Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child has special needs. If you have any serious concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP or other suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN

Mumsnet/KIDS support session on challenging behaviour: Thursday September 20, 9pm

(122 Posts)
RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 17-Sep-12 10:01:09

Hello there,

We're pleased to announce that the third support session with members of KIDS staff will be held on Thursday September 20 between 9pm amd 10pm (in the hope that this will avoid most kids' bed-times!). The topic will be challenging behaviour. (You can see the first session here and the second session here.)

KIDS is a national charity working with disabled children, young people and their families across England. The KIDS representative at this session will be Kim Steele (KIDS Development Coordinator for the south-east).

The idea of these support sessions is to complement the advice and support that Special Needs posters already give each other with the insight and experience of people working for an organisation in the field. We hope that the session will pull together perspectives and advice from MNers and from KIDS staff, and that the thread will serve as a reference point for posters looking for advice about behaviour.

It would be great to have as many of you as possible join us 'live' on Thursday evening, but if you can't make it, please also post up any advance questions for here.

We'd really appreciate your feedback on these sessions, so if you can find the time to fill in a survey after the session, that would be great - it's open to lurkers as well as posters - to everyone who has seen the thread.


UnChartered Mon 17-Sep-12 10:03:58

marking my place

thanks Rowan

LateDeveloper Mon 17-Sep-12 11:52:56

marking my place too - seeing a few unpleasant behaviours chez late's

RabbitsMakeGOLDEggs Mon 17-Sep-12 16:43:54

This might be very beneficial for me and my DD.

HotheadPaisan Mon 17-Sep-12 17:01:47

Please xpost in, most people often only look there.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 19:16:42

Will keep an eye out - puberty in a 14yo DD with SN's is proving more than challenging...

GoldPedanticPanda Mon 17-Sep-12 20:00:18

Sounds great, I'll mark my place. smile

MrsShrek3 Mon 17-Sep-12 22:57:27


ouryve Mon 17-Sep-12 23:01:57

I must try to remember this one.

Having to work on acceptable ways of getting my attention with DS2 at the moment.

BumptiousandBustly Tue 18-Sep-12 07:19:38

Also marking my place. Can't do Thursday so will put up some q's before .

flapperghasted Tue 18-Sep-12 07:51:01

Marking my place and checking out links. I work with children with SEN and some of my charges are a bit challenging at times. I find a mums approach to behaviour management can give great insights into how I can work.

perceptionreality Tue 18-Sep-12 10:11:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I'm interested in what can be done to educate teachers on what consitutes challenging behaviour and that it isn't just about what THEY find difficult.

Currently, challenging behaviour appears to be defined as anything that gets in the way of a teacher doing their job. i.e. disruption and agression etc. and for this there are well used behaviour modification strategies that use extrinsic reinforcements such as stickers, golden time, charts, time out, certificates etc.

But how do we ensure teachers are trained properly to understand challenging behaviour that gets in the way of the CHILD doing THEIR job i.e. learning? Such as not focussing, not listening, chosing the same thing every day during child initiated learning, not initiating interactions with other children.

THESE challenging behaviours tend to be largely ignored by schools despite being detremental to the child's development and any attempts at suggestion of similar 'reward' systems is often met with a horrified look and a lecture about behaviour needing to be reinforced intrinsically rather than extrinsically.

How can we marry the two up.

If the strategies teachers use for behaviour that is detremental to THEIR TEACHING are so effective, why can't they use them for behaviour that is detrimental to the CHILD'S LEARNING?

justaboutiswarm Tue 18-Sep-12 11:08:34

I don't see htat as challenging behaviour at all, Star. I think it is undesirable behaviour which is a different thing.

Okay, so I suppose the first thing I'd like to discuss is what is challenging behaviour. Is it restricted to behaviour someone else can't manage, or behaviour that a child themselves can't manage, or are both the same thing but just dealt with differently?

And should they be?

For example an example of challenging behaviour being uncooperative, or is it actively distrupting a child who IS being cooperative?

further, is lack of motivation to learn considered challenging, because most of the teachers i have dealt with are less able to get my child to listen at carpet time if he doesn't want to than they are able to get him to sit on the carpet if he doesn't want to, so arguably the former is more 'challenging' for them.

Finally, if they WERE able to meet the challenge of motivating him to listen at carpet time, then their need to deal with his demonstrative challenging behaviour of refusing to sit on the carpet would completely disappear.

HotheadPaisan Tue 18-Sep-12 11:37:59

I would like a bit more understanding of difference in the classroom. Children with ASD for example are under a huge amount of pressure on a daily basis. We have to recognise when they are getting overloaded and act before they have to. There also needs to be more done to prevent the situation reaching crisis point too.

