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Serious help needed. Sorry for yet another thread.(25 Posts)
i have just got back from the school, having been summoned there to see the head.
My youngest has been excluded for assaulting his TA.
one day exclusion. He turned on her and deliberately poked her hard directly into the eye. He could have blinded her.
I have sent him to his room to begin a card of apology while I work out what the hell I am going to do.
Any advice at all would be most welcome.
Oh bloody hell, sending you a very unmn's hug and a large G&T.
Do you/does he do social stories or comic strip communication to try and get to the bottom of why he did it - or at least his thought process? Is he verbal?
Hopefully someone with a bit of decent knowledge/advice will be along soon. I do feel your angst though, and I know the sicky feeling in the bottom of the tummy well...
Ouch! what happened before he poked her in the eye?
What kind of advice do you need? Challenging the exclusion? Managing what he did? I'm going thro some tricky stuff with ds - you are not alone.
No, not challenging it. It was well deserved and he's lucky it wasn't longer!
How do I get through to him that he just can't attack people?!
When he's calm, he knows that. I've done comic boards, social stories, role play, happy and sad puppets! the lot. I constantly reenforce appropriate behaviours. When he's calm, you can ask him what to do in a hundred situations and he can tell you.
But when something happens - all that work means nothing. And I know that's par for the course, I know it is, but there must be something, some behaviour modification, something I haven't thought of yet.
He's verbal after a fashion, insofar as he can physically speak. He doesn't communicate well though. Mainly echolalic and communication limited really to making a statement to communicate something he needs. His communication is so limited. He couldn't really explain why he did it and he can't really explain his feelings beyond the basic happy, sad, angry.
I know exactly why he did it. I warned them that he was going to be very challenging today. He was supposed to go on a trip today but it was cancelled at the last minute. He spent two hours last night sobbing and screaming - so much so that he burst blood vessels in his face, and when they called me yesterday pm to tell me it was cancelled, I told them then they could expect a hellish day. He doesn't do change.
He was apparently swearing and stimming and very disruptive all morning and then just turned round and poked her right in the eye.
Oh Hec, you poor thing. Sounds like a 3pronged approach is needed 1)obviously you reiterating that it's bad to attack people but 2)to focus on whether school could have improved health & safety for the TA and your boy, by responding better when he started off swearing and being disruptive. 3)working on the change issue in general. Was it a very pleasurable trip for him, or was it just the change that bugged him so much.
The questions to ask yourself are,
Can he understand that this is wrong?
Can he control his impulses when angry/upset?
Frankly I think the answer to these two questions is "no" from your description. So effectively you are punishing him for something he has no control over. Moreover both you and the school knew he was already extremely stressed, s perhaps that is more where the "fault" lies.
Why did he TA allow him to poke her in the eye with frustration?
What have they put in place to stop him reaching his level of distress?
I'm so sorry for he lad, and poor you having to unpick it all and find a way to help.
I feel for you, Hecate, in an unfortunate BTDT way.
Do the staff who work with your DS have any Team Teach training? It focuses on de-escalation techniques.
Hecate I dont have any great advice but didnt want to pass by. Sorry
Part of me feels, though, it is not entirely his fault.
They were warned that he was stressed, it could have been anticipated given that he had to cope with change.
Has he ever lashed out to this extent at school before?
Also didn't want to read and run, although I have nothing to add to the already excellent posts, especially like the 2 questions zzzzz poses, I think the answer to those is key to how this is dealt with.
Thanks for input everyone. I agree that he can't control it. I do know that, even if I am not coming across like I do I just wish there is something I can do that can make him able to, you know?
I have to see the head again tomorrow morning, so I will be able to take everything that everyone's said.
I felt very shellshocked. I just got a message saying come NOW! And I asked the caller what it was about and she said she didn't know. I asked the receptionist when I got there and she said she didn't know. I just had it sprung on me and I didn't have any processing time or anything.
