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to ask for some advice for a friend

(10 Posts)
bumpsnowjustplump Tue 20-Nov-12 14:45:47

My friend (lets call her X) has a son in year 1 at school. He may have some level of autism which teh school are aware about. Today friend had a call from the school to say that her son had bitten someone at lunch time. He had bruised the boys skin but had not broken the skin, when she asked what had happened it transpires that the other child had been pulling her sons coat stopping hiim from being able to go anywhere and he had turned and bitten him to get him off. Her son is being made to write a letter of apology and then he has to spend the rest of the day in his old reception class (by way of a timeout). The receptionist has told my friend it is to make a point that his behaviour is of someone yonger than his age... He is also not allowed out as normal but has to be collected from the office.

How would you feel if this was your child. Do you feel this treatment is too sevear, the other child who was stopping him from going anywhere is not being punished at all.


bumpsnowjustplump Tue 20-Nov-12 14:47:10

please excuse spelling mistakes in the above post, arghhh should preview first

Shakirasma Tue 20-Nov-12 14:52:11

Sounds reasonable. Biting is very serious and the consequences should be severe. ASD means the punishment must all happen in one go, whilst the child can associate it with the incident. It doesn't matter that the other child was annoying him, he must be made to understand that biting is a big no no.

Justforlaughs Tue 20-Nov-12 14:54:01

I'm really not convinced that humiliating this child is going to achieve anything. I don't think that children with sn should be allowed to get away with unacceptable behaviour on the grounds of their sn but I do think that any punishment needs to be tailored to them as individuals. The other child should at least have been told that his behaviour was unacceptable as well, even if they decided that the bite was punishment enough. I would seriously consider another school if that was their attitude to my child.

naturalbaby Tue 20-Nov-12 14:54:27

I would be fuming. They are punishing him by humiliation, biting is serious and should be treated as such, but humiliating a child is not going to help them deal with the issue in my opinion.

bumpsnowjustplump Tue 20-Nov-12 14:56:22

Thats what i thought justforlaughs and naturalbaby. He was wrong but they are humiliating him and excluding him publicly by putting him in the year below him.

LemonBreeland Tue 20-Nov-12 14:58:21

He should be punished, but not by putting him in YR. That is just wrong, sn or not.

NoraGainesborough Tue 20-Nov-12 15:00:47

Why is he going to reception?

Is he learning with them or do they just have more staff and so can better supervise him. Its just somewhere to place him without to have a memeber of staff sit in the hall for example.

If its the first its smacks of 'if you can't behave, we will treat you like a baby' if its the second then its fine.

It's a tough one, he has bitten someone - and that needs to be addressed. However his bite was a reaction to something that was being done to him. Children with ASD don't have the social etiquette and reactions that neurotypical children do, and his reaction is, if you look at it from his point of view, quite reasonable.

Speaking from experience, lunchtimes are particularly hard for children with ASD. It's unstructured time with less supervision. My DS1 used to lash out terribly during lunchtimes and it was agreed that he needed a safe quiet place to go where there was less sensory overload.

I would advise that your friend speak with the SENCO at the school, enquire about things like "social stories" and "comic strip communication" which are ways of explaining the "right" way to react to situations like that. They are also helpful to gain insight into why the child has reacted the way they have.

Punishment needs to be immediate and apt. I don't think that this was the case here, but the school do also have a duty of care to the other children around - and a responsibility to ensure that they don't get bitten. However, your friends son has a right to not be touched, pulled, or made uncomfortable too.

The school need to put measures in place, with your friend's help - to prevent this happening in the future. Needs sorting now while he's young, before it spirals - because that's not fair on him or on his classmates.

pingu2209 Tue 20-Nov-12 15:47:43

There is a huge difference between pulling someone's hood on a coat and biting; but a child with Autism may not be able to see that. Your child needs to be taught that it is not appropriate to bite at all no matter what.

It may be that the way they are teaching your son is not appropriate - I can't judge. It is not that the punishment is too harsh - for a 'normal' child I would expect that exact type of punishment - but I'm not sure the punishment will work for a child with Autism, and that is the point.

The whole pulling of coats/hoods really bugs me. Every new coat my children have the hood is ripped within a few weeks because of other children grabbing it and yanking back. It happens with boys more than girls but happens whether the child is 5, 7 or 9+ Drives me bonkers.

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