As for home, again, whilst we stand firm you have to understand where the behaviour is coming from. Seeing DS1's hitting, spitting and verbal aggression as the panic and overload attacks they often are helps to take the heat out of the situation, calm down and then work on alternative strategies later.

Triggles Tue 18-Sep-12 14:16:42

Marking my place. Wish there was some type of email alert you could sign up for that reminds us on the day, maybe an hour or so before.

Maryz Tue 18-Sep-12 15:53:14

I agree absolutely with your post Starlight.

When ds1 was disruptive in school, they dealt with his behaviour (detentions, suspensions, eventual expulsion).

But they never dealt with the behaviour he struggled most with - the inability to ask for help, the understanding of what mood the teacher was in, the inability to concentrate on subjects he saw no point in doing etc.

They only dealt (harshly) with behaviour that disrupted other children, not behaviour that prevented him from learning or supported him in understanding himself.

That's why the eduction system failed him (and so many other children) so badly.

I see it to a lesser extent in ds2 who is being assessed for ADHD. He can only concentrate when fiddling, but is constantly in trouble for so doing. So he isn't learning much atm either.

colditz Tue 18-Sep-12 16:38:04

I would really like.some advice.

My nt six year old copies my asd 9 year old, and because their maturity is about the same, I tend to give them the same sanctions. But my six year old doesn't accept them well, and I don't feel that they are working to get him properly behaved.

He has a horrible, horrible temper, really explosive. He screams, hits, kicks and goes rigid. He has a tantrum, basically, but he's six years old. I don't know what to do, whether to get his assessed, or whether to.punish him more severely - I tend to issue time outs and privelege loss.

I guess I'm worried as to whether this is normal for a child who has an autistic sibling. If it is, and its a symptom of distress, then he needs councelling, but if it is not, then given the genetic load of an autistic sibling, then he needs assessment.

Is love some advice, including from other posters, because this is the.most challqnging thing I have had with. I know how to do autism, its ds2 that's baffling me because there's no signpost.

HotheadPaisan Tue 18-Sep-12 17:46:49

All behaviour is trying to tell you something and imo there is very little point in ever escalating sanctions. Most children want to do the right thing but they can't in that moment.

So, one option is to try and prevent the triggers, not always possible but the common ones for us are needing 1-2-1, being tired or hungry or overwhelmed or frightened or worried. DS1 has the additional problem of needing not to be around people whilst not being able to be alone, this is a tricky one.

It's taken a long time for us to realise how great his need is for 1-2-1 but now we know we provide it as much as we can. I know everyone will say it's not practical and so on but it's what he needs for now and how he thrives. We tend to find that the more 1-2-1 we can give him, sometimes just hanging around nearby, the calmer he is and the less he needs it, until the next time. This can be boring but it will pass and gives DS2 time with me or DP on his own too.

DS1's brain is wired in such a way that he can't help feeling and reacting as he does, his anxieties are high, he's still very impulsive, he's on perpetual full alert and gets overwhelmed. We just try and meet his needs whilst being firm and consistent and doing shed-loads of social stories on feelings and acceptable behaviour.

I'm also very honest with him, I tell him how the things he does make me feel, just matter of factly without trying to guilt-trip him. I get angry when I am angry, no point pretending I'm not, he needs to see the effect of his behaviour, again without going on and on. I also do something physical with him when I can see he's getting hyper, pillow fight, whatever. And when it's over, it's over, I do not carry it on and neither does he. We apologise when ready (depending on who should/ needs to).

We praise and dish out unsolicited treats for good sibling behaviour (from both), this works really well. We also guide DS2 as much as DS1 so it's fair and even.

Divide and conquer, go for positive reinforcement and get support, it's the only way we've found whilst both are still young. Get a break, this is the single, most effective thing you can do as a parent of DC with SEN, it makes a big difference.

I would also like to know what to do when the challenging behaviour prevents someone from living any type of life, secluded in the peace of his own home, with no one able to talk, type, laugh, text, do household duties etc and I am also talking about an 11yo who doesn't attend school. One with down syndrome and severe learning disabilities and more.

How do I get him to dress, how do I get him to leave the house, how do I get him to brush his teeth etc etc?

HotheadPaisan Tue 18-Sep-12 20:25:57

Haven't read this yet but it might be useful:

I also like Schramm, Motivation and Reinforcement, 2011. Not a lot of the strategies work atm for DS1 but understanding what drives his behaviour helps.

On the whole, I just tackle one thing at a time, break it down into small steps, give lots of praise and recognition when he does what I want him to do, lots of ignoring the behaviour I don't want. It's a long, slow process but it does work.

