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How Can I Help?


Lucie
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Hi everyone,

Both myself and my TA are losing patience with a child in the class (rec), but am thinking i need to turn the situation on its head and think about my practice and ways to help. I really want to do my best for him - he is a lovely boy when he wants to be.

 

He is the oldest in the class (5 already).

He sings at innapproriate times on the carpet (just as i am about to speak or during discussion etc), he point blank refuses to do things (even minor things like sit on the carpet for a story - where he often lays under a table instead),

a few days ago he knocked something of a shelf and when i asked him to pick it up he refused, i even offered to help he said just said no, i gave him a bit of time to do this, with a sanction if not done (which sometimes works) but not this time - we carried it through and he didnt care at all.

If i have asked him to do something and he isnt and i go to ask him about it he turns his back on me.

He puts everything and anything into his mouth!

 

Ive tried - praise every time he is doing the smallest thing!, we had a sticker chart for him, parents are on board and are using what we say to give a consequence at home, we have a home school diary, im doing short sharp carpet inputs (during which he disrupts other chn). He likes to play in the outdoor area but i then get children constantly telling me of all the things he is doing wrong.

 

I feel i need to challenge him more (as he could need a higher level as he's bright) but im not sure how to accomplish this .

 

Please help if you can, Im aware that i will probably have to change my practice in order to make headway here but i need a bit of advice as to how!!!

 

Thanks

Lucie

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Hi Lucie

 

some of the behaviour you describe makes me wonder if there is an underlying special need - but you always need to observe a child first hand rather than just read about them - I feel you tend to get a gut feeling as to whether a child simply needs help to learn to behave appropriately or is unable to behave appropriately due to other factors.

Has he had any type of nursery experience and if so did you get any information from them?

I have a similar child at the moment although mine are nursery age - what i find most challenging is that he wants to be in the middle of the carpet time but is disrupting everyone else. Normally if I have a child who isn't ready for carpet time I tend to say leave them out of it and build up skills until they are ready.

Does he have a favourite activity that you could use as a reward? - Set up a simple task board with a picture to show he must sit appropriately for carpet time then he can go and choose ...? Maybe sit him with a timer and build up from a couple of minutes - allowing him to leave the whole group session before everyone else - he can go to a purposeful play activity and you can actually teach the rest of the gorup?

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Hi Lucie - I was also wondering about his preschool experience - is this part of a larger/longer pattern or is it something entirely new ? If an old problem did his previous setting find any successful strategies which you could build on? It may just be that he is still finding his feet with you and testing the boundaries in quite a robust way! I can vouch for the timer strategy and also it's worth considering a pocket sized visual timetable for him and you to refer to, then he can see that if he cooperates in the short term there will be something he likes next - it may help or not but won't do any harm. Have you thought about giving him a special job or task to do for you on a regular basis, something that he can manage alone and gives him a feeling of responsibility and being important? I agree that the only way you will get to the bottom of this is thro careful observation - it may give you the key and at least, if he does turn out to have needs of any kind, you will have some evidence already to get things moving in the right direction. all the best and hope he settles down soon :)

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Hi Lucie, He's a classic attention seeker, and at the moment I think you're reinforcing his need to get attention by responding to him. I would take an alternative tack and completely ignore him when he's misbehaving, unless he's doing something serious or dangerous. You might find that ignoring him (as he's ignoring you) will have the effect of making him decide to join in with the class. HTH, Sue.

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I'm not so sure he's attention seeking. The putting things in his mouth is interesting.

 

Of course you can't diagnose over t'internet but putting things in his mouth and inappropriate understanding of social expectations could be indicators, also high ability/lack of social skills can be one of the indicators on the Aspergers spectrum (which is long and varied).

Observe lots, look at his language (parroting?), eye contact etc. before you decide it's an attention seeking need. (in which case give him some attention!)

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I would just add that, if you conlude that he is attention seeking, in addition to withdrawing attention from the unwanted behaviour you need to find every opportunity to pounce on an episode of good behaviour and offer attention immediately.

 

Catch him every time he does something good and try to reward that with a little bit of one to one even if it is just a quick thumbs up across the room.

 

This will show him that he doesn't need to go looking for attention it will come uninvited too.

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I've been thinking and bothering about this one and I agree with Edlee - the description you give is very similar to a little girl I worked with several years ago (only difference was she didn't put things in her mouth, but rest is identical) She was eventually diagnosed as Aspergers. We got good advice and support in place for school and home and she blossomed. It's something to bear in mind at least, maybe have a word with your SENCO too so that it has been noted. Observation is definitely the key tho.

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Thankyou so much for replying to this and helping to give me a little perspective.

we are doing longer obs to gain a further understanding of him, parents say that he never had issues at nursery.

not wanting to divulge to much but he has a brother who has a diagnosis of aspergers so im trying to observe and clarify if it is observed aceptable behanviour or his behaviour - any ideas on that one?

