Communication Station, Laura from All Y'all Need, and Sparklle SLP for hosting the linky! You can keep up with The Frenzied SLPs by liking our Facebook Page.
Our assignment this time is to write about a time when we've been "injured" during therapy. I've been scratched, pinched, and hit more times than I care to remember. I have to admit, part of the time it was my own fault: I pushed too far, harder than I should have. I knew the student's breaking point, but I ignored it. Other times, he was just so frustrated because he knew what he wanted, but he didn't have the communication skills to tell me. And that's why they hurt us.
I had a student, many moons ago, who has autism and is nonverbal. I started seeing him when he was 9. Nine years old. This student was 9 years old and didn't have any way to communicate. None at all. So we started at the beginning. He picked up on PECS pretty quickly, but not without being frustrated enough to reach out and give me a pinch...a wake up call, if you will. Just a reminder when I needed it that, "Hey, this is new to me, and I want it NOW." As well as, "You know what I want, so why don't you give it to me ?"
I remember one time, while walking him back to his room, he had a "meltdown" of sorts. He went after me, but I had it under control in a heartbeat. The office workers came out and asked if I needed help. I had to laugh at them and tell them I had it under control. It was amazing to me that they didn't realize how often SLPs deal with that. And, I have to be honest, if you haven't experienced it, you should. It's a very humbling experience, and it makes you realize just how much you can learn from this student.
So, if you have a student who has "aggressive tendencies", don't be afraid. Make sure you have the training you need to restrain him if needed (and make sure restraining, if necessary, is in the IEP). Most importantly, remember why they're frustrated and how you can help. I like having students like this...not only is it quite the challenge, but so very rewarding when you can decrease the behaviors by giving him communication!
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