He punched his brother in the stomach in school yesterday. Winded him and sent him sprawling to the floor. But apart from that, he hasn't really shown them a high level of physical aggression. I have told them that he can be! But because he's such a happy chap, I don't think they really believed it!
He stims constantly and when stressed he has a mouth on him like a navvy I PROMISE he doesn't get it from us. I hate that he knows all these words and worry that school must think he hears them at home!
Right now, I am leaving him alone. He needs to be alone and have nobody even try to talk to him. When he's calm, I can try and have another go.
I'm assuming he won't be in school tomorrow? If not then I wouldn't even consider discussing what happened today, use the evening and tomorrow morning to focus on calming and anxiety reducing stuff. Because this is what will reduce the chance of another episode. Once calmness is fully established then consider talking through the incident and asking him what he could have done different or teaching a specific phrase he can learn (maybe something he might echo off TV or a game or something) and he can use as a signifier when he is getting tense. I don't know his level of understanding but guess that emotional recognition in himself is hard for him, will he understand the physical signs that he can feel but others can't see? I've tried to teach ds about racing heartbeat, clenched fists, rigid body, so he can recognise the physical signs of anxiety and anger even though he can't articulate the emotional feelings and signs
Can I just add that my ds too has a mouth like a navvy and, unfortunately, he remembers from whom he learned each and every swear word
Oh blimey. No advice, just sympathy. Is there a risk assessment in place so that the ta can avoid getting too close when he is likely to be more unpredictable? (am guessing here at what might be in it, just thinking of what the school could do)
Did they tell you what happened before?
There needs to be a clear plan as to what he can do when angry.
why couldn't he go on the trip? oh sorry just read back and it was cancelled. did his TA do anything like an emergency social story/calendar to show why it was cancelled and when it might happen next (if rescheduled)?
what did the school do to try to calm him down? are there any techniques/safe spaces for him there? or is it pot luck, and just bloody fortunate it hasn;t got to this level before now?
you clearly know his escalation levels, and have communicate dthese to the school. have they taken notice of them? or is it a case of them not having to take notice before now?
none of this excuses the violence, of course, you know that, and aren't trying to do so. BUT, if your ds was highly stressed, and showing all the signs of being so, and they have been pre-warned that something like this could happen (and, tbf, had seen an example of it just yesterday when he hit his brother), then the school are way more responsible for htis than your ds is.
what measures were in place to calm the swearing and stimming and disruption that he had been causing all morning? why was he left to just get more and more worked up?
I would be seeking a meeting to discuss what school can put in place ot prevent htis happening again. not in a restraint/exclusion way, but in a heading-off-at-the-pass way.
what would you have done with him, if he had been swearing/stimming/getting more and more stressed all morning?
Sympathies Hec. I agree with others though that as the school were aware that he was very upset then extra precautions should have been taken by them. I would also be asking them if they have a risk assessment in place outlining their handling guidelines in such instances. Our EP suggested a 'crisis management plan' for such situations although I doubt that ds's school ever implemented this. On the plus side school have only excluded for one day. My ds was permanently excluded for an incident when he was highly anxious and did nothing deliberately
"He turned on her and deliberately poked her hard directly into the eye."
Hecate You know this I'm sure, but he can't both deliberately poke her in the eye and be lacking in control at those moments. So while he may have aimed his finger at her eye, he didn't do it deliberately in the sense of rationally thinking through and planning the action, knowing the consequences.
I think you need to try and see this as a 'moving on, what measures do we need to put in place...' exercise.
I know. You're right. It's just such a shock, but you're right, he actually doesn't understand consequences. He doesn't understand cause and effect - it's this sort of gap that means he needs 2:1 offsite, because he will just run into the road. He doesn't understand that running into the road may result in him being injured. He can say it, if you ask him, so on some level he knows, or at least has learned the appropriate responses to questions, but it doesn't alter his behaviour.
