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what can I say to the nursery nurse or am I in the wrong?

(18 Posts)
jussi Thu 13-Oct-11 12:37:39

Hello everybody,
This isthe third time I am writing this thread as keep losing it before posting. Each time is getting shorter(luckily for you otherwise you would be bored rigid).
Anyway, I am a reception teacher and there is a boy in my class with autism(my own son has autism too) and he has no official school support as his mum hid the diagnosis from the school when he started. We have since applied for a statement.
I jobshare as I work 3 days a week and our nursery nurse told the other teacher that whereas she(the other teacher) gets this boy to sit on the carpet, I let him wander about.
I have tried to explain the need for children with autism to be able to move about every so often. Obviously I do encourage him to sit on the carpet and he does manage it for short spurts of time but if he needs to get up then I will let him and then encourage him back after a couple of minutes.
I was quite riled at her comments to the other teacher as it made me sound as if I just let him do what he wants and cant be bothered. Well, I have already suggested strategies to use-visuals/rewards/motivators, letting him sit and then do some physical activity and then sit again.Other teacher doesn't want this as says will disrupt other children. She also says he is capable of sitting on the carpet.
School SENCO is s**t, very good at getting things on paper but never actually implements anything and doesn't know the SEN children personally at all. I have rewritten his IEP as the last one was rubbish, have incorporated time in the day for the nursery nurse to do 1-1 and group activities with this boy. I am getting increasingly frustrated with other staff members lack of awareness(through no fault of their own) and nothing being done about it.There is another boy with autism in the other reception class who has a 1-1 but all he does is follow behind him, talk to other adults and then loses him. I have to bite my lip so many times.
Basically, I'm wondering if there is anything I can say to this nursery nurse to enable her to see why I do the things I do. I have tried to explain things to her before. She told the same boy he was being silly as he was upset over something really small. I tried telling her it is a big issue for him and he needs reassurance. People think I'm pandering to his every need which really annoys me as I have had it in my personal life as well with my own son.
Obviously I will talk to her re strategies (again) but any other words of wisdon greatly received!
Sorry, has ended up really long again!

zzzzz Thu 13-Oct-11 13:33:11

Reading above it does sound a little like you are projecting your sons situation on to the child in your class. I understand you feel you are an expert (and how lovely for him that you do have personal experience at home), but it does sound a little like you think "your way" is the right way. Of course in all likelihood it is a damn sight more insightful than most teachers but it is just one way of thinking about things.

Some things that really stood out;

Your description of the boys Mother as hiding his dx is quite damning. If she really felt she had to do this to get him in to school wouldn't it be more helpful to have her in to discuss how things work and what options are available? She will have known that it would be obvious in a very short time that the issues were serious so there must be some pretty deep worries for her to have done it. She is your best source of information on what will motivate/stress him and what sanctions are reasonable. Use her, don't dismiss her.

You need to decide what rules are going to be enforced and what aren't. Three days of you are allowed to walk around occasionally and 2 days of sit down and don't be silly, is bloody cruel to a nt kid let alone to one with ASD. Negotiate between yourself and the nursery teacher and any other staff what is going to be the rule and for goodness sakes stick to it. Poor child. My son would find it easier to sit every day than some times be allowed to walk around.

I'm slightly aghast at you re-writing his IEP. Did you get input from home or anyone else? It sounds a little high handed and actually writing it can be a great way to get everyone on board with what's in it.

I think you sound like you are really trying to help this young man, but that you need to start working quite hard at the job-sharing and parental input. I think making it work and getting all staff and parents pulling in the same direction is going to take the charm of angels, but it is the very best you can do for him long term.

IndigoBell Thu 13-Oct-11 13:39:40

I think you sound like you really care, and I don't see at all what's wrong with you re-writing his IEP? My teachers always write my kids IEPs. SENCO would never ever write them.

I think you know the child and you know your classroom, and if you think it's not worth putting him under stress to force him to stay still, than you're the best person to think that.

Of course the other teacher has proved he can sit still - that does not mean he should. What is the cost of him sitting still at carpet time? Does he do less work afterwards? Is he more stressed? etc.

So I guess you and the other teacher need to talk about his whole day, and see what strategies you are both using that work and don't work......

