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Behaviour was an area I used to feel pretty confident in dealing with having worked 1:1 for many years with children with extremely challenging behaviour and SEN. However, I feel completely inadequate tonight and have Ofsted in next week too.

I've had a new little girl start in Sept who is lovely, very articulate, lovely parents who are keen to get involved and do lot of lovely things with her. She settled very well, never been anywhere before (is 2 and a half) and parents were quite concerned about how she would settle as group situations seemed to make her anxious.

In the first few weeks she squeezed another child (and the cat) affectionately but too hard and the little girl in question didn't like it so I've been trying to get her to show friendship in other ways. This seems to have escalated ovre the last few weeks into pushing, shouting "No" very fiercely at the other children (only the younger ones). I know she understands it is wrong to shout or push through the conversations I've had with her, I've tried ignoring the minor pokes but she actually came up to me and said "I gave her a little push", I try not to say "No" myself (although it comes out sometimes) and try to say "please use kind words/gentle voices", "hands are not for pushing, you might hurt someone". All of this seems to be making it worse. Today I tried to ignore the shouting "no" but another child joined in so I had to ask them to stop. I feel she's doing it to test my reaction. I've spoken to parents to ensure we are being consistent for her, they are really surprised by her behaviour as she's always been quite sensible, sensitive and shy. WHen she first started she was very diffident and would always stand back and let another child have a turn first so I was working on encouraging her to be more assertive.

I'm dreading my ofsted but more importantly want to make sure her first experience of being away from home is a positive one.

Any ideas for how to approach this will be gratefully received :o

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Oh dear, poor child, and poor you. I think sometimes we have to accept that changing challenging behaviour can take a long time, and that often it is full of backwards as well as small forward steps. I have found that visual reminders are often effective (eg a red card means no, but saves the adult having to use the n word., pictures demonstrating no pushing etc).


I think you need to have a good strategy up your sleeve for Mrs O. Could you quickly put together an IBP, (along the lines of an IEP) perhaps saying that you will use visual reminders, rewards, and of course good modelling? This would at least show that you are

aware of problem and

working with parents and

putting strategies in place and

shows the understanding that the child's well being is central to your concerns,

even if you are not as yet getting positive results.


Most importantly, don't lose heart here. You sound really saddened by all this, and need to stay positive. I am sure it will all work itself out eventually.

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Thanks eyfs

I do feel sad about it yes, I think because I feel ineffective and it's so important to me to get it right for this child. your right that things take time though.

i think putting together a plan is a great idea and would help to formalise the strategies I'm using.

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I sympathise with you and understand how you feel.


We have a fantastic 4 yr old child who scratches faces, we have support from parents which helps but other parents are complaining. We have worked really hard with him, using a home school communication book as parents work and can't get to school every day. Behaviour had been much better and there was NO scratching for about 5 weeks but then situations at home have changed and it has all started again. It seems to be an instant reaction thing with him but I think we will try some of the other strategies mentioned - red cards etc.


All along we have had communication directly with parents through the book, the Head and the SENCO who is also the Reception Teacher and the mid day assistants who know that he needs extra support. Any extra strategies would be welcome. I have a copy of an ABC sheet but as I say there doesn't have to be a build up it is just a spur of the moment thing.

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We have used reward 'puzzles'. the child picks what they would like to do as a reward activity eg favourite computer program, favourite book, playing with cornflour, anything they like that is not too difficult. You take a photo of the activity, laminate it and cut it into puzzle pieces. If the child is very young or has SEN you might have fewer pieces (4) or you could have more (6). Then stick the peices onto a board with velcro. Add the child's name and write a positive statement eg Ethel can play with her friends without hurting them. At the start of the day, show the child the pieces and tell them you will give them a piece when you see them doing the right thing. Then carry it out. You have to be clever about when you give out the pieces, so that rewards are spaced out throughout the day if possible. Keep encouraging the child. Bear in mind that some children welcome the encouragement of their group, but some want to keep the whole thing a secret between you and them. We have carried out this reard system with children with communication and social / behavioral problems. It seem s to work well because a reward is available every day, and the reward usually involves 1:1 time with an adult, which many children really want. Obviously the child can have 1: 1 time at other points, but this gives them a special activity with a special adult to look forward to. When we used this reward with a child who was obsessive about numbers we had a 1-100 puzzle. He chose it for his reward so it was only available to him at that time - a great relief to only have to do the 1-100 puzzple once a day!

Don't despair anyway. You are putting lots of love, care and thought into looking after this child, and Mrs O will notice that.

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