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everything refusal, school intervention

vidd

New Member
Looking for advice from experience/literature/intervention ideas.

16 year old boy (i am his teacher)with diagnoses ASS. Above average IQ. Typical autism charateristics (difficulty planning, making choices, overseeing a task, lack of empathy, doesnt feel the need to act socially, etc..). Not interested in schoolsubjects. Shows up at every class on time but doesnt do anything. Refuses to do any schoolwork in class or at home. Doesnt talk more than necessary according to him. Ignores any form of interaction with teachers and students in a classic setting.

Untill now applied:
- clear structure
- clear instructions
- evaluation moments (raises shoulders, 'no comment - dont care')
- discussed effects of his behavior

Looking for advice from experience/literature/intervention ideas.
 

Raggamuffin

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
What subject do you teach? I assume at 16 you're a teacher in a specific subject? If it's not a subject he has a vested interest in - this could be the main issue.

Back in school if I was in a subject I didn't enjoy, or I was being taught by a teacher that I didn't gel with, then it was nigh on impossible for me to focus, partake, take any interest, do my work properly etc.

Are there other subjects he excels in? Could also be at that age. Towards the end of school at 15/16 my performance dropped off hugely. Anxiety and depression are common co-morbidities with ASD too, and I found as a pre-teen and throughout my teens my anxiety/depression really took a hold and gradually escalated.

I'm sure there'll be areas in life which he enjoys and can focus, be more interactive and engaging etc. However that might be a small amount of things, and the rest may leave him feeling fatigued, bored and uninspired.

Ed
 

vidd

New Member
What subject do you teach? I assume at 16 you're a teacher in a specific subject? If it's not a subject he has a vested interest in - this could be the main issue.

Back in school if I was in a subject I didn't enjoy, or I was being taught by a teacher that I didn't gel with, then it was nigh on impossible for me to focus, partake, take any interest, do my work properly etc.

Are there other subjects he excels in? Could also be at that age. Towards the end of school at 15/16 my performance dropped off hugely. Anxiety and depression are common co-morbidities with ASD too, and I found as a pre-teen and throughout my teens my anxiety/depression really took a hold and gradually escalated.

I'm sure there'll be areas in life which he enjoys and can focus, be more interactive and engaging etc. However that might be a small amount of things, and the rest may leave him feeling fatigued, bored and uninspired.

Ed
Hi Ed, thanx for your reply. its not just my subject, its all subjects and school in general. He only likes gaming in his room (the team around him, teachers, parents, behavioral scientists als looking for ways to trigger is intrinsic motivation) . In all my years in special education i have never met a student like him. He does come to school but just refuses to talk or do anything. I guess i am looking for a similar situation and successtories.
 
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Raggamuffin

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I was a gaming addict for a very very long time. These days thankfully I only put in around 10 hours a week instead of 30-40+ or more.

Gaming addiction is common as it triggers the reward centres in the brain quite readily. To quote my current hyperfocus/interest Gabor Maté:

"Ask not why the addiction, but why the pain."

Unresolved trauma mimics ASD and ADHD. So if his home life hasn't been happy, this could be what has led to his need for escapism and also his mental detachment from life. If faced with trauma and duress and being unable to Fight/Flight - people will often detach and become distant emotionally and in terms of work and life in general.

We have to be careful on approach and language. There must be compassion when addressing this person. Rather than listing all his problems and focusing on what must change. You need to learn more about why he is the way he is. Someone who relies on escapism through video games is probably struggling, and that escape from reality is a relief.

Of course, there's always room for change and improvement, but he has to be willing to do this for himself. You can't force anyone to change, and no amount of intervention or good advice will help someone who has no desire to change.

I'd say if you want to learn more, take an interest in his interest and maybe he'll slowly open up.

Ed
 

Owliet

The Hidden One.
V.I.P Member
Looking for advice from experience/literature/intervention ideas.

16 year old boy (i am his teacher)with diagnoses ASS. Above average IQ. Typical autism charateristics (difficulty planning, making choices, overseeing a task, lack of empathy, doesnt feel the need to act socially, etc..). Not interested in schoolsubjects. Shows up at every class on time but doesnt do anything. Refuses to do any schoolwork in class or at home. Doesnt talk more than necessary according to him. Ignores any form of interaction with teachers and students in a classic setting.

Untill now applied:
- clear structure
- clear instructions
- evaluation moments (raises shoulders, 'no comment - dont care')
- discussed effects of his behavior

Looking for advice from experience/literature/intervention ideas.
Hi Ed, thanx for your reply. its not just my subject, its all subjects and school in general. He only likes gaming in his room (the team around him, teachers, parents, behavioral scientists als looking for ways to trigger is intrinsic motivation) . In all my years in special education i have never met a student like him. He does come to school but just refuses to talk or do anything. I guess i am looking for a similar situation and successtories.
My profession is a teacher and I’ve come across some kids with various disabilities who find it difficult to engage with all subjects and school in general. I know how difficult it is to engage these particular students, even if you have full support from the SENCO, other teachers, parents and SLT: Some students just dont seem to realize or care about the barriers they put themselves in that prevents them from learning successfully.