HotheadPaisan Tue 18-Sep-12 20:53:59

That toolkit I just linked looks absolutely fantastic.

justaboutiswarm Wed 19-Sep-12 05:25:44

"Okay, so I suppose the first thing I'd like to discuss is what is challenging behaviour. Is it restricted to behaviour someone else can't manage, or behaviour that a child themselves can't manage, or are both the same thing but just dealt with differently?"

Interesting question, Star. I think challenging behaviour is whatever makes a child hard to manage in a social or group setting.
That's very different from educational difficulties or developmental delay.

justaboutiswarm Wed 19-Sep-12 07:08:03

(and by social I include family)

HotheadPaisan Wed 19-Sep-12 07:27:56

Hitting, kicking, spitting, verbal aggression, needling DS2 and never going out have been our main issues.

Then there's all the mainstream inclusion meaning do what everyone else does discussion.

Challenging behaviour is behaviour which may put themselves or others at risk, or which may prevent the use of ordinary community facilities or a normal home life. This behaviour may include aggression, self injury, stereotyped behaviour or disruptive and destructive behaviours. These behaviours are not under the control of the individual concerned and are largely due to their lack of ability to communicate.

Challenging behaviour is defined as:

“Culturally abnormal behaviour(s) of such an intensity, frequency or duration that the physical safety of the person or others is likely to be placed in serious jeopardy, or behaviour which is likely to seriously limit use of, or result in the person being denied access to, ordinary community facilities.”


justaboutiswarm Wed 19-Sep-12 11:49:03

That's a great definition, devient, where is it from?

charlieandlola Wed 19-Sep-12 19:31:50

I'm in ! Dd is always awful at transitions, so takes about half aterm to settle. Her TA's and I compare bruises.

colditz Wed 19-Sep-12 20:41:30

To be honest, the bigger challanging behavior problems are the quiet ones .... Biting his own arms, not engaging, ignoring conversational topics in order to talk about video games... Getting teachers to recognise this as a real problem is very hard. If he hit other people as often as he hurts himself, he would have a one to one at school, but because its only him, he's left to it

redwhiteandblueeyedsusan Wed 19-Sep-12 22:43:27

why do they behave at school (not hitting and screaming but not fully participating) and exhibit challenging behaviour at home? (despite using the same strategies i would use in school?)
why is it they sometimes work and at other times they are as much use as a chocolate teapot. and why is it always our fault? (bad parents/bad homelife/mother works full time/mother at home babying child)

SurvivalOfTheUnfittest Wed 19-Sep-12 22:43:49

Devient have you got lots of symbols/photos (depending on your DS's level of development) for schedules? Do you have rewards for completing small tasks shown in symbol/photo form (Now: socks, next: bubbles - or whatever is the best motivator at the time) and repeat for the next item of clothes. Is it noise of the activity that DS can not tolerate? If so, have you tried ear defenders? I'm sure you've been through all these ideas, but feel free to PM me if you think I can offer any more as it's part of my job.

BumptiousandBustly Thu 20-Sep-12 06:14:37

I want to ask how I teach him impulse control. I.e. he knows absolutely about crossing roads and won't cross without holding my hand, BUT half way across he could see a leaf and it would wipe out all thoughts of the road, cars etc and he would just run to get it, in front of traffic.

He does things like that a lot and also self edits instructions, so don't lock the door becomes 'don't lock the door but try it and if it's not stiff it's fine'

There seems to be no learning about these things and they put him in danger, I would really appreciate any suggestions. Ds is 4 and asd.

BumptiousandBustly Thu 20-Sep-12 06:18:42

Also HOW do you explain strangers and not talking to them to a child who can only understand absolutes? I can't say never talk to anyone mummy hasn't told you is ok, as that would exclude most teachers at school and he can't cope with more complex definition than that! This is a serious problem as he is very passive and goes off and talks to strangers all the time! So is very vulnerable! (NB I do watch him and stop him talking to these people but nothing stops him trying!)

