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To put an official statement up regarding rules of SN group

(38 Posts)
FrustratingSituation76 Tue 28-Jul-15 08:57:41

I've NC for this because it's probably very identifying

Basically I voluntarily run a group for children with a specific disability. This disability affects children's social skills and they can sometimes act up. With this is mind the group fundraisers and provides summer holiday activities free of charge for the children and their siblings so parents can get them out without judgement in case something happens. These sessions are also to help the children develop social skills over summer in a none judgemental environment.

So yesterday was one of the activities. I had my DS with me but the place we chose is staffed and parents stay etc.

As we had plenty of spaces I invited someone I knew who has a son with learning disabilities but not the specific one and his sister as I know the mum struggles to find activities for both children. I work voluntarily with her at a different group, also for children with disabilities. Let call the daughter heather.

One little boy, I'll call him Bob, got very giddy about 30 minutes from the end and hit out, now he didn't do this aggressively or hard, he was playing, he did it to my DS twice trying to play a game with him and I told my DS to tell him no and that he didn't understand. His mum dealt with the behaviour every time. bob then hit out at heather three times because she was going round on a spinning toy. Bobs mum was getting to him to stop him, I was there and went and picked Bob up. Bobs mum came and heathers mum then shouted at bobs mum saying "that's three times now he's hit her!" This was said in a very nasty way and then heather was pulled away, heathers dad then said the same to bobs mum in a nasty way.

Bobs mum then got Bob and burst into tears and said she wasn't welcome and went to leave. I told her that of course she was welcome and to go and have a brew while I watched Bob. I told bobs mum that I would talk to heathers mum about what the group was for and to just try to forget it and have a nice day.

Later. Bobs mum contacted heathers mum on Facebook saying she was disappointed with her reaction to Bob at a group that was supposed to be for the children to practice their skills especially as she was dealing with the behaviour already. Heathers mum then sent me screen shots of the conversation where she said back that Bob was a bully and her children weren't safe around Bob and that bobs mum couldn't control her child and shouldn't bring him out.

Now I've had a nice word with heathers mum explaining that Bob didn't know and it's a very new thing the hitting and that we were getting on top of his behaviour and his mum moping it in the bud with help and support. But heathers mum kept repeating that he was a bully and unsafe to be around other children.

Bobs mum also messaged me with what heathers mum said about Bob and it was really unpleasant. This is made worse by the fact that all of our children also attend the same special school in which heathers mum and I are heavily involved in volunteering.

So... Basically it's all kicked off and I'm in the middle not wanted to upset anyone.

I was thinking of putting a sticky on group saying that the activities are for the children to practice social skills and that there may be instances of unwanted behaviour so although younger siblings are welcome, they have to be aware that they come at the parents own risk and that no parent is to be made to feel judged or like their child isn't welcome while at group.

But I'm unsure how to properly word it. Would this be unreasonable do you think? Should I put a general sticky up about rules or should I just leave it and hope it blows over?

PenelopePitstops Tue 28-Jul-15 09:01:46

All sounds pretty nasty from Heathers mum. You seem to be handling it well.

I would put a sticky and your wording sounds pretty good.

Sirzy Tue 28-Jul-15 09:02:04

Tough one. If it is the first such incident then I probably wouldn't go to that length yet.

Sounds like bobs mum was doing all she could in the situation. Quite worrying that someone who is volunteering in a special school can't appreciate that sometimes behaviour will be out of what is normally deemed acceptable (if that makes sense!)

Sirzy Tue 28-Jul-15 09:02:39

Just to add you sound fantastic both in your handling of this and setting up activities for these children!

FrustratingSituation76 Tue 28-Jul-15 09:05:28

Thank you. I'm just getting DS ready so will be back soon. I did find it worrying especially since a lot of parents at the group have children in the school we volunteer for and we are supposed to be getting more parents involved but a lot of them saw the incident and are angry with heathers mum.

