School conference, check
Yesterday we had our second school conference with the admin, school psychologist, Karen’s teacher, and her school counselor. All report an improvement in her behavior for the last 2 weeks, but they reminded us that we’ve seen such short term improvements before, and while encouraging her and giving her lots of positive reinforcement, we should also be prepared for the inevitable backslide.
They also pinpointed that most problems occur during breaks and transitions between classes. Their job is to make more of an effort to follow her during these crucial periods. Her teacher also advised that she is an outstanding student, and even perhaps too much of a perfectionist. Apparently she becomes very angry when she makes a mistake or doesn’t write something nicely enough. Her handwriting is very good. She is especially good at math. The entire school team feels that K does not have a problem with ADD/ADHD. They all agreed that her acting out was due to the sensory issues and internal anger rather than any learning disorder.
Karen is thrilled at her success so far, and really wants to maintain the good behavior. She talks about it a lot, reminding us how well she’s doing. Of course we also give her a ton of positive reinforcement. I have also been spending a lot of time alone with her. We’ve been through similar before, but she’s always eventually reverted back to violence. She says that she often remembers things her therapist has told her, and it reminds her to stop herself before lashing out.
She’s now seeing her therapist twice a week, and Moshe Elbaum once a week. This, in addition to her sports activities 4 times a week. Yes, she’s a very busy little girl, but she doesn’t want to give up on any of it. I allow her to skip sports if she’s tired and doesn’t feel like it, but that rarely happens. She’s very dedicated to success.
We are really grateful that she is doing well in school. I think they have a much bigger incentive to work with her because she’s a good student. Had she been a poor student with behavior problems, they would be a lot less inclined to expend extra resources on her. Her homeroom teacher, to whom Karen has become very attached, has put in a lot of extra work and time to work with Karen. She seems very dedicated to proving that Karen can improve. It’s her first year teaching, and we’re very lucky that she sees this as a challenge rather than a problem. That’s the difference between a real teacher, and someone who is just doing their job.