Salvation Army tells 9 year Special Needs Child to Take a Break

As I wrote on Saturday about what happened on Friday, today Roo( my nine year old daughter who walks the spectrum line) got her verdict. The director of the program she was attending called and basically said Roo is not welcome for a MONTH!

So 3 months ago when I first heard of the program I thought it was  a god send and much needed here in the community. Is the program meeting who it is attended and is it helping all the chidren grow? Those children at risk of having to be latch key kids working, with them and encouraging them while meeting the mission statements of the Salvation Army who fund the program…right now I am not sure they do.

The program which began this fall was to offer a safe affordable fun teaching inclusive environment for all children who are apart of it. There emphasis is respect, but where is the Christian love that the Salvation Army is supposed to be so very good at? Don’t the both go hand in hand? When the program director called it was all about Roo and her lack of respect on Friday.  As I posted Roo was asked to sit out after being tagged out in dodge ball and didn’t think she was really out and it escalated from there. The director told me tried to get Roo to do what she thought was right, sit out, then she said to Roo if she didn’t sit out she was ruining the game and day for all. Roo of course got more and more upset ( that linear thinking was happening). Well Roo from somewhere i don’t know where still threw a small ( a piece that might fit on your thumb)amount of plasticine. The director took that as utter disrespect, called me and asked me to pick her up which I did. Roo later that night did apologize to the director on her own.

Roo had only been in the program for 10 days total time. I actually looked at the calendar of days when she had been there…10 days that is all..

Now what are the results of this:

First,Roo is left with a shattered self esteem. She is a 9 yr old after all who at school right now isn’t feeling like she fits in, so here is another place she feels not welcome.

Second, it punishes not only the child but the parent that the program is supposed to help as well.

What would you think? and what would you do? Roo can return to the program in January but not until then…the reasoning behind this the director felt like she needed to set and example or she would lose control of the group, and to teach Roo there are consequences for her actions: do you really think any child will be thinking of what they did for a month or that some one else doesn’t want her?The impression I was left with today is that Roo is not really wanted in the program.  So please leave comments and let me know what you think as I try and pray through what to do with Roo to try and boost my gal back upand show her the love she so desperately needs right now.

8 responses to “Salvation Army tells 9 year Special Needs Child to Take a Break

  1. Im not sure you are going to like my opinion on the subject but here goes.

    Children NEED boundaries. They need to learn that there are consequences to their actions and that violence in any way will never ever be tollerated.

    In this day and age when a piece of playdough could be a knife or a weapon being thrown at a teacher or someone of authority its no wonder that a strong response was given.

    The problem is not to dissimilar to that of the Mailman. The mailman has a job to do. He delivers the mail to your house. Its your job to ensure that he is safe doing that. So if your dog bites, or acts aggressive, then the mail will simply stop being delivered to your home. No one wants to take the chance on getting bit.

    Im sure that it is not about forgiveness for your child. It is about safety for the other children and staff that are being paid to do a job. Too many teachers and students have been hurt by not taking action in cases like this.

    As for self-esteem issues with your child. I would suggest that you explain it to her exactly like I explained it to you. The care program needs to be a safe place for everyone. She might not have meant to behave that way, but her actions created reactions on many levels and now the consequences are there to be felt.

    Truly, you know your child. Im sure she is lovely. But would you trust a child you didnt know who showed aggression towards you or others? Did you actually read any of the articles about school shootings?????

  2. They (TSA) did the right thing. Disrespect cannot be allowed and there has to be consequences. If it was some other kid other than your own you would be in want your child safe and in a place that does not tolerate misconduct and takes appropriate action as needed.

    Your child will learn more because they are handling it appropriately.

    Just my opinion!