PipinJo Thu 20-Sep-12 09:07:16

What can be done to educate all professionals and families/carers involved with our ASD children to learn pre warning triggers, esculation stage and de-esculation techneques and not end up in crisis and as I have read one horror story on mumsnet i.e. 6 year old being restrained because the CB was handled so wrongly and esculated to man handling (not even correct safe restraint) by lack of knowledge in this area when working with ASD dc on daily basis! Prevention is the key but professionals only seem to respond to crisis and 3-4 staff restraining a child is not only dangerous to the health (physical and psychological) of the dc but could be avoided initially with correct training and plans in place for each child.
We need national Policies...national training and make it law so the child has a legal right and ensuring protection and safety of the dc is paramount...possibly a NICE type guidlines written to cover health/education and social settings, ensuring consistency accross all settings.

whatthewhatthebleep Thu 20-Sep-12 10:30:16

totally agree pipinjo A thorough, intensive program nationally which addresses ASD and associated areas of difficulty for our kids. Just being listened to about possible triggers and behaviours for an individual child.
I have discussed, exhaustively, the idiosyincracies of my DS, his possible triggers, environmental needs, what upsets him, etc , etc. It seems to fall on deaf ears too often and I get the call to pick him up or come into school to sort things out...again and again. Or he comes home and has a horrible day and difficulty going to move his bowels because he was unable to at school and held it in, causing many issues with behaviour for him and leading to huge distress and upset for him, that nobody has listened to me when I explained this trigger area and not recognised this possible for him when in school...(he needs to strip off and often sit in the loo for 20mins or more)...just the behaviour and ending up in negative situations because of the lack of attention to triggers, difficulties, etc
Managing behaviour but lacking the wherewithall to identify (or even try) to address the actual issue for the child. The lack of understanding or any respect for our kids is huge.
Our kids don't want to behave badly, they don't seek to be difficult. It too often does eventually lead to just feeling anger because the lack of understanding and support has built up to unmanageable levels. My DS is refusing school entirely now and this is a big part of why he is feeling so defeated and lost there, with nobody he has been able to identify with who has tried to understand him.

He is scared of being there, has nobody to turn to, nobody understanding him and he is totally lost and very vulnerable. (He told me he had asked the staff to use quieter voices because he was finding it hard to listen...they laughed at him and walked away!!!)His anxieties are at unmanageable levels and he's now having to take medication for this!!
The schools focus is his focus is the lack of understanding and inability of the school to support him or respect his differences.
Every child needs balance within any situation. It doesn't seem to happen and I believe many of my DS issues outwith our home are entirely due to ignorance and lack of knowledge...never mind basic respect for him and his needs.
The damage to our kids is huge imo and needs serious thought and deed if it is ever to improve for them.

HotheadPaisan Thu 20-Sep-12 11:37:21

Being impulsive is still an issue here, it comes from nowhere of course so difficult to predict/ prevent. Constant vigilance and intervention is the only answer atm. Also, transitions can be hyper despite preparation.

Totally agree about de-escalation, people tend to plough on upping the ante, this has completely the opposite of the desired effect, just makes everything worse.

Can I ask a question for discussion?

Two children find concentrating difficult and a particular maths makes them anxious. Child A mutters through it, tuts, flicks another child's ear, rips another child's work and spits at the teacher to try and avoid the work. Child B keeps quiet, says very little, tunes out but tries to give the illusion of compliance and gets away with minimum.

Which one has challenging behaviour?

What if child B subsequently went home and trashed his bedroom?

Could the strategies for dealing with child A and B ever be the same and if so, what could they be?

PipinJo Thu 20-Sep-12 13:41:38

CB is any behaviour that stops learning in this situ so both.
different triggers as one attention maintained other sensory to zone out to cope with overload behaviour
I wouldnt like to guess as not a BCBA

Yes I think so too Pipin, but Child B's behaviour tends not to be dealt with in my experience, or at least assumed to be due to lack of intelligence with outbursts at home being supported by sending the parents on parenting courses.

PipinJo Thu 20-Sep-12 16:32:33

What happens do someone come and answer questions...never taken part in anything before?

Yes my ds was the NV dc always laughing (anxiety) in class...HT said he would love 30 ds's in class as so well behaved! Did the HT know if my ds was NV and unable to learn in that MS setting?

Ds ex GM a HT of a Primary school for over 40 years wept when she learnt about ABA as it dawned on her how many of her dc she let down (through no fault of her own of course).

Anther dc who sat there twiddling string in air that was so well behaved was dc a challenge too?

In poverty area by me every parent gets sent on a parenting course...discrimination or what! I would have loved to have gone and learnt a few bits and challenged back their ideas but my postcode was wrong even though I am in worse poverty forced by SNs...but that is another thread.

LynetteScavo Thu 20-Sep-12 18:55:17

Marking my place. I maybe posting under a different name later on. smile

Harrypie Thu 20-Sep-12 19:19:42

Thanks. Will watch with interest. My challenging behaviour is quite low level. An absolute refusal at times to do what is bein asked eg. Get dressed. Answer, no. She is 6 and I find her attitude impossibly difficult at times. Have taken her to childminder in Pjs twice this term and dd does not seem to care at all.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 20-Sep-12 20:32:42

Hi PipinJo - yes, the idea is that Kim will come on at 9pm and get stuck in to the questions.


