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Hi All,

 

Just need to sound off, yesterday we had a situation in the setting and im not totally sure i dealt with it as well as i could!

 

here goes..

 

we have a child who is 4.5 yrs who we suspect is on the autistic spectrum, and have been working with our local inclusion team to include them in all aspects of pre-school life and routines...

 

now yesterday the child decided to investigate the sand area picking up spade fulls of sand sprinkling it back into the tray watching it trickle back into the tray, this progressed to tipping it onto the floor he then took off his sock and shoes and walked back and forth threw it clearly enjoying the sensory experience. the stage was for them to tip small amouts off sand onto his hair, shaking his head downwards and watching the sand flick off.. I didn't want to interfere in the investigation process going on because i believe this would have totally changed what they were doing.

 

now no other children were in the area, he didnt get sand in eyes and was totally involved in this sensory play..

 

my problem is two members of staff went balistic bitching and moaning, out loud to each other I could hear them and so could another memebr of staff (newly appointed) and more importantly the children.

 

saying this is totally ridiculos look at all the sand they are wasting, then if one of the staff members said I've had enough of this!! Marched across taking the child by the hand then promptly put the lid on the sand tray!! stopping all investigation!

 

I remained very calm, and at the end of the session talked to both staff, telling them that I know that some types of play go against all their own principles, BUT we have to make alloweneces for this particular child, as they have additional needs.

 

I went on to say that we plenty of sand in storage so waste shouldn't be an issue. and I would prefer that they talked to me at the end of a session rather than making a scene in front of the other staff and more importantly the children..

 

Thier argument was

 

1. they were wasting the sand.

 

2. It was going on the walls.

 

3. they might have got it in their eyes.

 

4. no-one else is allowed to behave like that

 

5. who going to have to clear it up !!

 

6. What will happen when they go into school, will they be allowed to behave like that?

 

7. How are they going to understand boundries?

 

I'm still seething about it, but not sure what to do now, its very tricky, the member of staff that stop the play, has worked at the stting for 25 yrs and was the senior for 23 of those years, i took over from her. the other staff member as worked also for a similar timescale. and thinks all children should conform to her way.. no exceptions

 

 

any thoughts on how i deal with this and im sure future incidents and also what would you do? allow this play or not?

 

slef doubt as crept in now, as senior should i have stopped it, my gut says NO! but my messed up head is saying, maybe beacuse the child will not learning boundries as they put it, and cause problems when they go into school.

 

sorry for the long post..

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I can't really give advice but just wanted to let you know YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!! I have 2 staff at my setting who are exactly the same in their attitudes and it really really drains me.

 

We had an issue with a child who has a tangle toy at group time to help her focus and sit while not pulling other ch's hair or biting etc. The staff members said why is she allowed a toy when other children aren't, she's being rewarded, it's not fair on the other ch'n etc etc. I calmly asked one of the other children to explain to the ladies why "L" has her tangle toy and the other child said "Because she finds it hard" which is what we have explained to the children if they ask why "L" has the toy.

 

Sorry it's not really much help but if you are honest with the other children about why this child does some things that they aren't allowed/encouraged to do then they will accept it and if the children accept it then there is no excuse for the staff not to.

 

I always ask the question "Would you do that if ofsted were here?" if my staff do soemthing I am not happy with and 9 times out of 10 they will say no they wouldn't and although they are not happy about it, if their answer is no they wouldn't then I simplay say then don't do it anyway then.

 

Sorry that's such a load of waffle lol but just wanted to sympathise and let you know that what you did in letting the little one carry on was definitely the right thing to do - in my mind anyway. :o

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1.they were wasting the sand - the child was learning. That is not a waste.

 

2. It was going on the walls - it will brush off

 

3. they might have got it in their eyes - you assessed the risk as small enough to disregard

 

4. no-one else is allowed to behave like that - they should be if they are learning from it. Adjustments for children with SEN are part and parcel of planning and should never be prevented because all children don't get them.

 

5. who going to have to clear it up !! - the child could help and learn from the process. It is the staff's job to clear resources away.

 

6. What will happen when they go into school, will they be allowed to behave like that? If the teacher is committed to meeting individual needs, yes.

 

7. How are they going to understand boundries? If you don't tell him not to do it there is no boundary to cross.

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Totally agree with upsy daisy.

 

Do you have an ENCO at your setting who could perhaps deliver some cpd at the next staff meeting that highlights what exactly is meant by ensuring that each child is treated equitabily in relation to their their needs rather than equally.

 

Have these members of your staff team had any training about autism. If not there is some fabulous cpd around delivered by the Autistic Society that may help your staff gain a better understanding of what children on the autistic spectrum actually need to support their learning and development.

 

Maybe your local authority provide this sort of cpd?

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1.they were wasting the sand - the child was learning. That is not a waste.

 

2. It was going on the walls - it will brush off

 

3. they might have got it in their eyes - you assessed the risk as small enough to disregard

 

4. no-one else is allowed to behave like that - they should be if they are learning from it. Adjustments for children with SEN are part and parcel of planning and should never be prevented because all children don't get them.

 

5. who going to have to clear it up !! - the child could help and learn from the process. It is the staff's job to clear resources away.

 

6. What will happen when they go into school, will they be allowed to behave like that? If the teacher is committed to meeting individual needs, yes.

