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Biting


giantalice
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Good morning

 

if anyone can help we are at our wits end, we have a girl who is nearly 4, there are a number of issues she is not clean, has a number of communication problems as well as social issues and has now resorted to biting other children.

 

I have sent her for referrals too speech and language they came back with theres nothing wrong, parents are in denial despite us working very closely with them.

 

It is really evident that there is something quite complex going on.

we have been tracking her closely and it is evident that she cannot express herself and resorts to biting over space and ownership.

 

this morning she has bit another child s cheek so badly that she has made him bleed.We have tried all the obvious strategies and are really struggling with containing her.

Any suggestions would be great even a positive word would help this morning

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giantalice I really feel for you, this is such a tricky thing to be dealing with. Biting always make emotions run so high doesn't it? I presume that you have managed the first aid needs of the child who has been bitten? If the bite has broken the skin parents should really take him to the doctor - he may need a booster jab as human bites can be nasty. I would make sure that when you talk to his parents you explain exactly what happened and reassure them that you are doing everything you can to prevent it happening again. In my experience I would resist saying that you "promise it will never happen again" you cannot promise that - but you can promise "to do everything we can to try and stop it happening again". His parents will be very upset and angry, this is their right - You must apologise and then look at what has been happening.

 

You have already identified times when the biting happens - write a full and detailed risk assessment of these - when it happens, what the triggers are and what you are going to do to try and prevent it. Put that risk assessment into place. Make sure all staff know - you will probably need 1:1 for the biter for a while - you can do this even if you don't have additional staff.

 

Previously I have grouped children in the ratios knowing that a larger group of children playing happily together with one member of staff with the other member of staff on 'biter watch' makes life easier for everyone. Make sure your 1:1 staff isn't just being a 'minder' they need to be pro-actively helping the biter with their social skills, using distraction techniques (bumbags of goodies like tiny pots of bubbles and magnifying glasses are great for this) if necessary to draw them away from tricky situations. the member of staff needs to be constantly talking to the biter - verbalising 'sociable' thoughts - e.g. "There's not room here ... I think we need to find a bigger space..... X has got that lovely book that you like, I wonder if there's another one?' I would put a very experienced member of staff in for this role. I would also swap them over after an hour or so if you have more experienced staff available as it can be very 'intense' supporting in this way

 

You say you have been working with parents, you need also to be working with the additional support team from your local authority, they may have more ideas. If there is nothing going on from a speech and language point of view then you need to be looking at the PSED aspects - has this child always had issues? If they are nearly 4 then they will be off to school soon and so any concerns will need to be flagged with the school. Take advice from your local authority team.

 

Talk to the parents again, explain the measures you have put in place. Find out if it happens in other places (at the park? at soft play?) or is it just nursery?

 

Get through today - telling parents that their child has been bitten is horrible, I know this from experience. Once you have told them look really closely at your safeguarding risk assessments - you may not be able to stop the child from wanting to bite - but with robust risk assessments you should be able to stop it getting that far.

 

Good luck, We're really interested to hear how you get on and we're all here to help!

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thank you for your quick response and your comments we are doing exactly what you have outlined in relation to working with the child so its good to know that we are doing what we should ! with regards to working with the lea we havent been able to get permission from the parents in order to do this however i have spoken to someone from there today and we have a plan !!!!!

Full risk assessment has been done this morning and revised group work and supervision has been adjusted so we are back on track.Im meeting with the parents and am really going to push for permission........what a monday !!!!!!

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Hi, I can't really add very much to the excellent advice from Rebecca. You say the parents are in denial. Have they been in to observe her at the setting so they can see first hand some of the issues you are having? Children can often behave very differently in a home than a preschool environment.

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We always ask parents to stay for half an hour or so after other parents have gone on a day that suits them to observe their child if they are in denial about anything!!! Then we can work alongside them and say did you notice? What do you think? Are they playing like their peers? etc etc etc. Sometimes they really can see where we're coming from .....

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Hello!

 

Can I ask...

do you have any social care issues or concerns (you say she's dirty)

Is she well fed.

 

When you say her parents are in denial...about what...speech/behaviour?????

 

Can you tell us what you have put in place already?

 

Have you done ABC charts?

 

...sorry lots of questions before we start to answer the ones you've already posed!!!

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I assumed that was a reference to toilet training......but perhaps not....

 

 

Must admit, I assumed toilet trained 'not clean'.

(ooh haven't used the multiquote button before!!!

 

 

How bizarre...I would never use not clean for that situation.........says it like it is round ere!!...spade a spade an ol that!

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Great advice from Rebecca.

To try to get a picture of support this child so obviously needs, can I also ask how long they have been with you. Are they an only child, or are there other siblings.

Has there been any significant changes that may have affected them.

We ask for consent to contact other agencies on our paperwork before a child starts.

This enables us to move quicker to get the advice or support a child might need.

I certainly think the suggestion to ask a parent in to observe might help to open up discussion. It might also help them to see that you are only trying to do what's best for their child and to give them support too.

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I can't add much to what's already been said, except to say that if members of staff are being bitten the best thing to do is not react. Tell them that it hurts and tell them to stop, but above all, stay calm. It's not easy, biting hurts like hell (I know!), but the vast majority of children will stop when they no longer elicit a response

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One thing that can help, it's called a Muzzle! I am joking of course, and this must be a worrying time for you. We have had a few issues with biting over the years and luckily nothing too serious in the last few years.

 

Finding the triggers and trying to avoid these can help. You mentioned ownership is a trigger and also space, so i guess this is going to be difficult in your environment.

 

Another thing to look out for is what reaction or attention this child receives after biting somebody, ie from adults and other children too. It is better to show a lot of sympathy and support to the child that has been hurt, and to ignore the biter. i am sure many are aware of this behavioral tactic, and this usually works well IF it is a behavioral action. Of course it could be something else and another reason for this child to bite that is not easy for the child to control.

 

i hope you get this sorted soon :( EDIT: i should read a few comments, before i comment!

Edited by BroadOaks
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thanks for the input parents arrived and finally given permission for a referal it seems that there are a few things happening at home as well, got the lea coming out too so we all feel a bit better now x

Good news

 

Onwards and upwards now :1b

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thanks for the input parents arrived and finally given permission for a referal it seems that there are a few things happening at home as well, got the lea coming out too so we all feel a bit better now x

well done...good luck with the follow up

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