I teach humanities subjects and I had one student who had a variety of disabilities who refused to do work for the first semester. It was in most of the other subjects too, with the exception of PE. Her only interest was in cooking which unfortunately was not something that we could give — however, she also liked Harry Potter so that made it a lot easier when making references or giving her a star chart of tasks to complete for the week. Even giving the 5 minute breaks in between lessons or near the end of the lesson was helpful for her to reset (along with it benefiting the other students). This student also found it difficult to get around the change between Grade 5 to Grade 6, and also found it challenging to form social groups with the rest of the girls. I think it helped also that I was pretty much like “yeah, I have this too” and encouraging her to do the social stuff in the arts and crafts group that I had to do for ASA was helpful for her to link with the other girls in her class.

I find that if you have something in common with them or show an interest in Something that they enjoy themselves that creates a good link with them. For example, one of the classes I taught had all boys between the ages of 14-17. I had one who was on the spectrum, and would often use it as background as to why he couldn’t do something. It got to the point that he often filed to complete assignments in the first term and would say that he was leaving school to do his apprenticeship at the end of the academic year, so why would he bother with classes. I think it got to the point that I decided to give him a 0 and a detention. I told him he had a ton of potential that he was wasting and that I know he can do better. Up at the stage I was also sharing that I play video games and had these cool resources for them to use that were fun to use. It was a really good change with this kid after Christmas. He started submitting work on time, enjoying his assignments and I didn’t get any more “I’m only here till …..”. But sometimes, a kid also needs a good wake up call. I know that he came from a difficult home life but his parents were supportive, and I know that he was often felt by his other teachers that he was a waste of space. I guess, seeing that someone else wasn’t going to give up on him even though I had to give that detention, helped him realize that I wasn’t just being nice or thinking badly about him.

The awareness that I have with different learning methods and what works best for me, I know that I struggle to work on something that doesn’t interest me so I have to be adaptive and use a pool of resources and different ways like experiments, allowing the kids to take charge of their own learning and do a ton of projects or presentations, live action role play scenarios, experiencing an earthquake, playing Assassins Creed History tour to learn about the ancient world. In my last job, I had a kid who obviously had a few things not right with him. I dont know if he had a disability but it was obvious that he found the content challenging And would often mess around in His classes. They needed to do an assessment but nothing was prepared, so I decided on the last two weeks before Christmas to do a map skills ”test”. There was a lot of practical work that they did in groups, and so they learned to work collaboratively together and on the last day before term ended for the holiday, I made them use their maps to do a treasure hunt. It was part of their assessment but I got told by one of the other teachers that this kid had been looking forward to this assessment for two weeks. He had even mentioned it in his meeting with this teacher and with his mom.


Also, it’s his parents job to ensure that he is not playing video games to all hours of the day. It is their job To ensure that he has a set time and that means that he has to have a vigorous reset of his routine. Which I know is harsh to say. I say this because also I had a student who had SEN needs, its possible that he was ASD but his mom was reluctant to get him diagnosed, and he was practically a latch-key kid who would come home and play video games until 3 am. Then sleep and then go to school for 8:35. He was also deemed a waste of space by my lovely colleagues (sarcasm). Whilst he was never fully high achieving, it became apparent that this kid just needed someone to talk to and to listen because he was very depressed, alone except for one very good friend, would often go hungry in the day. He used to use gaming as a means of escape. This kid changed his attitude towards his learning (bare minimum work, often forgot deadlines, performed badly in assessments with gaining under 4 often) at some point near the end of the first semester. I dont know what he was like in other Classes except things didnt really change for him, but in mine, I gave him more responsibility, I continuously gave him feedback, I gave him and the other students more interactive learning methods (even if it was as simple as “you are King Louis XVI and you will role play as this). It also helped that if he did something, I would acknowledge it even if it was small and I know that the other Teachers would have just ignored it. Whilst he played video games, there was more focus on his work and whilst the topics i taught for history Weren’t what he was interested in, I found things that I know he was interested in like warfare to use as a topic for the lesson. Although I would have done that anyway. We focused far too long on the Punic Wars than I previously taught on the topic.=D He made an interactive game board with his friend as part of the assignment, so that was pretty cool to see.
 

Neonatal RRT

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
For context and perspective, I am an autistic, I have a leadership position at the children's hospital I have worked at for over 35 years, and am an adjunct instructor at a local university.

With the so-called "high-functioning" autism variants (Asperger's/ASD-1), especially those with higher IQs, motivation can be difficult. Many of us will spend a fair amount of time trying to sort out what we think of as "needed" versus what may be required in order for progression through an academic program. Obviously, there may be steps along the way that appear to be in conflict, from the perspective of the autistic. Many of us do not do well in groups. Many of us will try to find "efficient" ways of doing things, and again, it may not be a way that is acceptable to the instructor. To the instructor, this may appear to be a form of "intellectual laziness", but a second look may reveal a more keen insight into a "first principles" way of thinking that is often not appreciated, nor supported.