KimSteele Thu 20-Sep-12 20:42:54


RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 20-Sep-12 20:58:14

Welcome to Kim, who'll be ready to dive in to your questions soon.

Hi Kim! smile

KimSteele Thu 20-Sep-12 21:01:44

Hi mumsnet I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and my colleague. I am Kim Steele and I am the developemnt co-ordinator for KIDS south east region and Heather Penhaligon who is KIDS short breaks co-ordinator. Within our organisation part of Heather and my role is to support our various respite services for disabled children and young people. This includes teaching behaviour support strategies and implementation of behaviour plans which aim to meet individual needs whilst in our care.
We look forward to joining this live chat and answer as many questions as we can.

So what is challenging behaviour?

Is there any particular ethos or methodology to your behaviour support strategies? Are they evidence based, research-based, experience-based etc.?

UnChartered Thu 20-Sep-12 21:05:34

i like Star's question - what is the 'official' definition of challenging behaviour?

beautifulgirls Thu 20-Sep-12 21:08:50

DD#2 (6yrs old in year 2) is having real difficulties with focus on tasks and is getting very upset when she is being reminded/pushed etc to refocus. Even staff in school are having her in tears. I have tried to explain to her to help her understand. Any top tips here? She doesnt have a diagnosis of any specific problem but may tick the boxes for ADHD? (She has two sisters one with ASD).

professorpoopsnagle Thu 20-Sep-12 21:09:05

My DC who is 6 has become more and more violent over the last few months. He lashes out at siblings and does not seem to be remorseful when we explain his behaviour. Would welcome some pointers about steps to take- reading, websites etc.

Is slow typing a challenging behaviour? wink

KimSteele Thu 20-Sep-12 21:09:19

StarlightMckenzie - Good evening, I see you have questions about what is classed as challenging behaviour I have also seen that the formal definition has been posted. I would like to add that from our experience challenging behaviour can be perceived differently depending on the setting and/or individual.
Have you got any questions?

CillaSlack Thu 20-Sep-12 21:09:57

From my experiences 'challenging' is something that the school can't handle.

cornzy Thu 20-Sep-12 21:12:31

what training do you think that teachers should have in order to be able to work effectively with children who may struggle to control their behaviour?
what do you think of golden time - do you feel it is valuable/effective with children who have challenging behaviour?

KimSteele Thu 20-Sep-12 21:13:41

StarlightMckenzie - KIDS works to the TEAM TEACH approach which is 95% is de-escalation strategies, understanding the communictaion behind the behaviour and identifying triggers

What in your experience CAUSES challenging behaviour?

When dealing with it do you think we should focus our energy on managing the behaviour or the triggers/causes for it?

What are the pitfalls of each of these?

Thank you!

KimSteele Thu 20-Sep-12 21:18:42

Cornzy - we do not work in a school setting and we appreciate that every school has its own policies and procedures however we feel that teachers could be given training in understanding ASD and understanding that experiences drive feelings which result in behaviours that often result in reactions which can cause conflict .

KimSteele Thu 20-Sep-12 21:20:07

StarlightMckenzie - ideally we need to find out the reason behind the behaviour so that we can intervene earlier before any crisis occurs.

Thank you Kim.

Woukd you mind explaining the TEAM TEACH approach?

Is it something parents can use or is it for classrooms?

Is the focus of this approach to minimise disruption or teach the child how to communicate more effectively and acceptably?

UnChartered Thu 20-Sep-12 21:21:46

'could' be given training?

since challenging behaviours occur with many children, not just ones on the autistic spectrum, do you think teachers should perhaps study this as part of their teaching degrees?

cornzy Thu 20-Sep-12 21:22:07

what advice would you give to parents who are told by schools that their child's behaviour is 'challenging' if they feel that the school's approach to dealing with their child is a contributory factor?

KimSteele Thu 20-Sep-12 21:23:58

it is important to identify the anxiety and trigger first, so the need for diversion, support and reassurance at this point. That is what needs to be monitored before it escalates.

cornzy Thu 20-Sep-12 21:24:20

(and thank you for answering my other question by the way smile)

KimSteele Thu 20-Sep-12 21:26:36

StarlightMckenzie - Team teach can be used by anyone who is trained, the core values of team teach are to support childrenn and young people by understanding the function of their behaviour and to support yps to learn more accepatble means of expressing their needs for support

mariamma Thu 20-Sep-12 21:27:36

The challenging behaviour I really struggle with is the mealtime nonsense. Not eating, constant moaning, fighting, I don't like it, leaving the table...

and then complaining of hunger 2 hours later, after being tucked in for the night, and eventually having to be fed in order to sleep (or worse, yet another letter from the school to hospital 'Minimaria always appears to be hungry')

V 'stuck' on the obsessions in 'zone-out' time, so oblivious to any physical signs of needing food. Can feed in dribs and drabs in the holidays to avoid this but in term-time it's breakfast (as above), pack lunch (never finished), and then dinner (as above). A pre-dinner snack makes little difference to the behaviour but when I remember to offer it, probably does help the calorie intake.

