Atypical Student Development
Given the description of the student's behavioural patterns, I would address three distinct problem areas: (1) Attention Deficit Disorder (2) Separation Anxiety and (3) Early signs of autism. The teacher is not a trained medical practitioner or psychologist and may need professional support or advice before raising the problem to the parent. This can be a very delicate situation to manage and any interventions should be carried out in consortium with professional support and the Head Master.
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is important because this may equally lead to other cognitive problems. The parent needs to be made aware of this so as consultation with a physician can determine what other specialist support may be required i.e. Neurological, Psychiatry, and Paediatrician. Children diagnosed with ADD often perform poorly at school and may require a special needs program.
Separation Anxiety often results from distress caused by a family separation; this can be by divorce or loss of a parent. In this case, the child is living with a recently divorced parent. When a caregiver is removed in a young child's life, it can create great distress and lead to emotional and psychological problems. It needs to be addressed in consultation with the Child's parent (s) and physician. The child needs to feel safe, comfortable and regain a sense of belonging. (Helpguide.org, 2011)
Autism early signs of autism, if detected by the teacher, will require careful intervention in terms of collaboration with the parent and family physician. Owing to the fact that this is a neurological disorder early consultation with a physician is essential.
The teacher could implement a number of interventions to help these cases. It is important however that an appropriate correct diagnosis is made with a physician and the teacher follows medical guidance and support during this time.
Attention Deficit Disorder
- Behaviour Modification – techniques to stop compulsive behaviour
- Reinforcement – Techniques to reinforce desired behaviour
- Reward System – Provide rewards for suitable task accomplishment
- Retain familiar surroundings and comfort in environment
- Minimise stress or anxiety. Create a supportive caring environment at school. This is positive reinforcement
- Help the child to make friends at school by group sessions
The main intervention required here is by the primary caregiver (parent) and the need for extra care and comfort after the loss of a parent.
Professional support is required to support teacher intervention in this area.
- Behavioural Therapy analysis
- Development of social and language skills
- Intensive skill-oriented training (National Institute of Neurological Disorders , 2011)