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Behaviour Issues!


kristina
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Hi Everyone

 

We have had a child start with us last week age 2 years 6 months, and we are having quite a few problems with behaviour!! This particular child has no other children in immediate family, there is no eye contact, no recognition of right from wrong, falls over no tears, but the main thing is the behaviour to other children!!

Scratching faces, pulling hair out, strangling to name but a few!! It takes two members of staff to pull the child off!! There is no patteern to the outbursts they appear to be random and it can be to any child male or female! Have spoken to parents (on a daily basis!) only to be told this always happened at mother & toddler (no mention in paperwork!!). I have today asked parents if they would be willing to involve outside agencies (am awaiting a reply) but in the meantime really not sure what to do, today a child who had been involved in one of the incidents came in and told me Daddy had said to wallop the child if they came near them!! So as you can see the behaviour is having a knock on effect! I have just employed a new member of staff to make me supernumeracy 3 days a week but at the moment we need all the satff we can get!!

If the parents say no is there anything else I can do?

Hope someone can help!!

 

Kris

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Apart from pin a adult to him so they are there constantly for a few days which might just settle down the behaviour, not alot. does he talk?

We had a child that when we told him how to ask (we actually gave him the right sentence so to speak) for things he stopped. Have to say though this sounds more like mum doesn't know how to handle him hence the reason he has learnt that his behaviour is ok.

Try working with mum for some strategies to use at home, so you tackle it from both sides.

Good luck you have my sympathy those behaviours are so taxing on staff.

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If parents say no, then there is very little you can do, except work on them until they say yes! My experience is that with gentle persuasion (ie in best interests of the child, we want to help, importance of early intervention strategies etc) most parents will agree but it takes time and patience. The symptoms you have described are a cause for concern and you must try to seek help. Perhaps your LEA advisor could "happen to take a look" at the child on a "routine visit" and also reinforce your concerns. A tad underhand I know, but might just help if parents are not keen at this stage.

 

Don't give up. This child needs your help.

Edited by eyfs1966
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Forgot to add that mum is pregnant!! Which causes all of us concern, and a member of staff is allocated at present to this child (hence my supernumercay not happening!)

There is very little speech, and it's very hard to communicate as there is no eye contact!!

I suppose keep fingers crossed parents say yes!!

 

Kris

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Poor you. How stressful for both you and the other children. The last thing you want is a child getting a negative image with other parents at this young age. Perhaps try an ABC chart where you record behaviour patterns. You have 3 columns Action Prior Behaviour Occurring Consequences After. You observe the child and record honestly what you see happening and quite quickly you can see a pattern developing, eg negative attention seeking, frustration at not getting own way etc.

 

Good luck x

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It's important to gather as much information and observations about the child before you can get a referral anyway, the ABC chart is good, narrative observations can give you an idea of interests which may help for distracting when they 'blow.' It could just be an extreme reaction to being left and circumstances, but may be a social communication issue, or just a case of the child needing to 'learn' how to behave in certain circumstances. A speech therapy assessment is a good starting point, and easier to organise than an ed psych, and they can refer on if needed. ( Parents often respond better to 'he/she needs some help with talking skills' than having the psychologist word attached to thier child) Do you have an area INCO who would maybe come in and offer advice/support?

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Maybe I'm missing something here ..... but...

 

can you be so sure that there is a 'problem', you have a child of 30 months who started a new setting 7 days ago, maybe never been in a stimulating early years environment before, maybe doesn't get much stimulation at home.....

 

We have had children behave in this way when they start and are adjusting and most just need some time, understanding and explanations, to understand the expectations at a place where they might be mixing with lots of other children for the first time.

 

Presumably you are speak not just to this chidl's parents but to the other parents involved in incidents (without mentioning names, although I'm sure child involved will!) and explaining that you are aware of the incident and are monitoring the situation but some children take longer to adjust and will need some understanding.

 

I do feel a week is not really long enough to get a real feel for what else might be going on... we have a 3 year old who has been coming to us since Jan and he still hasn't built up enough confidence to speak to any of the adults!!

 

Not sure my reply is particularly helpful but just another view.