Thank you. How do you teach them more acceptable forms of behaviour?

And what kind of training does the trainee receive?

KimSteele Thu 20-Sep-12 21:30:48

Cornzy - You may have already tried this apporach but asking the school to discuss and possibly the school Senco how best to manage his behaviour and to ascertain what behaviours they find challenging and to help identify triggers. Parent partnership services can also support with this.

bochead Thu 20-Sep-12 21:32:54

Are there any opportunities for parents to be taught appropriate safe restraint techniques?

I got lucky as I was shown how to do this as a teen for my sibling, but I've been shocked to find 20+ years later there is no way to update my rusty knowledge. This strikes me as a useful skill even for parents of NT kids to have in case of emergency btw. First aid courses for parents are readily available via HV's & surestart etc. Could safe restraint not also be taught?

In extreme cases it could reduce the risk of abuse (- strangling a kid as my son's ex HT did is NOT safe restraint! ) On the same note - what legal onus is there on schools/childcare providers to implement effective restraint training for relevant staff?

Please may I also ask if you and Heather read the MNSN boards?

KimSteele Thu 20-Sep-12 21:35:00

Mariamma - Have you tried to feed him little and often as he may not like to eat big meals at meal times? or maybe smaller portions at meal times that he does finish and enjoy then you can give lots of praise to reinforce this, So he is getting positive attention for his good behaviour rather then the negative association of a battle at meal times. Has your young person got additional needs?

KimSteele Thu 20-Sep-12 21:41:24

starlightmckenzie - we teach young people through lots of methods such as social stories, positive reinforcements, use of space, changes of environment setting realistic boundaries. It is importatnt to know the young people's motivations and interests because this can be often used to reinforce positive behaviours and develop greater communication skills. De-escalation is also an essential skill which we try and teach. It is importatnt to know the young person's signs before they go into crisis mode so you can intervene before this occurs.

So what happens when the SENCO and Parent Partnership exhibit far more challenging behaviour than your child?

Okay. Thank you. So how do you identify the triggers before meltdown mode?

So Kim what do you do when you have a child who is extremely challenging and his life is limited and none of what you say in your last post works?

KimSteele Thu 20-Sep-12 21:48:32

bochead - in our practice 95% is de-escalation and 5% is restraint - this is only ever used if there are no other options. We are team teach tutors and we teach our staff this apporach and evry memeber of staff have to evidence that they have tried all de-escation starategies before restarint is ever used, they are trained in restaint as a last resort. Parents are able to attend team teach, we are only able to teach employees but we are aware that team teach is delivered to aparents by principal team teach tutors. There is a cost to this. Team teach is used in a lot of our special schools in our area.

akaemmafrost Thu 20-Sep-12 21:49:15

Hi Kim, How about a child with HFA who is completely unable to function in a school setting of any kind, both mainstream or special, yet displays virtually no negative behaviours at home? His anxieties are so high in the school settings that he cannot be managed without daily meltdowns, aggression and restraint. No therapies or tools that usually work for autistic children work for him. He is out of school at present as he was coming home with abrasions and bruises all over him from being restrained. The things I do at home do not work at school. Nothing works at school sad. I believe his negative associations to a school setting are now so high they will never be able to change. He is so intelligent and I think he is not reaching his full potential but I don't know what to do next. We feel paralysed. Any thoughts?

mariamma Thu 20-Sep-12 21:50:16

Kim, replacing meals with snacks would probably work from a calorie point of view, but praise as a reinforcer just doesn't work well since ds has asd and various other bits. He finds snacks very reinforcing in themselves so I'm scared we'll struggle then to ever move back to meals (with the consequent carnage for family life and eating patterns / cooking / washing up etc).

Ooh, another question. How you you KNOW that 95% is de-escalation? Do you keep data? Is this relating to time spent on a behaviour or something else?

KimSteele Thu 20-Sep-12 21:51:38

starlightmckenzie - I may suggest in this sceniario I would approach the head teacher or the local authority. You do have a right to see the behaviour support policy within the school and any child care setting.

Maria, does he like anything like marble run?

