What to do if my child is disruptive at school?

What to do if my child is disruptive at school?

Every parent dreads having to receive a call from school about their child misbehaving. Whether it is getting into fights, inattentiveness during class or having bad grades, it can be frustrating for parents if they do not understand the reasons behind the child’s behaviour.

The parent’s reaction can even cause the situation to worsen.

Most parents or educators might make the mistake of wrongly dismissing them as the ‘troublemaker’ in school. Typically, the first thing that pop up in our mind is ways to punish the child and hoping that the child will learn its lesson, which may or may not work for certain children. However, that is not the case when it comes to children with special needs.

It shouldn’t matter how slowly a child learns. What matters is that we encourage them to never stop trying

Undying love, patience and understanding is needed to guide the child with special needs, especially if it is beyond the child’s control to regulate their own behaviour. Punishing them would only make matters worse. It is important to know the right things to say and do when in such situation.

Identify and manage the triggers
Children with special needs requires a more comprehensive approach to minimize the child’s acting out behaviour compared to other children. There is always an existing factor that is making them to react in such a way. It could be the noisy fans in the classroom, uncomfortable chair or the classroom is too cold or stuffy due to their hypersensitivity. You can request a different seat where there are less distractions or bring extra clothing/jacket if it is too cold for your child. It will be easier for both you and the child to manage and control the situation once the triggers have been identified.

Respond appropriately, do not overreact
Every child will misbehave at some point. This is a time for them to make mistakes and learn. However, with special needs children, they may not necessarily misbehave. It may be due to other stimuli they have no control over. For example, a child with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) might often exhibit an intentional misbehaviour, such as being unable to sit still in class or they may have lack interest due to low attention span, preventing them from performing well in school. Sometimes these attributes can lead to stress and emotional outbursts from both you and your child. It is important as parents is not to punish or show your displeasure at them but to understand the reason and advise them appropriately and remind them constantly.

Positive reinforcement
A child is very impressionable and what they experience now can leave a lasting imprint on the way they behave or do things during adulthood. Positive reinforcement allows new and good behaviour to be instilled to the child. Encouragement and rewards can help the child to be aware of their own behaviour and over time improve it. Giving praises when the child does something right, no matter big or small, can motivate the child to act in that desired behaviour. An encouraging pat on the back, hug or phrases like, “well done”, goes a long way in letting your child knows that you care about them and this will give them the confidence and morale they need to succeed in life.

Praises, encouragement and patience are the building blocks of emotional and social development for all children, regardless of their special need or disability. Most of the special needs children are easily misunderstood for acting out in a certain way, but it is the only way they know how to express themselves. Misbehaviour can be managed and controlled appropriately if the right support from parents and conducive environment are given to them.

Join us at College of Allied Educators to see how you can develop an understanding of the different types of exceptional children, their needs, and the different special needs programmes and specialties that are available to you, for them.

CAE’s 12-months Advanced Diploma in Special Education course trains educators and parents in the identification, diagnosis and treatment of these needs and the basic principles and practices of effective teaching and learning. The programme is highly practice-oriented to ensure that what you learn in class can be applied to children with special needs under your charge.


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