Good luck.

zzzzz Thu 13-Oct-11 13:47:44

My understanding was [from mpf.org]

*By law, certain people need to be involved in writing an IEP. These people work together as a team to write the IEP, which must be done within 30 calendar days of deciding that a child is eligible for special education and related services. Each team member brings important information to the PET meeting that adds to the team's understanding of the child and what services he or she might need. A PET includes:
e Parents
e Regular Education Teacher(s) (at least one, if the child is participating in the regular education environment)
e Special Education Teacher(s) or provider
e An individual who can interpret what the child's evaluation results mean
e An individual representing the school system
e The student (as appropriate)
The PET may also include additional individuals with knowledge or special expertise about the child. These people can be invited to participate on the team by parents or the school system. For example, a parent can invite an advocate who knows the child, a professional with special expertise about the child and his or her disability, or others who can talk about the child's strengths and/or needs. The school system may invite one or more individuals who can offer special expertise or knowledge about the child, such as a related services professional (an occupational or physical therapist, an adaptive physical education provider, a psychologist, or a speech-language pathologist) who can contribute some information about the child's strengths and weaknesses*

though I guess in practice it may work differently. I think at the bare minimum I would want parents, job-share teacher and senco to have ok'ed it.

I don't think there is anything wrong with letting him get up and wander but I think it is better if everyone expects the same thing.

jussi Thu 13-Oct-11 14:28:01

Thanks for replies.just to clarify,by no means do I think I am an expert.maybe because it was the third time I had written the thread,it came across a bit abrupt.I did not mean it to;and I certainly realise that every single child with ASD is different and i do not compare my son to this child at all.
Regarding the iep,I can only talk for how things work in my school and basically they are written at the end of term when they need to be reviewed,the majority of teachers do not even know who in their class has an Iep let alone implement it. Dates are changed constantly to cover any absences.senco has nothing to do with Iep's except make sure they are on the system at the end of term so they are officially there.
I have changed an Iep that said a target was to sit on the carpet and the way to do was to say sit down.I have changed this to a SMART target that is actually achievable.if this is a bad thing then I apologise.
As for the mum hiding the diagnosis,this is actually what she did!her son was at a different nursery when he got the diagnosis so she thought she would change nursery and thought we would not notice anything.of course we have spoken to her but she does not understand the extent of her son's needs.she said to me surely there are other children in the class who aren't focused.
The other teacher cannot get him to sit down either but maybe she will keep on at him more than I do.after about 1 minute he will be up again.
I do agree that whatever we decide it has to be consistent and I'm really sorry if my post came across as'my way or the highway'.I can assure you I categorically do not think this at all.
Just for information,my school is a 'good' school and the senco got loads of praise from ofsted because as I said,everything is perfect on paper.

coff33pot Thu 13-Oct-11 14:59:18

I think you do care a lot and dont see your posts as abrupt. Its the teacher that completes the IEPs in our school but we do have a meeting with the teacher to discuss it first so active involvement would be good in building a relationship with the mother iyswim. The mum MAY have just not said about the diagnosis because she is still coming to terms with it herself. Some people accept it easily but some dont and as you are probably aware endless phone calls or home books with all your childs disasters of the day is wearing and you feel its just your child. She could well have very valid reasons for not disclosing.

This poor child will be getting confused as he is being treated differently from one day to the next. You really need to get together and come up with an action plan that you all agree on. Ok so he can sit still for short terms before he gets fidgety and wants up. I long for the day my ds will actually sit on a carpet atm he will only be still on the ta lap!

I would still insist the child sits on the carpet like everyone else and instead of letting him wander around I would gently wisper to sit back down and praise him for how well he has done. Use the clock in the classroom that he can focus on and tell him he has sat for 2 mins only 3 to go nearly there! etc then reward him at the end.

After the sitting down time it would probably have taken a lot of work on his part so after a carpet time I would have an active lesson, walk, star jumps or something before going on to do any learning work all the time praising him on his good behaviour. I think at the end of the day we all as mums want our kids included and along side their peers one day so I cant say the other teacher is wrong in what she is persuing the only thing I can see where she was wrong is to call a anxious child silly.

jussi Thu 13-Oct-11 16:21:13

The other teacher and myself are working together on this.on reflection what riled me was that the nursery nurse went behind my back to the other teacher and I wish she had just mentioned it to me or all 3 of us spoke together at the same time. I guess this isn't top priority though but where we go from here is.
I agree with you-Coff-about the mother's reaction as I actually defended her to the other teachers as I said everyone reacts differently to a diagnosis.it's just a shame as we could have had a statement in place.
Thanks for those suggestions-Coff,most are in place but obviously consistency is the key word.
FWIW,I know not every school is like that either as my son is in reception year in another school and the Senco is fantastic.

bialystockandbloom Thu 13-Oct-11 17:43:14

I agree with other posters - the important thing isn't just who is taking the 'right' approach for him, it's that everyone is consistent.

