I.J. is assigned a para-professional who helps him in class when he starts to lose focus, his behavior gets off track, or if he should have sensory issues or meltdowns. They've really taught him how to identify and gauge his feelings, and strategies to cope. He can leave the room and go to the resource center and jump on a mini trampoline for a bit, wrap up in a blanket and lay on a beanbag with a book for 10 minutes, or can run errands for teachers between classes and the office and that usually does the trick. Most days, he doesn't even need to turn to these tools, as he is doing so well. He's getting used to catching himself when he feels issues coming on and make good choices or ask for help.
However, something is going on in Music class on Tuesdays. The para-professional sends home a progress/notes binder each afternoon that tells how I.J.'s day was, and about his successes and challenges. She's noted things such as: I.J. keeps calling the music teacher by her maiden name. (I guess she recently got married and changed it? Is this so bad? He is only 5, and also has a very difficult time with changes.) He puts the tambourine over his head and acts silly. When the class sings, he sings different words and acts overly dramatic. He refuses to participate in some musical activities. He gets angry when he doesn't get a certain instrument (the triangle or recorder). He refuses to sing sometimes. Says he hates music.
I am thinking it's a sensory issue - the loud singing/music is maybe an issue. Not sure - he enjoys music at home - but not childish preschool type of songs. His taste in music is more mature than that. I am starting to wonder if it may be a power struggle issue between I.J. and this teacher, and if so - WHY? She may need to back off a bit and also remember his IEP. He tells me she will not allow him to leave the room if needed as his Kindergarten teacher does. I am going to see if I can talk with the para-professional and find out what is going on and figure out what we can do to help I.J. make better choices and stop butting heads with this teacher. I am also going to suggest he wear his noise-reduction headphones in the class, to mute the music volume somewhat.
He is on such a higher level academically and intellectually than his fellow classmates we were told. He tested at the higher end of 2nd grade reading level. He's between 1st-2nd grade level in math. Verbally/vocabulary I.J. is somewhere around 3rd grade or more. He is gifted and is part of the IDEA group at school - where certain gifted students get together and work on projects that are advanced in math, science, reading, etc. He enjoys that. I've read gifted students enjoy music, but I.J. says it is boring to him. I am wondering if there isn't an Executive Function issue going on with playing the instruments or if it is just plain anxiety?
I am going to start by emailing his para-professional and see what I can find out. Maybe we need to have a chat and see if I can get clues as to what is happening so that we can get this worked out. I don't want I.J. disrupting the class, and I want him to be able to do well, and use the tools he is learning to control his impulses, emotions and behavior.
I will figure this out!!
Has your child ever had a struggle at school with a certain teacher? How did you work it out?