Bobs mum was definitely doing all she could. I've had incidents in the way where parents have let children behave badly and ignored them and in those cases I've said they have to watch their own children and respond (in a nice way) but in this case bobs mum really was doing her best

ShipShapeAhoy Tue 28-Jul-15 09:06:43

Hi im not experienced in sn but to me the sticky sounds like a good idea. In fact I'd use similar wording to your op, maybe like:

"All activities are for the children to practice their social skills but due to the nature of [name of sn] there may be instances of unwanted behaviour. While younger siblings are welcome, please be aware that they come at the parents own risk. This group is an inclusive space and no parent or child attending should be made to feel unwelcome."

I don't know if heathers mum would realise you'd put this up as a result of her reaction. Her reaction does seem surprising given her experience of sn, even if not the same issue.

FrustratingSituation76 Tue 28-Jul-15 09:20:29

That sounds brilliant I will use that wording. Thank you. I was surprised at her reaction but talking to her later she kept saying that she 'just removed heather' as if she doesn't remember what she said to bobs mum, but what she said afterwards about Bob being a bully was really uncalled for and made me feel sad about it. Her son seems to deal with social situations brilliantly and has a very clued up view of what is right and wrong so she might now have experienced it before perhaps? (Straw clutching?) but Bob really isn't a bully and he really just doesn't know yet.

Tizwailor Tue 28-Jul-15 09:21:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Rubgyshapedlegs Tue 28-Jul-15 09:25:22

Heather's mum calling a child with a SN a bully, needs a good fucking talking to. And then the stickie.

FrustratingSituation76 Tue 28-Jul-15 09:25:55

That's a good idea to tell them to message an admin rather then going to each other. The woman who setup the group initially stopped running it day today because of issues like this or fall outs between parents so they do happen occasionally. I'll add that on thank you

TheHouseOnBellSt Tue 28-Jul-15 09:27:34

Can I ask your advice please OP? I'm really sorry to derail your thread...but you seem so knowledgeable about this.

My friend's son is 5 and has Autism. He is verbal but not in a conversational way...he is prone to tantrums and lashing out if someone takes something..even if he isn't playing with it.

Yesterday, my neighbour's 2 year old picked up some bricks I'd set out for the toddlers and H went into a bad tantrum as he wanted them.

My friend just smiled and said "I thought he might do's because the've got numbers on them."

And didn't correct him. Later, H did the same thing to my DD who is 7 and quiet as she tried to colour in...he screamed in her face and slapped her arms....she was upset but her Mum said "It's because he likes ordering the colours"

Should she correct him? Or should the other kids just give in to him because he doesn't understand?

It's a bit tiring when it happens often.

FrustratingSituation76 Tue 28-Jul-15 09:33:25

He should be corrected yes. Not necessarily told off in the way you'd expect because from what you've said it sounds like he was having difficulties due to his disability. Without being there I wouldn't know what was appropriate in terms of consequences or explanations as I don't know how much he can understand. Obviously aggression is unwanted and they need to be given skills to get their point across without it. In a way that's appropriate to them.

IsItMeOr Tue 28-Jul-15 09:33:54


I am honestly appalled at Heather's mum. She does not sound like a helpful person to have as the public face of the parental involvement in a school for children with special needs.

Is there a SENCO at the school who you could talk to about the incident and take their advice? I know that Heather's mum will have been DBS checked, but it does seem like something a bit more than that is needed for somebody who is getting involved in organising activities for children with these kinds of special needs.

You sound like you handled it really well. The only thing you didn't mention was whether you had a word with Heather's mum at the time (as you told Bob's mum you would, and would be very appropriate), or not until after the Facebook exchanges (which would not be ideal).

You may lose Heather's mum as a friend/volunteer over this, but honestly it does not sound like that would be a great loss.

IsItMeOr Tue 28-Jul-15 09:40:09

TheHouse My 6yo has ASD, and lashes out when he is distressed. I would certainly not be allowing him to interact with your DD like that.

Hurting another person, including spoiling their fun, is not acceptable behaviour, so I will take DS away if he is unable to cope.

It has sometimes been very tiring parenting DS, and it sounds like he is a lot more communicative than your friend's DS. However, I would honestly be wondering about continuing the friendship in your shoes, so before you get to that point, it would be kind to have a word with your friend about keeping your DCs safe.

I think it is already a lot to ask the other DCs to understand that her DS is not going to be told off for something that they would be. It is perfectly appropriate for her to talk quietly to her DS about what is happening and the desired behaviour, rather than more traditional disciplining.

