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I have a child in my class who has cerebal palsy. She has a splint and to be honest her condition does not stop her doing anything. The major problem I have is her behaviour.


She cannot interact with any of the other children. She cannot sit on the carpet and if she is not getting attention from myself or TA she will scream )serverly high pitched), throw things, hit, kick others. If I remove her from any situation she hits me. She has thrown scissors at me (hitting me between the eyes) she has kicked me and recently, while talking to her calmly and at her level, she head butted me! She is unable to share with other children and responds to nothing.


Due to her behaviour she does not come into school until 11.30, this is so the other children in the class at least get some quality teaching. I have a TA but she is not there to give this child one to one. The educational psychologist has observed her and we are going down the route of getting her statemented. We have been told that one to one would not be beneficial all the time as this is the attention she is seeking.


Help! I feel very frustrated with this child and finding myself dreading it when she walks in the door. I don't know what to do and feel that I am failing as a teacher because I am not giving her what she needs, although I know with 29 other children I can't.


Any suggestions/strategies? When she does hit another child I remove her and place her on a chair. She has to be arms length from anything or she will throw something. She does not stay on the chair but we have been advised to keep placing her back on it giving her no attention whilst we are doing it. But as you can imagine while I have other children in my care this is impossible.


She has a very young mum (and no longer sees the childs dad and lives with another man whom she has a child with) who claims this does not happen at home. However, her younger sister who is 2 screams in exactly the same way and mum has said they do have competitions.


Any help or books I could read to help me?

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I sympathize will you, you have got your work cut out but how rewarding if you can make a difference.


You need to follow your behaviour policy.

Keep a record of every incident, date, what happened, to whom, time of day - any changes of routine. You will need this for evidence.


I am interested to know who recommended she should not come in until 11.30, how old is this little girl, is she of statutory school age?


We have a book for parents can't remember the title will let you know Monday. It has Good Parenting advice for Parents.

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Hi Really

I am so sorry that you are having to deal with this... it is so very waring on not only you but those around her and I am sure probably on the little girl as well. I have little girl in my class who is exactly the same only without the cerebel palsy.

Her tantrums in Nursery where off the ricter scale! The best strategy they used and one which eventually (and I say eventually because it took a long time) was to ignore totally. They would make sure she was safe and others too, and put her in an area where she could work through her tantrum and the screaming abdabs. Nursery were fortunate in that they had a 'quite' area (no pun intended) that they could put her in with another adult. This adult would give no eye contact and would make out to be doing something i.e, getting on with things to show the child that this did not bother them in the slightest :o . Sometimes when things where really bad or there wasn't any staff to help, the SENCO would come and get her and have her with her but again no contact verbal or visual would be given.

Once the little girl had calmed down then she would be allowed back with the other children and her behaviour was talked through. If she started again then she was given the option (only 2) either you play nicely (or words similar) or you will go and sit away from your friends...

It was extremely demanding and time consuming for all but eventually she is calming down.

I know that you do not have much support but ignoring her is the best policy. I know the screams get in the way of everything else but for now you don't seem to have any other option.


The little girl is in my reception class now and althought the screams have died down (thanks to the dedication of the Nusery staff) her petualnce and sulks are still very waring. She constantly seeks attention by throwing these wobblies but I choose to ignore, praise others around her and not give her eye contact (very hard to do!). When she is doing something well I praise that and point out why it pleases me.

We also realised that she may not recognise the face/emotion she is going through (very sad, angry, sulky) :(:(:(:) We have done a lot of work with her on emotions and shown her her face in a mirror when she is feeling cross and when she is feeling/happy and talked about what one we/she likes best. Again stating to her 'well done......... that makes me happy inside and now you have made me smile... thankyou for making me smile etc.


At the beginning of the year we (my TA and I) would find that I was having to plan less for my TA so that she could help to manage the childs behaviour. Instead of two focused activities my TA would be supporting play(lots of social games with said child and small group) and if the child threw a wobbly then she was there to deal with her (i.e take her out if necessary).

