Hi everyone, I have gotten some great advice on this site in the past and thought i would throw another dilemma in your direction to see if anyone can make a suggestion that could help!
I am a TA in a SMI classroom. We have a student who is nonverbal and her only form of communication is crying. Sometimes her cries are without tears or emotion, and seems to be a type of high pitched "baby babble" for lack of better terms. She is trying to communicate something, we just have no idea what it may be. She has a tablet with proloco communication software installed and we have been working on teaching her to use it, thus far to no avail. She doesn't seem to understand that the device is a tool for communication, and shows little to no intrest in it at all.
When the tearless babble goes without addressing, the tears start. She ramps up throughout the course of the day and is beet red, very high pitched distress crying.
This is EVERY DAY. We continue to try the basics, check her brief, give her a drink of water, offer a snack. (Generally to no avail) we then move on to walking with her. Sometimes she quiets while wandering the building, only to start again upon return. We recently installed a swing in the classroom hoping she would find some amusement or comfort in it. Nothing. We have marginal succesd with a bike, she seems to like it in the hallways. However, as soon as the ride is over, the crying starts again. We have tried ignoring her, letting her "cry it out" and self soothe...that also does not help. She will cry to a point of vomiting. we have tried games, songs, music, movies, ...we are at a loss.
The parent has produced a clean bill of health from her dr, assuring us that she is in no physical pain.
Whie my heart breaks for her, her continual crying has put a serious strain on the classroom. Our students with sensory issues are unable to focus, and are melting down due to the constant noise level. Trying to follow through with a lesson of any kind requires shouting over her, causing more stress and more upset for staff and students as well. We have noise cancelling earphones for several students to help them to cope but they are not always well recieved. It has gotten so bad that a student with a hearing aide has removed it and thrown it across the room at her.
I feel like i am trying to soothe a colicky 19 year old all day long. I wish nothing more than to see her smile or at the very least just be at peace. The parents claim she is "very happy at home". What are we doing wrong? We have tried to go without the flourescent lights, using lamps and dimmer lights. We have tried to give her a comfy chair and a soothing blanket from home. Nothing seems to help.
the situation has forced us to dedicate one staff member to her alone and it makes things very hectic. The person with her has to count on coworkers to pick up the slack making it very stressful on all parties involved Since her "happy place" is outside the classroom and we cannot let her wander the building alone.
Please friends...help! We are going crazy! I am coming home so stressed out and upset EVERY day that this is carrying over to home which is very unfair to my own kids. Any suggestions would be appreciated! The biggest issue it seems is that we cannot find aanything of intrest to her. Baby toys, computer, ..she seems to have NO intrests! The parents are very little help in letting us know what she does at home that makes her happy.
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