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Extreme Behaviour In Reception


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Hi everyone,


I have followed this site as a guest for a few months now and am always impressed with the professional and supportive advice given. I've finally bitten the bullet, joined up and am crossing my fingers for some similar advice!


I teach reception in a small school (one form entry, no nursery). I have 23 children in my class, one with an SEN statement for complex difficulties. I have another little boy in the class who can be a delight. He is articulate, charming and has very good manners. However, throughout the year there have been concerns, with several agencies coming in to see him (at mums request). There have been suggestions of elements of ADHD, autism, aspergers and many more. It is very unlikely he will be allocated support at this stage, he is on early years action. Many of the agencies believe a great deal of his problems are due to parenting issues. To sum him up he is like a toddler in a 5 year olds body- no awareness of space, feelings of others, constantly destroying children's models etc. To give you an example he often crawls across the hall in assemblies in front of the entire school with no awareness of anyone. His behaviour was very poor, often hurting other children and was resistant to the classroom routine. This was not helped by frequent absences (sometimes weeks at a time) and that his mum insisted he should not come into school full time. (Only in the past few weeks he now attends 4.5 days a week).


Throughout the year his behaviour and resistance to authority has improved. I have done everything I can think of, small group activities, social stories, reward charts, visual timetables, communication book, frequent meetings with parents etc. However to finally get to the point, despite a general overall improvement he has a love/hate relationship with the child with the SEN statement. This has now led to him almost having an obsession with him and it seems any negative behaviour is now directed at this particular child for no known reason. This week he pushed him into a wall as he was hanging his coat (witnessed by both parents) and unfortunately not by me. Mum was understandably very upset (particularly when other parent did nothing) and came to see me later on. Now today (just 3 days later) he has pushed him off the toy train into a stone wall, cutting his head in the process (due to his needs this could cause epileptic seizures). He was sent straight to the headteacher but showed no understanding or remorse, saying on the way back to class happily "I cut my head once". When I told his mum all she said was "You will have to stay away from **** I think".


Now I have a meeting with the statemented child's mum and the headteacher on Monday. I can't imagine how upset she must be and I am just so mortified that this has happened. It feels so pathetic to say "He'll get a time out if it happens again".


What would you do or suggest to mum that I can put in place to prevent/punish these episodes?


Thanks for reading and any advice will be gratefully received.


Phew! First post done!


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Hi chickpea

It is always distressing when you have a child with complex behavioural needs and none of the systems you have clearly tried have had a positive effect. If he hasn't already been seen i would suggest a appointment with a Ed Psych, and maybe a visit from the behavioural support team.

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not knowing all the details this information might not be helpful but i'll try!!! xD

Have you done an ABC chart (anticedent/behaviour/consequence chart) for the offender! this might give you some clues as to why he is targetting this child.

What happens when the bad behaviour occurs....does he get lots of attention for the negative behaviour? You need to get to the why it's happening i think, if you can.

It seems from what you say that Mum might have already worked out there is a problem ...Why is she keeping himaway from school? did he go to a nursery before and if so what did they say about him?

Ah so many questions! :o

you need to tell the other mum that you are investigating this situation and are very aware that this is upsetting for her and her child....do you have a TA that could support a bit to monitor everything that this boy is doing? there is little point in time out if he has no idea of what he is doing...

There are loads of us here who have been there and done that ...just keep asking :(:(

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Guest jenpercy

We have seen this a lot - various reasons. Maybe he knows that the other child won't retaliate. Maybe he is jealous of attention of other child. Often children that we are having behavioural problems with ADHD etc, find it very hard to cope with other children not having to conform strictly to rules that they themselves can't manage to keep. The chart sounds brilliant

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Welcome Chickpea,


I'm am a childminder and I have a child with similar behaviour in my setting and after 3 years I'm still not near sorting him out. ~There are some tricks I have learned to avoid flash points however. I'm sure you have more sophisticated methods, but just in case -


I meet the child at the school gate with an apple or banana - Distraction factor or low blood sugar? Who knows?


I praise every chance I get and comment on and ask questions about every sticker that comes home.


I get him to lead on the way to school and back - holding his younger sister's hand - this gives him positive things to think about. Older child should be on the side nearest the road? Am I going the right pace? Am I stopping at all the driveways?