She has calmed down enormously since Septmber and we are finding the days that she has her mega tantrums less. xD There is not a day goes by though when we feel like we are walking on egg shells in case she goes off on one, but we are learning and we are beginning to cope much better... as she is. We even did a little rainbow cloud chart with a Barbie castle at the top (she loves her Babies). Everytime she smiled or did something lovely (an believe you me, in the beginning it was hard to find something lovely) we put her photo of herself up another cloud. When she reached the castle she could choose a little prize for herself. I did a copy for her mum at home so that she could follow the same routine. (Maybe your little girl and her sister could have onw at home?)


Really, there is no magic wand and you well may think that it will never get better, but it will no matter how small the steps are she will make progress if you stick to your guns. Best of luck. Sorry that this is a rather long reply but I wanted to try and share my similar experience and offer if I could, some help. I hope it is clearer than mud! :)

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Thanks for the replies and encouraging words.


Mimi - she is in Reception and has recently turned 5. The decision was taken because she was very tired in the mornings due to having no routine at home which made her behaviour worse. The other children in my class were getting no Literacy / Numeracy teaching because she was so disruptive.


The book you mention sounds interesting - I would like to know the title. Thanks.


Liza - thanks for your long reply and it is good to know that things will get better.

I do ignore the screaming as much as possible but the problem is we are open plan and if I ignore her she runs off into other classes and disrupts them. She will not sit on the carpet at all and usually sits at a table 'eating' playdough. But even then if no one looks at her she screams! Then of course I have one or two other children who want to know why this child can sit a table and play with playdough whilst they have to sit on the carpet - any suggestions on that one?


I do try and talk to her about feelings and she does realise that she makes people sad. The other day I asked her why she smacks everyone and she said because her mum is always smacking her! It is so tough like you said and I will continue trying different things. My next idea was to have a chart that she places stickers on. I thought of setting her target each week, so this week it will simply be to sit on the carpet when I ask her too with the other children, if she gets 5 stickers during the day she gets to take a soft toy home (she loves them). Any thoughts on that idea? If I could just get her to come and sit on the carpet it would help as I am conscious she is just roaming round the school doing what she likes.


Sorry to ramble!

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ok lets see.... first things first. It's obvous that until she has integration support (and tht could be a long time coming) she needs to have someone there to help her. At the moment it looks like it has to be your TA. With that in mind then I would plan for her to support her when needed. In the past we have had visually impaired children in my class and last year I had the little girl who I was talking about earlier, brother (he also has special needs based on emotion and behaviour!).


I explained to the children that C. had different needs and that he found it difficult to do what they were doing this I did when he wasnt there. Therefore he needs to do xyz, in order to become lovely sitters, writers, sharers etc like them. Could you help me to help C.? we talked about what we could do be patient, include him in games, praise him when he does something well etc. It was a big responsibility for them and some were better than others but they began to see that C. did have different needs to their own and tolerated his behaviour much better. It was also an excellent learning tool for themselves.


If your child needs to sit at the table could your TA be playing a game/showing her how to roll playdough make a cake etc. (use a sand timer) to make it interesting and also it will give a visual signal as to how long she should stay on task, not too long maybe as short as a minute. Then praise and use the chart to reward. Keep her targets short and achievable... e.g. coming to sit with you for a minute, helping another child get something for you from the classroom, passing you the register etc. I did find that having her photo on it made it more personable. We laminated the chary and added velcro to it and on her photo of her face, so that it could ne moved upwards to the ultimate goal.


The other important factor is her mums role. If the little girl is getting away with this behaviour at home then she is obviously going to bring it into the class. Mum needs to be on board with the strategies you are using (if she isnt already) and also to see the effect that her daughters behaviour is having on the rest of the children. Can you and the SENCO or Head ask her to pop in so that you can discuss what you are doing and what she can do to help at home? Give her a copy of the same chart so that there is continuity between home and school. Sorry if this might be sounding like teaching Grandma to suck eggs!


Is there a sympathetic governor or parent/grandma that you could ask to come in and act as a buddy to nurture her? We have done this in the past for other children. Obviously the adult would have to be the right sort and confidentiatlity is an issue, but its just another avenue to explore.

I have enclosed a cause and effect form that we use in the first instance to record her bahaviour, triggers, action etc. like Mimi advised.


