In this guide to asking questions about your child’s behavior, we’ll cover:
- How to tell if your child has behavioral issues at school?
- How do you talk to your child’s teacher about behavioral problems?
- 20 questions to ask your child’s teacher about behavior
- How to prevent behavioral issues at school for children with autism?
How to Tell if Your Child Has Behavioral Issues at School
It is normal for children to experience individual behavioral incidents or have some trouble from time to time during the school year. When we are looking for behavioral issues to treat, they are repeated actions of disruptive behavior such as:
1. Aggression towards others (biting, hitting, scratching, etc.)
2. Self-harm (biting or hitting oneself)
3. Tantrums and screaming
4. Destruction or breaking of objects
5. Intentionally disrupting others’ work
6. Elopement (attempting to wander off)
These are just some of the most common behavioral issues for children with autism at school. There are many other signs that your child may be having a tough time behaviorally, and communicating with their teachers about potential problems is a great way to treat them as soon as possible.
How Do You Talk to Your Child’s Teacher About Behavioral Problems?
When talking to a teacher about behavior issues at school, it is important to consider that the goal is to help your child. This means a two-way communication flow will give you more information that can ultimately be passed along to therapists, clinicians, and other members of your support team.
Thus, when asking teachers about your child’s behavior, keep these things in mind:
- Always be respectful: Even if your child’s teacher might not always be on the same page as you, most educators are working hard to accommodate your child’s needs. A respectful dialogue will almost always be more productive than a standoff.
- Be specific about your child’s behaviors and reactions: No one knows your child as you do. A teacher may assume certain things about behaviors and responses that you can clarify during a discussion.
- Listen to teachers: Like you have seen your child in the home environment most, a teacher has observed your child at school more than anyone else. They are experts in this domain and hopefully are looking to solve problems by communicating with you.
- Meet face-to-face: It can be hard to make time for an in-person meeting, but it is well worth it to genuinely connect with someone who can be a valuable ally and supporter for your child.
- Take Notes: Notes allow you and educators to be accountable for discussions and goals. Likewise, notes ensure you collect information correctly for when you present it to therapists and ABA clinicians trying to help your child through evidence-based treatment.
We always emphasize that these conversations aim to help your child improve their behavior. This means this should always be the focus, not the ego of parents and teachers, or anyone else.
20 Questions to Ask Your Child’s Teacher About Their Behavior
A question is just the beginning of an information-gathering quest. Luckily, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of great questions to help you learn about your child’s behavior. Consider asking their teacher these:
1. How would you describe my child’s demeanor on a daily basis?
2. Have you noticed any changes in my child’s actions lately?
3. Do you have any concerns about my child’s behavior?
4. What troubling behaviors are occurring with my child?
5. How often are troubling behaviors occurring in class?
6. How different is my child’s behavior from other students?
7. What has my child been successful at in school?
8. What changes are you looking to make to help my child?
9. Can you give specific examples of troubling behavior?
10. Does my child seem uncomfortable with change or new settings?
11. How is my child with other students in the classroom?
12. Is my child acting aggressively towards others?
13. Does my child seem withdrawn or upset often?
14. Is my child confident and happy with certain activities?
15. Does my child think before acting?
16. Have you had to implement special rules for my child?
17. How can we measure my child’s behavioral growth in the classroom?
18. Does my child listen to you most of the time?
19. What would you recommend for my child in the classroom?
20. Can I keep communicating with you throughout the year?
Ultimately, you want to get the best help possible from any educators willing to go the extra mile for your child. Treating a teacher with respect and as someone who can help your child succeed will go a long way for long-term success.
How to Prevent Behavioral Issues at School for Children with Autism
Having autism doesn’t guarantee an increase in behavioral issues, but it can present unique challenges to your child that may ultimately lead to them. To help prevent these repetitive behaviors at school, consider:
- Enrolling your child in ABA therapy for autism
- Communicating clearly with your child about behavioral expectations
- Talking to teachers about how your student is doing at school.
- Working with therapists, clinicians, and educators on behavioral improvements
- Staying positive and supportive through challenging growth periods
It is entirely normal for our children to have behavioral issues and struggle at school. What is important is how we respond in getting them the best possible resources to improve and succeed.