***But first! A disclaimer. I have not assessed the situation personally. I am not giving a specific intervention based on a specific case/student. I am only answering from my perspective and what I have done in the past.***
Student A and Student B are in the same class. Both students have the same disability. Student A frequently has outbursts that upset Student B. Student B responds by repeating the rules to Student A. Student A does not respond favorably. Student B then begins to continuously point out student A’s behavior and saying things like “If I acted like that I would be in trouble!” and “You’re not even doing anything!” to the teacher. Student B eventually becomes so disruptive that he is the one removed from the classroom. Student B usually then sits in detention confused about why he’s the one with the consequence.
First of all, because of FERPA* (and possibly HIPAA) and student privacy, you can’t explain to the students that they have the exact same disability and ask that they give each other grace. You CAN, however, have the student start thinking about this on their own by asking them about their own disability. What does it look like to you? What does it feel like? Do you think you’re the only one with that disability? Have you ever had a hard time? How would YOU want to be treated if you were?
Then you could do some behavior mapping. Behavior mapping has the student(s) map out their behavior and see how their actions affect others. It also connects the behavior they exhibited to the consequences they received. What’s important to stress here is that Student A went big, but because Student B went bigger in response, he is the one currently receiving the consequence.
I also address how everyone is treated differently because everyone is different. A doctor does not give everyone who walks into their office cold medicine regardless of what’s wrong with them, even though that would make things equal among all his patients. Rather he gives them all the intervention they need and that’s fair. Stress that in an effort to be fair to all their students, teachers treat their behavior on an individual basis.
I may do some perspective-taking and extending compassion. I might say “It must have been really frustrating to your classmate to lose control, I hope he’s okay.” or “How would you want someone to respond to you if you lost control like that? I hope another classmate would not yell at you!” or “Gosh how did you feel when he lost control? Do you think that’s how your classmates felt when you started yelling back at him?”
And finally, have patience and manage your own expectations. Realize that this situation is frustrating for everybody, teacher, parents, students. It’s going to take consistent consequences, debriefing after each incident and a whole lot of time before you see change. Don’t expect students to bond over their disability and become great friends, but you can expect to be able to teach them how to tolerate each other.
*Thanks to a retired school nurse for pointing out to me that I forgot to mention FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) would also apply in this case. In case you were wondering, yes, in some instances schools can be hit with HIPAA complaints.*