 

7. How are they going to understand boundries? If you don't tell him not to do it there is no boundary to cross.

 

 

Totally agree with Upsy Daisy on this. The only thing I would have done and I can't tell if you did or not was to get nearer to him myself if that was possible just to protect his play/investigation from interupption by other children or as it turned out for you, members of staff!

 

I am probably a similar age to the staff you are describing and have had to move with the times in childcare. their wealth of experience is invaluable, but because of the inclusive nature of our settings now they must upskill themselves and try to understand how children with extra needs learn. Perhaps you could bring this up at their next professional development review, or if you still have and EYAT or SIP, ask for some twlight training on specific needs such as ASD for your whole group.

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Congratulations and well done silver genius.

I would have allowed the child to continue the same as you did.

Fantastic reply from Upsy Daisy.

I do agree some inhouse training to explore ASD, could be the way forward with this.

I am so glad they have a practitioner like you there to support them. :o

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Thank you all for your replies.

 

a little self doubt had crept in when your most experienced practitioner wades in and says your doing it all wrong made me think gosh am i so out of touch! dispite been in final year of FDEY thought i'd got it all wrong..

 

our local inclusion officer keeps telling me that we have excellent inclusive practice for this child and is very supportive and the new member of staff said dont know whats the problem, its not harming anyone!

 

she is in mid 20's and the two moaners are late 50's & mid 60's the ray of light is the eldest member will be leaving us this year although we will lose that experience and the dynamics of the group will change it will make way some fresh blood! with recent training and knowledge.

 

thanks again

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Hi having had a child in my class in reception last year who was very severely on the spectrum and who played very much in this way only with glitter, reading the reaction of your staff is upsetting. We allowed this child who gained great enjoyment from throwing things up in the air and watching them fall and who would lie on the floor facing upwards throwing the glitter in the air to land on him and then jump up and shake it off and squeal with delight. He would be similarly excited by throwing metallic christmas ribbon in the air and watching it fall. We made a special area of the classroom his throwing area which had a load of plastic covering of the floor and a tuff spot (we bought in extra glitter for him too!) and I remember one memorable time at christmas that I gave every child in the class a handful of glitter and we all of us threw it in the air and made our christmas wishes so that we were all playing like him.

 

This child will learn and experience the world in a totally different way to other children. I learnt so much last year from having this child in my class (I actually had 3 children with ASD last year) and may have reacted in a similar way to your staff in the past through lack of understanding. Can you get someone in to talk about how children on the spectrum and the ways that they play ie stuck in certain schemas for a long time or just sensory seeking so that your staff can understand that this child needs to experience things in this way.

 

Deb

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Deb,

 

what a fantastic picture you paint and im certain this child would love to be so involved with glitter he loves tipping any thing like that out of containers or throwing up in the air.. I have used shredded paper and scarves in the past he laid down in the shredded paper wriggling his body in it getting his head inside a pile and covering himself in it.. the scarves didnt quite have the same effect for him.. he loves gelli barf especially when he gets undressed and gets in..

 

i definatley have to get the paper out again.. these two members of staff didnt like that either "Too messy, and complained that we were vacuming it for days" however they only work together 1 day a week and the days when they aren't together they are a bit more amenable...

 

so tomorrow im on a sensory area mission, going to set up a area for him to explore in.

 

thanks for the inspiration.

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Wat you did was exactly as I would have done Silver - and have done in the past . I had a child also on the AS who loved water - they would pour it all over the place - including thier own head from the water play tray, and splash around in it for ages, but it was all helpful and beneficial, some staff struggled with this but accepted this was her way, despite grumbling about the mess. The thing that stopped the grumbles was this child being allowed to do this in front of an Ofsted Inspector, and the Inspector being so impressed that we allowed this she praised the staff involved for ensuring individual needs were being met, and the 'joyful learning' she had observed - result ! :o

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Hi silvergenius, I wonder if its worth discussing boundaries of acceptance in a staff meeting. This could apply to any activity.

 

So you discuss what you would accept, and what you might not accept. eg

throwing/pouring sand on the floor?

throwing sand in someone's face?

putting it in the water tray?

pouring it down the toilet or sink?

 

Im sure you get the picture.

 

By having these discussions regularly you get a clearer understanding between all staff and therefore consistency. You also have opportunities to share concerns and anxieties.

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I have had similar issues at my setting over the past 2 years with two children with ASD, where I have had to explain to my staff team that to offer an inclusive approach to their additional needs, we needed to approach each child's special need by focusing on how to encourage them to participate, socialise and be part of the pre-school. It has been a challenge to say the least! comments such as 'he has his own way all the time' and 'we don't let other children bring (a car in his case) to an adult led activity, but why can he?

 

I have also had to encourage my staff to change the way they ask the child to follow the routine by constantly ensuring they use the approach 'if you do (the adult's choice) you can do (their choice) and also if it is tidy up time saying 'child's name do it' or 'adult's name do it'. It seems by giving them options and not meeting them head on this is a lot more positive. it has especially worked for a little boy who at the age of 4 has recently been given a diagnosis of ADHD. In the 14 years I have been working in early years, the past 2 years have seen an increase in SEN in the setting, but feel this early identification comes from experience and awareness which for our children is crucial to get the support in early.

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