Things to Consider in October 2018 from RTSC
News and information about education, research, and support for SESPs; adoptive, foster, and kinship caregivers; and child welfare and education professionals helping children with trauma and other special needs get the most from their education.
Looking Towards College from a Learning Disability Perspective
By Mary-Beth Landy
Training and Support Specialist, RTSC
Working with or have a student with a Learning Disability (LD) who wants to pursue college? Not sure how their LD will affect them in the application process, and especially with success in college? Join the Recruitment, Training, and Support Center (RTSC) for our November webinar, on November 20th from 12:30-1:30, titled “College Considerations for Students with Learning Differences: What Should I Expect!” presented by Rachel Masson. Rachel is the Director of Regional Recruitment at Beacon College, a four year accredited college specifically for students with LDs. She has worked in the field of higher education enrollment, specifically with students diagnosed with a learning disability or ADHD, since 2002. Rachel is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has presented on the topic of the transition from high school to college for students with learning differences in numerous setting including the National Association of College Admissions Counselors, Higher Education Consultants Association, and Independent Educational Counselors Association. Rachel will touch on topics such as what to expect during the preparation for college, the laws surrounding students with disabilities in college, and what how to prepare for success once the student is in college. Space is filling up fast, so don’t miss out on this opportunity!
Things to Consider…
Here we take a look at some of the diagnoses that are associated with disruptive behavior in children. It’s crucial to understand what’s really behind the childhood behavior problems because, just as in medicine, the diagnosis will affect the appropriate treatment and avoid misdiagnosed behavior disorders. It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that a child who’s pushing or hitting or throwing tantrums is angry, defiant or hostile. But in many cases disruptive, even explosive behavior stems from anxiety or frustration that may not be apparent to parents or teachers.
Being a parent, a spouse, and working can be stressors to anyone, but taking in children from foster care into your house can certainly be a challenge. Behavioral issues, learning disabilities, emotional trials; all can be exhausting and trying for a foster parent. Yet, what many foster parents often overlook is the risk factor that goes along with taking a foster child into a home. As a foster parent, you become vulnerable to many possibilities, and it is important that you protect yourself and your family from the possible implications and investigations. Just as important is making sure you do not become overly exhausted and even burned out.
For an effective diagnosis, a clinician needs to gather information on all aspects of your child’s emotional and behavioral functioning-not just the short list of things you find problematic. One of the most common causes of misdiagnosis is focusing only on the parents’ preconceptions about what’s wrong with the child. The bigger picture of the child’s mood and behavior is essential because the root of the symptoms you’re concerned about might not be obvious. For instance, a child who seems angry or aggressive might actually be intensely anxious. A child who has trouble paying attention in school might not have, as is commonly assumed, ADHD, but instead be depressed or, again, anxious.
So what happens when a student has a verbal outbreak during class? Send them to the principal’s office? Detention? Suspension? What if we looked at the incident from a different perspective, such as community restoration? Well that’s what Restorative Circles does. It’s a practice derived from a movement in education known as restorative justice, an approach to discipline that replaces punishment with repairing harm. The research thus far hints that this approach to discipline helps people feel respected and that they, in turn, show greater respect for rules. Because of this it is not just a shift away from suspension, but a paradox shift in mindset about community and the learning environment.
“In Fall 2017, 66.7% of high school graduates ages 16 through 24 were enrolled at a college or university…This opportunity, however, is far from accessible for students who have been involved with the foster care system.” With less than half of the youth in foster care system actually completing high school, and barely 3% of the enrolled foster care students actually earn a bachelor’s degree. The barriers are excessive. Imagine not having the guidance of how to fill out the applications or financial aid packets. American Youth Policy Forum, takes a look at what these barriers are and what schools can do to address the issues faced by foster care youth.
One of the more misunderstood effects of trauma is Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). It develops in the very early staged of life when parental bonding is so needed, but not available. Although the strategies in this article speak to dealing with students with RAD, they really are universal tools for working children with trauma.
Useful Tools and Resources
In most Foster Care Systems the rate of graduation from High School is only 50%, with the percentage of students graduating from college is a measly 1-11%, depending on who is gathering the statistics. So what are some of the barriers to students of the foster system to attaining a post-secondary education?
This toolkit addresses 8 ways that you as a Special Education Surrogate Parent (SESP), foster, adoptive, caregiver, or professional can re-establish joy in the challenging work that you do.
Becoming a trauma-sensitive educator begins with self-assessment. Much of what we believe about student behavior may be rooted in assumptions, but we have the power to transcend those assumptions and get to the root of what may be causing students to act out, withdraw or disengage from their studies. This toolkit provides a few self-assessment activities to help you get started.
Many of us have heard of, or even experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs and Toxic Stress. But what are some ways that we can combat the effects of these experiences, and avoid them in the first place. Take a look at this guide from Harvard’s Center of the Developing Child, for some ideas.
Have questions about Every Student Succeeds Acts (ESSA) and how it impacts school this year? Take a look at a series of videos meant to address your questions. The second video addresses Special Education.