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Wild Child - Advice Please!


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Rather new to the Forum and have scoured the site and enjoyed many topics....

This is my first year in reception after 12 years in KS2.

I have a class of 21 children (one with sever autism who has a full time TA) and one full time TA (three bodies in the class)

One of my children (birthday in early summer so a young one) has had some trouble settling in. Well trouble is possibly an understatement.

He took a while to feel happy about separating from his mum and dad but this does seem to have improved with our support and mum and dad's confidence in us.

The problems that begun when he first started, we thought they may improve as he has settled, have only got worse...let me expand.

 

1. His language is very limited and his ability to explain what he wants/needs is not always easy to understand (I can understand when he calls me a 'slimey lady' and tells me he is 'going to break my neck', or when he calls my TA a 'Sh** head', but some things are harder to understand - this must cause him frustration.

 

2. he fills his pockets with toys and carries them around with him all day. I am happy for him to 'look after' items throughout the day, I wonder if it makes him feel safe? I do however have to draw the line at him putting lego and indeed lego boards down his pants! I am even happy fro things to be taken home - as long as they are returned - I have managed to negotiate one toy rather than several.

 

3. He can not really play next to any other child. if they come anywhere near him he kicks, punches and has had a good try at strangling a child. Tidy up time is a minefield as if anyone goes near him he reacts severely- he is massively possessive. I wonder how much stuff he has at home?

 

4. He often screams in staff's faces, kicks out at us, punches us and even yesterday ran across the room to hit me on the back.

 

5. if he is asked to share(he cant sit on a bike all day or play with everyone's favorite train) or tidy away or say sorry to a child that has suffered under his had he explodes....

 

We have been putting him on a time out chair - with some success - one of us has to sit with him, putting him back on the chair, but this then means we are in the firing line of the feet and fists - but at least it is not the other children....and we are being physical with him....

 

We have also introduced a behavior chart for all the children where you move pegs with their names on up and down - he does seem to react to me telling him that his peg will move down if he continues poor behavior.

 

I feel I need to get him a small bag for him to carry around his collection of toys (small enough to limit the load) which could stop them going down his pants and perhaps make him feel safe?

 

His parents are at present supportive and are caring. i am concerned that at the end of every day i need to call them in to discuss the poor behavior (as well as trying to sing on the positives but it is hard to find I have to be honest) - how long will they be ready to listen if all we are saying is that he is struggling.....

 

I have found that he is more willing to say sorry to other children but then he turns round and hits someone else....

 

I have found that he is often so upset from his outbursts that I have had to just sit and cuddle him - but then he gets off my knee and kicks off about something else.

 

I am really struggling with this child, he is really wearing me down. My concerns are for his experience but also the impact he is having on others in the class (well all of them!)

 

I am not really sure what I am asking of in the way of advice - possibly I needed to get this all off my chest but I imagine there are some experienced practitioners out there that may have seen it all before.....

 

sorry enormous post!

:o

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Oh dear.

 

Sounds very similar to a child I had a couple pf years ago who eventually ended up in an EBD placement full time. It is extrememly hard work and I can only empathise. I coped best when I was able to see past the behaviour and the little boy underneath all that was very endearing.

You need to be writing all this down and keeping a daily log of every incident. You need to alert your HT and the SenCo and hopefully get some specialist advice asap.

 

Good luck.

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Well, you've certainly got your hands full!!

 

It sounds like you're doing all the right things (including protecting the other children) and it is early days still so all your strategies may become more successful as he gets used to the setting and to you. Well done.

It sounds like he is crying out for help and I would be asking for visits from as many external agencies as necessary until someone listens and helps this child. His behaviour is unacceptable so don't be worried about asking for help.

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Phew! what a battle! We have children like this in Preschool, but they are possibly smaller and a bit easier to 'control'. We have a small boy who has just transferred to us from another Preschool where he spent the first fortnight, as Mum said they 'couldn't cope with him'. He bites, strangles, nips (skin round eyes) punches, grabs and pushes and you are right, it IS wearing.

