Children's behavior in school is often misunderstood.
As a result, students with disabilities may get punished for acting up, when what they really need is more support.
- Schools sometimes send a child home in the middle of the day or suspend them because of their behavior, when the behavior is actually because their disability-related needs are not being met.
- Parents have to push back and not pick their child up every time the school asks them to. This will be hard to do!
- If the student is getting suspensions, the parents have to help the school understand the reasons behind the behavior and push the school to address those reasons instead of suspending the student constantly.
What you can do:
- Talk to the IEP team and the school principal. Make sure they understand how your child's disability affects their behavior. Do this at the beginning of each school year!
- Agree on a plan of what to do to calm your child if they act up. Make sure the school does not have a policy of calling the police. This is rare but happens sometimes. It is NOT an appropriate way to respond.
- Have the school do a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and try to understand the reasons and triggers for the behavior. (See this page for more on FBAs.)
- Agree on a Behavior Plan and include it the IEP. (See this page on Behavior-related IEP Goals.)
- See the Louisiana Department of Education's information on Student Behavior and Discipline.
- See this e-learning module from the Louisiana Parent Training and Information Center (LaPTIC): What do you do when the school calls to pick up your child?