Could you arrange meeting with both teachers and the boy's mum, and anyone else involved like the SENCO, and agree on a common approach in all aspects.

Might be worth considering including the sitting down as one of his targets on the IEP?

bialystockandbloom Thu 13-Oct-11 17:58:51

sorry, x-posts.

It would annoy me too if someone went behind my back like that. (I've been so long away from work that I've forgotten about the work politics!)

Maybe you could point the mum in the direction of this board for some advice? wink

madwomanintheattic Thu 13-Oct-11 18:10:53

try and think of it not as the nursery nurse 'going behind your back' but trying to standardise the expectations for the child with autism in order to help him.

as others have said - it's inconsistent that he's allowed to wander freely in your class but sits on the mat nicely for the other teacher.

you obviously don't agree with the methodology in the original iep (the 'tell him to sit down') and so have changed it without consultation, but it was clearly working very well for the other teacher. maybe ask her how she manages him/ his behaviours to get some tips? do agree though that if the expectation is for him to sit on the carpet at carpet time, then there should be a less fixed lesson following (this is probably how the other teacher has set up the time?)

do you see that the other teacher could have easily started a thread 'i have an child with autism in my (job share) class and my job share colleague is unintentionally undermining all my hard work. he is capable of sitting still for the twenty minutes we have carpet time, and this is reflected in his iep - he is meeting this target. she has now changed the iep without consultation and lets him wander round when he likes. it's really tricky because her son also has autism and so i don't know how to approach her about this. i want to do the best for the boy, and in my opinion he is capable of more than she believes.'

if i was the mother, i'd be backing the other teacher. i'm sorry. i want teachers to work out how to get the best out of my child, not reduce their expectations. sad

you both need to sit down together and work out your job share expectations properly. do you have scheduled time for handovers?

jussi Thu 13-Oct-11 20:21:16

Gosh,I really haven't put things across accurately from some of the responses.
Firstly,I do not let him wander freely around the classroom.I get him to answer questions,I choose him as a volunteer,I offer him rewards but yes there are the odd occasions when realising he is getting stressed,I do not order him to sit down as this would be counter productive. After, let's see,maybe 20 seconds I will gently try and coax him back to the carpet.sometimes he will come and hold my hand,sometimes he will sit next to a girl who he likes so I use her as a role model.I certainly don't just let hi
'roam freely around the classroom'.
I take offence at the suggestion that I have low expectations for him,any parent that has a child with SEN knows it's a constant battle to convince other people to have high expectations for their child.
Re the Iep,let me explain-the early years senco asked me to rewrite it as she wanted to apply for a statement.obviously I discussed this with my jobsharer-we are friends and work and get on very well.the Iep was out of date,was written by someone who has been on maternity leave for nearly a year.the person covering the maternity didn't know anything about the Iep.I aske the nursery staff how is this boy on the carpet,they told me he won't sit on it.I said what happens if you insist on it,they said he screams and cries so with s due respect the so called Iep was not working.it was out of date.I was told to change the dates to cover 'lost time'.
This boy does not sit on the carpet for 20minutes for the other teacher.we have discussed it together.The Iep was changed from'for boy to sit on carpet by saying sit down' to 'for boy to sit on carpet for x amount of time x amount of times a day by having a visual timer to remind him how much time is left.this is to happen for x amount of days/weeks before target reviewed.i know which ISP I would prefer as a parent.
TBH,I don't think I have made the situation very clear by some of the responses.I have actually spoken to the other teacher tonight and the three of us are going to discuss it next week so some good will have come
out of it.

WilsonFrickett Thu 13-Oct-11 20:31:00

Op, i wrote a long post and deleted it because you are obviously a very caring and empathetic person who wants to do her best for this child but what is it with communication in schools? I am constantly shock at how hard it seems to be for professional people to discuss, agree and follow-through. It makes me very sad and fearful for our children.

