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SLT social skills groups - DS not impressed

(16 Posts)
inappropriatelyemployed Thu 25-Oct-12 14:03:25

I had real trouble with a very upset DS (9) yesterday.

As part of trying to help him improve relationships between his TA and himself, the EP suggested doing a list explaining the jobs the TA will do for him and when she will back off getlost

On the list was the social skills group he does with other children three times a week.

I have long expressed concern about the effectiveness of these groups but have just left them to it as DS enjoys them. I have tried to emphasis how DS needs to be taught explicitly as he will not pick up by osmosis that he is being taught a skill (if he did, why would he need a group).

They are working on 'narrative therapy' - although alot of what they do seems to be to do with watching newsround - and explaning things to each other.

Anyway, I was going through the list of TA jobs with DS and read out the SLT groups. He went ballistic. He got really upset and said he didn;t realise the groups were anything to do with SLT. If he had, he wouldn't have done them. Now he feels stupid. He says the other children in the group are the 'difficult children' (his words) and now he thinks his teachers think he is the same.

He also said if they are trying to teach them something through these games, they must think he is really stupid as he knows all this already.

DS never has a problem with seeing the private SLT or with OT and physio visits so I was surprised.

I was also surprised that no one had told him what the groups were for.

I spoke to school this morning and we are going to talk to the SLT (TA annoyingly said perhaps he doesn't need SLT then....grr)

I'm thinking that it is the embarrassment of working on 'problems' publicly that has caused this.

I'm always massively dubious about generic NHS SLT provision but I haven't located an alternative yet - it always seems to be me as the blind, leading the blind. We had a very experienced ABA therapist come in months ago but she ended up working on getting him in the class. I just don't know how effective ABA would be for working on social skills with an older child with AS.

I am wondering whether it would be better for him to work on things out of school or 1:1 rather than in a group.

ideas welcomed..

Handywoman Thu 25-Oct-12 14:26:51

Have you considered/can you afford private SLT?

We used a private SLT for dd when she was 4yo. At this time dd had the receptive language skills of a 18month old (which NHS SLT could NOT DETECT in their assessment). Private SLT over 9months gave my dd a gain of 18month - 2 years of language development.

Forward wind to now, reassessment shows my dd is in need of SLT to help her with social communication, particularly conversational skills. This is the route we are going down. Not at present (due to organizational difficulties) but definitely in the future. I think one to one will help her self esteem and make it more effective.

Worth pursuing?

HW x

inappropriatelyemployed Thu 25-Oct-12 14:31:19

Thanks. We have got a private SLT but she has backed off while we have been working with the NHS SLT in school.

I am wondering whether to pursue the private SLT route again and keep SLT out of school as much as possible. I wondered whether that was deemed appropriate.

inappropriatelyemployed Thu 25-Oct-12 14:32:26

Appropriate in the sense of whether the SLT should be group based or worked on with other children.

I find it hard to locate people with experience of dealing with AS as SLTs generally don't deal with AS in the NHS!

Handywoman Thu 25-Oct-12 14:48:05

My private SLT gave the option of both in-school therapy working with peers, and one-to-one, or a mixture.

It sounds like your ds is quite aware of his issues. Maybe he would be more comfortable (and therefore get more out of) one-to-one therapy?

HW x

Handywoman Thu 25-Oct-12 14:51:14

Just to add. I guess the advantage with AS is that children can be 'taught' explicitly (and indeed need to be taught) these sorts of skills. In much the same way as I have to 'tell' my dd that 'I am cross'. So 1-1 therapy is deffo appropriate. Indeed it formed the bulk of what we were offered for social skills SLT.

HW x

bochead Thu 25-Oct-12 15:02:11

I think at one point Jackie Harland at the London Children's practice ran Wed eve group salt/social skills sessions. Up north I think Ron Holt of ABA fame does the same. Are either of these venues accessible to you.