Many autistics may be described as visual learners and tactile "hands on" learners. Sitting in a classroom listening to lectures, doing math problems, writing papers, etc. is NOT how a typical autistic person learns. We learn by doing and experiencing. For example, in physics lab I could tell what was going to happen, how an object would move, how far it may travel, the types of forces it could handle before failing, with a high degree of accuracy, etc., but I struggled with the mathematical proofs. I had a near perfect score on the science portion of the ACTs and SATs, even though I took the tests the summer before the 11th grade in high school and had never had a science class since middle school. Why? I was an observer, a tinkerer, I pulled mechanical things apart and reassembled them, I grew plants, I studied the stars, I had good pattern recognition, so on and so forth. I had a good understanding of how the world works without the formal education. In my life, I have modified and raced my own cars and trucks, learning how to weld, to engine build, and program the computers. I have completely gutted a home and rebuilt it for resale, doing all the electrical and plumbing work, which required taking the electrician's licensing test at the township office. I have built computers. I have created a 300 gallon natural ecosystem aquarium (no filters, completely balanced). I am currently designing a high-tech, off-grid home with geothermal, solar, wind, passive solar, and battery storage, with an attached greenhouse for my wife and I.

Keep in mind, I did not like school. The thought of school only brings back bad memories. However, my point with all of this is that the combination of all the sensory issues, communication difficulties, social difficulties, and neurodivergent-type of thinking does not fit well with the curriculum and environment of most schools. Intelligence has nothing to do with it. It's the environment and the lack of intellectual stimulation from the perspective of the autistic individual. School can be quite boring and mind-numbing to an intelligent autistic, and grades will suffer because, frankly, many of us, right or wrong, don't see much point in it, especially when we are young and ignorant of the world. If you can tap into his "special interests" if he has any, and can make some connections there, it can be helpful.

I think trying to understand his perspectives on things will be helpful, but trying to force a curriculum into his brain WILL fail.
 
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Storm Hess

Permanent Spaceman
Try engaging on a subject that the student cares about instead of forcing one that he has no interest in? You have to engage on his level, not on the level of set cirriculum. I spoke with my son's therapist today and that's exactly what she said about how to teach him. Introduce the cirriculum based on his interests. If it's games, 'gamify' the subject to reach him. My opinion. :)
 

Au Naturel

Au Naturel
Looking for advice from experience/literature/intervention ideas.

16 year old boy (i am his teacher)with diagnoses ASS. Above average IQ. Typical autism charateristics (difficulty planning, making choices, overseeing a task, lack of empathy, doesnt feel the need to act socially, etc..). Not interested in schoolsubjects. Shows up at every class on time but doesnt do anything. Refuses to do any schoolwork in class or at home. Doesnt talk more than necessary according to him. Ignores any form of interaction with teachers and students in a classic setting.

Untill now applied:
- clear structure
- clear instructions
- evaluation moments (raises shoulders, 'no comment - dont care')
- discussed effects of his behavior

Looking for advice from experience/literature/intervention ideas.
From your description, the kid is seriously depressed. Autism may be the cause for the depression, but depression is the reason he's unresponsive. You don't know if he's choosing to ignore your efforts or if he lacks the executive function to respond. When I was in high school, I often felt everything was hopeless and meaningless, and no level of reward or punishment could motivate me. Having a very high IQ didn't help.

You don't have a clue about the kid's home life, either. An unhappy home life can easily cause depression.

Teachers aren't qualified to diagnose. If you are going to do anything, first you need a diagnosis. That means getting the student's counselor on board, then the principal, then a school psychologist, and then bringing in the parents. Then you can work out an ELP. At least, that's how it goes in Southern California.

Good luck. Generating an intervention will not be easy.
 

Shamar

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Looking for advice from experience/literature/intervention ideas.

16 year old boy (i am his teacher)with diagnoses ASS. Above average IQ. Typical autism charateristics (difficulty planning, making choices, overseeing a task, lack of empathy, doesnt feel the need to act socially, etc..). Not interested in schoolsubjects. Shows up at every class on time but doesnt do anything. Refuses to do any schoolwork in class or at home. Doesnt talk more than necessary according to him. Ignores any form of interaction with teachers and students in a classic setting.

Untill now applied:
- clear structure
- clear instructions
- evaluation moments (raises shoulders, 'no comment - dont care')
- discussed effects of his behavior

Looking for advice from experience/literature/intervention ideas.
You may want to check for ADD as well, it is commonly co-morbid with ASD. If the ADD brain does not get sufficient stimulation, it finds something that does.

I grew up with un-diagnosed ADD and autism. Generally, mind my was off exploring space, being a hero, or other imaginings, anywhere but being in the classroom. As a result, I did poorly in school. In the third or fourth grade my teacher recognized something was wrong, and had tests done. The results said I was highly intelligent but extremely bored, and would benefit from being in a more advanced class. The school's response was to keep me in the same class because my grades did not warrant being moved to a more advance class. I remained excruciatingly bored.

Finding something that stimulates and resonates with his brain could be of great benefit.
 

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