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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Behaviour communication support in the home

(15 Posts)
Gemma88 Tue 04-Dec-12 14:18:11

I am a special needs teacher of 12 years who has just quit my job. I have an idea and want to know if people think it would work. I want to set up a company offering behaviour communication support to families. I know there's a recession on out there but I also know the frustrations of trying to get quality support for families.

moondog Tue 04-Dec-12 15:04:14

What do you mean by behaviour communication support?

StarOfLightMcKings3 Tue 04-Dec-12 15:41:44

If it's quality then yes there is a market for it. In fact there appears to be a market for pretty poor quality too given the default state intervention often sets such a low bar.

But I would need to know more about the support before commenting properly. Are you offering professional opinion or an established model/models of intervention?

Ineedpigsinblankets Tue 04-Dec-12 15:41:47

I was wondering that too moon

I have never heard of itconfused

Gemma88 Tue 04-Dec-12 16:58:57

Observation of children with feedback, designing and making communication aids (eg PECS), teaching parents about PECS and makaton. Designing and implementing behaviour plans for home issues. That sort of thing!

Gemma88 Tue 04-Dec-12 17:01:23

I have worked mostly with non verbal autistic children with challenging behaviour and feel I have lots of experience. I have been upset by the support patents get a home and often wished I could get in there and help.

StarOfLightMcKings3 Tue 04-Dec-12 17:02:46

What would the aim of the 'support' be

moondog Tue 04-Dec-12 17:08:33

What do you know about PECS?
Do you have any specific training in the functions of behaviour?
Have you a reputation for doing good work?

squidworth Tue 04-Dec-12 18:22:06

I will answer as a parent of a non verbal autistic child, this may sound cynical but if a parent has the spare cash for a therapist in pecs then they like myself would of already of bought pecs/visuals from eBay, have apps for the iPad, etc. as for makaton,(my DS is unable to use this at this point) it is very expensive to obtain and keep licence. I am saddened that where you have worked has not offered support at home, I only have to ask and his SS give me a copy of any pecs he uses at school.

Gemma88 Tue 04-Dec-12 21:58:54

Moondog- I have PECS training and within my school am the person people go to for ideas for behaviour (had training as well) and communication. I am the person in the school that gets the 'behaviour' class.
Squidworth- it is sad, I always send PECS home but find parents unsure how to 'do' it correctly eg 4 step error correction. My school doesn't offer training to parents

Gemma88 Tue 04-Dec-12 22:01:36

Staroflightmckings3- the aim of the support would be to help develop communication in the home and to reduce negative behaviour and frustrations due to lack of communication.

moondog Wed 05-Dec-12 17:52:24

It's a shame your school doesn't offer training to parents.
I wonder why not?
If you have a great reputation, it will precede you and you should get work on the strength of that.
However you need to think of why people would choose to see you and pay you rather than access the army of special education and needs people already in the publioc sector.
How has what you have to offer different from what they offer and how do you convey that to people who need help?

StarOfLightMcKings3 Wed 05-Dec-12 18:16:29

Well, I had huge lack of support in the home with behaviour and communication. I prioritised my ds' development over lots of other things (including heating for a while - getting us a referral to child protection incidently) and paid for PECS training for myself and childcare to access the Earlybird course.

So I suppose I might have considered what you had to offer, but probably not before accessing the more established forms of support iyswim and not before some evaluation of what you were offering against what else was available.

I would, by the time I was ready to spend money, be very VERY disillusioned with a variety of other so called support and be a bit suspicious so you'd have to be clear about what you could offer and more importantly what outcomes I will be able to see as a result.

I don't know if all parents are like me. I think those who are prepared to spend money probably are.

SallyBear Wed 05-Dec-12 18:37:46

Gemma88 I do remember that when I went on my PECS course run by Pyramid, that they did offer to do a type of intensive PECS training in the home. It was very expensive. I think that it would be a good idea to contact parents whose kids you have helped, explaining that you are offering a sort of (if I am understanding you correctly) SEN Supernanny service with a strong focus on communication and behavioural issues.

AgnesDiPesto Wed 05-Dec-12 23:49:09

Pyramid is the only accredited PECS trainer in UK. If you do not have accreditation in PECS e.g. if you did not do their training for trainer course & seen it through to accreditation then you are on dodgy legal ground in selling yourself as PECS trainer

I know SALTs and SS teachers do routinely teach PECS to parents / other staff etc but under Pyramid rules its not actually permitted to hold yourself out as a PECS trainer. I don't know if Makaton have similar rules eg if you need to be accredited as a trainer to advertise yourself as such.

In terms of behaviour I agree I would want to know you had proper qualifications in behaviour analysis / ABA.

There is a market for it because parents are often told to try Makaton or PECS or social stories and then left to get on with it without proper advice, support and supervision.

The one thing I would have liked to do while sat on a waiting list for ASD assessment was a Hanen course. Thats a useful starting place for many parents.

You are assuming that Makaton, PECS etc is the right choice for each child - are you qualified to make that judgement? ABA has the best evidence base for autism so personally I would always direct a parent of a child with autism to ABA before paying for any of the approaches with less evidence behind them. I would want to know that my child needed PECS etc - we were given wrong advice twice on this - first we were told to sign / use Makaton although my son could not imitate and did not look at us, then we were told to use PECS even after my son had started to use single words verbally to request. The speech therapist never taught my son to imitate even though that is essential skill to speak. ABA told us to hold off on Makaton and PECS and got him requesting verbally within a week - basically as soon as they taught him to imitate / addressed lack of motivation he started to speak. As most SS teachers do not do ABA my concern would be you are ignoring the best approach which should be used first. I was pretty gutted that so much time had been wasted advising on Makaton / PECS - I would have been even more gutted if I had paid privately for the wrong advice.

If you don't have a existing client base then I would think you may be better linking yourself to something like Hanen / Pyramid or Makaton and having the certificates.

I have seen ex SS teachers advertise themselves as private tutors but that was more in setting academic programmes.

There are a lot of cheap ways to get / make symbols these days eg google images, sparklebox, - or in our area the library have put communication software on their computers. Some parents even buy Boardmaker etc themselves. I think you would struggle to cover the cost of the time it would take you to make symbols.

I think you are right that there is a market but only because services are so poor, I do feel uncomfortable that parents should have to pay privately for a service which LAs have a statutory duty to provide. If the SEN bill ushers in direct payments for education then I suspect many more parents will ditch LA / NHS services for the private sector as the quality is so poor.

I also agree I would want to see outcomes. With ABA I have seen progress every single week far in excess of what my son achieved via LA / NHS provision. You would also need to be prepared for parents to use the fact they were paying you privately as evidence the LA was not meeting the child's needs - we got ABA funded via tribunal this way - few parents can afford to pay privately long term - often its a way of getting the evidence to improve the LA provision.

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