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(Posted March 23rd 2016 @ 12:55 PM by: Melody Reever)
Q: I think there is a child in our class that is demon possessed. He pushes other kids and hits. He never stops moving and slams himself into walls and other people. He is really disruptive. I am ready to tell the mom not to bring him anymore!
A: While the child may appear to need an exorcism, the truth is, they most likely need something very different. Start by looking at other reasons for their behavior.
Observe what happened right before the behavior and right after the behavior. It is important to figure out what triggers the behavior so you can provide a classroom-appropriate thing to do before the behavior occurs. It may take a couple of weeks of collecting data before you see a pattern.
For example, if a child is hitting, is it always at the same time of the class? Is it when there is less structure? When everyone needs to sit and be quiet? Is it always at the beginning of class as they are coming into the classroom? Is it only when other children get close to them? Is it always during an exciting part of the story or during a really loud activity? And then look at what happens after the behavior occurs. Does the child get in trouble and leave the room? Are they placed in time-out in a quiet hallway? Are they hitting because they know that then they will escape an environment that may be overstimulating?
If possible, talk to the parent about the behavior and see if it happens in other environments. If they see similar behavior at school, they may have an individualized education plan (IEP) in place. This is a plan which lists things the child may struggle with as well as interventions that can help them to stay on task. If Sunday school is the only time it happens, then what is different about that environment? Is there anything you can change that may change the behavior?