 

Good luck! :o

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My reply seems to have been seen as overly strong, and I appreciate the concerns of mps09. I have assumed that Kristina is an experienced practitioner and who can spot the difference between settling in and more concerning issues. However, I am PASSIONATE about early intervention, and perhaps might have been seen as a bit overzealous with my response. However, I must say again to Kristina, follow your instincts. I can think back to 2 children we had recently who we identified on day 1 of attending the setting as having additional needs. Sure, there have been others whose needs have taken longer to show, and probably some who have made better progress than we initially thought, but those for whom we have initially had serious concerns, i have to say without exception they have gone on to be diagnosed as having a disorder of one type or another.

I am not suggesting a rush to judgement, but I am saying very strongly that we must not be frightened to tackle these issues head on as we must keep the needs of the child at the fore front of what we do. There was a really sad but interesting thread recently about the impact of late diagnoses and the importance of early detection and intervention and if I were clever enough I would link this reply there. However, I am definately not that clever!!

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Not helpful at all to the main topic of what to do but I think experienced practitioners do know the difference between settling in behaviours and other things going on, even a few days in!

 

Having spent a whole term with a child with additional needs and no support from anywhere earlier this year I feel for the setting and for the staff.

 

I even put my worries in writing because I felt the child and the rest of the children were being put in an incredibly dangerous situation..... we are in a maintained nursery with 2 staff and when one needed to be with a certain child ALL the time it put a great strain on the system!!!!

 

It was wearing and soul destroying some days.... and a terrible thing to say, but oh the relief on days when the child wasn't in.

 

In the summer term we got support for him in the setting and 3 sessions at a specialist placement!!!

 

Hang in there is what I would say.

 

Make plenty of notes/ logs and push for help if the situation doesn't reslove/ ease

 

It seems to me even if it is "just time to settle in" that he needs it is a drain and maybe you should invite parents in to help out with him..... it is at this point sometimes that parents see that not every child acts this way.......

 

Good luck!!

Edited by Scarlettangel
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I think experienced practitioners do know the difference between settling in behaviours and other things going on, even a few days in

 

obviously I'm not 'experienced' then :o

 

of course practitioners can identify those 'different' behaviours quite soon on - I'm just saying that that doesn't necessarily mean that there is an underlying problem.

 

you need to get to know the parents too, how they react, interact, etc. nature v nurture????

 

"unusual" children born from "unusual" parents may need alternative initial actions and you can alientate parents very quickly if they have been merrily going about their parenting only to be told that their child has difficulties a week into attending an early years environment.

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He is very young and so the behaviour could be due to age and settling in, but I have to say, when I read your opening post I thought immediatly of a lad we had some years ago. At the same age he showed the same beahviour and while some of it could have been put down to age and being in a new place a lot of it wasnt.

He was diagnosed with autism when he was with us.

He couldnt make eye contact without being spoken to very quietly and calmly but then only fleetingly, he grabbed children by the throat and scratched faces and arms, but he never looked malicious or threatening. When they cried he looked quite interested but didnt show any empathy. He would fall over, bump into things and never cry, he might shout or scream though. He used to walk round twiddling his fingers sometimes holding something other times not.

He needed constant watching but with soft and calm interaction it was easier to deal with.

 

I hope you get some help in identifying any problems. It can be incredibly difficult for parents to see their child as 'not normal' so maybe a quiet chat is needed about how his beahviour is causing you a bit of concern.

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Some very interesting views, all valid, and lots to think about. :o

 

During these early days, it's important to find out what he really likes doing and whether, when he is engaged fully in something, his behaviour changes. It is probably going to be worth 1-1 provision and trying to preempt him lashing out. It's possible that you'll be able to break the cycle; it's worked with us before.

 

As other members have said, keep lots of clear observation notes to build up a picture, and start to build that important, respectful relationship with the parents. When you chat at collection time, always try to say something positive about his experience that day, and not just what has gone wrong! Parents may start to give you a wide berth if they see you making a beeline for them every day. You really need them on board for the future.

