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Just wanted someones advice on this, in my Reception class of 23, I have 5 children with special needs, 1 statemented child, 2 autistic, 1 developmentally delayed child, and 1 Year 1 who is repeating part of the reception year....


I am experiencing particular difficulty with the autistic children in that they tend to imitate poor behaviour from each other.. The most difficult behaviour to deal with is frequent high pitched ear piercing screaming, which if one starts, the other will copy. Luckily the rest of the class so far have been really sensible when this happens and will just ignore it, and I would really love to hear from anyone who has had a similar experience and has dealt with it succesfully..


Both of them have visual timetables, and very limited support from a teaching assistant in the morning, we have begun using the 'stop' symbol when the screeching starts, but its not completely working yet..


Any advice would be welcomed..



Basil Brush

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Wow what an interesting class you have!

Can't offer much help with the screaming apart from be consistent and keep at it.

Ask the parents if they use any particular method to stop unwanted behaviour, consistency between home and school often helps.

Try distraction techniques

Reinforce good behaviour

Don't try and target too many aspects of behaviour at one time.

Make sure all staff know what strategies are being used.

Hope this helps a little


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I have no idea if this will help as it is something I heard in a seminar today. It fascinated me but though it worked for the speaker I have not had a chance to try it out!


The seminar was on telling stories without books and she spoke about children in the group who may cause a distraction by their 'negative behaviour' She spoke about a little girl with special needs (didn't specify what the diagnosis was) who screamed, short, sharp ear piercing shrieks for no apparent reason.


This lady had to think on her feet during this storytelling session as due to the screams she could not continue telling the story and she

looked and smiled at the child and sang! Not to drown the child out but to cause a diversion for the child. The lady just sang 'lah, lah, lah' a bit like doh ray me. She did it loud enough for the child to hear, but gently. she did it 3 times and the child stopped screaming. For each subsequent shriek the lady looked and smiled at the child and sang and apparently it has worked with children with SEN and young children who are just screamers occasionally and is now a strategy she employs for a variety of behavioural issues.


It certainly sounds different but talking to this very experienced lady was fascinating and though she discovered this by accident initially she has used it successfully for many years!

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Hi there, poor you what a challenging group!


I don't know if this helps, and I may be telling you things that you already know, but I'll just tell you what my experiences are with regards to autistic children:


Children with autism are often either hypo-senstive to sound/visual stimuli/touch, or hyper-sensitive to sound/visual stimuli/touch. From different conferences/videos, I have heard children/adults with autism who say that noise/visual stimuli etc can be physically painful for them, and that might be why your children are screaming, i.e one may start because something has startled him, and the other starts because the screaming 'hurts his ears' (an expression that some autistic children use).


It may also be imitation, as you say, and only you will know by other signals from the child, i.e. if they are looking uncomfortable/distressed or not.


So I would say that if these are high functioning children with good use of language, and they understand the 'stop' signal, and it is working, then continue to use it. Something else you might try though is to make sure they have a place to go where they can attempt to block out excessive stimuli i.e. a corner of the room which is blocked off a little so that they feel enclosed. Add in some beanbags for them to lie on or under, sunglasses and big head phones to also help to block out stimuli.


Again, I don't know your children, and it is difficult to say whether these things will work. Im sure you are already observing the chidlren to see what 'triggers' each behaviour, as this would help to build a picture.


Good Luck.


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