Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I'm frustrated, no lie

My son got lunchtime detention today for lying. It's at least the second time this has happened. He told an aide he had a reading book with him and he didn't. And you know, he didn't seem to be too upset about the detention. It meant he sat at a table with just him and the teacher, and frankly, that's a much less trouble-prone place for him to be than his normal lunchtime seating. I should be glad to have him there. But man -- disciplining a child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder for lying? What part of brain damage don't you understand? Punishing a fetal alcohol kid for lying is like punishing a blind kid for not being able to see. My personal philosophy with my son, and the philosophy of lots of experts on FASD, is that it's not lying if it does not involve deliberate intent to deceive. If a kid is telling an untruth because it's the first thing that pops out of his mouth or because he has no earthly idea what the truth is or why it's important, punishment is never going to be the best strategy. It doesn't prevent future fibs -- it makes them more likely, by stressing the child out.

This isn't rocket science, and it isn't news, and it isn't the first time I've said it. It's right there in his IEP behavior plan, which everybody assures me they've read. So why, in April, are they punishing him for lying? Why, why, oh why? Punishing a child for lying is as much a knee-jerk reaction for some adults as lying is for some kids, I guess. Perhaps I should do a functional behavioral assessment and institute some appropriate strategies like rewarding educators when they don't punish my child inappropriately. Do you think they'd like a sticker?

1 comment:

Adelaide Dupont said...

I agree.

That is extremely short-sighted.

Perhaps they were on an extreme normalisation kick this week.

Tell your son that when he says he has a reading book, to really have a reading book. And it might help him out in the playground.

He's the one who likes reading, doesn't he?