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I'd like to echo Helen's comments about giving as much 1 to 1 as possible and working out what engages him. Try to find out from the parents whether he has any particular interests you could support in your setting. Also try to find a time to talk this through with one of the parents without other children or adults present. Find out what strategies work for them at home and what upsets him particularly.

 

If you have concerns about an autistic spectrum disorder try to make sure that he has plenty of warning before transition times and use very clear direct language which tells him exactly what you would like him to do. If he lashes out try saying "hands down" because this lets him know exactly what he should do.

 

He may also benefit from helping an adult with jobs in the kitchen or a different room (depending on the layout of the setting) now and then throughout the session if his aggression is a reaction to the overwhelming social context he finds himself in.

 

If any of these strategies work be sure to make notes and record observations when his behaviour is acceptable. This will help everyone to keep a more positive view of him, support your partnership with the parents as well as providing a valuable contribution to any assessment process he goes through in the future.

 

Try to bear in mind that the parents may have chosen not to share the issues he's had at toddlers with you because they wanted him to have a fresh start. If they have no other children they may not have realised that his behaviour is not as you would expect and perhaps need some time to come to terms with it themselves before being ready to step into a system which may label their child for life.

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Dear mps09 I really didn't mean to infer you weren't an experienced practitioner...... sorry!

 

I just mean that you know sometimes as a practitioner that isn't a settling in thing!!

 

Really didn't mean to upset you!

 

It was just my opinion to be taken into account!!

 

Apologies x

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Hi and thanks for all the replies!! Certainly plenty to read and digest.

Obviously we are aware of the childs age and that he is settling in, our concern has been the violence of the outbursts on day 1 he drew blood, day 2 a clump of hair and he picks up scooters and throws them at other children!!

I have a member of staff allocated to him constantly but it's not always easy to second guess his actions and staff are wary!

I have been in Early Years 5 years now (some of my staff longer) and none of us have witnessed this level of behaviour before so maybe we are jumping the gun a bit but with mum expecting we are also concerned for the new baby!

Anyway will keep you all informed and let you know if the parents say yes to outside help!

 

Kris

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I, like Scarlett Angel, would like to set the record straight also and say that I in no way wanted to upset anybody with my replies to this post, and certainly wouldn't didn't aim to cast aspersions on anyone else's opinion.

 

Huge appols if any offence was felt!! Was simply trying to encourage Kristina.

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Oh dear, you do have your hands full.

 

We have a biter and I mean a constant biter just now, not known anything like this one. Lovely happy child and then... someone cries.

 

I have just had a bit of a search here on the net "young child biting" and a few of the articles referred to most behaviour concerns/children beining injured by others happening in September and most of the "villians" being boys.

 

So role on October! I'm sorry if this post seems a bit light hearted but I thought I might be able to take some of the stress from you by pointing out that September is the worst time.

 

BMG

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Just a quick update!

 

Dad came in today and handed me a piece of paper with their Health Visitor name and number on and asked me to call them!! I thought this is great a break through of some sort.

 

The Health Visitor was very negative saying that it was probably settling in moods and that we shouldn't concern ourselves as it will probably blow over!! Then when I asked if she would like to come in and visit (see the child in action so to speak) she replied that she was very busy and may be able to get in October but the child would no doubt be fine by then!!

 

This is the best bit she then went on to ask if we had any space for a child who is Autistic with violent mood swings and very disruptive!! I thought that maybe I had misheard her!! I explained that as we at present already had a child similar to this maybe she could find another Pre-School!!

 

So not really the support or answer I was looking for, child has been in today and I recorded 7 incidents involving hair pulling, scratching and kicking!!

 

Hey Ho onwards and upwards!!

 

Kris

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Hi just want to say that we have a few children you are describing over many years, some just needed time to settle and had never been separated from their main carer, even though we do practice a half-term transition to pre-school. Others have gone on to need additional support and outside agency input. You say this little one has little speech at this time, and it appears that the health visitor is not forthcoming at this stage, can i suggest if you have a local children's centre near you, that they should have drop in sessions for parents to go to which are very informal, where they can speak to a speech and language therapist regarding their child's verbal communication and also other practioners are on hand with any other issues that may arise.

