Ever had a sociopath for a student

Discussion in 'General Education' started by akconnel, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Comrade

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    Dec 23, 2018

    It is technically called Antisocial Personality Disorder.
     
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  2. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Have you ever actually watched "The Silence of the Lambs"?
    ...
    It's not a comedy and surely doesn't make light of people with mental illness. It's more of a psychological case study or profile of the dangers of the very disturbed (Buffalo Bill.) Like the movie, nothing about my post was meant in jest or to offer anything other than a profile or reference. The OP asked, "Have you ever had a sociopath for a student?" Many teachers, who are not trained in Psychology, probably wouldn't know the answer to the question. They may say "Well I've met some mean kids" or "I may have met some disturbed children,'' but they may not honestly know.
    Buffalo Bill is a mere reference point. In the novel, the author dives deeper into Bill's background and Lecter notes, ""Billy was not born a criminal, but made one by years of systematic abuse."
    Psychopaths are born, sociopaths are made.
    If you're wondering "How do I know?" By providing references, it may help you realize "Oh yeah, I do have that kid in my class.''
    And other than the Buffalo Bill meme, what else was offensive about my post? And how doesn't it show compassion? I followed up with a video and graphic highlighting the differences between psychopaths and sociopaths.

    There's nothing in my post that is meant to elicit any dark/twisted humor about the situation. It's a reference.
    Tell me exactly how "THEY" are "offensive'' or "show no compassion for those with mental illness.'' Did you see any jokes being made in poor taste? Because I sure didn't.
    I have nothing but compassion for those who suffer (because it's not their fault) AND their victims.
    But we all have a right to know the signs so that we can be aware and take any action that is needed to protect ourselves and our students.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 23, 2018

    Don’t ever underestimate my knowledge or experience, or that of any member here. Not sure why you feel the need to educate us. And yes, I’ve seen the movie. The meme is in poor taste and was unnecessary in what could be a productive conversation about a serious problem.
     
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  4. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Dec 23, 2018

    Did you read the other posts? One claimed "Not sure if he's a sociopath, but...'' and another responded saying "I wouldn’t consider those kinds of kids sociopaths. Sometimes kids are just @ssholes.''
    It's not my intention to be condescending. There's just a difference and I wanted to post links to the information. I don't see it as derailing or being necessary in the conversation? In fact I think it's quite relevant. The post is ABOUT sociopaths. It's not really a "warm and fuzzy'' topic. I merely linked it with psychopathy (related) and as another pointed out, per DSM, the diagnosis is Antisocial Personality Disorder. (By the way, I wasn't upset because s/he pointed that out as it's 100% accurate.) If you're going to talk about these issues, you might as well have something to reference even if YOU don't need it. Others may.

    You may NOT like the Buffalo Bill meme, as is your right, but it wasn't meant to do anything other than reference the fact that you may/ can / have had or will have that student in your class and you should recognize the signs.

    When you watched the movie, were you offended by it too?

    I apologize if you were offended by my post (I don't understand why, but I'll take ownership,) but you can't really call it "unnecessary.''

    The OP asked a question and I offered my two cents.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 23, 2018

    Doubtful your meme came from a reputable psychological health source- its existence is meant as a joke. It’s a gif- not
    educationally illuminating.
    Your clapping and ‘super duper’ comment were unnecessary and comes off as condescending. Just my 2 cents .

    Kind of done with this and you continuing to ask what I know, have read or seen I’m sure the OP had the best of Intentions when posting. Hope s/he finds the support needed for the students in question.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018
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  6. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Dec 23, 2018

    :thumbs:
     
  7. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Dec 23, 2018

    Can we stop arguing about memes and get back to the actual discussion?

    :hijack:
     
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  8. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Dec 23, 2018

    I wish teachers were heard when we ask for help for students. I’ve had several I suspected had some type of mental illness. For one student, I reported issues to CPS, requested out of school counseling, requested testing in the system, and asked for help from anyone higher in position. All for naught.

    I have over fifty pieces of documentation where I asked for help for this student.

    I kept scissors locked up that year as this boy was fascinated with stabbing people and animals. He is now in prison for stabbing an elderly man in the face when the boy broke in to his home late one night.

    It haunts me that, perhaps if someone would have listened to me, maybe that man would not have been injured.
     
  9. Bibliophile

    Bibliophile Companion

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    Dec 23, 2018

    One point that I keep coming back to is that none of the Gacey's, or Ridgways have a history of long term tiered supports. No one says, "yeah his parents had him in one-on-one and group therapy and the school had him in weekly counseling and social skills group and we tried everything out there and he still turned out the way he did".

    I think that there has been an improvement on that score so that I am less likely to see a former student on a wanted poster one day but the funding still isnt there even as abuse and trauma becomes more and more pervasive. We ask for help and say that they need it but that still doesnt mean they will get it and that is a lot to take having to watch year after year.

    I would also like to thank czacza for reminding us that this not a joke. I think many people, myself included, tend to make light of things as a way of dealing with something that is very dark and heavy. This can be a coping mechanism to help us shake off some of the "dark place" thoughts we get when we have to go back in classroom with these kids day after day and year after year. I think also that there is a place for this coping mechanism since the real bad thing would be not to use any coping mechanisms and be embroiled in this day after day and burn out and be unavailable to the students who need us.