 

Thanks again

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Obviously I'm only guessing but spent many years working in this field.

 

You are right, it could certainly be him copying older brother.

If he himself was on the 'spectrum' he would exhibit the 'triad of impairments' and would have difficulties in all three areas of -social interaction, social communication and social imagination.

 

You could try doing some role-playing with him. Pretend you are feeding the dolly some toast. Use a piece of cardboard and you feed the dolly with it saying''Yum, Yum, this is delicious says dolly" etc. Usually a child on the spectrum will not be willing to suspend disbelief in this way and will insist that it is just a piece of cardboard. they will not play in this way themselves.

 

I offer this piece of advice with a huge pinch of salt because it takes a long time and a lot of evidence to actually get a young child diagnosed with Aspergers.

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Wise words from Edlee - It sounds as tho this little one will need that little bit 'extra' for a while at least,whether he turns out to be on the spectrum himself or not. Let us know how things go won't you?

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ok, so we had a great morning today, praised everythinga nd filed his sticker chart, then good on the carpet for numeracy just after lunch but then we had PE during which he was disruptive, then wouldn't get changed back, just wouldn't. All through PE i was reiterating that he could still earn a sticker for making the right choices/doing the right thing but it made no difference.

 

We were 20 mins late getting out bc of a few issues but i had to go out and get his parents in the end bc he just would not get changed.

 

Had the worst afternoon and felt like screaming!!!! :o

 

what can i do with a child who won't do as asked and so makes it dangerous for other chn, but then won't move if i tell him to sit out????

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Just another angle, if maybe this is a type of 'controlling/attention' behaviour.

Every tme you need him to do something give him a choice of two ways to achieve it, then rather than him feeling he has to do as you say, he may start to feel he has some control.

for example changing from PE.

Instead of instructing him 'get dressed' rephrase it to " lets get dressed, you have a choice, What are you going to change first your traousers or your top?"

At mat time, " It's time to sit down now, are you going to sit next to John or Amy?"

In any given situation think of at least two alternatives of doing what you need to be done and give him the choice of which way he is going to do it. If he says, I'm not sitting next to John or Amy, then you repeat, you have one other choice, next to John, next to Amy or choose your own space on the mat. As soon as he complies with anything by making his choice, praise him by saying, Well done that was a good choice, or well done you've done some good choosing today.

 

If you are in a situation where he doesn't comply at all then take the 'power of authority to where he is' ie: he remains under a table, your response, ok you have chosen to stay under the table, you can stay there but only if you read a book, or some other task, if you choose not to read the book (or other task) then you can still choose to ........then repeat the previous options you gave to him.

 

Another strategy may be to ask him, what would you like to do now instead of ..............but remember if you do that you mustn't disturb the others who have chosen to hear the story. I will let you do............after you have listened to the story. or I will let you do.................., but you will need to listen to the story that you've missed ....then give a time.

 

and I agree with the ignoring some behaviours if they are not too disruptive. I don't think any children set out to be down right 'difficult' I do believe there is a 'reason' behind his behaviour, sometimes we need to get past the 'power struggle' that we find ourselves in and think

1/ does it really matter if he doesn't join in, does do such and such.....etc

2/ How can we help this child communicate his feelings, worries, moods, fears, frustrations, etc which are being displayed through innapropriatte behaviour.

 

communication- some children find it difficult to communicate their feelings, and they often feel misunderstood, not listened to etc.

Maybe when he is 'acting up' just describe what he is doing and put a name to show what you think it is he is feeling

ie: You've chosen to sit under the table, you must be feeling cross, or confused, or bored, or angry, or frustrated etc, then wait to see how he responds. (this may take quite a few attempts in a variety of contexts before he accepts or realises that you genuinely want to know how he feels and that you have empathy towards his feelings.

 

hope this helps, let us know how it all goes.

 

Peggy

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Peggy you are fab!

Thankyou for helping me with some strategies i will begin these tomorrow!

will update at the end of the week!

 

(have a KS2 trained NQT mentor obs tomorrow and really want it to go well!)

 

Lucie x

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You're welcome, :o

I think that the fact that you started your thread with the comment that you wanted to 'turn things around' showed that you;

1/recognise that current strategies aren't quite working and.....

2/ recognise that it is in your power to make a change.

 

Good luck for tomorrow xD

 

Peggy

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  • 2 weeks later...
If you are in a situation where he doesn't comply at all then take the 'power of authority to where he is' ie: he remains under a table, your response, ok you have chosen to stay under the table, you can stay there but only if you read a book, or some other task, if you choose not to read the book (or other task) then you can still choose to ........then repeat the previous options you gave to him.