Continue to take notes even brief ones as they may come in useful in the future.

If the behaviours continue and parents are in agreement of course a visit to their GP for a referral to a social communication disorder clinic maybe the next step for help.

I know it's extremely draining for all concerned and i hope things change very soon for you all. :o

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  • 1 month later...

Thought I would just up date everyone on how things are!!

Health Visitor came in to visit and child in question was a little angel!! Butter wouldn't melt can you believe it!! So she left happy with childs progress and not concerned by all the incidents in the book!!

Yesterday he yanked out a clump of hair (large handfull!!), needless to say other child involved was distraught as they had done nothing to instigate the attack!! When dad came to collect I showed him the hair (roots & all) which his child had pulled out and he didn't say a thing!! Just looked at me and left!!

Member of staff who is child's keyperson is now saying she would like to cut her hours (days when this child is in!) and I really don't know which way to turn anymore!! Feeling quite disheartened by it all!

 

Kris

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How awful! It's dreadful when that happens, but like someone said in another thread we should be demanding more than one visit before anyone draws any conclusions about a child in our care. Do you have anyone else you can contact. An area SENCo who can get an educational psychologust involved? Someone else at the LEA? I would definitely be asking for another visit from the health visitor, perhaps ensuring that she has no contact with said child on the day she is observing him and also that he is definitely not aware that he is being watched.

 

Also have you tried calling mum or dad in for a seperate meeting? They may take it more seriously if an appointment is made and you insist on them coming in rather than just catching them at the end of the session. Talk about his behaviour towards the other children and point out that this may have an inpact when the new baby arrives. Show them the incident book if necessary and emphasise that children don't behave like this usually, mention that staff are considering leaving the sessions when he is in as it is really that bad. If worst comes to worse can you suggest cutting his hours to them (just to show you are really serious) or is he just accessing the free 15 hours? Sometimes the softly softly approach just isn't enough.

Edited by Guest
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Hi Kristina,

 

You've posted this in Nursery Management Issues so I'm assuming your setting is a private nursery. That's not my area but I'm wondering if your setting is obliged to fill all places regardless of its ability to fulfill the needs of the child (and the needs of the other children in the setting)? Might there be a setting better suited to the child and the family?

 

I have had a child whose behaviour upset all and sundry including me) and I was advised that in the best interests of the child I should inform the parents that I could not care for the child any more (obviously giving notice).

 

You are obviously doing all in your power to help the child, and I can see that you don't want to be treating the family less favourably than others, but maybe....

 

Honey

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Hello Kristina,

I was exactly in the same position as you in Autumn 2009. Parent was in denial of the situation, always findind fault with the setting for childs bad behaviour. So I had no option but felt i had to reduce childs sessions drastically from 5 to 2. On the 2 sessions we have lots of extra help. The parent threw a wobbler and went storming off before I had time to explain that sessions could be increased at a later date when behaviour improved.

I put up with child hurting others, breaking toys and generally disrupting every activity. I put up with it untill the end of term in December and with hindsight would never ever do it again unless the parent was willing to work with me. Its just not fair on staff, other children and the child with behavioural problems.

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At present the child is fee paying, I did speak to my PSLA advisor to see if we could suggest that the child leaves and she was adamant that we couldn't ( I suggested and ASBO!!).

We are a private setting and at present the child is in 3 days and everyone is on edge when the child is in (including the other children!), at the end of the session when all the children sit down together all the children move away from said child!!

Maybe I need to contact the Health Visitor again, we have had our area Senco in who just happened to be passing!! Again child was a little Angel!!

 

Kris

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At present the child is fee paying, I did speak to my PSLA advisor to see if we could suggest that the child leaves and she was adamant that we couldn't ( I suggested and ASBO!!).

I would talk to my LA development worker for advice - although I must admit my first instinct would be that asking the child to leave is a bit of a no-no. My philosphy is that every family of every child has an entitlement to the number of hours of childcare that they require, and I would hate the idea of having to 'exclude' such a young child on the grounds of their behaviour. That said, if a child's behaviour was so extreme we couldn't manage with the resources we had, then I would be pushing very hard for more support to enable all the children to attend our setting without fear of being injured.

