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children being 'bribed' to spend time with autistic child... not sure how I feel about it.

(105 Posts)
pingu2209 Fri 01-Jul-11 09:24:46

This morning my ds was rather pleased as he had been given 'team points' from the teacher for spending time/playing with a child in his class that has autism. The child isn't severely autistic, it is mild-moderate.

I just don't know how I feel about it... sad, puzzled, worried, pleased the school is being 'cleaver' etc. I guess it is better than the child being all alone. But I'm not sure what message this is giving the children. They are all aged 7-9 (mixed year class).

I spoke to one other mum and she said that her dd is also given team points for taking the child into the lunch hall.

I'm not sure whether the child knows that his class peers are given team points when they take him to lunch or play in the playground with him. Certainly the child's mother does not know.

worraliberty Fri 01-Jul-11 09:27:41

I don't think it's a bribe...more a reward for showing kindness.

Surely they'd get team points for showing extra thought and kindness to anyone?

spookshowangel Fri 01-Jul-11 09:30:12

hmm either its teaching appropriate behaviour to a child with different needs with a reward system or like you say bribery.

pigletmania Fri 01-Jul-11 09:30:38

I think it's a good idea. My dd has possible ASD. It teaches children about disability and kindness, and means a child is not all alone

pingu2209 Fri 01-Jul-11 09:31:48

Yes, I suppose that is another way of looking at it. It is just sad.

The child needs to help in most situations or he just flounders around looking lost. The children used to help out but then it was always the same children so they started to complain to their parents, who in turn complained to the school teacher. Their view was that it was not their child's responsibility. If a child had such needs the school needed to put adults in place. However, getting a statement is so hard and there are not enough adults/TAs around to do the job.

schobe Fri 01-Jul-11 09:33:19

It's such a tricky one. My DS is autistic but still only a toddler so not in school.

Why not ask the question in the special needs topic? I'd be interested to hear opinions from people with knowledge and experience.

I think it depends how it is being handled. I wonder how much discussion there is about good teamwork and looking after each other rather than just doling out points. Do the children discuss how they feel if they are left out or feeling nervous or confused?

It certainly seems unwise not to inform the child's mother as part of the whole picture of how her child's needs are being met.

schobe Fri 01-Jul-11 09:34:51

However, having read your later posts, it is NOT ok for children to be taking on the role of a TA or adult support.

CheerfulYank Fri 01-Jul-11 09:37:39

I am a 1:1 at our school and the child I work with is on the spectrum. We (individually) pulled aside a few kids who were especially friendly and explained to them that "X sometimes has a hard time knowing what to do at recess (or whenever) and if you could help her out a bit it'd be great." They've been fantastic at it really...it's especially helpful because one of the boys is the "cool" boy in class already (they're 8) and he always chooses her for his partner, etc.

It's one thing if the teacher just notices that they're being kind and gives them points, it's quite another if they're doing it because they know they'll get points.

worraliberty Fri 01-Jul-11 09:39:03

I do think they're just teaching the children about inclusion and rewarding them for showing thought to others.

I'm sure if the Autistic child showed extra thought for another pupil...he too would be given team points.

Jdore Fri 01-Jul-11 09:40:33

Very clever of the school, Its helping the children with making time for a child who's behaviour is a bit different from there own , who normally they might chose to stay away from. The child who has As will feel included and the other children will get used to any differences.
Very badly put I know, but I do have a child with |As and I wish this had happened to him

TwoIfBySea Fri 01-Jul-11 09:42:44

Dts2 shares a class with a sn boy. Up until now it has worked fine with everyone accepting R was just different and would sometimes go in rages. Really good way of learning tolerance and understanding for the other kids.

No bribery needed & R's TA has always been like a general class assistant helping everyone as well as caring for him.

Unfortunately as they get older I wonder how long he can really remain in mainstream as the gap is widening. The other kids complain because "all R has to do is start up & he gets what he wants." Which is true but the generosity of other kids missing out to give him things worked fine when younger but seemingly not now they are 9. He also seems to have carte blanche to pick on another boy whose mother is getting very frustrated.

I think if bribery were used at this point it would work too but in sending out an entirely wrong message.

TwoIfBySea Fri 01-Jul-11 09:42:44

Dts2 shares a class with a sn boy. Up until now it has worked fine with everyone accepting R was just different and would sometimes go in rages. Really good way of learning tolerance and understanding for the other kids.

No bribery needed & R's TA has always been like a general class assistant helping everyone as well as caring for him.

Unfortunately as they get older I wonder how long he can really remain in mainstream as the gap is widening. The other kids complain because "all R has to do is start up & he gets what he wants." Which is true but the generosity of other kids missing out to give him things worked fine when younger but seemingly not now they are 9. He also seems to have carte blanche to pick on another boy whose mother is getting very frustrated.

I think if bribery were used at this point it would work too but in sending out an entirely wrong message.

silverfrog Fri 01-Jul-11 09:45:22

I don't see the harm (my dd1 is ASD)

sometimes, the other children might need that incentive to start helping out, or take the time out form their interests to help - but surely the idea is that, once they do that, and the child integrates well, they will all learn somethign from it - the NT children that actually, X is great fun ot play with, and X that the NT children are nice and fun too, and not scary.

dd1 goes into a MS school once a week to play and have lunch with a small group of pre-selected children. I woudl not mind at all if they were rewarded for what they do with dd1 - they give up their lunchbreak to help her, and have been fantastic for her. this week, dd1 joined in the PE lesson, where they were running races - as a result of her having been playing with the small group over previous weeks, they and all their friends (knock-on effect) were all lined up cheering hard for dd1 as she ran her race - her tutor said she really enjoyed it (especially since dd2 has been talking about her sports day non-stop for the past couple of weeks).

they ahve also integrated her into their playground games - so where she used ot go and play with 2 or 3 children, she is now playing in the main playground with them - things like Duck, Duck Goose or What's the Time Mr Wolf - and this woudl not have come about if the initial few children had not been so kind - they deserve a reward, tbh.

notso Fri 01-Jul-11 09:47:57

It depends on whether the teacher said "If you help/play with X then you can have some extra team points",
or if your ds helped/played with X, the teacher saw and rewarded DS for being kind.