 

I feel that he's on the autistic spectrum somewhere, but obviously I'm not making any assumptions properly yet - time will tell, just a 'gut feeling' as yet.

 

You will succeed because you are determined to do the best for this child - that comes across loud and clear in your post. It's really early days yet, but he'll find his 'niche' in the class. You say he responds to rewards, how about stickers each time he controls his temper or does something when he's asked? All the behaviour management strategies say to try to avoid the unwanted behaviour - but it's easier said than done when they are so disruptive.

 

Sending loads of virtual hugs your way

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It sounds to me that you need specialist advice here before you get too far into the term. You're clearly working hard to include this child and make his experiences with you as positive as they can be. Hopefully your head teacher and SENCo will be able to get the specialist support you need.

 

There's not a lot I can really offer - you are already doing so much. I really hope it gets better soon.

 

Maz

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hi I am so sorry to hear about your struggle with that little boy. Just reading it made me feel exhausted. Did you do any home visits to get any ideas re. his behaviour, as obviously he is copying this language and aggression from home. Did he go to preschool and if so did they have any strategies on dealing with his behaviour. The Senco needs to come in and observe and maybe he needs to have some nurture time away from the setting (if you have this facility) where he can feel safer to learn to play with perhaps 1 or 2 other children in another room. He seems very angry and hostile. You sound as if you are doing all you can and might I say a fantastic job in such difficult circumstances. Hope this has helped. x

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Maybe offering to visit the child at home would give you a clearer picture of whether he's experiencing these difficulties just in the classroom or elsewhere too. Did he attend any Early Years settings before he came to you - could they offer you any tips?

 

He's clearly feeling insecure and overwhelmed by the social context of the classroom. Could you provide him with a safe haven, perhaps a tent or den where he can retreat during difficult times like tidy up time?

 

Another tip is to use very clear direct language stating exactly what you would like him to do. Not loudly or aggressively of course. Instead of "Right xxxx if you just sit down here then we'll....." Try "Sit down please" Then when he's sitting tell him what will happen next. That means he only has to deal with one simple short instruction at a time. This will help him if he's finding it difficult to process language when he's stressed.

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Hi fairyjojo firstly can i just say he is lucky to have you as his teacher and you can tell from your post that you are trying to support him as best you can. Can i ask and are you able to say whether the child in question went to a pre-school/nursery and whether you do home visits as part of your schools induction process.

If home visits were conducted did the parents tell you of any concerns they may have. I would certainly be writing down as much evidence that you can. I would also be asking for support from your Senco, and working in partnership with parents, be asking for a visit from an Educational Psychologist to give the child and family the support that they may require now and in the future.

Best wishes :o

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It sounds like you are doing everything you could possibly do as his teacher. It must be really hard going for you and his classmates! It's a wonder other parents haven't complained about him, they sometimes do in cases such as this. Some parents are not very understanding xD

Has this little boy had any previous nursery experience before reception? It sounds like he hasn't as he is really struggling with separation and socialising.

Could you get in touch with the family Health Visitor for any more information or help? You would think mum and dad must have similar problems at home.

Or maybe your school SENCo or Educational Psychologist could come in and observe him for a bit?

Maybe try picture timetables, using simple language, free flow play outside, only short carpet time etc. the things you would do in nursery.

I hope you get the support you need :o

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Hi

 

It sounds like we have very similar children!

The little boy in my setting likes things he can throw and swing (usually at others).

We have gone back to the smiley/sad face round all our necks to offer some positive to the negative behaviour when he is doing something nice.

Have you thought about reducing his hours as the full session is obviously overwhelming him? Getting him reduced hours and then begin to increase them after a short period may benefit him and the other children in the long run.

Even though he has someone assigned to him we havve found this physically and emotionally exhausting so we take it in turns to work with him in choosing and sticking with an activity and sharing.

 

If we come up with anymore bright ideas in the near future i'll let you know.

Good Luck

:o

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Lots of good advice here as usual all I would add is as he is so young and finding it so hard perhaps he needs to have an extended time as part time to enable him to have successful sessions and also to help the other children. As he is non statutory school age yet this would be a strategy you could use.