    I also think that this is a very touchy subject that can really strike a nerve, particularly when it hits close to home. I work with a teacher whose son is ED and when we talked about ED the other day in the lunch room and someone said that they felt it should disqualify you from military service as an adult. The teacher was very upset and felt like we were passing judgment on her kid and his future. I also have a kid with an ED diagnosis and I would hate for anyone to call him a "Buffalo Bill" (thought thats doubtful since he isnt violent but still) . But I also want to allow people to do what they must to cope and deal with all of this heavy crap.

    well there's my 2 cents
     
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  10. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Dec 23, 2018

    Imagine if... A teacher could document violent or troubling statements and actions and then those students could actually receive counseling or support with what they had going on. I feel that is something that's severely missing from our schools and/or communities. There are probably systems in place at some schools to help kids but certainly not at any I've ever worked in. Counselors are generally equipped to help students make friends or deal with homelife issues but they're not psychiatrists, and some students need actual help. One could argue that's a parent's responsibility at that point, but there are too many tragic events that happen with previous teachers or classmates saying there were warning signs from a very young age.
     
  11. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Dec 24, 2018

    ^ My comment on Buffalo Bill wasn't using dark humor or an attempt to make light of a situation. Some may consider it crass, which is their right, but it wasn't a joke.
    In my Psych classes (and I took many) we used to discuss these topics in relation to film and literature ALL the time. Sometimes the professor would ask us "Hey have you ever seen...?" or a student in the class would make some connection, "Oh is this like in that movie/book...?" And we would have a genuine discussion both acknowledging and critiquing representations. Nobody in the class got outwardly offended because we all understood that references help us make connections. If somebody didn't like the reference, we would put it up to debate and say "Do we really think this is a good example?" "Does this accurately reflect the diagnosis?"
    Some media representations, as we know, may be stereotypical or extreme exaggerations... perhaps even Buffalo Bill could be an example of that? I suppose I could have selected a more mundane example. But I just thought if you were really on the fence about knowing whether or not a student has sociopathic tendencies, Buffalo Bill could spark some conversation. (And it's certainly not the conversation I anticipated.)
    That's the difference between claiming a student is an "a$$hole" and a sociopath (or related-- a psychopath).
    https://www.healthyplace.com/person...most-famous-sociopaths-to-ever-walk-the-earth

    My posts were merely an extension of the conversation: if we want to talk sociopaths, let's talk! This is a topic that truly fascinates me from a psychological perspective. And it has ever since I took my first Psych class. Who are these people? What do they do? How do they live? What makes them tick? What happened to make them the way that they are? I remember our Psych professor ( a retired practitioner) telling us all kinds of stories about his former clients with personality disorders. He openly admitted that they were tough to deal with because they cannot change. There is no cure for a personality disorder. And he said that he was most afraid of those clients over any others.

    I'll concede that maybe the Buffalo Bill comment was crass and not very "sensitive", but it WASN'T an attempt at dark humor or making light of the situation.

    I worked with a former ED student as a sub... I remember having a conversation where one TA commented "he's the type of student who will bring a gun to school.'' That was a heavy conversation, I was a little shocked by her comment as it seemed out of left field, but I wasn't offended. Flash forward to 6th grade, I find out the kid was suspended for bringing a weapon to school. :fearful:

    Like I said, I feel for these kids, but I also feel for the others (their potential victims) as well.

    I just found out another former student of mine just got brutally assaulted by his classmate. He got his head bashed in off the bathroom stall and the assailant held him down to stop him from getting help while he bled out on the bathroom floor. And this was all premeditated; the kid knew exactly what he was doing. I mean who does that? This is some scary stuff!

    :(

    I'll be the first to admit that I have made jokes at inappropriate times, but I'm proud to say that this wasn't one of them.
    Intention and motive matter!

    Also,
    Happy Holidays!
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2018
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  12. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    Dec 24, 2018

    I think you are overreacting here. Let’s not make an issue out of a non-issue.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2018
  13. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    I know you meant nothing by it and did not intend to come of as being rude. Hang in there.
     
  14. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    Dec 30, 2018

    A teacher, especially, should be very careful about using the term sociopath to describe a child. Find the correct classification within the terms that a social worker or counselor would use and stick to them. The connotation of sociopath is purely negative, the correct term prevents people from jumping to conclusions that may or may not be warranted. It also makes you look professional.
     
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  15. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    Dec 30, 2018

    Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder


    https://static1.squarespace.com/sta...c5f8/1510340513393/TARA4BPD-Brochure-2017.pdf
    We should all know what is going on with borderline personality disorder. I saw this thread, but have been quite ill, so didn't get around to posting until now. Feeling a little better, and awake enough to spend some time on the computer. I would hope that we should educate ourselves on some of these less typical presentations of conduct and personality disorders.

    https://www.slideshare.net/fitango/antisocial-personality-disorder-18556893

    https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Familie..._Families/FFF-Guide/Conduct-Disorder-033.aspx
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
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  16. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    I don’t know, kid seems like a sociopath to me.