How about a piece of marble rum for each bite, with a 'good' piece for every 10th bite?

life limited in more ways than one, medically and socially.

KimSteele Thu 20-Sep-12 21:55:18

devientenigima - you may have alraedy tried this but have you contacted social services for additional support because it sounds you need specific targeted support from them. You have a right to ask for an assessment and they are there to support you.

he has a social worker and a package in place such as respite but he can't leave the house or car.

should add he refuses to go to special school and has a tutor provided by the LA. He is violent and aggressive and has hit many without warning or remorse including doctors, teachers, nurses etc

he is 2:1 care as well as 24/7 supervision and apart from a few hours per week the rest of the time I am on my own, it's so lonely and isolating and even more so due to his needs and behaviours

Local Authoriy, are you kidding? I'm aware that you know Herts pretty well and therefore MUST know that they are worse than terrible. We escaped. DS is in an excellent provision well away from them in a school that invite parents to make suggestions to the behaviour plans for the children. DS is now exceeding by far the expectations set by the woefully inadequate providers in that Authority, mostly due to a true partnership of the school and parents.

LateDeveloper Thu 20-Sep-12 22:01:13

Interesting support thread. Lots of questions and about the credentials and intellectual discussion of approaches but half the questions from those who are struggling not answered so far. Professor, beautifulgirls and pipinjo might like an answer...

KimSteele Thu 20-Sep-12 22:03:06

akaemmafrost - it sounds like you and your son are having a very hard time, I am going to be honest it is hard to give advice because we dont know the full situation and we would not want to misguide on such a complex situation. I would suggest trying to get the key worker to come out to your home so that they can try and build a positive relationship before they try and introduce school again. This can be fundemantal for transition back to school.

cornzy Thu 20-Sep-12 22:06:25

It's interesting that you assume I'm talking about a boy!
I wasn't thinking about my own dc's with regards to my questions about schools and behaviour - rather the issue of how behaviour is dealt with in mainstream schools generically.

KimSteele Thu 20-Sep-12 22:06:42

Mariamma - ok appreciate that - maybe try and have a now and next this could be in ppicture form or PECS or objects of reference- now is dinner and next is an activity he really enjoys if he finishes his meal. This can be done in small steps he may sit at the table for a couple of minutes and eat a little and next time he sits for a bit longer. Positive reinformenst is importatnt and reward with something he enjoys.

KimSteele Thu 20-Sep-12 22:12:16

latedeveloper - thank you and appologies we missed the first few questions our system took a while to catch up

HotheadPaisan Thu 20-Sep-12 22:13:51

We served up dinner every day for over a year for DS1, he didn't come to the table or stay at it, we didn't comment, and then one day he did and we went from there. Snacks were always available, he preferred to graze and eat with his fingers until he was six.

KimSteele Thu 20-Sep-12 22:16:06

beautifulgirls - it sounds like your young person has limited concentration span and the school should be working with her to support this, so may be not staying on the same activity for too long and keeping it short and managable for your young perosn, moving on and then progressing using positive reward for concentration.

Lougle Thu 20-Sep-12 22:24:37

My DD goes to Special School and accesses KIDS after school. I'm very grateful for the service. The only thing I find difficult is that so often the children seem to be able to do whatever they like, and therefore behaviour at home can be more challenging than it should be, because Mummy has to be the big bad one who says no sometimes.

How do you positively deny a child something they want?

KimSteele Thu 20-Sep-12 22:24:41

professorpoopsnagle - If I am honest it is hard to advise because we do not knwo your young person as an invidual however you could do a simple social story to reinforce cause and effect, sit with your young person and show him faces of differnt emotions and going through what they mean, 'what makes you happy' when you are happy what do you look like?' what makes you sad' and explaining to himthat when you hit and kick xxxxx is sad because you have hurt him. having visual pictures can help support this. Also may be looking back at the last few months and seeing if there have been any events or changes that could of induced this behaviour.

LateDeveloper Thu 20-Sep-12 22:27:30


KimSteele Thu 20-Sep-12 22:30:19

Unfortunatly the live chat has come to an end but we will try and respond to as many as the posts as we can over the next couple of days. Thank you for having us, we have had a lot of responses and we wish we could have answered all of your questions and in more depth. Thank you and goodnight

HotheadPaisan Thu 20-Sep-12 22:30:23

For me every change is a long, slow process, all small steps, all rewarded along the way with the setbacks ignored or forgotten. There is no quick fix to any of it.

But I have had to compromise as much as DS1, we are not going to get there without us both pulling in the same direction.

We've had to break things down into small steps, accept when we've pushed it too far and back off, and reward every step in the right direction.

