Not sure what to do
Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive October 2007:
Not sure what to do
I guess I'm just looking for some opinions.
My son is in kindergarten. There is a little boy in his class that is mentally handicapped (I'm not sure of the proper term?) The boys grandma attends class with him every day. All of this is great, and my DS and I have been able to have conversations about how some kids are different than others, and some kids have challenges that we don't all have.
Here is where I tend to have a problem. The boy is clean. It seems he bathes regularly, and his clothes are always clean. But, he always has a runny nose, which I don't think he has the feeling that he needs to *sniff* or wipe it, and a fluid coming from his ears. Today, we went on a field trip. I went along. The boy had blood and a yellow-y fluid running out of his ear. He had a good streak of it running down the side of his face. The grandma tried to keep cotton in his ear, but the boy would take it out and bring it to me, or try to give it to one of the other kids. He isn't very vocal, very quiet. Of course the cotton was soaked in blood and fluid. Then he would touch other kids, and try to hold hands with everyone.
Maybe I'm just a over reacting, but my stomach was churning thinking of him touching all over everyone. I'm completely aware that all kids have so many germs that we can't even name them all, and that germs are passed around a lot. But this seems sort of extreme to me. The type of thing where if we were in a doctors office, the bloody cotton balls would be going into the red "hazardous" container thing.
We have parent teacher conference in a couple of weeks, and I'm torn as to whether I should speak my concerns to the teacher.
Any thoughts? WWYD?
(and yes, I have older kids, so I don't feel that I'm freaking out because I'm just not use to my DS being around other kids for the first time)
Yes, I would talk to the teacher about it. Not only for the health issue you discussed, but because a child who has a bloody discharge from his ear almost certainly has a ear infection and possibly a ruptured ear drum. From what you say, he regularly has fluid running from his ears, which is certainly not normal or healthy. I suggest this is a medical issue for this boy's health, and if the teacher hasn't noticed it it should be brought to the teacher's attention. If it were me, I'd speak to the teacher as soon as possible and, if there is a school nurse, also to the school nurse.
Thanks Ginny, for your response. Yes, it is usually quite common for him to have fluid coming from his ear/ears.
The teacher does notice it, in fact today on the field trip, we were standing there and the teacher said, "I wish I had something with me to wipe that (the blood) off your face".
I am not one to start/stir up trouble, and that's why I think I'm second guessing myself with this situation.
We have had this teacher before, and she is amazing. We actually requested her for my DS. So, I don't want to jeopordize the parent/teacher relationship if I'm just being a nuisance.
It would bother me, too! Ewwww. I think I would mention something to the teacher, too.
I would not wait until the parent-teacher conference to bring up this issue. You should talk to the teacher asap. State what you have observed and ask what the health office of the school is doing to help the boy.
Most schools have a policy that if there is any colored discharge from anywhere (eyes, nose, ears) the child may not be in school without a doctor's note.
Since you have had her teach another child, she knows what kind of parent you are. You already have an established relationship with her. I don't think by politley standing up for the health of the other children in the class you are being a nusiance.
At the very least, instruct your child not to touch anything the other child has touched (tough to do)and to use antibacterial wipes before snack. It's a very tough situation. You do not want to hurt the other child's feelings, but you do want to protect your son.
The next time you see the gradndmother in class, why don't you ask about the ear? Say,"Why does (name) have blood coming out of his ear? Has he been to a doctor?" It certainly would be rude and would be a very valid question.
I would ask, but it could be something that is ongoing because of his specific needs. It's very common for kids with different syndromes, ie Down Syndrome, to have a chronic runny nose because of their facial structure. Chrissy, my 13 year old, has this problem. It's often discoloured, but not because she's sick. It doesn't run while she's reclined or lying down, but will sometimes flow like a faucet when she's sitting up. There's nothing we can do about it, except to keep wiping it. It's not pleasant, but it's part of her and her special needs. I don't know anything about the child you're talking about, but he could have some of the same issues.
Chrissy used to have the ear issue, too. She had several sets of tubes before coming to us, but they never helped. I took her to a special allergist, and cut several foods from her diet. She's never had that problem again.
Marcia raises some good points, as does Ame. It may well be that the teacher is already aware of what lies behind the constant nose-running and ear discharge. Given that the teacher does already know you and probably knows you respect her as a teacher, I would think you can find a way to discuss this with her without either putting her on the defensive or having her think you are trying to discover confidential information about this boy. It does seem to me that if this is a chronic thing with the boy, the grandmother, who is with him all day, could be encouraged to bring wipes with her and wipe his nose and any other discharge frequently enough to keep his face clean. Maybe because it is chronic, the family, including grandmom, doesn't see it as outsiders would. I would imagine the constant wiping that might be needed would get pretty tiresome for the boy and for his family. Still, if they are trying to help him learn how to get along with his peers, this is something he'll have to learn to manage. Most kindergarten boys aren't terribly fastidious (heck, most boys aren't terribly fastidious until they start caring about how someone else sees them), and this is something they have to learn ... as does he.
I would feel EXACTLY as you do. I would NOT wait for parent-teacher conference either. If this is a chronic issue because of the child's condition, then accomodations should be made...wipes available at all time for example, as mentioned above. I don't know the child's mental/physical abilities, but he could also be taught how to take care of the cotton balls properly. Just your basic sick child has to learn that when they blow their nose they don't go put it in the hands or the face of another child.
Blood in the classroom is a serious issue and really has to be dealt with for the health of everyone. The teacher should be just as concerned quite honestly, and should be taking steps with the family for constant clean-up measures and teaching the child how to properly dispose of the cotton balls/wipes/kleenex when needed, or to ask for assistance from the teacher.
I completely understand that these things are most likely caused by his special needs.
I appreciate your opinions, and you've given me the confidence to talk to the teacher about my concerns. Thank you all.