though. Then it covered “what to do” when he would exhibit his behaviors (stripping buck nekkid, screaming, self-injurious behaviors, throwing furniture, attempting to hurt staff, etc). The report actually said that at no time should any staff tell Ted, “no.” In the course of 15 months or whatnot, any time he threw a book, tossed a deck, scratched the teachers and tried to bite his way through them, no one ever told this kid no.

Are you freaking kidding me?

Yeah, I know, they practiced ABA – they ignored the behavior. For 15 months they did the same thing. Ted stripped naked – no one told him no. No one said, “That is not okay.” No one said, “Dude, that is not a choice.” WHY?

Why would they have expected his behavior to change? They have “data” which showed that he could effectively communicate his needs 99.6% of the time. Yet they never thought to tell him no?

The ABA box kills me. All of these professionals are taught how to handle our kids. They’re taught ABA principles and theory. They’re taught to discipline our kids by ignoring behaviors and using sticker charts. And they think they know it all. Our attempts, as parents, to educate them – the so-called professionals_ yields arguments and ignored advice. After all, we’re “just” parents.

And yet the Autism professionals continue time after time to put my son in a one-size fits all box. And time and time again my son continues to blow the walls out of those boxes.

The box they continue to stuff him in is broken beyond repair. You’d think after the boxes we’ve gone through they’d come up with a new box, er, plan.

Here’s hoping the new school has, if not a new box, the ability to tell my son “no” when he throws that first desk. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long three years before we move onto yet another new district. With crappy cardboard boxes.


5 comments on “Your Box is Broken

  1. Gina left the mall
    August 13, 2013

    “One size fits all,” hardly ever does. I hope your son has wonderful new teachers. And that they see you as partners. “Just parents?” How about “just the people who know and love him best and would move heaven and earth to help him be his best.” I would think that kind of dedication and motivation would be welcomed and valued.

  2. decipheringmorgan
    August 13, 2013

    I loved this and thought that it’s representative of not just ABA, but other areas of therapy, too.

  3. Pingback: When Mommy Needs Reminding | Military Special Needs Network

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