SOLC 26 of 31: Attention Grabbers

Is it the hug they need or the reassurance that it’s all ok? Why do those that need the most often seek attention in the more destructive ways – calling out for help, both literally and physically. These are the attention grabbers. They are so smart that they know that the more escalated the behavior, the more attention they get. The more self-injurious they prove to be, the more it’s difficult to ignore. And even with positive praise, somehow, it isn’t enough. Or maybe, it isn’t enough…yet.

As we work day in and day out (often multiple members of a school team) to support these students, it’s difficult to adopt a growth mindset for the attention grabbers. But we must. There is not an overnight solution. The call for help is one that needs to be addressed, distinguished and replaced. But we aren’t there yet.

These attention grabbers can be confusing… acting up one moment and holding your hand the next. Saying “thank you,” one moment and “I hate you,” the next. They know your triggers and work to challenge your limits. All the while they are really saying, “I need you.”

As I get ready to leave for spring break, as do my attention grabbers, I know that we aren’t there yet. The week of break followed by a week of virtual instruction after break won’t help. But reminding myself that NOT YET is ok, we will get there. If we don’t, then everyday feels like failure and that certainly won’t do for our attention grabbers or for the rest of us. We all deserve more.

1 Comment

  1. March 26, 2021 at 4:59 pm

    This speaks to me for obvious reasons. Working with our attention grabbers is both difficult and rewarding. Some days we feel like we are helping them and other times we do, in fact, feel like we are failing. I love your take on this and it encourages me to keep putting YET at the end of my thoughts.


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