Cases on Overt Conduct Disorders

Cases on Overt Conduct Disorders Knowing what is the best educational environment for students whose behavior is extremely aversive to others is not simple. It demands thinking about what is best not just for the student whose conduct is unacceptable, but for other students as well. Albert When I observed Albert just before Christmas in the resource room where he was taught one-on-one, he was noncompliant with reasonable requests (e.g., œSit in your chair), and verbally and physically aggressive toward his full-time aide, his teacher, and his classmates on the playground. He had frequent tantrums, vomited and ate his vomitus, and blew his nose and wiped the mucous on others. Albert had not started his academic life isolated in the resource room. When his parents registered him at school, they requested that Albert be fully included in the general education classroom. And even though the psychological folder from a school in another state delineated Albert’s difficult behaviors, the strong medications he took every day, and his institutionalization for three months the previous year, the school agrees to the parents’ request. They placed him in a second-grade class. Albert was a rising third grader, but was so small that parents and school administrators decided that he would do better in the second grade. I was consulting in this school, and as a part of this process I interviewed the teachers who were responsible for Albert’s education. Mrs. Tinsley, the regular second-grade teacher, had volunteered to have Albert as part of her class. She had special education training, had fully included other children with disabilities successfully in her class, and was looking forward to Albert’s coming. Her second-grade class consisted of œmostly well-behaved achieving students. Albert was coming to the Dream Team-to be experienced teachers who wanted him and to classmates who would be good role models for him. But Albert had not read the textbooks. He continued the unpleasant behaviors mentioned in the psychological folder: wiping mucous on others when his will was thwarted, screaming constantly, vomiting (once into the printer because he didn’t wish to stop using the computer), pulling and grabbing the other children’s clothes, and biting adults for no apparent reason other than that they were there. At first, according to Mrs. Tinsley, the other students wanted to help him. They became œbig brother or œbig sister to him. Most of the interactions his classmates initiated with him consisted of trying to cue him to comply with teacher requests, and praising him on the rare occasions when he did-just what we would have taught them to do as peer confederates. Although a few students encouraged him to misbehave, most wanted to help him. After a while, according to Mrs. Tinsley, the students were afraid and confused by Albert’s behavior. School personnel could not find strong enough rewards (or effective response cost procedures) to moderate Albert’s behavior. He continued to vomit and eat it, to yell and scream. Even though all the teachers involved with Albert tried to cue him about appropriate and inappropriate comments, he still initiated conversations with classmate4s by asking them if they loved him or if they would marry him. He continued to pull and to grab the other children’s clothing and tried to urinate on the boys when he went to the bathroom. Albert was gradually isolated more and more in the resource room with his full time aide. Since most of the resource students were taught in the general education classroom, Albert and his aide had the room to themselves much of the day. Even then, life was difficult, and many of the aberrant behaviors remained: the tantrums, the biting, the vomiting, and wiping his mucous on outers. He added pinching to his repertoire of tortures. Albert became a despotic dictator who engaged in any and all of the aggressive behaviors mentioned if he did not get his way. The aide and teacher maintained a program of strict rules with sanctions for not complying and rewards for obeying. Gradually, the aide and teacher began to see moderate improvements in Albert’s behavior. Although most of his problem behaviors did not disappear, Albert did establish a relationship with both the aide and the resource teacher and began to improve academically and behaviorally. Even then, he tested them periodically. The resource teacher remarked, œJust when I feel like I have a handle on this little boy, he proves me wrong. Questions About the Case 1. How would you describe the environment that is least restrictive for a child like Albert? 2. When should the welfare of a student’s classmates be weighed in choosing an educational placement? 3. If you were Albert’s teacher, what strategies for reducing his noxious behaviors would you try?