I try to avoid small competitive struggles - 'who's going to be first to the door?' I know it's just going to end in fists and tears. I'm not talented enough to ever remember to say 'who can be the kindest/sweetest/best mannered?'


My observation is that the child is oversensitive to his own needs and not just insensitive to the needs of others. As soon as there is a gap in his expectations or boredom sets in, a red mist of confusion seems to descend and the only way for him to create order again is to lash out. I'm no psychologist, but I think it's a bit like self-harming. I am sure that if I can meet all his needs for mental and physical stimulation then he will be able to fill that gap with positive pursuits.


It must be terrible for you that you are not getting parental support, fortunately my parent understands the child's complexity and supports my actions.


This has taken me ages and I'm sure the real professionals will have been on by now, but this also helps me to understand what goes on in my own setting.


Good luck



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Thank you so much for all your replies - I'm feeling more positive already just knowing others understand.

He has been observed by Ed Psych and works in a small group with behaviour support each week. I think really he has made lots of progress I'm just being clouded due to this past week.

Finsley - he loves attention and so I try to focus my attention on the positive behaviour and good choices as much as possible. Mum often will spend lots of time explaining to him in detail why he mustn't do these things and I do feel he enjoys this attention. I'm not trying to paint mum in a negative light as she is a lovely lady who is very worried about her little boy. He was a much wanted, much tried for child. I think to be honest she keeps him off when she thinks he is having a 'bad' day, (she did the same at nursery) and I think she is very embarrased about any negative behaviour and so tries to avoid it by not giving him any independence (crouching next to him when he plays in construction, holding him by the arm as they walk etc). His behaviour at nursery was similar although it wasn't until last summer that mum wanted to investigate SEN when she saw his behaviour at a summer camp compared to that of his peers. (He had left nursery at this point).


I think the chart idea sounds great as he really responds to visual timetables etc. Could you give me a few more details?


Grayfionae - these ideas are great - thanks. I often get him to hand things out etc - distractions work well. I particularly like the banana/apple as he does find it difficult separating from mum in the mornings. At nursery they used to give him a train and I only just remembered this after reading your post -thanks!


Does anyone have any ideas what I can say at the meeting to the other child's mum to reassure her?


Thanks a million!


Chickpea x

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It sounds to me like mum is the one who needs a lot of support. How do you think she would react to someone giving her advice about how to deal with him? Perhaps, since she recognises that he is not the same as other children, she would respond well to this. I'm just not sure what sort of agencies would deal with actually giving mum proper stern advice rather than concentrating on the 'symptoms' (ie the child's behaviour). Sometimes I wish we could summon those child psychologists off the TV; you know the ones who feel they can sit parents down and really tell it like it is because it makes good TV! Of course the effect it has is probably edited for the program, but I do sometimes feel we (as a society) are a bit too nice about parental rights. I wouldn't mind this at all but when it's at the expense of the child's welfare it really makes my blood boil!


EDIT: Ok I've probably gone off on a tangent slightly thinking about some of the extreme cases I've seen in my school but it's something that really gets to me!

Edited by Guest
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Has he been assessed by the ed psych yet or just observed? if so what was the conclusion...if he's still in reception the parent could go through health visitor to get this - if necessary. I think you need to have a long chat with mum to get to the bottom of what is going on at home. i often find when i ask how are things going that parents suddenly pour out a huge range of difficulties that you have no knowledge of ( e.g. no sleep/jumping out of windows!/chucking up food etc etc!!)

reassurance for other parent....along the lines -i know this is really difficult....keeping an eye on it.....other child finding things difficult and we are aware and doing something about it.....encourage friendships with others so that he has someone to play with.

Can you teach the other child to defend themself? i.e. shout 'no' and go straight to a teacher.

BTW it makes me really cross that the nursery haven't dealt with this!

Well done for giving lots of possitive reinforcement - do try not to give any attention for bad behaviour and see what happens!

ask your senco (inco) for an abc chart. Start it just for the adults ...all you need is three columns titled a/b/c/ and if there is an incident of pushing record what happened before/during and after....is there a pattern? so does it happen at a particular place/time????etc.

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