Setting clear boundaries will give him a security have yoou spoken to the Ed Pysch for your school as it sounds as if he is not aware that his behaviour is not acceptable to others and some work on social storying may be useful for him.

Good luck and well done so far!

Lorna

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Reading your post has really helped me. I am in F2 and I too have a similar child - a litle girl - who has already bitten, scratched and lashed out at me! I am finding it emotionally draining just as you are. She is doing mornings only at the moment but is supposed to be full time after half term. I find I am constantly having to watch her as I am worried about the other children - she cannot share and is very posessive towards one of the boys. She will not let him play with other children and when he tries to, she gets so angry. She screams in my face if I go near her and is always running out of the door into our (locked) playground. It is reassuring to read that I am not the only one going through this - I have been teaching for many years and have never had to deal with a child as angry as this. I have got various people involved (school nurse, ed. psych etc.) am keeping a daily log of incidents which is so time consuming. Then there are 29 others........and I am new to the school! Help!!

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:o WOW!Thank you all so much for the encouragement - it has lifted the cloud that was starting to settle.

 

I guess for this child there are not going to be any simple solutions but I am thinking ahead now.

 

His pre-school experience was quite different to most as he is from a traveler family and they have put roots down so that he can come to school - a massive decision which I want to support as much as I can(they have changed their lifestyle for this). He does ,saying this, have an older brother (year 6...and I am not sure at what point he started school.....note to self to find out). I was able to have a brief conversation with brother and concluded that this behavior is the same at home and that mum and dad send him to his room when he 'kicks off'. Brother seemed very softly spoken and gentle and reminded me very much of his parents.

 

As for home visits - my colleague carried this one out - they live at the top of a terraced house in a very small one bed flat. No space and I would assume fairly limited possessions

 

I need to be writing about each incident...I have not been doing this completely - it is constant and its hard to see where one episode starts and the other finishes. Also if I have my head in a book I can guarantee he will start that second on someone else....and then I find that the other children don't see me scribbling in a book as acceptable and they want to talk and play!!

 

I like the idea of having a person shadow him - although that seems like a complete drain on a resource it may free up the time we spend sorting him out - even if it is just for an hour a session.

 

I love the idea of a place to hide - we have a pop up tent...... do you think that it is ok for other children to see him not tidying up and getting to carry on playing? I have been very honest with the other children so far and told them that he finds things like sharing and helping very difficult and he is still learning - cant help but think they see it as special privileges though??

 

I also need to get my SENCO involved who happens to also be the deputy - will do that tomorrow morning...i guess I have to go through her to get other agencies involved?

 

I had not considered reducing his hours - this is a very welcome idea - not sure how it would go down but it is something else to consider and considering the age bands he is functioning in, it might help him catch up and give the children chance to learn and play in safety!

 

Stickers - yes we use them but I need to use them more!

 

Do you all feel that I should be reporting this to parents each day? I don't want to make mum and dad feel embarrassed when they are summoned to the classroom after school each day....I have raised this with mum already and she said it wasn't a problem and if i needed to speak to her that was fine but it must be quite depressing to be summoned each day...

 

To see that other people are also having issues like this makes me feel really sad. sad that we are battling with this but also that these children are so unprepared for this part of their journey. makes me want to get to them earlier....

 

So very grateful for your posts....why I am reading them all at 4am is a measure of how this has got my brain wrapped up!!

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AWww bless you fairyjojo...you are doing good things for this little boy and his family. His parents sound great, we've been here a few times and it's always been 'easier' when support from parents has been forthcoming.

 

With regard to the feelings of the parents we came to an agreement that on a daily basis we would chat about the positives (somedays we had to think v.hard!) as after a while both mum and dad dreaded collecting our little one and found it difficult not to see them as 'difficult'. The behaviour was 'normal' for this child so to discuss it every day became draining for them and for us. Obviously anything 'different' was fed back for several reasons. On a weekly basis we would sumarise progress of the unacceptable behaviour and check that they were still using the same strategies at home that we were. This meant we weren't discussing 'detail' and the child wasn't getting a second telling off on the way home!! (and getting lots more attention for it!) we also tried not to discuss it infront of them.

