Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.
DS with ASD inappropriate tactile behaviour in school.(13 Posts)
Have been called in to meeting at school later this week (again) to discuss DS' behaviour re inappropriate touching of his classmates.
Background: DS is 8yo, in Y3 at MS, has dxes of ASD-PDA, anxiety, SPD. No statement/EHCP. FT 1:1 support.
Aside from general hugging, grabbing, affectionate headbutting, etc, the more worrying behaviours include licking others' faces, fiddling with zips on others' clothing, grabbing/rubbing others' bottoms and putting his face up to others' bottoms. He displays this behaviour particularly with one girl, his good friend (whom he's known since preschool and always been very close to, and who doesn't object to the behaviour but seems to encourage it / find it funny (not that that makes it ok)).
As far as I can work out, school are not blaming him/us or saying that he has any kind of inappropriate intent; nor are they implying that he's been abused or seen anything inappropriate at home etc. But they have pointed out that as he gets older this kind of behaviour is getting less acceptable and could leave him open to complaints / accusations of (sexual) harassment - which is really concerning.
We have explained, and they understand (I think) that we think this behaviour probably results from a combination of sensory-seeking, emotional comfort-seeking, poor impulse control, and poor understanding of/ability to follow social etiquette - all of which arise from his dx'd difficulties.
Autism advisory teacher has observed him, expressed concerns that the behaviour leaves him "vulnerable" and "open to being misunderstood", and has given school social stories and diagrams (concentric circles with different people at different levels of closeness with appropriate physical gestures e.g. shaking hands, hugging, etc, assigned to the different levels). School have worked on these with him but nothing has really changed.
What should we be asking school to do? What should we be doing? TIA for any thoughts or advice.
Things I would be thinking about:
- ask school to keep a diary/tick sheet/ABC chart of incidents
- is he actually getting the 1-1? How much of this is happening when his 1-1 is distracted/elsewhere/supporting other children?
- don't just focus on what he can't do, make sure he has alternatives that he can access/do without explanation or questioning
- at the risk of being accused of 'victim blaming' some work with the main victims would help, ensuring they are not encouraging him in their intentional or unintentional responses and reactions, they need a set phrase and reaction if possible
- the NSPCC 'Pants' stuff is a good resource
Thanks Polter that's some helpful stuff.
One thing I forgot to mention - he has terrible school anxiety and is prone to phases of school refusal, and this particular friendship is one of the positive things about school, for him, so any attempt to keep him and the friend apart more would be catastrophic, I think, for his feelings about school!
I was going to ask if he would understand the "underwear" rule!
I think the behaviour could potentially make him vulnerable.
I really feel for you because its going to be hard to change the behaviour without causing him stress.
Do you ever have the friend over to play? I wonder if you could work on it that way?
I think the full time 1 to 1 shold be working a hellovalot harder than they are. Social communication is much trickier to understand in unstructured times than it is in the sctructure of a lesson.
DC clealy needs a lot more help on social skills.
Some of the things I have seen recommend for other kids are:-
a weekly social skills group with a qualified SALT, or possibly with a trained TA implementing the programme set by the SALT. Usually it is expected that dc's 1 to 1 should attend so that they can work on the chosen areas throughout the school day- ideally with a qualified SALT
The things Polter says like social stories etc.
Something to replace/calm the sensory seeking behaviour. dc obviously likes to touch and feel things - does he like the pressure of a hug? Many ASD kids like to mouth and lick things. The school and/or GP can get a sensory OT to assess and recommend strategies to help keep the sensory system calmer.
Hope this helps
Thank you all for your thoughts.
Just re-read my last post and worried it might read like I think nothing should change - which isn't the case! The behaviour needs to change, but I don't think the answer is to keep DS apart from his friend - at least, I think that would cause more problems than it would solve!
He has had OT observe in school on several occasions and make suggestions for sensory diet. One of the problems is that he refuses to engage in most of it. . School has had some success doing regular "movement breaks" for the whole class (which he seems to prefer as it doesn't single him out which he hates). He has a selection of fiddle items and wobble cushions at school and doesn't use any of them.
Interesting thoughts about the SALT stuff, senvet, thanks.
Polter, friend does come to play occasionally. I am also friendly with friend's mum. But would not have a clue how/whether to bring it up! Wouldn't want to do anything to mess up the friendship. Tricky.
I don't think anyone has suggested them not playing, or have school suggested this?
Can ds articulate why he does it?
I'm thinking maybe if he does it when she comes to play you can model the response you want from the friend and help her say no and help ds learn to redirect his behaviour.
When ds used to have his lovely friend over I would take the opportunity when ds went off in a huff/or for a wee to chat with lovely friend along the lines of 'I know ds can get a bit annoying/takes things a bit far sometimes, and he can't always help it, but I need you to tell him to stop/come and tell me' or in relation to school and I asked his lovely mum to make this clear too: 'you mustn't put up with it, for ds to learn and get help we need you to tell' sort of thing.
And mine never engaged in any OT/therapeutic stuff at primary, but I don't think they approached or presented it well at all. And in many ways he just wasn't ready developmentally then to do what he needed to do, if that makes sense.
Thanks Polter, no it's not been suggested they should stay apart, I suppose I'm worried that school might be going to suggest it, and thinking through the objections I would have if they did!
I like the way you approached things with your DS' friend and the mum. I could definitely do something along those lines.
I would suggest that he needs more than a simple OT observation, he needs a full specialist assessment from an OT with expertise in sensory integration. In fact, I'm fairly amazed that he doesn't have an EHCP when he has full time support, and I would suggest you make a formal application for a full EHC needs assessment citing this behaviour along with everything else. If they can't stop this happening they don't seem to be meeting his needs on the basis of current resources.
Thanks icimoi. He has had a full sensory assessment by a sensory-specialist OT, with assessments and observations at home and school. Echp is a whole other thread as it's something we've been going round in circles on for a while!
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