It's not easy and we've lost our tempers and been desperate at times but he can only go at his own pace and that is enough. Piling on the pressure just makes it worse, he gets stuck and then we're right back to the beginning.

We've also learnt to really listen to him, he doesn't like shoes and socks so he goes to school in crocs, we battled over this for so long, it was awful. Completely pointless.

beautifulgirls Thu 20-Sep-12 22:32:36

Thank you for the feedback

cornzy Thu 20-Sep-12 22:33:18

thank you this has been a very interesting web chat smile

HotheadPaisan Thu 20-Sep-12 22:33:35

For positively saying no I use wishes as fantasy, it worked a treat when he was younger, not so well now. Options work better or, well we could do x but then y would happen and we couldn't do z, he accepts that better than a 'no'.

mariamma Thu 20-Sep-12 22:35:29

Thank you Kim. And thanks Star as well

Thank you

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 20-Sep-12 22:39:54

Thanks very much to Kim and Heather, and to everyone who took part - we'll post up any follow-up answers over the next few days.

Sorry to push our link again but we'd be grateful for any responses to our feedback survey!


PipinJo Fri 21-Sep-12 00:44:26

Thanks MNHQ Rowan. Sorry I missed it Kim, very interesting discussions and good stuff being done and ideas, thanks!

and I didn't find out what you do when motivation, incentives, praise, redirection, rewards, de-escalation, social stories etc etc don't work!

Thanks anyway.

StillSquiffy Fri 21-Sep-12 10:53:51

As an aside to this, does anyone have any recommendations for books that might be useful for children who demonstrate challenging behaviour but who are not (or probably not) on the autistic spectrum? EG children like the one Colditz has described on here already?

My DD flies into the most extreme rages over nothing, completely unable to control herself in some situations (has been likened by one of my friends to the girl in the Exorcist.....), but who aside from this is delightful, funny, sociable and doing very well at school (and is also clever enough to be very manipulative even at 6). None of the usual advice has worked to date, boundaries are firm, rewards and punishments are clearly understood (and followed through), and yet still it carries on, just as it has done from infancy (she had the same rages as a baby and as a toddler). The triggers are: not getting her way/being instructed to do something/being unable to do something.

I'm a bit stumped because she falls well beyond normal strong-willed behaviour but I haven't yet found any good recommendations for dealing with this (have spoken to two Ed Psychs but her behaviour is atypical, so they weren't really able to recommend anything other than keeping up with consistency on my part).

StillSquiffy Fri 21-Sep-12 10:55:08

devientenigma - you've just summed it up far simpler than I did! That's exaclty it - what can you do?

HotheadPaisan Fri 21-Sep-12 11:37:27

PDA strategies can work well for all - lots of info out there on PDA. Also, I found this the other day and thought it was really good:

The principles and strategies are good even if the reasons underlying the behaviour aren't anxiety, ASD or SPD.

HotheadPaisan Fri 21-Sep-12 11:39:16

For situations where nothing is working I think you can only get a break. Also, we've had a behaviour specialist come in and observe a couple of time which was useful, again not a lot of the ideas worked but at least it gave us another perspective and a chance to have a re-think.

yes but PDA strategies down't work most times too.

sorry hothead I was a bit impulsive.......what happens when you can't get a break?

DS is 2:1 care 24/7 and doesn't access school etc.

HotheadPaisan Fri 21-Sep-12 18:23:33

I guess you'd have to consider residential at some point. Medication, I don't know. There aren't answers sometimes. What do you think could or should happen?

justaboutiswarm Fri 21-Sep-12 21:34:44

Truthfully, devientenigma, I think you are going to end up going the residential route, whether you do it now or in ten years time. I think that hte health issues are major enough that you need to be very careful how you arrange such a setting, and actually you have a better chance of his health needs being met if you get it into a statement before he is too old to get one, then if he is in the adult system.
So as I've said before I think you might want to consider residential - espeically as nothing is working for him at home, as you say, so it is not as if you have a compliant happy child already.
But I respect the fact that at the moment it's a route you have ruled out. Beyond that, though, I don't think there ARE any answers to your situation, and that's why people do keep suggesting residential to you.

ouryve Fri 21-Sep-12 21:40:50

StillSquiffy - the explosive child is a useful book. Rather than trite 123 magic type stuff, it focuses on prevention and de-escalation - and having realistic expectations about what a child can cope with. (Something DH really struggles with sometimes when the kids are tag-teaming)

justaboutiswarm Fri 21-Sep-12 22:48:29

Yes, I like the explosive child too.

speechlessmum Sat 22-Sep-12 19:21:31

Thanks for recommendation...I have read that book cover to cover...

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