 

Children are very accepting when they have things explained to them and their questions answered so I would go ahead with your pop up tent etc and tell the others that it's helping him and point out any positive changes - if it avoids conflict it gives everyone a break and if it were say a child with a disability they'd be allowed their wheelchair etc so I would see it as no different.

 

A shadow person could be worth a try...it may seem like a waste of a resource but your time is effectively consumed by him anyway so thus may seem a more proactive rather than reactive approach. He may respond better to dealing with less people.

 

It could be useful to have one area that he is taken to when he 'kicks off'. He may then begin to associate that 'when I do this...this happens' take comfort in the fact you have seen some response to your boundaries - this means there is potential to learn more.

 

His home life may give some clues as to his reactions. If he's living in close quarters with limited possessions then these will be precious...it all reminds me of dome of our two year olds when they are at the egotistical stage and can't consider anyone else. They don't understand 'yours' so we take turns with the help of names 'it's bobs turn and then it's James turn'.they 'get' this. Can he have a tray or a box to call his own...or a junior 'bum bag'. Our two year olds are hoarders and one child almost needed a trolley! At that point it became a little silly and we had to set limits, bless!

 

You need to make sure you are well supported, and your Hellers.. The fact that you are on here at 4.30 in the morning speaks volumes and it will takes it's toll. Have a chat to your deputy (videos are often useful to support these meetings) and see what can be done.

 

Take care Nf I hope today is a little better

Edited by gingerbreadman
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I love the idea of a bum bag - fabulous!

 

Thanks for the ideas about the parents - that's perhaps the way fwd. But you also said something I have not considered - consistency at home... that's certainly a way fwd with mum and dad. Get us working as a team to support each other -we need to know exactly how behavior is at home and how they deal with it. then its a dialouge 'How has he been at home this weekend?' 'have our strategies been working?'

 

many thanks

 

Gingerbreadman....you have 2 year olds that board??

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Gingerbreadman....you have 2 year olds that board??

 

No. typo!!! I'm too lazy to get to th p.c and am using an iPhone -stupid thing has a mind of it's own. Should have said hoarders!!!!

 

Watch out for parents saying things are 'great' at home. Ours did that and we couldn't understand it as things were escalating with us...and then we happened to observe mum/dad on the way out of nursery and nothing was being addressed so the child was getting their own way - and obviously when that happens the child is lovely, no tantrums, punches kicks etc! That explained everything!!!

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You said at the beginning that language was not clear (except for those times you wish it wasn't lol!)

 

Language delay can cause an immense amount of frustration and socialising problems. It could be worth gathering evidence of use, understanding etc and maybe putting referral in. The implications on future learning are enormous and I've found it either produces a withdrawn child or an angry one. Some visual timetables, clues etc maybe worth looking into as an interim measure.

 

The advice in going back to basics in terms if instruction would be valuable and helping him with how to get things from others - give to get etc. There is a lot of advice leaflets on language development on the literacy trust website, I can, and talk to your baby.org. Ecat would be worth a look too.

 

Might be worth looking into schemas and strategies for two/rising three year olds in respect of language and social skill development.

 

Could you take photos of his parents, brothers, pets etc and laminate them so he can have them close for attachment purposes.

Edited by gingerbreadman
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Maybe you could put some special toys in the tent or den which stay in there. Maybe of a calming sensory-type. Perhaps a furry cushion, a fleecy throw, some fiddly things like bead strings or Tangle, a piece of strong cotton with lots of buttons threaded on it. Some blue tack can be great for de-stressing if you can trust him not to eat it.

 

There are lots of ideas on this site

 

http://www.sensetoys.com/V2EMLDRNAK

 

and you've probably already got quite a few of them in your school or they are easy to make yourself.

 

I can see why you're worried about the other children's perception of him not having to tidy up but they may come to see it as a positive thing if the disruption is reduced. Perhaps you could call it the calming down tent or something else even more positive so that it's not simply seen as a place to hide to get out of tidying up. Sometimes I think children can be more accepting of this sort of differentiation than some adults.

