Saturday, February 10, 2007

See Any Dead People Lately?

We had a meeting with the Mrs. Saint, the teacher in the Emotionally Disturbed unit, about one of our students, Doughboy. It was time for his annual IEP meeting, and although Mom didn't show (no surprise, she's disabled and it's tough for her to get to school), we had the meeting anyway.

I actually didn't even realize that Doughboy was one of Mrs. Saint's kids until I'd had him for a few months and I got some paperwork for him. He's worked his way out of her unit and is in all normal classes at this point. He does pretty well. He's average in intelligence although he talks so fast it's sometimes hard for anyone to understand him. He's goofy and the kids can usually talk him into doing stupid things, which is a problem. He also has some major anger management issues, but so far has been able to control it this year.

So we were somewhat surprised when we asked Mrs. Saint what his actual diagnosis was and she mentioned that he was diagnosed as psychotic and borderline schizophrenic. She mentioned that he's heavily medicated and fortunately that makes him able to function in the normal school population.

She mentioned that last year, when he was a 6th grader and she first came to her unit, she was just getting familiar with him and he seemed to be pretty normal (for her group of kids). She said that one day he was sitting at his desk, working away, while the other kids were having a bit of a conversation around him. The conversation consisted of saying lines from movies and seeing if the other kids could guess what movie it was. Doughboy isn't participating until he hears the line, "I see dead people". At this point Doughboy lifts his head up from his work and says, "I see dead people all the time too, but now I take lots of medication for them and I haven't seen them for a while." At that he turns back to his work and continues.

Mrs. Saint reports that there was complete silence in her room for a few minutes as the kids digested this interesting bit of information. After a few minutes they sort of shifted away and went to work on something else.

Isn't it interesting the kids we get?


EHT said...

I'm seeing more and more of these types of students. I wonder what could be causing this rise in numbers....

I have at least 6 who are heavily, heavily medicated.

Mrs. T said...

Years ago I taught in an elementary school where there was a very volatile little boy- he was notorious for his foul-mouthed outbursts and little violent rants. When he was in 3rd grade, he approached his classroom teacher and said "I feel funny." She said "Do you feel sick? Like you're going to throw up?"
"No, I feel funny in my head."
"Like a headache?"
"No, I just feel weird."
Well, THAT prompted a visit with the school psychologist, who then referred him to the University of Iowa Hospitals, where, after an initial evaluation, he was kept for 6 weeks for further testing and evaluation. He had been hearing voices, which he would yell at to "shut up!" We thought they were just random fits, but he was responding to these voices. Fascinating- sad, but fascinating.

Mrs. Bluebird said...

I'm wondering if the rise in numbers has a lot to do with the drugs and alcohol parents ingest during pregnancy. We have a meth problem in our state (much improved lately thanks to enormous amounts of money spent in shutting down meth labs), but I do know the few students I've had that have come out of these homes were just the most wacked out kids I've ever seen with more mental issues than you can imagine. Just being near a meth lab can cause mental problems...can you imagine what it does to children?

Darren said...

I used to have a student who was so out there that he was on experimental medication. Even the heaviest approved stuff wouldn't work for him.