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extreme disruptive behaviour


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Myself and my staff are at our wits end at the moment, we have a child who has become very disruptive in nursery and at home. He's a big 4 year old who yesterday trashed the whole room by tipping toys out throwing chairs, hitting staff, he pushes children who are in his way. It is very draining as he so strong and we are struggling to control him. He is the same at home, and mum is very negative towards him, we are waiting to see if we can get funding for one to one support, it doesn't help that he is at nursery 8-6. Any advice or strategies would be much appreciated?

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What strategies is she putting in place at home to deal with it? It would be helpful for you to know that so you can be consistent as far as possible. Have you done an ABC on his behaviour? Is he just re-testing your boundaries?

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He has been with us for a couple of years, his behaviour has changed gradually over the past 6 months, mum isn't very helpful she doesn't spend any time with him and hates being with him. The early years team don't think there is anything underlying but more due to the atmosphere at home, but mum thinks otherwise such as aspergers. He craves adult attention. If you ignore him he is worse if you give him attention it doesn;t make any difference he will go to extremes to get your attention.

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Have you tried the 'special time' approach. Tell him it coming, tell him it's 'special time' but don't really do anything (although sometimes I do a small group to assess what he can do) tell him it's finishing and then it's over. This needs doing everyday.

 

Google attention seeking behaviour it will explain it better. Sometimes it's more about you feeling in control with strategies.

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Are there any triggers to his behaviour? Years ago we had a 4 year old that was the loveliest, most polite and pleasant child and then at seemingly any given time would flip out and hit, kick, scream, punch...you name it.

We spoke to Mum (there was only mum and an older sibling at home) and she reported some changes but not massive and no mitigating circumstances either.

We did ABC monitoring on him when he had an episode to see the Antecedent, what his actual Behaviour was and then the Consequences (his response, not us isolating him) initially, we didn't think there were any triggers as it was happening at different times of the day, whole group, individual play, outside.... but with the ABC we noticed that it was a personal space issue. Anytime his personal space was threatened, he responded. His behaviour was always the same - erratic and unpredictable and the consequences were always that he got exhausted very quickly and calmed down and was easy to reason with, after about 5 minutes. By doing this, we were able to watch him more closely in group situations and try and intervene or prevent an episode from occuring and also, we learnt to let him show his anger as we knew we could talk to him when he calmed down.

Not sure if that is anything that would help in this case? Sounds as though Mum isn't contributing to the situation in a way that helps anyone though.

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What strategies is she putting in place at home to deal with it? It would be helpful for you to know that so you can be consistent as far as possible. Have you done an ABC on his behaviour? Is he just re-testing your boundaries?

Sorry Cait, didn't see you had already mentioned ABC - that's what you get for trying to multi-task on an afternoon!!

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I would be looking at from what you've said a FCAF to see if mum needs any support, yes it may be environmental factors at home or as said above abuse it could also be a cry for help from mum as she doesn't know how to cope, deal with his behaviour and she may be looking at ASD as a way of reasoning why her child is behaving like this - looking at a support worker situation to assist in behaviour management at home and possible parenting classes or theraplay. Or it could be that he has underlying SEN issues but all this would help rule in or out possible reasons. I think the special time approach sounds lovely as someone has said think I'm going to look at that for a couple of mine. Good luck x

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Thanks for the advice , I didn't think of it as a safeguarding issue but I think could be emotional abuse, mum has admitted that she struggles and I think the early years team are trying to involve a childrens centre keyworker but she has refused this.

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Who is the early years team that have discounted the possibility of Asperger's/Autism?

I know an awful lot of parents whose children have displayed this kind of behaviour and it has been attributed to poor parenting or abuse only for the child to end up with a diagnosis of Autism a few years down the line. I know two families who children have been removed then handed back months later with a diagnosis and an excuse for an apology.

Unless the child has undergone a full neurodevelopmental assessment, carried out by clinicians qualified and experienced in Autism and its enormous range of presentations, nobody should assume that this child does not have this disorder.

If his behaviour is down to Autism, his impact on family life could be enormously destructive and could well explain his mother's attitude to spending time with him. If he is unable to reciprocate her offers of affection and she is unable to understand his triggers, their home life could be awful.

A neurodevelopmental assessment is a lengthy and in-depth process looking at all areas of the child's development, the quality of their play and their home life and parenting experiences and their presentation outside the home. It could also pick up on other major difficulties like attachment disorders.

My approach would be to work with the mother, talking through what strategies, if any, she has found useful and working out together why they worked and how they could be developed. I would try some strategies know to be helpful for children with ASD like secure routines, warnings of changes, avoidance of sensory overload, movement breaks, deep pressure activities, social stories, etc and carefully record the success or otherwise of each intervention.

I would also support her in contacting her GP and asking for a referral to CAMHS or a community paediatrician who can trigger a neurodevelopmental assessment.

To be honest, if I was struggling at home with a child I believed had Autism, I, too, would refuse intervention from someone who didn't understand the condition because it would probably probably just make matters worse.

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Upsy, as ever, a well thought out post that demonstrates the depth of your understanding on such matters - may I just ask a genuine question - would you expect to see such a 'rapid' and 'new' down turn in behaviour as described by beeching in post 4?

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I have to say first read made me think Autism and I know how difficult some parents find it and often blame themselves for the child's behaviour and then there comes a time when they give up thinking they can do nothing about it. O know this does not happen for every child but I have seen it happen so many times whilst working within an environment that offered support to children "On the spectrum."

I do like the new approach of offering family support not just to the child. Early Help it is being called in my local authority and is very much like a CAF but rather than assessing need of child it looks at need of family. It does appear that Mum needs support and you might be in the right place to give her this through your reassurance and daily little chats. I know it might be hard for you but try and give her some positives of what the child has done it might lift her a little and this might change her view of him.

As for child ABC to see if you can find a trigger and in the meantime just keep the praise for the smallest of things he does appropriately. So he gets some positives not just the negatives.

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