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School Psychology/Behavior issues at school.



I have an autistic daughter , she is almost 5 years old. She is learning to talk and imitate but she has behavior issues when she sees kids around her. She gets anxious  and nervous.  She is attending Kindergarten but her classmates are just 2 kids and one of them does not talk at all. Let me tell you a little about her last experience at school experiences. In the past ( 2 years of preschool) she cried a lot when I dropped her off. She really did not enjoy school. After that she attented a Special Summer program ( June-July this year) and she just cried the first 3 days , after that she looked happy to go to Summer School. I was so excited to see my daughter finally was happy to go to school. But  now she is in Kindergarten and the nightmare came back. She cries a lot. My question is : firts if you think my daughter needs a different setting at school?  Second : why could it be the reason she cries a lot in this school but in Summer Program she was happy?

Thanks in advance.

ANSWER: Hi Maria,
I wonder if the transition from summer school back to regular school is part of the problem (just the change in routine). Also, I would think about what the expectations are in the different settings? Was summer school more "fun" activities and school is more "work"? Has she been with the same teacher and kids before? Maybe she had a connection with the teacher or kids in summer school that you could work with her current teacher to foster at school. Was the summer school day shorter? Once she is at school and you have left, does she enjoy school? In other words, does it seem to be separation anxiety or does she just not like school?

I can't really give an opinion about whether or not a different setting would be appropriate based on the little information I know.  I wonder if scheduling an IEP meeting to talk about/brainstorm some ideas about what could be done to help her with the morning transition. If you can be in contact with the summer school personnel, maybe you could get some ideas from them about what may have made it easier for her there.

Best of luck to you,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Morgan,

Thanks for the answer. You are right. I did not give you a lot o info. Let me answer your question and you will have a better picture what it is happening.  In the summer school she had different teachers, different school and kids. The group of kids were small , around 4 kids, but they were happier that her group now in school. They  behaved more like typical kids ( in the summer school). The summer program was the same schedule as school now, from 8:30 to When I drop her off at school , she has bad and not too bad days, sometimes she cried for 1 hour after dropping her off, other days she just participates the last hour  at school. What The teacher has told me is that she enjoys the most when she is in the playground with more kids. Remember that her class has just 2 kids. But the situation is tricky because when the place has too many kids and they are too loud, she cries a lot and freaks out. It is a good idea to contact the summer staff to check how the program was and what activities they made.  Sometimes I think she is not mature enough for a structured kindergarten and she needs to go back to preschool.   I think The curriculum in kindergarten is more for big kids. They are teaching the days of the week, months, etc. and she is not ready yet. She has not just Autism, she has mild MR  and she does not have the concept of days, months, hours, etc.  

Thanks a lot,

Hi - I'm so sorry for the delayed response. This question got buried in my email and I just got an email telling me that the question was still there. I'm afraid I still don't have a lot to tell you. I think that having an IEP meeting is your best bet. If you don't feel like your concerns are being heard or addressed, you can always invite someone from central office who may be willing to think about different options. Hopefully you have been able to talk to the summer school staff to get an idea of what else might be different. It certainly is not okay for her to be upset and crying for an hour or more every day without at least trying to intervene on that behavior. There should be a specific intervention put in place just to address that aside from any other academic or social goals she has. It doesn't necessarily have to be in the IEP but it should be addressed directly.
I wish you the best,

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Morgan Potts


I can answer most questions related to psychological evaluations including an explanation of the scores and the assessment measures. I can also answer most questions regarding special education eligibility, response to intervention (RtI), and recommendations and interventions for specific areas of disability including intellectual disability, learning disability, emotional and behavioral disorders, other health impaired, autism, and pervasive developmental disorder. I can also answer questions regarding Individual Education Plans (IEPs), and parent rights.I cannot determine if a child has a disability or not based on anecdotal information or assessment scores. I can also answer questions regarding the profession of School Psychology. I can tell you what School Psychologists actually do. I can also tell you about educational requirements though these differ somewhat by state.


As a graduate student, I interned at a psychoeducational facility for students with severe emotional and behavioral disorders as well as other disorders including specific learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and autism. Following my internship, I was hired full-time there as a school psychologist and worked there for several years. Since then I have worked as a regular school psychologist in a district mostly completing psychological evaluations and consulting with the Student Support Team (SST). I currently work as a contract psychologist for several metro Atlanta counties.

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) The Student Support Team Association for Georgia Educators (SSTAGE)

My undergraduate degree is from the University of Georgia in Psychology. I have an M.Ed. and Ed.S. from Georgia State University. I recently completed my Educational Leadership Certificate at West Georgia University.

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