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Social problems for ds (6)- school are confusing me!(4 Posts)
Have a meeting scheduled with ht and senco later this week and wonder what we should be asking for.
Ds (6) has lots of social communication issues and we have seen the paed twice now (we suspect PDA). The paed referred him to salt, ot and ed psych but all wrote back saying school's strategies and resources not fully utilised so cannot help atm.
The main problem they experience at school is his interaction with 3 other boys which has been going on since the very start of reception. Last year they all went to a social communication group with the senco and she reported back that they'd all made progress.
However, despite this 'great progress' and initial assurances from the class teacher that she would sort the problems easily, she subsequently rang me up and told me how bad things were, how the social problems are causing such a lot of grief that they are having an impact on learning and ds is failing to fulfill his potential. She also said things could not continue as they were and that the children are no longer allowed to play with one another or sit together at lunch and could she count on our support with this.
I said that I didn't have a problem with the plan as such but wondered how the 4 of them would be supported to make it a success. (They are asking four 6 yo with very limited social skills to not play with their 3 best friends of the last two years but find someone else instead- not easy) She said there was no need for support and they would find other friends themselves. However, ds tells me he has been playing with one of these other boys several times and he has not been told off for it. So it doesn't look like the plan is working.
What questions should I ask at this meeting and what plans can I expect to be made?
When my DS was having issues between himself and 2/3 others in school...the school made a 'play' timetable for breaks and lunchtimes
It meant that the children were given times they could each play in certain areas...eg 1 playing football...1 playing another group game..1 maybe indoors with a buddy, etc and this was guided by a rotation/daily timetable which meant the children were kept separated during these times but still able to access and play positively. It meant attention needed to be given outside more than usual but my DS school were good and it was their idea to do this and was very successful.
It meant the children were supported to form other friendships and be given positive guidance within their own interests and what they enjoyed playing, etc...the school also worked in friendship circles and would take each child with 2/3 others from class and work on social skills, forming friendships, realising each others characters, valuing each others differences and respecting one another, etc
There are many things that school can do and they should be willing to try implementing...they have a duty to do a lot more than just keep them separate and leave them to manage alone when there are obvious issues for them that need supported positively
You could ask for social skills group for your child but make it clear that this should involve choosing 2-3 other children who are good role models for social skills, not 2-3 other children with similar difficulties. This is a classic mainstream provision mistake - think they can give 3-4 children therapy at the same time. It doesn't usually work if the deficits are significant. Its better for 1 child with difficulties to be supported / coached in a group without difficulties. These children get to understand the problems and often make more effort to include the child outside the group. DS does social groups every day and his staff (who are ABA staff so very knowledgeable) always carefully pick the peers and they never pick the other children who have the same difficulties, or those who would dominate / boss DS around. They always pick the children who are interested in DS, have good social skills, are caring, can behave well and pay attention etc. They do rotate the children but they see the group as DS's intervention not an opportunity to give 3 other kids therapy at the same time. They have had to put their foot down with the class teacher in the past when she saw it as an opportunity to get other difficult children out of the classroom for a while. If all the children got similar support the school would hopefully be able to move towards them playing together again. The school's idea to separate them should be a breathing space not a permanent solution. Support over break times would help too.
Thank you. Both great ideas.
I'm guessing that's why the year long social communication group failed, because it was four of them together all with the same problem- there was no good role model in the group.
I like the idea of the play Timetable too. Keeping entirely separate is a big ask of four very immature 6yo. I asked the class teacher what support they would be given and if there were any structured activities planned for playtimes- she said 'once term gets started, we'll have some things for them to do'
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