Are you the parent of a child with autism that has been blamed for your child’s behavioral difficulties? Have you been told by special education personnel that your child’s learning disability or difficulty is your fault? This article will discuss a study of school psychologists about blame for children’s learning difficulties. And also, give you tips,on how to overcome the blame, placed by some disability educators.
Several years ago, I heard about a study where school psychologists were asked who they blamed, when a child had learning difficulties. The basic outcome of the study showed that 100% of the psychologists that were surveyed, placed the blame on the child or the parents. Not one school psychologist blamed the school district, teacher, inappropriate curriculum, lack of resources, or inadequate instruction, for children’s learning difficulties. Years ago, I heard a school psychologist blame a mother for her daughter’s learning disability, since then I have heard it several times.
While the study did not include blame for behavioral difficulties, it has been my experience that school personnel often blame parents for children’s school behavioral issues. Parents must overcome both types of blame, so that they can advocate for an appropriate education, for their child.
Tip 1: If a school person tells you that your child’s behavior, is because of something that is going on at home, stand up to them. Tell the person that you do not believe that this is true. If your child has autism, they may have a lot of behavioral difficulties due to their disability. Most families are not perfect, but most times do not cause a child’s behavioral difficulty; especially if the child’s behavioral difficulty is at school.
Tip 2: Try and figure out what your child is telling you by their behavior; perhaps the work is too hard, they are not receiving appropriate instruction. Try and figure out the ABC’s of Behavior; A stands for antecedent (what was happening before the behavior), B stands for Behavior (what was the specific behavior), and C stands for the Consequence (what did the child get out of the behavior). By focusing on the behavior, and not the blame you will help your child.
Tip 3: If your child is struggling with academics due to a learning disability; make sure that they are receiving research based instruction, which is required by No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Children with learning disabilities need a reading program with five principles: Simultaneous multi sensory, systematic and cumulative, direct interaction, diagnostic teaching, and analytic instruction. Check out http://www.ortongillingham.com for more information.
Tip 4: Tell the special education person, that your child has the right to a free appropriate public education, and you will be holding them accountable for that. Be honest, and bring up any school related reasons that you believe your child is having academic difficulty, or behavioral difficulty. Many schools continue using outdated curricculums that do not work, which can cause lack of academic progress and frustration in some children.
You can overcome the blame that some disability educators try and place on your or your child. Continue to focus on your child, and their needs, and this will help you overcome the blame. Your child is depending on you!