Behavior: Social Skills, Self Esteem

Student's odd behavior - parent in denial?

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Joined: Sep 12, 2007
Posts: 9
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Posted Sep 12, 2007 at 8:31:00 AM
Subject: Student's odd behavior - parent in denial?

I'd appreciate any tips. I am tutoring a student who I think needs referral for evaluation. He seems to be in a world of his own, no eye contact. Walks very slowly, as if is not quite sure where he is. Answers questions very slowly. Performs his work very slowly. In doing math for example, one week he will know how to factor. The next week, he seems as if he has never heard of factoring, but when I start him off, he recalls. Sometimes he smiles to himself, at what I don't know.

I discussed this with his mother months ago, and urged her to get an evaluation. (The boy is a HS senior). To date she has not. I suppose I should bring it up again, but I don't quite know what to do.

Appreciate any ideas.

BTW the family is Jamaican, and I recently had the thought that perhaps in that society there is more of a stigma to being 'labeled', and perhaps I should tell her that here (mostly) the stigma is decreasing.


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Joined Aug 01, 2006
Posts: 74

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Posted:Sep 16, 2007 10:27:46 AM

Wow! How incredibly sad. How long have they been in the country? I hope they are recent arrivals. I wonder if anyone from the school/schools he has been in has suggested he be evaluated prior to this.

The amount of learning he has likely missed out on because he is not diagnosed is astounding. The learned helplessness and self esteme issues from being a senior in HS and not being diagnosed can be horrible.

Yes, tell her that there is less stigma here and that kids with many labels can succeed with help. The lack of eye contact may be cultural (I have had Native American students who would not make eye contact with adults for that reason), it could be low self esteme issues, or it could be a symptom. There is no way for you to know.

BTW, I am LD and am thankful I was diagnosed when I was. I not only survived thanks to special ed, but eventually I learned to thrive.

Let us know what happens :-)

"Never give up, never surrender" -Galaxy Quest

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” -Albert Einstein

“Be not afraid of growing slowly; Be afraid only of standing still” -Chinese proverb

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Joined Dec 05, 2007
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Posted:Dec 12, 2007 10:59:08 PM

I'm no expert but it sounds like autism. If the parents won't do anything, how about tailoring your lessons to methods used for specific disabilities?

One kid I teach is autistic. I found that he likes activities that involve manipulating things with his hands. Matching flashcards to words, using felt leters on a board to spell simple words, and recently I've found a great phonics program he seems to really like working on, and is really good at.

On the other hand, he hates writing, and doesn't respond well to oral instruction, or book-based.

Try getti nyourself a felt board with numbers to do the math problems. being able to physically move them around could help.

As for the parents, I am sure by now they aware of his problems and have their own reasons for not wanting to pursue it any further. It might be touchy to bring up the subject again with the parents. They may find you are intruding. In my Asperger's mind I would research his symptoms and present them with a report complete with suggested solutions, phone numbers of doctors etc, but I've learned that's not really appreciated!

The most you can do is try different methods, and tailor your lessons to suit his strengths. Eventually he'll improve with teh right technique and you'll have the satisfaction of being able to do at least something for him!

Small achievements can really make a difference in anyone's life.

[Modified by: Qof on December 12, 2007 11:07 PM]

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Joined Jun 22, 2006
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Posted:Dec 18, 2007 4:59:18 PM

It's been my experience that when a student is showing so many processing and mobility problems often the parent manifests them too. It's the old, "The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree." Does his mother seem to process slowly too? She may need some assistance understanding her son is not performing up to grade level and just how severe of a problem it is. Then she may need assistance getting services that will help her son as well as herself.

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Joined May 05, 2008
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Posted:May 07, 2008 7:21:30 PM

Or, it is children are little sponges. They learn everything, this is why we must becareful about what we say to and about them both in terms of personal matters and various aspects of their disabilities.

I was reading a study actually about depression, in which, they were trying to prove that it is a hereditary disorder. In the end something like 25 to 30% got depressed in a household with a depressed parent, which is high when compared to the rest of the population. I was shocked they would claim such evidence, as i could point out also that the vast majority of the population was not subjected to the behaviors of the depressed parent. Often, children grow up mimicking what most frequently the same sex parent does. Me and my mother have quite a few similar traits for example, as an auditory learner, when you hear me on the phone, you can't tell the difference between us. As i guess i must mimick her tones and plenty of her speech patterns.... It may be worthwhile next time you see the parents to watch the same sex parent closely and just see... Because like the depression study i was mentioning, sometimes what is being ultimately observed in children may not actually be depression, but learned behaviors based on the behaviors of those in close proximity.

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