WilsonFrickett Thu 13-Oct-11 20:32:17

X-post, sorry.

madwomanintheattic Thu 13-Oct-11 20:49:21

ok. good luck with your meeting - it's the way ahead anyway. smile

Agnesdipesto Thu 13-Oct-11 21:34:40

Well just to throw my suggestions into the mix. I am not bothered by how long my DS sits on the carpet I'm more bothered by whether he is learning by sitting there. If the content is over his head, / he's not paying attention then I would rather he was elsewhere (doing 1:1 preferably). So I would suggest the focus should not be on the sitting but rather the sitting+active listening+active joining in. Then set a target based on the amount of time he can do that. My DS gets tokens and when he has 10 gets to get up and go and the tokens can be spaced out to fit the time we want him to sit. That can be more motivating than a you must sit until the timer runs out, which if it were my DS would just mean he would fixate on the timer rather than the teacher. Carpet time can actually be a good time for the nursery nurse to be able to do 1:1 as you have the other children occupied. What is the priority for his learning? Is sitting on the carpet the best use of his time?

Does he have the skills to sit+listen+join in / take instructions in a group all at the same time? Have you tested these? Or do you need to teach these skills first. eg can he do individual instructions but not group ones. Is he looking at the materials / book / board when he is sitting? Does he understand the language you are using? Is he tolerant of sitting next to other children? Is he distracted by anything eg the window?

The other thing I would say is that being active can be either behavioural / stim or sensory. In my son's case he does not need to get up and move around, he does not have sensory issues - he wants to get up, isolate and stim instead of listening. So you first need to establish whether the child really is hyper active / stressed and needs some sensory outlet eg walking around - or whether he is just using that time to isolate / stim. Because if its stimming then the other teacher is right you are actually making it harder for him to learn as you are letting him engage in activity which is stopping him learning. You may be reinforcing and rewarding the not sitting. So remember praise and reward the behaviour you want to see more of. But you are right set a target that is consistent for everyone and keep raising your expectations.

Most teachers I have met attribute pretty much everything to being a sensory issue (its usually the one course they have been on). But in many cases its not a sensory issue, its just the child would prefer to go off and engage in repetitive activities than listen to you. And you want to be keeping him on task and engaged for as much time as possible. He has more to learn and it will take longer than the other children, so he needs more teaching, not less. So first you really need to establish if he has a break does he come back and be more receptive to learning because his sensory issues have resolved - or is it hard to get him back / harder to get him engaged because he has happily retreated into his own world?

I think you sound very well meaning but your starting point should be taking proper baseline evidence of what he can and cannot do; whether what you are teaching on the carpet is relevant / the priority for him; and whether his getting up is a genuine need for a break, or an avoidance tactic.

This child should not need a statement before you put in proper support. My LA expects schools to put in 20 hours of dedicated 1:1 time without a statement.

jussi Thu 13-Oct-11 21:56:07

I wasn't going to come back to this thread but keep needing to reply.
The token idea sound good Agnes-thanks.that was my concern as well that with a timer he may well become fixated on that. I also agree that it is the learning taking place that is important,not necessarily his seating position.
For phonics and maths,the nursery nurse takes him out with another child so the times he is expected to sit on the carpet are not learning times as such eg.fruit time and first thing in the morning.
Regarding the 1-1 time,wihout a statement there is no way he can get 20 hours.I have given up the class nursery nurse for his group/1-1times but she is supposed to be there for the whole class.I cannot let her go anymore as we have a legal requirement re number of adults to children for 30 under fives! And the school certainly does not have any spare staff.

AgnesDiPesto Thu 13-Oct-11 22:13:14

Hmm but the school may well have been given delegated SEN money which must be used for 1:1 if its needed - or if its a very small school can ask for extra funding (depends on local delegation arrangements). here an application for a statement would be turned down out of hand if 20 hours of 1:1 had not already been in place for 6-12 months and proved to be insufficient. You would not even get a statutory assessment here without jumping through a zillion hoops first and proving you had tried everything and thrown all the resources at it and the child had still failed. Hopefully you live somewhere more enlightened smile
The good thing about tokens is you can target the behaviour specifically eg 'nice sitting' (get token) or 'nice looking' (get token). Its very clear what you are rewarding.

zzzzz Thu 13-Oct-11 22:13:20

Agnes what a truly brilliant post. I am going to read it again without cold but wow!

My son had 1.1 until lunch time every day for a term, I'm guessing if we'd stayed at that school they would have got him a statement by the end of the year.

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