I feel more prepared to go in there tomorrow and ask them what they will be doing to make sure something like this doesn't happen again, thanks to you all.
crisis management plan. I like that. I'll be asking them about that, and everything raised here.
It's just - poking someone in the eye. It seems just so much worse than even whacking them across the face or something!
Sorry hec, I am not making light of this but the TA needs to learn to dodge quicker or back off when he is stressed!
When a child has lost control they do not/cannot plan or deliberately hurt people. The adults around need to be proactive in avoiding flying fists and pokey fingers.
I doubt that he even remembers doing it, never mind understands why he has been excluded so what point is the exclusion making other than to make you feel bad
Just for the record, I have been pinched, kicked, headbutted and poked this week but I consider that to go with the teritory of working with children with Sn's and if I dont get out of the way quick enough then more fool me
Sorry many people may not agree but these are children who have for whatever reason lost control and we are adults who should see it coming and take preventative measures.
Forgot to say, I have also been hugged, kissed and stroked. Which makes up for and goes along side the agressive stuff
Instinctive mammalian response to a possibly life-threatening attack by a bigger, scarier animal is to either play dead, or lash out violently then run away. In massive danger, an eye poke is proportionate and maybe life-saving. A social story can't totally over-ride the normal, human, reflex response to major threat.
Poor ds. Poor TA. Poor you.
You will need him back into school quickly, so eye-pokes dont get associated with the relief of escaping that level of anxiety. But the main lesson for school is, have a much better emergency-changes plan.
When asked while I was there, he didn't appear to remember. He needed to be guided to it. He didn't seem to have a clue but when it was spelled out for him he remembered it and he was really sorry. And remained sorry. He's been upset all afternoon. And I am told that he was upset and said sorry as soon as he did it.
Yes, I will be talking about preventative measures, that's a good thing to focus on. See, I can see it coming. I can read him. I know when he's about to lose it. And you can't keep pushing him. I wonder if they were trying to continue to get him to work when he was getting more and more agitated.
I hadn't considered the possibility it was an instinctive thing, mareey. But that does make sense.
He was happy to come home. If they thought it was a punishment they were wrong. I just hope to god he doesn't go round poking people in the eye every time he wants a day off now! You are right in that all he may take away from today is poke in eye=day off school
Re the eye. It seems terrible to a rational adult because we understand how easily eyes can be permanently damaged. To your ds the eye was no worse than a poke in the arm. She was probably too close to him and he needed her to get back. Ds once spat in a child's face. I was so embarrassed as it's so socially unacceptable but he just needed her to stop teasing him right in his face and responded in the only way he knew now.
I met the head again today and I said that what I really want now is a meeting with the senco where we go through the risk assessments and discuss de-escalation techniques (thanks guys ) and look at crisis management (again. Thanks)
He said that that was most reasonable and he would have them contact me today to arrange that.
I know I'm a bit late with this one and by the looks of things you got it covered thanks to many wise words , it really is a double bladed sword isn't it. Yes he did wrong but they should of seen that he was escalating to that point, I am presuming that he doesn't just randomly decide to go poking people in the eye . The fact that they had warned of the upset due to changes, he was clearly stimming, was being verbally aggressive would of surly given them a clear indicator that it would escalate further unless appropriate intervention was used???? My Ds has a set of characteristics which are always a sure sign he will eventually have some kind of an out burst (mostly verbal, but unfortunately sometimes can become aggressive). He becomes very quiet (definitely a sign something isn't right), this then changes to him becoming fidgety and muttering under his breath, starts to act silly ( babyish-overly fidgety), starts to get louder speaking over people (also becomes argumentative), from this point on there's no going back and he blows. I have tried to point out to his new teacher that when he gets to the acting silly phase he NEEDS to be taken to one side and just have a quiet chat (not ideal I know but it works), the majority of the time he can express what is bothering him (which can be the most trivial of things to most) and if this is taken seriously he will calm and all will continue as it was. The sooner they act the sooner he is de-stressed. The longer they leave it the worse it will be.
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