6yo spent the day under coats in school.(23 Posts)
My Ds is in P3 and has an IEP. He has been referred to a paediatrician for assesment for ADD and autism. His behaviour in school has been awful since september (although issues existed well before then but not as bad) and up until christmas. Over christmas and since his return to school he has been massively settled and only one incident of violence (slapped classroom assistant on the arm) since leaving school for xmas break.
Today his teacher told me that he spent the whole day until about 1.30 or 2pm sitting under the coats on the cloakroom hooks. She says she tried to coax him out but he wouldnt come.
I'm just wondering what should be done in this case. It doesnt feel right to me that he was there all day. I understand the teacher must teach the rest of the class but surely this cant just be what is supposed to happen? I would even rather they call me to come and get him than have him sit there all day. I dont want to accuse the teacher of not doing her job because its not a job a i could do in a million years but this is the second incident where he has just been left to his own devices. The previous time was where he went to the bathroom and was able to fill his school bag full of water. The teacher said he was in there for about 20 minutes (so obviously knew he had gone in and not come out) before he came back out again. It seems like the teacher doesnt have the resources to deal with him but it actually isnt ok because he does need to be dealt with rather than ignored until home time or until he rejoins the class.
This is probably a bit waffley but i am upset and just wondering if i am right to be and if so what to do? Or is this just fine and should i expect this from now on?
My DS used to do this too...it was his way of saying "it's too noisy/stimulating in here" and he used to find a safe space to hide....sometimes this was under the coats. Other times he would sit under a table with his hands over his ears and once the bottom shelf of a book case.
Was anyone available to sit with him while he was doing this? DS had a 1-1 helper who would sit with him at these times and try to encourage him out, sometimes this worked and sometimes it didn't.
Your DS needs more support.
If it's any comfort (probably not at the moment) DS is now 13 and NEVER does this any more so your DS might grow out of this and find other ways of calming himself with the right support. My DS wears a wristband which says "okay to talk" on one side and "leave me alone" on the other so he can flip it about as needed. . He is in a special school now and it's fine for him to leave the classroom for five minutes if he needs a break...but just five minutes. It gives him enough time to calm down and then he rejoins his small class.
There is a classroom assistant that is shared between other classrooms, the teacher made no mention of her today so i am guessing she wasnt available today.
There is a "quiet corner" in the classroom which was initially set up for Ds last year by his P2 teacher (he used to hide under the table prior to this) and he usually goes to the corner when he needs to although it is used by other children too so maybe he wasnt able to go there when he needed to today. He cant leave the classroom as he has form for running away and has left the school premises before.
I havent asked Ds about today yet as he is in whingey form and i know it will end in him shutting down all conversation of it so i'm going to wait until he is in chatty form.
He has a behavioural support worker who saw him today and she made no mention of him being down or stressed in her follow up call to me (she sees him during school hours) she said he was chatty and happy with her, very excited about our new house.
What would you like the teacher to have done?
Your son chose a sensible calming down strategy that did not put anyone in danger. A whole morning is a lot of class time to miss but everyone has bad days. It sounds like he needs a new safe space to go where an adult can help him work through whatever is bothering him. However, from your description, today's incident was managed in the best way possible.
The teacher cannot place the needs of one child over the other 25. "Aibu to be annoyed that teacher spent whole morning in the cloakroom while all the other kids read quietly?"
Plus, how do you know the teacher didn't think 'what he needs right now is time alone'. You seem to be assuming that people are just shrugging their shoulders rather than making active professional choices.
Of course she doesn't expect that. But a phone call might've been an idea.
I think its fantastic that the op has said they would rather they ring her and if a parent communicated this to me I would feel comforted and supported.
But, if I was in this situation I will admit ringing a parent wouldn't occur to me unless this had already been agreed. I would assume such a call illicit either:
not my problem, see you at half three
But this is terrible! I'm so worried but there is nothing I can do I'm at work! Oh my goodness!
If a parent asked 'why didn't you call me?' I would genuinely be thinking 'why would I call you? They are my responsibility, I have to manage their behaviour like any other child.'
He needs more support, it's not ok that he was left to sit there all day. Did he have anything to eat?
My friends ds has a safe tent that he carries everywhere. No one is allowed to go in it except his one to one and it allows him to escape whilst still being in the same room. It was the head teachers idea, she bought it from ikea.
Just an idea
I don't think the teacher did anything wrong leaving him under the coats. He obviously felt safe and back in control. Moving him could have caused a huge melt down and unless he has a one to one what else is she supposed to do.
Ok first of all i am the first to say i have absolutely no idea what can or should be done. This is all new to me and i am just working with trial and error on how to deal with DS. This is the first time Ds did this and i dont know any friends whose children have done this so i havent a clue what should happen. The teacher seems to be at as much of a loss as i am so even if i could go to her with a "this tactic works for some children" that she can try or "best to leave him to calm down and return when he is ready" so she knows its ok to do that. And i am not saying this in an accusatory way but she is very much shrugging her shoulders when she informs me of his behaviours because like me she has no idea how to get round them.
I understand many parents wouldnt come to school for this so i get that teachers wont phone home but to me this is just like if he was ill, and i would come and get him or try and coax him to rejoin the class.
