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Teaching the Tiger

By: Marilyn P. Dornbush and Sheryl K. Pruitt

Tourette syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are extremely complex, inter-related behavioral problems that can devastate both the affected child and the child's family. The medical community has increasingly come to recognize that these are genetic disorders, that much of the behavior is biochemically driven, that that a variety of medications can be extremely helpful in modulating the behaviors toward normal. Despite this, an equal, and sometimes more than equal degree of improvement can come from an educational and psychoeducational approach. I have had many hundreds of parents tell me that their child had a "good year" when they had a teacher who understood their disorder and was willing to be flexible and use innovative approaches to help the child, and had a "horrible year" when this was not the case. Teachers (and others) who are not familiar with these disorders often label the behavior problems as "psychological problems," "parenting problems," "not working to their potential," "laziness," "severe emotional disturbance," or "out and out delinquency." While these disorders clearly do not exclude children from also having some of these labels occasionally be correct, in most cases the behaviors rapidly improve when the medication is right, the educational program is right, or especially, when both are right.

While other books on these conditions help us to understand the clinical aspects, neurochemistry, genetics and medical treatment of these disorders, Teaching the Tiger is uniquely designed to help teachers, parents, students, and relatives maximize the educational plans necessary to help these children. This can be so effective that for some children this understanding of their condition and appropriate help in the classroom is all that is necessary. For the others who require medication, it can make the difference between whether the problems are largely eliminated or remain a major impediment to progress. An understanding teacher and an appropriately designed educational plan is a critical part of treating all of these children. -- David E. Comings, M.D.

Table of Content

Section I. Toward an Insider's Point of View

  • Definitions.. Attention Deficit Disorder, Tic disorders, Tourette Syndrome, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Deregulated Arousal System
  • Psychological Consequences
  • Treatment..Medication, Counseling and Therapy, School Interventions

Section II. In the Classroom

  • Teacher and Peer Education..Disability Awareness
  • Classroom Modifications..Emotionally Safe Environment, Individual Modifications, Task Initiation, Self-Control, Aggressive and Oppositional Behavior
  • Academic Interventions..School Personnel - Educational Support Team, Learning Disabilities Teacher, O.T., Speech/Language, School Counselor, School Psychologist, Neuropsychologist. Impact on Learning and Recommended Interventions - Oral Expression, Listening, Basic Reading and Comprehension, Written Expression, Math Calcualtion and Reasoning
  • Pitfalls..Homework, Study Skills, Test Taking, Reports and Projects, School Phobia, Home School Management
  • Social Skills..Developing Feelings of Self, Understanding Social Interactions, Promoting Social Relationships, Strategies for Difficult Situations.

Section III. Computer Use

  • Effect on Productivity and Learning
  • Types of Programs Most Used..Remedial/Tutorial, Drill and Practice, Games, Utility, Productivity
  • Problem Areas..Arousal, Impulsivity, Organization, Fine Motor Skills
  • Other Concerns..Grammar, Style, Spelling Checkers, Typing Skills

Section IV. Evaluation/Assessment

  • Intelligence, Executive Functions, Reasoning and Concept Formation, Language, Memory, Motor, Auditory Processing, Tactile Functions, Academics, Emotional, Vocational

Section V. Individualized Education Plan

  • Information on IEPs..Listing Current Abilities, Annual Goals, Instructional Objectives
  • IEP Meeting Checklist for Parents
  • IEP Tips for Parents
  • IEP Annual Goals and Objectives..Basic Reading Skills, Reading Comprehension, Written Expression, Computer Skills, Math, On-Task Behavior, Organization, Social Skills
  • Testing Modifications
  • Placement

Section VI. Modifications for College Admission Tests

  • Eligibility, Testing Modifications, Test Format and Administration

Section VII. Federal Laws Pertaining to Handicapped Students

  • Individuals with Disabilities Act
  • Rehabilitation Act
  • Family Education Rights and Privacy Act