 

I'm rather interested in this and why it is a good idea. I'm all for giving choices and getting the child to choose the right one, but surely if they choose the wrong one there should be some sort of sanction rather than another option to actually do something nice? I'm sure loads of the children in the class would love to go read a book under a table or go play rather than have to sit on the carpet and listen to the teacher, why should he get the choice to do it because he chose the wrong thing in the first place? At some point he is going to have to accept that he has to follow the same rules as everyone else, he can't always choose to do something else, especailly when he gets further up the school. How does this approach teach him that? What happens if it works and keeps him calm in a FS setting but then when he gets up to year 1 or year 2 or whatever he doesn't have the same 'we must do this now and there is no choice' skills that the other children have, thus disrupting his own learning. Surely preparing him to survive outside the FS setting should be just as important?

 

I'm just interested to here how you would expect this approach to develop and prepare him to actually be more compliant to the rules? Thanks.

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Hello Lucie

 

Its been almost two weeks now since Peggy posted her ideas to turn this around offering choices. I must admit that I have been watching with interest to find out if you tried these ideas out and how its all been going for you and this child. Please give us an update, thank you. :o

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I'm rather interested in this and why it is a good idea. I'm all for giving choices and getting the child to choose the right one, but surely if they choose the wrong one there should be some sort of sanction rather than another option to actually do something nice? I'm sure loads of the children in the class would love to go read a book under a table or go play rather than have to sit on the carpet and listen to the teacher, why should he get the choice to do it because he chose the wrong thing in the first place? At some point he is going to have to accept that he has to follow the same rules as everyone else, he can't always choose to do something else, especailly when he gets further up the school. How does this approach teach him that? What happens if it works and keeps him calm in a FS setting but then when he gets up to year 1 or year 2 or whatever he doesn't have the same 'we must do this now and there is no choice' skills that the other children have, thus disrupting his own learning. Surely preparing him to survive outside the FS setting should be just as important?

 

I'm just interested to here how you would expect this approach to develop and prepare him to actually be more compliant to the rules? Thanks.

 

 

I can sort of see where you are coming from with your query but, I think positive behaviour management has to have the individual child as the main focus. To try not to think that if you deal with one child in a certain way this automatically means you have to offer that choice for all children. Children also need to learn that just because one child is doing something doesn't mean they all need to do it, this goes for positive or negative behaviour. If enabling the child to stay under the table, but with the adult remaining in control, is achieveable then this turns a negative into a positive, making it a win, win situation.

If loads of the children would love to read a book under a table or go and play rather than sit on a carpet and listen to me, I would be looking at ways to make the prospect of listening to me more appealing. Or maybe I just might sit under the table with all the children and read the story from there. No, sorry, a bit tongue in cheek there but just reminiscing when I did this once with a small group of children, it got a bit crowded so we pitched up the play parachute, made a den and had a full group storytime under canvas. ( great for scary halloween stories :o )

 

I would also suggest that as children move up through the school into yrs 1 & 2, their maturity levels will have increased, thus different positive behaviour strategies can be used, in line with their individual developing understanding and maturity. Behaviour modification is always carried out at the present time for the present difficulty, to approach this with thought of,...... but in a years time, is far beyond the childs current needs. As they develop new behaviour skills and understanding, step by step, with consistant, caring age/stage appropriate strategies then I think the childs future behaviour development should take care of itself.

 

 

 

Peggy

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I too can see where you're coming from. As a childminder working with very young children I see it as part of my role to prepare them for some of the structure and routine they will face in school.

However, I do think that "compliance" is overrated - My aim for children when they leave me is not to turn out 5 or 6 compliant children every year. Compliant children learn not to question authority and I dont think that is a good thing.

I would also question whether using stickers as a reward is working for this child - it sounds like you are in a cycle of adding/removing stickers and i think this must be very confusing for him and may be becoming meaningless.

I do sympathise though because I know how hard it is to be continually managing a childs behaviour often to the detriment of the rest of the group when you should be having fun. In our area we have avery good teamof behavioural nurses - do you have access to anything similar?

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Hi just thought i would update.

 

We have made progress, it is slow but i think we are getting there.

He still puts things in his mouth - stones now too!

 

BUT he is listening more now, i'm trying to challenge him where i see fit and just ignore potential outbursts for behaviour issues.

I am (reluctantly bc i think it is important) taking away his outdoor time if he shows unacceptable behaviour after being warned bc he loves goin outside. but i do then give him the chance to earn this back (im not sure if this is right or not but i do know that the behaviour improves!).

 

I'm trying to have more fun with him, in addition to the fun we always have obviously, giving him that extra attention that i think he needs but in a good way. (on friday he came over to give me a hug so i must be doing something right now lol!)

 

I'm sure il be back with more soon! xx

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