Perspectives on Medication - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 02-28-2016, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Perspectives on Medication

Hi, I am a teacher in a special needs classroom. I would like to hear different perspectives on medications for children with exceptionalities.


What is your philosophy on pharmacological interventions?

If your child does use them, are they for:

sleep?
behaviour?
attention?
compliance?
Which ones do you use?
Was it a trial and error to be successful?
How long did it take to see results?

I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read this and respond.

Your comments will help me broach a potentially sensitive subject with many of my students' parents.

Thank you
M
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#2 of 7 Old 03-04-2016, 07:59 PM
 
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Absolutely do not broach this subject with a parent.

If they bring the subject to you and ask your advice get out of that quagmire as quickly as possible by telling them they should ask their child's doctor or point blank that teachers aren't allowed to discuss medications with parents.

If a student is ON a medication though and the parent notifies you so as to be aware of potential side effects or behavioral changes then by all means report what they ask but do not delve into your opinion on it or whether you think the dose should be increased or decreased or if you think one medication was preferable to another.

I am an educator. I am also a parent of a special needs child. I don't ever want a teacher or administrator telling me what medication they think I should give my child or going anywhere into that realm whatsoever. I do sometimes want them to report behaviors so I can report back to the psychiatrist.
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#3 of 7 Old 03-06-2016, 10:58 AM
 
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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.
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#4 of 7 Old 03-06-2016, 12:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpenglow View Post
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.
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but everything has pros and consĀ  shrug.gif

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#5 of 7 Old 03-06-2016, 02:49 PM
 
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Oh yes good point. I didn't choose my wording as carefully as I should. I think it's good to ask about what medications, if any, a child is receiving, as part of information gathering. And I think it is fine to make observations, and with consent, share observations (with clear permission from parent) with professionals who might be involved in making decisions about interventions, which could include medications if a physician were part of the team. But definitely not cross the line into interpretations (which would be inferring that medication is needed).
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#6 of 7 Old 03-06-2016, 06:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by alpenglow View Post
And I think it is fine to make observations, and with consent, share observations (with clear permission from parent) with professionals who might be involved in making decisions about interventions, which could include medications if a physician were part of the team.


The line for us within our district is a "bona fide need to know," which usually includes the people I listed above plus the classroom teacher. Certain information is shared with other teachers who are in charge of the student for short periods of time, such as the PE or music teacher, but I've clarified in meetings *with parents present* whom, beyond those sitting at the table, has a need to know, and exactly what they need to know. May be the specials teachers don't need to know the specific issues that student A is struggling with, but what should we tell them so that they keep on eye on him/her? Parents have a right to be part of that decision.


Part of the reason that administration always needs to know is because if, god forbid, the sh*t were to really hit the fan for a child while at school, they are the charged with making big decisions very quickly. They need to know that student X has a diagnoses of Y and is taking serious meds.


School staff can be a bit lax about certain types of confidential information, but my experience is than when dealing with actual mental health issues, confidentiality is strictly and respectfully observed. There is still a stigma, and those who work directly with the students care about them and want to protect them from that stigma, while assuring that their needs are truly met the entire time they are at school, even during art class. It can be a tricky line to walk.


With outside service providers, including medical and behavioral health, it is up to the parent to clarify in writing what information can be shared. We are not at liberty to decide who has a "bona fide need to know" unless it is someone who works for our district.

but everything has pros and consĀ  shrug.gif


Last edited by Linda on the move; 03-06-2016 at 08:09 PM.
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#7 of 7 Old 03-07-2016, 10:57 AM
 
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Sounds like your district has an excellent special Ed teacher
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