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We have a child in our setting who has behavioural issues, he is 4 years old, EAL, he does seem to understand english as father speaks it at home, he speaks but only one word at a time, he cannot stay at any activity for very long,poor hand/eye co-ordination, he is unable to share, if he cant have what he wants etc he hits other child, thumps, kicks, etc, adult restrains him - which is quite hard as he is very strong, you actually have to hold him back, he then lies on the floor screaming, he will not sit for registration, circle time, story etc. we have tried giving him his own speciallchair, letting him have special toys, books to hold/look at without success, during these times he runs round and round screaming which is distracting the other children, if an adult sits with him, or sits him on their lap he screams and struggles. I have spoken to his parents who are happy for all the help we can give him, problem is our SENCO advisor is unable to come in till middle of december, i feel we need to put an IPP in place in the mean time.

Can anybody help, our SENCO has left, i'm going on a course in January but until then i'm on my own. I'm not sure the best place to start, i know my targets need to be SMART, but i'm having problems thinking of where to begin with him.

he is attending speach therapy at the moment.

Any advice much appreciated.

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Having just attended a course on EAL I have to ask this - sorry if it offends...

Are his behavioural issues due to his lack of understanding of English/frustration etc or is he like this at home too?

We got some excellent advice sheets which I will happily copy and send you if you email me your address (t.james@fsmail.net)

Basically you need to use lots of pointing and visuals so perhaps a visual timetable or even a timer to visually show him how long he needs to be somewhere and what will be happening next.

Personally I would start with his turn taking by having him play games - even if just rolling a ball to and from and adult then with other children repeating 'child's name's turn, adult's name's turn' as you play.

IEP could state 'X will participate in a turn taking activity for 2 minutes with an adult 3/5 days' your strategy could be to use a favourite toy or activity, to give lots of smiles and whatever praise he responds to. You can move this on as he is ready

If you have a set routine each day then I think a visual representation of this would be good so he can see exactly what will happen next and try to have something he likes to go to next. For example we had a boy who loved snack time and would happily sit through story time if we gave him the snack picture as he knew it was next.


Hope this helps and let me know if you want the EAL info sent

Good luck,


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Hi there Simcity - hope I can help

firstly maintain your positive dialogue with the parents - they are the experts on their own child and together you can help him. remember they need to hear positive things as well as negative

undertake observations on him - are there any patterns to his behaviour, any observable triggers, any times of day - when he is hungry or tired or needs the toilet or when the group is busiest ?

Find out by observation if it is always the same children who he hits or is it random - anyone who comes close to him

Also - and very important look for his strengths and interests - does he respond to music or trains or outdoors or what? - there has to be positive things about him - find them and develop them

Have hearing and vision tests been done? what results?

contact the speech therapist (make sure you have parental permission!) if he has a programme it will help you with your IEP and see if the therapist can visit your setting and help you

Has the child seen any other agencies - ask the parents and then get the info.

find ways for him to communicate with you - visual prompts, Makaton

If you are having problems because he is disruptive at times when you want him to sit down - first analyse what it is you are really wanting him to do and why - you say he cannot sit down for long so why force him to do something he is unable to do - find another way - what does he like - take him off to do that and let the rest of the children have their quiet time undisturbed - in the long term Im sure he will settle down if and when he is able to. He isnt going to enjoy a story whilst he is being forcibly held and whilst he is wriggling and fighting - he possibly doesnt understand anyway

lastly make sure all the burden of this does not fall on one member of staff - good inclusive practice is everyones responsibility - not just the SENCOs

hope this helps and if you want any more let me know but maintain contact with your Area SENCO

good luck

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With regards the story time - can you plan ahead on story so parents can take the book home and tell him what happens in his own language so that when it is read at setting he at least has an idea as to what is going on?

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good suggestion from Pandemonium - there are lots of books in dual language and maybe you could loan storysacks too - does your area SENCO team loan equipment for special needs children?


also does your authority use CAF - a CAF form may help you to decide on the way forward


regards Veecee

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Thanks for your replies.

We have the cards on the wall saying what order we are doing things in through the session, we also have these in the toilets, toilet, wash hands, dry hands etc.

We have tried taking him to one side during story time etc but we are in one room, he either stands in front of the book or screams so the other children can't hear. Tactic tried -if you sit him on your lap he screams, if you put a chair next to the person reading the book, he will not sit on it, he loves trains, so i put some of these out at the back of the hall but he just picked them up and came back standing in front of the book or screaming when asked to stand to the side. have tried giving him Thomas books to look at as he loves trains but no he just picks up the book and does the same.

Snack time he refuses to sit on a chair, wonders round the room, shouting etc, we have tried giving him trains, books, toys to play with at snack table but nothing works, he just doesn't sit still.

Don't get me wrong he can be very loving, when he gets upset he will lash out etc, but when he calms down he comes to me for a cuddle.

We have done many observations on him, it seems to be circle time, story time, snack time, which are the worse, during the session its just sharing that seems to be a problem, or if we ask him to take part in an activity.

I have a good relationship with the parents. I have spoken to his speach therapist/ seen his ruth griffiths report which says if we feel it is appropriste we should contact the educational physchologist. We have to do this through our advisor who cannot come in till December.

i'm very concerned about him as he starts school in september.

I do feel i need to put an IPP in place. I know this needs to be SMART, i think i need to keep it simple, just can't decide what i should put down, i will sleep on it, i think!!!!

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Hi again simcity - you sound like a good caring setting trying hard. Obviously every authority is different and I dont know how you contact your educational psychologist - but you do need to - with parental permission. Are you allowed to discuss with your child development centre? would your area SENCO help over the phone? or do you have a team of inclusion support workers? do you have 'emergency' procedures? you need help. As well as your routes for help the parents could go to their GP and investigate via a medical route. They may well have to in the end anyway if a diagnosis is needed.


If you look in the SEN toolkit that goes with the code of practice there is a booklet on writing IEPs - it will help you


It sounds as if some of the problems occur when he is crowded near to other children or when he is having to wait - look at this - can you alter anything for him Dont worry too much about him starting school in a year - lets get him through one day at a time at the moment


as for his IPP - what is it exactly that you want him to do and that you think he would be capable of achieving in eg 6 weeks - think very small steps - what is the most pressing problem - think of all the difficulties - what is the most important - dont forget to think of his strengths as well


keep clear records of all your significant conversations about him and all visits from and call to agencies and clear records of everything you are doing for him, and be clear whether it works or not. All valuable evidence if he goes for formal assessment in the future - hope this helps



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another thought about all this - his parents can refer directly to the educational psychologist - even if you are not allowed to




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