Also, i know and do not expect the teacher to prioritise Ds over the rest of the class but at the same time he cant spend his days under the coats. I am hoping this was a one off and he was just feeling overwhelmed but if its not then i just want to know whats the best way of dealing with it and making sure he is getting back to class as soon as he can.
He did eat, he went with the class to the dinner hall and had his dinner as usual. Then went back under the coats after dinner.
Today he had a much better day, mostly co-operative and no incidents.
If he came out to eat normally in a dinner hall that is noisy and full of sensory stimulus, is there an element of just doing what he wants if he goes under the coats? I don't want to work/be in the classroom but I want my lunch?
Yes this must be so worrying for you and stressful for the teacher. She really needs a 1:1 helper for your ds. I hope you can convince the school. Even for a few hours a week would help.
is there an element of just doing what he wants if he goes under the coats? I don't want to work/be in the classroom but I want my lunch?
Yes very much so. If he doesnt want to do something he just wont and he will have meltdowns if you try and make him. It takes quite a bit of gentle manipulation to even get him to do small things like his reading homework if he says he doesnt want to do it. I realise how ridiculous that sounds, he is 6 he should do what he is told and if i didnt have experience of DS i would be saying exactly this but really this is how he works. I had always just put it down to him being incredibly stubborn. I am not a wishy washy parent or a soft touch, we have rules and consequences and i stick to them. My eldest DS has none of these issues, he is 10 and just gets on with school as something that has to be done. DS2 just seems to need such different handling and i am still trying to work out how best to do it.
I will also say that when DS isnt in these moods he is a real joyful child. the teacher tells me on his good days he was a delight, so eager to help her, polite, he has a lovely sense of humour and is very charming. But she says it is like a switch goes off in him and often with no obvious trigger. He just suddenly stops co-operating and will walk off to his quiet corner or go and do something else. He will cover his eyes or his ears and wont engage.
Hmm, sounds very tricky, and the teacher doesn't have time to spend coaxing him out with 30 other dc to deal with.
Sounds like it might be pointless trying to coax him anyway, though? Do you usually leave him til he just decides to come out and engage again?
Not sure what the answer is. Is it worth a TA sitting with him if he just needs time?
At home he comes round very quickly. He can go and play in his room and all of a sudden he is happy again and will come back to me full of the joys of spring. At school it is obviously very different, he is restricted in how he can calm himself. But yes maybe it is best if he is left to come round himself. I was amazed he stayed til 1.30 because the Ds i know wouldnt be able to resist joining in with his friends having a giggle or getting up and having a wander round. It jst isnt like him at all to stay in the same place, doing the same thing for so long.
If there is no mention of the classroom assistant I wonder if it was just a bad day all round- classroom assistant being off, your DS being under the coats, wet play etc etc.
Are you NI? I've never heard IEP used in Scotland.
Anyway, I would go in saying
- why did he go under the coats? Was it to do with coming in from the playground? Does he need to do this away from the madness of 300+ kids coming in at the one time?
- if he goes under the coats again, what I would like you to do is...
She really needs a 1:1 helper for your ds.
I don't know where the OP is (I think either Scotland or NI) but here in Scotland it is a very, very rare child who gets 1:1.
There are very few classroom assistants and they are being phased out. When a C.A. retires or goes on maternity leave, they are not being replaced.
And obviously, situations like this escalate.
Yes i am in NI. He has been on the IEP since p1. All i have heard is that there is a snow balls chance in hell of getting a 1:1 because the money just isnt there for them. This isnt coming from the school as it hasnt been discussed but from friends and family who i suppose are hearing it from their friends etc.
I havent had a chance to speak to DS about it yes as was working until 6 and they are in bed. But i am going to try and bring it up and see if he can say what he thinks is the best way for him to calm and maybe if he knows why he needed to. Very often he doesnt seem to be able to say what he was feeling or why when he has a meltdown.
He may genuinely not know what he was feeling. I had a little girl with autism who could only identify 'happy' or 'sad'. Anything else was just beyond her.
What about at home? Does he have obvious triggers then? It can be so easy to miss triggers as a teacher because your eyes and ears are doing so many things at the one time.
It could even be as simple as him needed 5 minutes in a quiet zone for every 15 minutes in the classroom. Just for some time to himself.
Sometimes you need to work backwards and sideways to get the core issue!
At home triggers seem to be when he gets frustrated. He has speech problems (although has just been discharged from SALT after 4 years of therapy) and gets frustrated when he cant get his words out, he starts sentences over and over again and i can wait for him to get it but i can totally see how in school his friends might try and finish the sentence for him or just start talking over him. He also gets frustrated with a task he cant do, particularly reading. He will happily write and does it for fun but reading he struggles with, i think also because of his speech issues.
In lots of schools, the non teaching Headteacher would have dealt with this. Certainly in the ones I have been involved with. Clearly the class teacher cannot. He may not need 1:1 on a regular basis as he does not have a physical disability but I would talk to the SENDco about your concern because if he was on his own for a long period, was his safety comprised as they did not really know what he was doing? I do not really agree that taking himself off is the safest thing to do. He needs somewhere organised especially for this. Try and talk to the school about this. Sometimes children will sit with the Head until they feel ready to go back into class.
Bless his heart. Felt safe there. But needs more support, if they have funds for it. If not, they should ring you, if you're able to get to school.
You need to make an appointment with the senco to discuss strategies for when ds has a bad day.
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