Section VIII. Appendices

  • Proof Reading Strategy, Multiplication Fact Strategies, Computer Software, Reading List, Organizations
Teaching the Tiger - Book

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What Reviewers Have Said

"As Chairperson of the Educational Committee for the National Tourette Syndrome Association, I have had the opportunity to review many publications on the education of students with TS. Teaching the Tiger is by far the finest piece of work in its field I have ever read. This book is very well organized, extremely complete in dealing with all of Tourette Syndrome and its associated disorders, insightful and most practical. Not only will the reader obtain an in-depth understanding of what living with these neurological disorders is like, but will also be provided with all the skills and interventions necessary in providing services for these children in an educational setting. This book is a must for all parents of children with TS and all educational personnel working with children diagnosed with TS, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. For those children it will help, I offer my sincerest gratitude for helping them to understand their world and reach their fullest potential."
--Susan A. Conners Chairperson Educational Committee, National TSA

"As an originator of the OC Foundation and an OCD survivor whose onset was in childhood, my excitement anticipating each page was never disappointed. Targeting children for early diagnosis and treatment is the "why" of the conception of the OC Foundation. To save a child from the pain of OCD with arrested social skills and deflated confidence, which can erode a child's life, is a major goal for us all."
--Fran Sydney Founder, Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation

"Brava! At last a groundbreaking look at the intricate and often confusing relationships between ADD, Tourette syndrome, OCD and LD . . educational strategies are simply stated but never simplistic . . The authors have drawn on their vast experience teaching and treating children with neurological impairments to offer sound educational strategies and practical insights for dealing with common problems at school and at home. If we could just make this book required reading at every school and teacher's college in America! Our teachers are in desperate need of this information."
--Marie Maran Co-president CH.A.D.D. Westchester County

"Dornbrush and Pruitt's handbook, Teaching the Tiger, is a marvellous compendium of wisdom, gained through experience. This book will prove to be a frequently used reference for anyone involved with children and adults who suffer from these invisible neurological handicaps . . As a private practitioner, every chapter proved to be of practical use and assistance. "The Story of Mother Vowel," in the Appendix, alone was worth the price of the book . . these two writers understand what each and every child and adult go through when they suffer from these conditions . . I cannot recommend the book enough. I know that it will become a desk manual that I will use on a regular basis.
On every page it is quite evident that these two writers understand what each child and adult go through when they suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Tourette Syndrome or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The daily struggle with just being able to organize oneself in order to meet either the classroom environment or the work place takes on heroic proportions. With guidance from clinicians such as Dornbush and Pruitt, the sufferers of these conditions will have the tools and stratagems with which to cope with their invisible handicaps."
--Jonathan B. Lauter, M.D. Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

"Your classroom modifications will be a 'godsend' for teachers, parents and children alike."
--Jim Broatch, MSW Executive Director, Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation

"Wow! This book is a SURVIVAL guide for parents, teachers and kids. It shows us all how to be successful when living around a child with Tourette Syndrome, ADD and/or OCD"
--Dianne Garber TS/ADHD/OCD Parent

"Not only is this book comprehensive - covering everything including legal rights - it is full of practical, step-by-step positive interventions that anyone from teacher to parent to coach can employ to help the child with Tourette's, ADHD or OCD to be successful. Compiled from years of research and experiences with kids who have Tourette Syndrome, ADHD and OCD, Pruitt and Dornbush give us an invaluable resource in this handbook. Doctors should give one out with each new diagnosis!"
--Vicki Y. Prophet, M.S. Parent of an ADHD/OCD Adolescent, a Tourette Syndrome/ADHD/OCD Preadolescent and ADHD child

"For years parents and educators have been waiting for a resource like Teaching the Tiger. The authors have a clear understanding of the educational and social needs of children who have Tourette Syndrome and associated disorders. In addition, they offer specific, practical strategies to meet those needs."
--Jeanie Taylor Founder Georgia Tourette Syndrome Association

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