To Blame or not to Blame

To Blame or not to Blame

There is a stigma attached to the relationship between schools and parents. It is believed that there is often a disconnect between what the parents want for their child and what the school/studio is willing to give. Many people enter into this dynamic ready to fight before they have even heard about wants, needs and services offered. What is considered Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) at the public school level does not necessarily coincide with doctor recommendations. There are also discrepancies in schools of thought related to the extent to which a school should be involved in the home. This complex relationship can only become more complicated - even toxic - if and when something goes awry...

Raising and educating children is a difficult job. Whether a child is typically developing or has a diagnosis, ALL children engage in behaviors (and "mis"-behaviors) and require that their academic needs be met. There are times when children display maladaptive behaviors, exhibit stagnation in progress or face other serious challenges. More often than not, the parents will blame the school. And the school? They probably blame the parents. Here we go again...back into the tumultuous arena of parents vs. the school. So who is too blame? Why is blame being placed? Isn’t the child/student the main focus here?

Best practice would dictate that any time a "problem" arises, take a step back and assess the situation. Before pointing fingers at someone else, point them at yourself first! Ask yourself questions such as: Is there something that I am doing that is contributing to this situation? Am I being consistent? What are the triggers? Is there something I can be doing differently to prevent this from happening? Next, discuss the situation with key players: parents, teachers, therapists and other support staff. This will help to alleviate issues in the future. Communication is key! Next, develop an action plan. This plan may include new strategies and interventions, the involvement of other professionals or additional training. 

How else can we stop the blame game? From a behavior analytic standpoint, all decisions are made based on the analysis of ongoing data collection. When an issue arises, the data speaks for itself! Ongoing data collection and analysis affords the opportunity to track progress and intervene on a treatment plan or intervention immediately. This insures that precious time is not lost on ineffective treatments and procedures. When a problem arises, devise a system of data collection to track it. This can be done in across settings and behaviors.

Much of those same concerns between the school and parents flow into the karate studio and become a “carry-over” so to speak. Being aware of your child’s behavioral plan is extremely important to the instructors as this ensures they too are in the loop.  So please, share what happens in school and at home so we can follow through as well!

Thank you for reading and we will see you next month!!

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Written by: Michelle Zube & Paul Del Sordo See other articles by Michelle Zube & Paul Del Sordo
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Michelle Zube, MAT, ABA Therapist, has been a special educator and therapist for nearly a decade. She has worked with children with Autism as well as other developmental disabilities. Michelle is currently working towards obtaining her BCBA through Caldwell College. Other affiliations include early intervention, Pediatric Martial Arts, Hwang Martial Arts and much more.

Paul Del Sordo is a Master Martial Arts Instructor trained in the traditional Korean discipline of Moo Duk Kwan™. As the owner and chief instructor of two martial arts studios located in northern New Jersey, Del Sordo has been instructing children and adults in martial arts since 1986. He began working closely with special needs children in 1995 and has since then designed specific methodologies that have proven invaluable to helping children with developmental as well as physical disabilities. Del Sordo currently works for several special needs schools, hospitals, doctors and therapists to provide tailored programs for their students and patients. Del Sordo’s proprietary program proves to increase a child’s; focus, balance, strength, self regulation, self confidence, with decreased impulsiveness almost immediately.

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