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You are doing loads of great things and getting tons of fantastic advice on here.

 

But ... please push and push as a matter of urgency to get this child seen by external agencies and an ed psych. What worries me is that you will be using up so much of your energy worrying about and dealing with this one child that you will have little energy left over for all those other children in your class who also deserve your time.

 

It is lovely that everyone is so focused on including this one child, and obviously that would be the ideal, but surely not if it's going to mean other children are physically hurt on a daily basis? This child clearly needs additional adult support to help him integrate. I suspect his best bet would be part time in a reception class with you for socialisation, and part time with a language therapist and behaviour specialists.

 

I'd agree that a home visit would probably speak volumes!

 

Good luck, and do try not to take all this on yourself, you obviously care a great deal but sometimes that is not a recipe for the long term when you're a teacher.

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How about lots of physical activities? If he's living in a one bedroom flat he's going to be full of energy with nowhere to put it. Might it help him to settle into the day if there is an exercise class or races activity first? He might be able to get lots of praise from it too. He might also be confused about how his life has changed from being a traveller with lots of room to run about with friends and family around him. A topic about homes and ways of life might spark an interest.

 

Poor you, I hope you find some help from somewhere :o

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Just wanted to say good luck. You may find that if you can't get a speech therapist or someone who deals with language delay into school to see the child quickly you may be able to have a phone interview with one who may then send you communication resources and fast track you up the chain x

 

 

With behaviour if your ta could withdraw the child to a sensory space he may return calmer, you can make this yourself with small trampoline, bubble wrap, squidgey balls etc anything so he takes his frustration out on an object rather than a person. x

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quick update and a thank you for all that have posted.

My SENCO has been really dragging her feet about even an initial conversation about this child. In a meeting with my head today I presented lots of observations and an overview of the problems being encountered....she is getting him referred to behavioral specialists. I think we may need more agencies involved as the behavior is a result of other problems but I feel that I have been listened to that am starting on a journey with this child...horray!

All of this is good as he destroyed my play kitchen oven today in a fit of rage!! not sure of my skill in re fitting perspex panels!!lol

 

:o

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Sadly the supportive parent has now cease to be so - think this case is going to get even more time consuming! My poor TA was shouted at in the corridor after school and sworn at. what a naff end to the day! deputy stepped in and removed her but it is so hard to recreate relationships once something like this has happened. My TA was really upset, understandably! Especially as she was only telling her she was concerned her child hadn't eaten enough today (she did mention the temper tantrum and the pudding being thrown on the floor!) oh dear.least the deputy has him on the radar now.....

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Hi

Just a quick one as I agree with all the great points above - definitely get help from outside agencies, we also have the policy where we reduce children's hours if they are having trouble settling. We have a child who is displaying a lot of similar behaviours, who also has speech and language difficulties and who also is from a traveller family. We have tried everything we can, as has our SENCO and we are now waiting for outside agencies to come in and help us. I wear a little sad and happy face around my neck (from twinkl website) to help communicate with the children, and holding up the faces to him has helped in a couple of instances. If we have any major breakthroughs I'll let you know.

 

With regard to speaking to the parents each day, what about a home/school book. Obviously this is more work too, but you could keep comments short - positive as well as any major incidents and parents could feedback behaviour at home?

 

Lastly, it's really important to get enough sleep so please try!!

Little Miss

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This poor little boy sounds like he is really struggling. You've been given a lot of good advice. I wanted to add that some counties have support agencies for traveller families, and this child might come under their umbrella. I would ask your senco or HT to investigate this possiblity for you, along with getting help from all agencies.

 

It is wonderful that you are so concerned and that you are looking for practical solutions to his challenges. I agree that cutting his hours, and within those hours allocating a set amount of time for an adult to work with him would be a good idea. I'd not see it as shadowing, as much as having the adult build a relationship with him and try to understand him better, plus give him a sense of achievement for anything positive that he does, however small. Literally, have the adult not give him chance to fail in any way, by setting up activities that are fail-proof.

 

Good luck!

 

Nicola

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