  3. Living and dealing with a special needs child is extremely difficult. I totally understand how the behavior of this child affects everyone around them and most particularly, the parents.
    It IS very difficult to find childcare for a kid with special needs which means the caregiver has to always be ready for anything. That’s a lot of stress and pressure because you could lose your job, not be able to get a job, or be hanging by a thread of a job, based on things that can happen.
    That said…
    Yes, children need boundaries. Boundaries for a kid on the autism/asbergers spectrum are completely different for functioning kids. Roo does need boundaries and it’s not okay to act out. However, impulse behavior is a huge factor with these kids. They don’t understand boundaries as we do and it takes quite a lot to get them back to the place of functioning within “normal” expectations.
    What do I think about what this director did? It think a month is too long and it was done to keep a “problem” or “difficult” or “high maintenance” child out of the program through the holidays. A week would suffice… hell, two days would suffice for a kid who only understands what is directly in front of her. The only way a kid like this (or like ours) understands consequences is if they are immediate, sustained, and consistent. These kids live for routines and they DO understand when they affect other people. Many times, they are ultra-sensitive to others but just don’t have the coping skills to pull themselves out of upset… and they need to be distracted or consequenced immediately in order to have any effect on their behavior.
    Distraction works the best for us and that is time consuming.
    The other thing is… kids like this learn quite quickly from other children. We’ve had more problems in school this year because our son is affected by and learning new behaviors at school. He’s in a class with four other very rowdy, special needs boys. He’s learned quickly but we’ve been consistent with him regarding what is acceptable behavior and what is not. He’s not seeing that same reinforcement at school. So, we’ve had to dedicate more time to work with his teacher. (The third one this year, by the way, and that, in and of itself, has been very disruptive to his learning and behavior. Change is very difficult for these kids to navigate.)
    Again, there needs to be consequences but they need to be immediate, sustained, and consistent. I really believe that a month is a very long time and DOES punish both you and your daughter. Have you gone into the program and tried to teach them how to deal with her? Do you have effective methods that will help them, and not take away from the other children, in teaching her consequences and not allowing disrespectful or potentially “dangerous” behavior from occurring? I would recommend speaking with the director and making a commitment to “volunteer” with this program in order to help your daughter get settled, reinforce good/appropriate behavior with her, and help the staff know how to deal with it when it occurs.
    Maybe the director would be more understanding if he/she knew how committed you were to helping Roo fit in. And tell the director everything… how you are affected… why you have her in the program.. and that you are their partner in helping her assimilate into their world from her very narrow perspectives.
    I hope that helps… I truly understand.

  4. I’m in agreement with Natalie about a month being too long. All of the children will have even forgotten what had happened probably by the end of a day or two. A month is just ridiculous and mean spirited I think.

    Just my two cents.

    Peace, love and understanding.

    ~ RubyShooZ ~

  5. I disagree. TSA is wrong. They want to set an example? Here’s what the other children learned:
    You mess up – we don’t want you.

    What a great lesson, especially from a Christian organization at Christmastime. It is so sad when Christians do not have mercy.

    That said, have you educated the program on your child’s particular needs and how to meet them? I’m in the US, so I don’t know what discrimination laws you have up there, but down here, if she is punished BECAUSE of her disability (i.e., lack of impulse control or whatever) that is discrimination. Usually a little education and pre-emptive problem solving helps, though.
    A better way to handle it – discuss consequences with the class. Use a logical consequence – perhaps she would be not allowed to play dodgeball or plasticine for a month; or had to scrub the wall the plasticine hit; or write an apology; or write five ways to deal with anger instead of throwing.

  6. Hi, I accidently stumbled across your posting. I’ve worked with children a lot of years as an athletics trainer (I believe Americans call it ‘tracks’?). I’ve never ever had to expell any of the kids, and there were some special enes kids there as well. I mean, not welcome for a month!? That’s some very poor social skills on the TSA part. There is no way that as an adult you can let a situation spiral out of control that bad if you work with special needs children. If I had any choice I would definitely not send my kids back there. How could you trust the care of your child to people that are clearly inadequate in working with kids?

    And for some of the earlier commenters: you sacre me.

  7. After teaching CCD for several years now, I must admit that people who are untrained in working with children with special needs get frustrated and give up quickly. So my first thought was that possibly TSA doesn’t have the resources (or wearwithall) necessary to accommodate Roo’s needs. Whatever the case may be, I do think a month is rather harsh and that the director might be hoping you’ll just walk away without protest, an easy way to wash her hands of the incident.

    Going back to the CCD classes I’ve taught, twice I’ve had ADD or ADHD students and couldn’t have done my job if the child’s parent hadn’t showed up to help keep things on track. Even then I became frustrated, as I didn’t know how to deal with a child with constant sudden outbursts and/or walking around the room getting into things. Everyone in the class was affected by the behaviors, and I’m not trained for that as a volunteer.

    So in reading Natalie’s comment response, I fully agree with her idea that you attend the program with Roo to show an active interest in making it work for everyone. No way can they turn you away with that offer!

    Please let us know what happens…

  8. I, too, have a son who “walks the spectrum.” He has Asperger’s Syndrome, and so I understand the particular issues these kids face. My advice is simple, but hard – If it is in ANY way possible, be home with your child. My son is homeschooled, but we do have him in a few classes during the week. His behavior at home is VASTLY different from his behavior in group settings. Yes, it is a sacrifice to homeschool, but my son is worth it! If your daughter struggles at school and at this after-school program, do whatever you can to keep her with you more of the time. If you can’t homeschool, then perhaps you could work it out so she doesn’t have to go to that Salvation Army program. Even if she can’t personally be with you, perhaps there is a more appropriate place for her to spend time after school.

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