Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How Did That Happen?

What do you do if your child comes home from school with bruises, scrapes or other injuries that they didn’t have when they left for school?

When my son without disabilities was in elementary, middle and high school, I would just ask him if he came home with injuries – and he would tell me what had happened.

But for my children with disabilities, it’s a different story.

Jessica, for instance, can relate a story, but often that is just all it is. It’s difficult for her to remember what happened an hour before my asking, much less earlier in the school day. And, if someone at school or on the bus tells her to stop being a baby, or that the injury is not a big deal, she will say nothing at all.

I also have a tough time getting an answer from Ashley. She’s so used to bruises from running into things, that I don’t think she thinks twice about it. But very often the bruises I see at the end of the school day are obviously not from running into things. And then there are the scrapes and sometimes even cuts that I never get a call or note about.

So what do you do if that happens to your child who can’t tell you what happened? Do you send a note to school the next day asking for an explanation? And what if no one owns up? If your child is supposed to have an aide by their side all day in school, do you accept the answer that no one knows how the injury happened? What recourse do we parents have?


Heather Laurie said...

What a heart breaking and serious issue. I do think you need to bring this not only to the aide and teacher's attention but the princible's or special needs director's attention. A friend of mine's child who is non-verbal was being bullied on the bus home and they needed to change that arrangement for her own good. You have the right to demand your child is kept safe, protected and watched since she can not clearly let you know herself. I really hope this gets worked out fast!
God bless
Heather Laurie

Queenbuv3 said...

This has always been an issue for us with Stephen. He can't tell us how he got an injury. If it happened at school and there wasn't a note from them saying how it happened than I call them and ask.

One issue we had last summer was an aide from his classroom would make my skinny little son with low muscle tone carrie his bag, more like drag, while saying "owe" to and from the bus. I wouldn't have known this was an issue if the bus drivers and monitors hadn't told me. I talked to the teacher and said I wanted HER to get him on and off the bus. This aide was someone from his school year class so when school started in the fall I talked to her and without pointing any fingers asked her to make sure that he was not allowed to drag his new ROLLING packpack.

I feel your pain. When you have a nonverbal or close to non-verbal child or a child that can't see well enough to identify who is hurting them you have to be vigilant and use your detective skills and if your gut tells you something doesn't make sense try to do something to prevent it from happening again.

I know that my son has been bit, pinched, scratched (he has done those same things to other students) by the other kids in his class. Is this a possible explantion?

He also is very active and because of his sensory issues sometimes get hurt in pursuit of stimulation. For example, he was rocking on his knees backwards in his glider rocker at home and tipped it over onto the steam radiator! He had vertical lines on his forehead for two days.

I always call and ask if there is no note or it looks suspicious.

Please keep us posted. Hope this injury to Ashey is "innocent" and not from abuse. The injuries on her hands remind me of when Stephen was biting his hands. Has she ever done that to herself?

MMC said...

That use to happen with the Blue Jay sometines when she was younger. And although she was very verbal, she often couldn't (and still can't) tell me what happened.

I would definitely be writing a note (we've always had a communiation book - although it's rarely used now and often goes missing) to school and ask what happened if your child has an aide. And if I didn't get a satisfactory answer after a couple of times, I would be bringing it up at the next IPP meeting (or calling and talking to the resource teacher about it before then if the marks looked serious).

The school knows it is has a responsibility to keep all of its students safe and I find that most of the time they tend to go overboard with their fear of liability. I would think that it shouldn't take too many pointed questions before they got the point.

Miss Emily said...

I teach kids with severe disabilities and I'm shocked that you know nothing about this. It is totally OK to want an explanation. You should have gotten one already. I hope she isn't being picked on.

I can't remember how I got to your blog, probably blog hopping, but I enjoy it. It's always fascinating to hear things from a parent's point of view.

ANewKindOfPerfect said...

You absolutely have a right to know how she gets hurt at school! I have had my Peanut come home with scrapes or bruises and no explanation. Each time I either called the teacher first thing in the morning or wrote a note in her communication book. Every time except one they knew what happened and it was all normal, innocent issues. One time no one could explain a bruise on her thigh, but for all I know she rolled over weird onto a toy at home or something.

I would definately contact them. As her advocate, she needs you to be sure she is safe and happy at school!