 

It is interesting that a child can behave appropriately when they know they are being observed, only to revert when s/he is surrounded by familiar carers - what does this suggest about the cause for the behaviour, I wonder? I would be appalled that my professional judgement, and the quality of my observations of the child were being disregarded in this way and would certainly be asking the professionals involved if they think I had at best overstated the incidents, or at worst made them all up.

 

Just another query though. I don't understand why a childminder can refuse to care for a child and setting-based childcarers can't. Can anyone put forward a suggestion as to why?

 

Good luck with your ongoing situation though - I hope there is a breakthrough soon.

 

Maz

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Just another query though. I don't understand why a childminder can refuse to care for a child and setting-based childcarers can't. Can anyone put forward a suggestion as to why?

 

 

 

Maz

 

That advice was given when I was quite new to childminding. School aged child, not Early Years. Ended up giving up childminding for a time as couldn't in all conscience move one family on without putting out the other. I really wasn't able to meet the needs of the other children as constantly dealing with conflict. Other (sensitive) children very upset by the behaviour. As it turns out the difficult child was back with me six months later with sibling, but it was very stressful for a while there. That was three years ago.

 

Individual Childminders don't always have the facilities and resources that larger settings do so may not always be able to fulfill needs of all children. No setting can refuse to care for children on grounds of race, colour, creed, economic, ability etc, but if the only loo is upstairs and there are narrow doorways throughout the house a childminder's home might not meet the needs of a child who uses a wheelchair. Similarly, there is usually only one Childminder, and if the five year old needs to be shadowed constantly to stop them beating up the toddler, then the tea isn't getting on the table before home time! In that case it was in that five year old's best interest to be in a setting with more Playworkers and fewer very young children so they could have a bit more freedom and not always be the bad guy.

 

Don't know if this happens with other settings, but Childminders may have a settling in period in their contract. If after, set period of time, things aren't working out, then the contract can be ended. Perhaps someone who has been both Nursery Manager and Childminder can answer how this differs from Nurseries.

 

Honey

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I would talk to my LA development worker for advice - although I must admit my first instinct would be that asking the child to leave is a bit of a no-no. My philosphy is that every family of every child has an entitlement to the number of hours of childcare that they require, and I would hate the idea of having to 'exclude' such a young child on the grounds of their behaviour.

 

I see your point there Maz but if no help is forthcoming then surely the rights of the other children and staff must override the rights of one family? Sometimes you have to do what is right for the masses so to speak. This is clearly stressing out other children and adults and it isn't fair to keep up the constant stress on them in the hope that someone somewhere will cave into the pressure and do something about it. You can't ask them to put up with the problems indefinitely, particularly when they are small children who have no choice but to be there in the same environment as the disruptive child.

 

I can't believe the advisor has said that to you Kris! If you are private and they are fee paying then I would say you are well within your rights to ask them to leave on the basis that you have no suitable support to deal with such a child. I think this might be a case of them getting caught up in the myths about parent's and children's rights and so forth. I would contact the health viistor and SENCO again an point out that you are at the stage where you are going to have to ask the child to leave for the safety of the other children and staff. Perhaps that will spur them into action!

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I see your point there Maz but if no help is forthcoming then surely the rights of the other children and staff must override the rights of one family? d.

An interesting point, this business of balancing one person's rights against a group of others'. We can't exclude a child from our setting because we don't have the facilities to change their nappies, so I wonder if a parent of a child being excluded because their child's behaviour was unable to be managed by the resources available in the setting would be able to make a claim against the setting under the Disability Discrimination Act?

 

The scenario of a setting asking for help from professionals to manage a child's behaviour but failing to be taken seriously sounds very similar to the scenario of a parent trying in vain to get their concerns about their child taken seriously. Neither child's individual needs are being met, but for different reasons. I'm not sure what you mean about the myths of parent's and children's rights, but it is a very complicated issue and I would want to be very clear of my legal position before I considered asking a child to withdraw their child, or reducing their hours.

 

Maz

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