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Whistle Obsession


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Hi all

I have a boy in my class who had an interest in trains. Each time he role played trains he wanted to be the guard with the hat, flag and whistle - he loved blowing the whistle. Now however his interest has become an obsession. At playtime a couple of teachers have let him blow their whistle which i think was wrong as 1. the germs!!!! and 2. every child will be wanting to blow the whistle. He now will not play at playtime and instead waits by the teacher wanting to hold and blow the whistle - he even tries to take it out of their pockets. In class he is constantly looking around the classroom for my whistle. His mum has said that at home he is waking up in the middle of the night upset wanting to know where is whistle is.

I need some advice on how to apporach this as it has now gone from an interest to an obsession. Do i give hime some whistke to play with during outdoor play and hope this helps him get over the obsession - or do i put a 'ban' on whistles.

Any help would be greatly appreciated as i'm not sure what to do for the best.

Many thanks

Lola.

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Does he have any thing else that isn't right about him? Good eye contact? Need for routine? I need more information before I can help- I am an SEN specialist so I will be able to help but you need to tell me more about him. His age, siblings, other obsessive behaviour, does he make friends easily- or not? Only child? Is he behind academically? You see it depends on the answer to these questions whether the whistle is an important part of his security or just learnt demonstrative behaviour set to draw attention.

I will give it some thought

Best wishes

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He is 4, an only child, makes good eye contact doesnt need routine. He has lots of friends and makes friends easily, a very friendly boy. He will quite happily play with others but also quite happily on his own. He shows absolutely no other obsessions at all.

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Can mum buy him a whistle? You can get super train shaped ones which make a noise like a steam train.

Could it be that he likes the cause and affect, ie blowing makes a noise? Perhaps some blow painting or bubble painting would help?

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Hi Lola

Have been reading with intrigue. what is his home life like? had he ever had an obsession about anything else. Has anything happened at home to make him want the attention or comfort that he is obviously getting from the whistle?

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Ok, I've had a big think, this child has just had his obsession encouraged by staff letting him blow the whistle at play time. You need to discuss this as a staff and make sure this doesn't happen again. Or lose the whistle at playtimes and use a bell instead.

Then you need to turn this around. The child can have a go on a whistle as a reward - you reward him for losing the obsession. SO, when you are in class, he has reward points for role playing with something different. If you do golden points with golden rules then these are brilliant incentive.

Then at playtime he gets reward points for playing with others instead of standing by the teacher waiting for the whistle. When he has collected so many points his reward is to play trains. If he wants a whistle then, he can have his whistle... while the sand runs through a sand timer. Once it has run through, he puts it away and has to earn more points for the next time.

I hope this is clear and doesn't just read as a ramble. This will work, we have a child obsessed with doctor who, and I use this technique with him. It is working really well and he now controls his obsession all by himself.

Do not just take whistles away altogether- it could be a security thing and cause more problems for you.

Sand timers are brilliant for all kinds of rewards and sanctions.

Good luck

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