FrustratingSituation76 Tue 28-Jul-15 09:41:08

I didn't have a word with heathers mum at the time no. I told bobs mum is tak to her later as here was only 30 minutes left and I was running after DS and trying to keep Bob with us as well so his mum could calm down sad

By the time I'd got home (later than most others as I had to stay till the end and talk to the venue owners etc) and was about to call heathers mum the Facebook messages had already started to be exchanged. (Bobs mum initiated these)

Rubgyshapedlegs Tue 28-Jul-15 09:44:03

Hard though it may be, Heather's mum's language is terrible and she's framing that behabiour completely wrongly and needs feedback.

Well done you for running the group though, you sound amazing. x

IsItMeOr Tue 28-Jul-15 09:47:55

I'm torn between whether you have a role to get involved in sorting out between Bob's and Heather's parents, or not, to be honest.

Bob's mum was justifiably upset, and she has made that plain to Heather's mum. Heather's mum has attempted to justify/forget her own behaviour, and made it even worse.

If I have understood your position correctly, it is that Heather's mum's behaviour is unacceptable within this group. You are wondering about how to let her - and other parents - know this. You can do a group sign (which sounds good to me) and you can also let Heather's mum know that she is welcome at the next event if she is prepared to follow those rules (but I'm not sure I would be brave enough to do that!).

Good luck. Is talking to the SENCO an option? I wonder if these kinds of parent disputes have kicked off before.

FrustratingSituation76 Tue 28-Jul-15 09:52:35

My position is that heathers mums initial response was unacceptable. Also the following language she used about Bob as she tried to defend her actions. I can talk to school of this continues but this wasn't a school group it was a different independent one. It's just that there's a lot of children from the school that attend (it being in the same town and the school being a special school)

Thank you for everyone's feedback. I've updated the pinned post on the group on Facebook where most people get the information and have asked people to read it.

Heathers mum said she isn't coming anymore because she feels like she's being gunned for. I told her she was welcome but obviously sometimes there would be unwanted behaviours still.

evelynj Tue 28-Jul-15 09:54:08

I'd say try the softly softly approach if poss 1st. See if heathers mum is free for you to call over for a cuppa & ask if she's doing ok as she seems a bit stressed & you thought it was a bit of an overreaction with Bob. If you can talk to her honestly as a friend before it gets any worse it may help dampen things. Perhaps say maybe it was a mistake to invite them to the specific sn group as maybe she isn't so familiar with the needs of that group?

If she's still adamant about it and won't stop using the term bully then it's inappropriate & maybe you should speak to the school for guidance. Sounds like you're doing a great job btw

x2boys Tue 28-Jul-15 09:54:38

This is annoying i have a five yr old son with asd and learning difficulties i go to various groups specifically as my sons behaviour can be challenging at times as can most of the other childrens regardless of what their diagnosis is and as parents of children with s/n w should realise this and not make another parents life more difficult.

x2boys Tue 28-Jul-15 09:55:58

no yanbu!

ShipShapeAhoy Tue 28-Jul-15 09:57:25

It's a shame that heather's mum is taking the decision not to come anymore because it's her children who miss out. I wonder if she's going through a tough time with something else at the moment, as it seems odd to me that she has behaved this way. Unless this is her normal behaviour and youve just not really seen it before.

DixieNormas Tue 28-Jul-15 09:57:45

I think you are handling it well, I do think words need to be had with Heathers mum and the sticky sounds like a good idea.

A group for dc with sn should be a safe place, we have enough judgement at nt groups and in public generally without having it at a group where people should be aware of the difficulties our dc face. It sounds like Bobs mum was dealing with the situation.

I really wouldn't want Heathers mum volunteering at my childs school and this situation woukd certainly change my oppinion of her

Sirzy Tue 28-Jul-15 09:58:10

As a group I am in has just had a similar update I am guessing it's the same one and if so it reads great.

We haven't been to any events yet but your response on here has made me more likely to in the future

FrustratingSituation76 Tue 28-Jul-15 10:00:40

Hi sirzy! That's why I NCd! Yes I've just updated via an admin profile and all the admins agreed about the update first. Now I want to know who you are! Please come to the other events. There's one on Thursday

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