DS's social skills group doesn't seem to have started yet this year, so you are one jump ahead of me lol!

inappropriatelyemployed Thu 25-Oct-12 18:32:53

Thanks HW that is really helpful.

Bochead, sadly we are not near those venues.

DS has said today he would definitely prefer to do 1:1 or out of school. I suppose it is like everyone knows your problems!

inappropriatelyemployed Thu 25-Oct-12 21:11:43

Just arranged to speak to our SLT tomorrow - should I suggest 1:1 out of school with her or in school?

AgnesDiPesto Thu 25-Oct-12 21:43:12

Yes ABA staff should be able to work on social skills for child with AS - would probably be a coach / mentor style
see these videos bit American I know - but cool/not cool & teaching interactions ones be the sort of explicit teaching our ABA people do in 1:1 then child gets praised for using the skills during the school day.
They also coach older children going into work and needing customer skills etc

inappropriatelyemployed Thu 25-Oct-12 22:14:45

How do I identify someone Agnes? I feel I have been throwing money at this for years without making any real difference.

I tried an ABA therapist but she came in and set up a programme for getting DS back in the classroom when we didn't even know he was spending time outside! He also has a very ineffective TA so when a programme was set up, she decided she knew best how to implement it.

The consultant also decided DS was doing loads of things she could change like not lining up or not sitting on the carpet so she left the TA with her head spinning full of change plans with no means to implement them!

How do I find someone to work with him?

AgnesDiPesto Thu 25-Oct-12 23:01:54

I don't know. Try Yahoo ABA group?
We have Autism Partnership who happen to be the only choice near us, but its worked out really well. I know people who drive 140 mile round trip once a week for AP to work with their child. This social stuff is a big focus for them for all ages and levels.
We still have NHS SALT and its totally useless and has achieved nothing but we don't want to lose it off the statement in case we get to swap them for private at some point.
I don't know how far AP staff in London travel. Or if you could take your DS to them, or how much input he would need. How much they could train you / others to do it. Or if they could recommend someone. I just know that they would 'get' your DS and very easily be able to design a social programme. And they are really flexible, if they can find a way to help they will.
They do summer schools in California if you have the money!

inappropriatelyemployed Thu 25-Oct-12 23:15:34

Thanks I will follow up those leads!

statusquo Fri 26-Oct-12 16:25:02

How old are your DCs?
interesting this, I find out that at a younger age, it was easier to get DC to work with SALT - games are aimed at that age group but as DC has matured - pre teen, it is increasingly becoming difficult for DC to engage with the support network at school and DC does DC is we feel having avoidance strategy - deliberate forgetfulness that the session is taking place or DC goes show less interest. wonder how this can be addressed. DC is high fucntioning and has started to have look for ways around the issues - ????

inappropriatelyemployed Sun 28-Oct-12 20:16:57

DS is 9. nearly 10. He doesn't mind doing stuff with me so has really come on out of school but he never seems to get that targetted, ongoing, discrete work at school.

I think the stuff they were doing in the group was just superfluous to requirements from what he says. Stuff he can do. Like asking a friend for help. His problem in doing this was stress and anxiety because he was new. It wasn't a core deficit not being able to read NV communication.

He has very different needs to other children in that group, so, although I am very happy for the sessions to benefit others, they can't be at the expense of his own progress.

DS was just so shocked that these sessions were supposed to be teaching him stuff and I think he feels patronised, embarrassed and not understood.

He is happy to do SLT away from school. How do you get that in a statement!

inappropriatelyemployed Tue 06-Nov-12 21:34:25

Blinking Autism Partnership rang back - and it was a secretary who didn't have a clue why she was ringing me. this was after arranging an appointed time to speak with me on the phone. She was only bothered about whether I'd booked on their course.

She then told me someone else would get back to me asap. One week later.....

Anyhow, spoke to school about it all. SENCO is very upset as they thought the groups were great and that he was doing well.

It doesn't seem to occur to them to factor in whether he thought they were of any benefit.

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