I will also see if I can find the chart we use on my numerous pen drives!! hope this helps

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Thank you Liza. I will certainly organise my strategies now and talk with SENCO and HT. My concern is they are going to turn round and say that my TA should not be there just for this child, but I will just have to argue my case.


We have tried to get mum on board but without success. As I said she is not even 20 and I think struggling with everything, but still maintains that at home there are no problems.


Thanks for the cause and effect and behaviour chart - I will use them and see what I can do.


The support on this forum is great and I think I would just go 'off my head' without it. :o

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I would agree with everything that has been said before.

It sounds as though this behaviour has been happening for a quite a while - did she attend a playgroup/nursery etc before she started with you? Is there anything written about the tactics they used if so.

We had a similar child with CP a couple of years ago, although her behaviour when she started coming to us had started to get slightly better than when at nursery. She is now in Y2 and doing fantastically well - she still has the odd tantrum and hits/bites others occasionally but usually there is a trigger - extemely tired (end of terms the worst), and seeing a 'professional' (Ed Psych, Physio etc) are the main ones.

We used behaviour charts - very similar to Liza's, and the whole school participated in 'Golden Time' whereby if they get 10 ticks against their name they have a 'treat' (extra playtime or video).

I would say this girl needs a statement as soon as possible, this needn't be total sole 1:1, small group work with other children in the class would allow her to start to integrate - but getting a statement can take time. As said before keep a record of everything, including the amount of time your TA or you spend with her and the times when you have to intervene and as for hitting you and any other adult - if you don't already you should really fill out a form each time for Physical Abuse. I know its horrible - but it will add weight to your application for hours.

Just a few ideas - but you've probably tried these already:

Do you use a visual timetable? It can help in terms of 'after you have done X, then you can play with Y'.

Holding a small book or toy can help when sitting in a circle although if shes anything like the child we have at the moment - it will get hurled at someone!

Does she respond to singing? This is often a good chance to join in with the rest of the class sitting in a circle and keeping hands etc busy with actions.

Try to make a list of anything that she enjoys.

Ask her to choose an activity for the carpet area/a table and get her to put it on the table with another child she chooses.

Try and ignore the bad and praise the good!

Above all don't give up - Things will get better alot of it is down to maturity, try and give her responsibilities for things and use good role models etc

Hope this helps a little


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She does have a toy and that works OK, but like you said it usually ends up getting hurled at someone!

I have a visual timetable ready and intend to use it in particular sessions - just waiting to see if the HT and SENCO will let me use my TA for that.


She does respond to singing, we do all the Jolly Jingles and it is the only thing she will join in with. I usually let her hold the book up as that is what she loves and always praise her.


Just had a bath and realised I have about 6 bruises up each arm and countless on my legs!! Will start recording everything.


Will keep you up dated.

Thanks everyone.

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Should have made the bit about the physical abuse form a bit clearer perhaps?

If any child causes you harm it constitutes Physical Abuse, the school will have a special form for this which must be completed within 48 hours (I think but it maybe 24) of the incident and signed by both yourself and the head.


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Just browsing through looking for info as I've just started NVQ3 in reception class. I can offer no help whatsoever. But I will say your job is incredibly hard and it is clear that you are trying everything to make this work for the child. Don't be too hard on yourself. I do feel sorry for the other children in your class and I don't think that either you or the chidren should have to suffer. It seems clear to me that extra, extra help is needed in your class for the child and may be extra help at home. Sometimes parents don't understand that importance of routine. I know what my two are like if things change slightly e.g. extra late night. I know others have offered professional advice. i just want to say well done. There are one or two children at my school who have various problems and they get support but nothing so bad that it upsets the teacher or the rest of the class. Well done you. You obviously care very much for the child and the children in your class.

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Thank you Lui - I read your post before I went to bed last night and it gave the lift I needed.


I went in this morning armed with my new reward chart which I made (it is all pink and the laminated pictures are princesses and fairies) and went straight to the HT. I told her what I was planning, exactly how bad things are and what she thought. The meeting resulted in me introducing the chart to the child when she came in this afternoon. I also showed the other children too. Today she sat three times on the carpet when I asked her too (this is her target for the week). This is a huge step forward, I realise it is only day 1 but at least now I feel as though I am doing something to help this child.


Thanks again for all the support and I will keep you all posted.

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