Originally Posted by alpenglow
Broaching the topic of medications is absolutely a boundary crossing. Teachers have zero medical training and it could be considered unprofessional practice by the College of Teachers (or whoever regulates the profession in your state). Please please please stick to what you know, and do not discuss or recommend interventions for which you have zero qualifications.
yes and no. As a special education teacher, I do ask parents if their children are on any medications and what those medications are, so I do broach it. I note it in their files, and I let our school psychologist, social worker, and administration know about students who are on certain medications, such as mode stabilizers. There needs to be open communication between school and home when children are on serious medications that impact their behaviors, emotional responses, etc. Children with emotional and behavioral challenges are not well served when the adults who are responsible for them fail to communicate.
This school year my role has including providing feedback about how certain medications or changes of doses affected students ability to participate in learning activities, build and maintain relationships with peers, and follow school rules and procedures. My job has included asking parents if they are willing to release their child's medical records to the school in hopes that we can better understand the child and there by better meet their needs. It has included producing documentation about students for the use of medical and behavior professionals to help them treat the child, including prescribing medications. I have several students who are ED. One spent a week in an inpatient facility this year. There's really no way that I could serve my student's best interest if I didn't *discuss* medication.
As far as *recommending* medication, it is clearly highly inappropriate for anyone who is not a medical professional to recommend any sort of medication. Just as teachers don't get to decide how much TV their students watch at home, what time they go to bed, or whether they get a good breakfast, we don't have a say in whether or not children are medicated or what medications they are on. Kids just come how they come, and our job is to meet their needs to the best of our ability.
My recommendation to the OPer is to consult her school psychologist or district special services team to find out the exact verbiage she is allowed to use. Our district's lawyer wrote up a memo which stated that we can describe specific behaviors we see (not generalizations, but specifies) and suggest that parents discuss it with their child's doctor because it is possible that there is a medical basis for the behavior. We are never to state a medical diagnosis in a conversation with a parent that the child has not been given by a medical professional. (ADHD is a medical, not an educational, diagnosis). If the parent directly asks, we are to say that the should discuss it with their child's health care provider. I suggest that if a child's behaviors are so serious that they are a danger to themselves or others, or cause suspensions, that you involve someone higher up, an administrator or some one from the district, to be part of the meeting and discuss the situation with the parents. I also suggest professional liability insurance.
As far as my advice to a parent whose child is on medication for behavior or emotional challenges, I suggest that you find at least one person at your child's school that you trust and discuss it with them. So many things can happen, from a missed dose to side effects to a growth spurt. Children spend a lot of time at school -- they really need all of us to be on the same team.