    What is a sociopath?
    A sociopath is a term used to describe someone who has antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). People with ASPD can’t understand others’ feelings. They’ll often break rules or make impulsive decisions without feeling guilty for the harm they cause.

    so·ci·o·path
    /ˈsōsēōˌpaTH/
    noun
    1. a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.
     
  17. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    Do you teach SPED? While the kid may or may not be a sociopath as an adult, as a child, they are identified with personality disorders that may improve with therapy and the right treatment, therefore preventing the sociopath adult. In SPED, we don't write them off. We treat, we work with, we document, and we pour a lot of effort into preventing "sociopath" from being the final outcome.

    Because, as teachers, we set the mood for how we treat and respond to these troubled students, it helps to be educated in the mental disorders displayed now, knowing that we may not be able to change the final outcome for that child, due to factors that neither they or we can control. They may have been exposed to drugs and alcohol in utero, come from broken families riddled with violence, given over to child protective services at a young age because parents were incarcerated or in the throes of drug addiction. Many are in the foster system, being moved from one home to another. Many suffer abuse at an early age from the people who should be protecting them. Since neither you or I can predict the future for this child, I choose to work and hope for change. I have seen true miracles, and I have experienced dismal failures, but I have faith that what we do matters. That includes branding and calling a child with a mental illness the worst possible outcome, and then wondering why it was a self fulfilling prophecy.

    You work in a private school that I am sure has the luxury of turning away these types of students. After all, children in the foster system probably can't pay the tuition where you work. That said, you have not experienced either the exhilaration of success or the heartache of failure that can come from working with these students. You are, however, an educated teacher who should be using accepted terminology for these disabilities. I would think that you would want to be at least that professional in your demeanor. Why be hurtful if you don't have to be???

    "Students learn best in a psychologically safe, mistake-friendly environment. We all make mistakes. How teachers respond has everything to do with whether or not their students feel valued as human beings. We are responsible for creating a psychologically safe classroom. In all possible situations, we should seek to uphold the dignity of the student. Even when disciplinary action is necessary, it should be handled in a dignified way."

    Thank you, Pi-R-Squared

    FMP, does it hurt to refrain from calling the child a sociopath? The classifications used in IEP's do not support the term sociopath, especially at the younger ages. Why would you be so determined to go against SPED laws and regulations? Is it for the sensationalism of calling a child a sociopath? If so, that is very sad.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
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  18. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    I never said that students with mental illnesses don’t have a right to learn or to not receive services to cope with their mental condition(s). In fact, I fully support SPED teachers and admire them for the work they do. They have immensely important jobs that are irreplaceable, imo.

    With that said, I don’t believe that I’m branding anyone here. The aforementioned student clearly meets all of the criteria for being a sociopath and so if the shoe fits, then wear it. Now, I would never call them that to their face, but that doesn’t mean they are not a sociopath because you don’t like the word being used.

    In my BTSA classes, we were shown how certain students are more likely to drop out of high school and stay poor their entire lives. This was all based on their family demographics and malperformance in school from an early age. Speaking about this, I learned how you can determine, with a high degree of certainty, which students are bound to fail, based solely on their elementary reading levels. Is this method demonstrable? Of course not, because there are multiple factors at work here, but is this method more than fairly accurate? Absolutely.

    Take the divorce rate in the United States, which is 52% the last I checked. This means if I were to select 100 couples at random, and provided that I had a true representative sample, I would find that about 52 out of those 100 marriages would end in divorce. It’s not a guarantee, but there is a 52% probability of that event occurring.

    I’m a mathematician. I use explicit definitions, good empirical data, statistical significance, and probabilistic models to formulate my arguments. And I know numbers don’t always give the full story, which is why context is so important, but they are still incredibly reliable as they are consistently deterministic.

    Lastly, I will end with this: Steward/stewardess has become flight attendant. Janitor has become custodian has become custodial engineer. Obesity/morbid obesity has been replaced with curvy. Call it what you want, but a sociopath is still a sociopath.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
  19. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    If we can call it what you want, why not use the clinical term? I know you think highly of your station and your job. Your reasoning simply sounds like you want the shock factor. Will I fight with you over this? No, because your mind is made up, logic seems lost on you, and although I am feeling better, I don't need the aggravation of someone who simply wants the last word. I am still on the mend, and I see no way that getting into a battle over correct terminology, for those in education, can be good for my health. Call them anything you want - I would have thought that understanding how these terms are used in IEP's and therapy would be beneficial for any teacher. Obviously I was wrong. Consider me out of your discussion. However, if you wouldn't say it to their face, why not be just as charitable among colleagues? Over and out.
     
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  20. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    I am very logical, thank you. And you were the one who took issue with the use of the word sociopath, so who is the one arguing over terminology?

    Secondly, according to Psychology Today, Mayo Clinic, and other research bodies, the terms “antisocial personality disorder” and “sociopathy” are used interchangeably and both are recognized in the medical literature. Personally, I’d rather use one word versus three or four in your case, but to each their own.

    I’m not saying that your suggested terminology is invalid, just that mine is valid, too.
     

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