Rosebud05 Fri 01-Jul-11 09:51:16

It also depends on whether kids get points for helping someone out when they need a hand, or specifically for 'helping the kid with a disability'.

Surely the first one?

niminypiminy Fri 01-Jul-11 09:55:13

I can't quite understand why this is being talked about as a bribe. It's not, it is a reward.

Rewarding behaviour that you do want to see is a founding principle of behaviourism, which underpins virtually all behaviour management strategies used in schools these days.

Do we want to see children being kind and considerate? Are they always, inevitably and naturally so? Ok then, how do we encourage this? I'm not saying I wholeheartedly believe in behaviourism (I don't), but this is no different from getting them to hand in their homework on time by saying they can have team points, or golden time, or whatever, if they do.

And as the mother of a boy with AS it makes me sick to think of parents complaining to school because their children were helping this child. They should be proud of their children.

5inthebed Fri 01-Jul-11 09:58:29

I think it is a good idea to promote inclussion amongst peers. It might also help others to see that this child can actually be fun to be aound and that they can be friends with them.

My DS2 has ASD and is in MS, but he has a ft 1:1. He doesnt have problems making friends, and his friends are always helping him out, yesterday he forgot his hat in class and his friend emembered it for him.

justaboutWILLfinishherthesis Fri 01-Jul-11 09:59:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

5inthebed Fri 01-Jul-11 10:00:04

Although I should add, that if this chid is having poblems adjusting to school, then the school should be providing him with a TA to support him, rather than rely on other children to help out.

bubblesincoffee Fri 01-Jul-11 10:01:30

I think it depends how you look at it and on how the teachers are presenting it to the children. It could be done in a really good way that is a positive thing for all concerned, or it could go badly wrong.

My 10 yo (who has AS incidentaly) is now spectacularly bored of house/team points and I would hate to think that a child was all of a sudden going to have no body looking out for him because his peers had lost interest in the house points. It would have to be done in such a way that the pleasure of being kind was to be fely by the children as well.

Ultimately, I don't think it's a bad thing, because even if it doesn't last, it will hopefully make it easier for both your dc and the dc with ASD to interact anyway without the need for an extra gain.

Adversecamber Fri 01-Jul-11 10:34:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

pingu2209 Fri 01-Jul-11 10:46:40

Well, you have made my mind up. I think it is a reward for good behaviour.

I have only spoken to 1 other mum so can't give a wide view, but she said her daughter has worked out that if she takes the child to lunch she will get team points. The mum said her dd was quite cleaver in that way. My ds has not worked that out (probably not as quick), he was just thrilled to get team points for doing what came naturally to him.

I don't think it has been specifically said by the teacher "look after X and you will get team points." But the cleaver children can work it out for themselves. However, I take your point Twoifbysea, what happens when team points don't have the same attraction?

I believe the problem started when the child came to the school mid term. He was given a 'buddy', which is standard practise in the school, to help him settle. The buddy sits next to him, takes him to lunch and plays with him during breaks. Normally as the new child settles the child will meet other children and the circle widens.

Sadly because this particular child has Autism (Asbergers) he becomes very attached to whoever is spending time with him and very clingy. He doesn't like football and running around, he likes to sit and dig in the dirt and wants his friend to do it with him. Quite quickly parents were having 'quiet words' with the teacher to say please would you ask another child to be X's buddy because my child is getting fed up now.

The poor teacher knew that X needed to have someone be with him during the lunch hall and playground experience and would move on to the next child, until the inevitable happened and the parent would want a 'quiet word'...

Personally I think as X needs help to move through the processes at lunch, then a child should not be expected to do it. As for the playground, it is very sad.

To add, the child started 2 1/2 years ago but still is not able to go to lunch on his own and children still have to help him - which is probably why they give team points (albeit subtely) to children who will take him.

extremepie Fri 01-Jul-11 10:47:34

I'm not sure why but this leaves a bad taste with me I'm afraid. I have an autistic DS, just turned 3 and trying to get him into nursery.

I would be extremely upset if I would out other kids were being 'bribed' to spend time with my son, as if he is not worth spending time with otherwise and if kids weren't rewarded for not excluding him, he would spend all of his time on his own. Almost makes it seem like there is nothing about him worth liking sad

I'm sure this is not how this was intended, and other kids may well get points for helping out others regardless of whether or not they had a disability but if I found out this was happening to my son I would be very upset!

justaboutWILLfinishherthesis Fri 01-Jul-11 10:50:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bruffin Fri 01-Jul-11 11:01:04

If he was told he will get reward points for playing with the child, then I would say it was bribery, but if he chose to do it off his own back then I think his kindness is being rewarded.

DD got a certificate for "working well with others" because she was the only child who would partner a boy with behaveral difficulties in art. I don't see it as bribery at all, just recognition of her being kind.

She now volunteers at a special needs play scheme and a sn swim session and really enjoys it.
You never know with the children being encouraged to spend time with him, one of them might actually click with him and make friends.

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