Diverse School Community Group
Family and Community Engagement to Improve Student Learning
For the last 19 years, D.F., a 19 year old student with Autism, has been used to his daily routine which includes going to school in the morning and going home to mom and dad. Mom takes him shopping and dad takes him fishing on the weekends. They watched movies and ate pizza every Friday night. That all changed a little over a year ago when his parents separated. At first, his parents hid it from D.F. by still living in the same house but staying in separate areas in the house, mom living in the basement and dad staying in the bedroom upstairs. When the school year ended in June last year, the divorce was finalized. Dad took in a new friend and mom got kicked out of the house. D.F. shuffled between two homes for about a half a year until mom remarried and has to stay in a different state for a few months. D.F. now lives with dad with his new family and talks to mom through FaceTime.D.F. thrives on predictability and structure. Any changes, big or small, trigger behaviors. The once jolly and happy kid is a totally different person. He has been showing persistent feelings of hopelessness, frustration, loss of interest in most activities, suicidal thoughts, and aggressive behaviors towards himself and others that have been significantly affecting his performance at school and at home. He constantly blamed himself for breaking his family. The teacher called home and requested for a parent conference to discuss her concerns. During thefirst meeting, emotions were heightened and issues were not addressed or resolved.
The teacher reached out to the district’s secondary Special Education instructional specialist to help with the situation. She came in to observe D.F. for a week during structured and unstructured times. They reviewed his BIP, behavior notes, and reports from teachers. One of her recommendations is to work with the family.
The teacher decided to create a team not just to help the student but also his parents. The team consisted of a behavior specialist, occupational therapist, social worker, counselor, paraeducator, the student, and the parents and their extended families. J.F. receives behavior consultation services on a monthly basis. Dr. D. is a behavioral specialist consultant for the school district. He sees students with severe emotional and behavioral disorders. Dr. D. has been working closely with D.F. and his parents since D.F.was in middle school. J.F. demonstrates extreme sensory overload and Mrs. F., an occupational therapist, provides sensory diet for D.F. To better understand the changes in the family dynamics and its effects on D.F.., the teacher also sought help from the school’s social worker and counselor. Also, helping D.F. on a daily basis at school is his 1:1 paraeducator. She has been working with D.F. for less than a year and has been struggling getting D.F. to perform his daily tasks. Since the beginning of the school year, J.F. has refused to do any of his school work and also stopped going to his on-the-job training.
How does the group equally represent the diverse school community?
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