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I give up with school

(29 Posts)
Lesley25 Tue 28-Jan-14 18:37:50

My son is only 5 and with the introduction of a new school and ta was doing great..till last week when he is now starting to smack and pinch whenever work time is enforced I.e sitting at a desk or lunch time - sitting down.
The ta has given up. I have given up. After coming up with numerous strategies, the salt privately going in, the OT privately going in, me becoming bankrupt in the process I'm now at a loss.
We tried positive motivators aba style.
There's nothing left.
We have a special school place for sept, and it's not an option to home school till then, so what the hell do I do?
I think I'm just at the point where I actually give up. I just allow the school to babysit him/ stim all day.
It's making me cry thinking about it.
After tying up the statement with solicitors and tribunals, he has salt ot a specific ta but she just can't control him.
I was asked if he smacks at home- short answer, no, one look from me and that hand goes.
I don't even know what I'm asking for, I just had to get it down.

lougle Tue 28-Jan-14 19:41:54

Hi Lesley, how awful for you.

Did you actively choose MS? (I know in other threads you had more or less decided that MS was the way to go, but I just want to be sure).

Why was special school lined up for September? Was there no SS place for this year, or has the SS place been arranged at short notice?

Does the SS actually have a place for this year? If you wanted it, of course?

Do the SS do outreach? DD1's do, and they'll go to MS schools to observe and advise.

If the smacking/hitting has only started in the last week, what's changed? Something has.

Do your school have a behavioural plan for your DS?

He's five and in Reception -why is he being forced to sit at a desk??

Lesley25 Tue 28-Jan-14 19:52:39

Hi lounge, ss was and is my preferred option but no space at my chosen school till September.
The sitting at a desk is trying to do a TEACH program - I think that's what they call it anyhow. The old workstation bulls@@@
No behavioural plan mentioned just a very exasperated young ta who has been educated to degree level and has experience of autism....but she's already doing the rolling her eyes thing every time I pick him up...
I will ask the ss about outreach thanks for the tip.

The smacking and hitting was there when ds started in jan but it's getting worse according to school and the ta is covered in scratches (I can't see them but anyhow).
Personally, I know my son and I think he's doing this because he can get away with it. The salt who has been with us for years believes he's pushing the boundaries too. But, if the ta can't cope, she can't cope no matter how many strategies I suggest.
Interesting that you think 5 is too young to be sat a desk, but I think school are thinking he's not learning any other way so this has to be enforced...

Lesley25 Tue 28-Jan-14 19:57:31

Lougle- I actually have you to thank for ss. You opened my eyes to it really and when I found the ss of my choice it was a revelation. But the great schools have waiting lists and we are lined up for a September place.
... all in writing too (another of your great tips lougle!)

autumnsmum Tue 28-Jan-14 19:57:35

Hi Lesley sorry things are do bad for you . I second what lougle says about outreach dd2s school do it they've been to see ds. Sorry if I'm suggesting the impossible but is there anyway in an emergency the ss could take him before September I hope someone with more knowledge comes along soon

Lesley25 Tue 28-Jan-14 19:59:31

Thanks autumn, I did approach the ht but to be honest she said it would compromise the care of the 8 in the class and I couldn't do that to the other children even if the la forced it. It just wouldn't sit right with me.

lougle Tue 28-Jan-14 20:03:55

I don't think 5 is too young to be sitting at a desk. However the EYFS is about learning by play. I appreciate your DS will need facilitation, but if the desk itself is an issue, why can't they start by doing an activity on the floor?

If the issue is 'attending to the demands of an adult', then it's different. But don't let them call that 'won't sit at a desk' grin

I missed that SS was your preference. In case you didn't know, Special Schools don't have the same restrictions as MS for numbers <hint>. They have a 'Global capacity' - in other words, the school can take up to, say, 140 children, but there are no restrictions on class size, other than the health, safety and well-being of the children in each class.

Special schools never have class sizes big enough to trigger Infant Class Size regulations, anyway.

People can and do appeal to the First Tier Tribunal every year for a special school place when they've been turned down, and as strenuously as the school says it can't cope with another child, it is up to the tribunal as to whether the child gets the place...

I think your action plan is:
-Ask for a meeting with the professionals and teaching staff, to come up with an action plan for behaviour.
-Ask whether sitting at a desk is on his IEP. If it is, what are the steps to build up to that? If his issue is adult attention, they may well need to start with a reward simply for looking at the TA when she calls his name, or giving her something when she asks.
-Ask for outreach from SS, if they provide it. (I'd be tempted to phone the SS and ask for advice, even if you get 'go through your school...')
-Offer to lodge an appeal with the FTT to get a place in SS (even if practically, you don't get a date for a few months, the LA will have to respond).
-Log every incident.

Practical advice for TA (she doesn't sound very experienced!) - Tubigrip on arms if at risk of being pinched/scratched, long sleeves, preferably t-shirt then jumper.

If she's being scratched/pinched, she must be in <cough> close contact with your DS at that time. Check whether physical force is being used to make him comply??

lougle Tue 28-Jan-14 20:07:35

No HT will want to take more than the optimum number for each class. Of course not. But they can and have to do it at times. DD1's class currently has 11 in it. Not ideal, but there are lots of children who need SS still waiting in MS, even then.

This is about whether your DS is a) struggling in school to the extent that they can't manage him b) impacting on the efficient education of 29 other pupils in the class.

I'm so glad that my posts have helped you make that decision, Lesley25. I posted in trepidation at times, because there's a risk that you can offend people by suggesting SS. I'm glad it wasn't so in your case. smile

autumnsmum Tue 28-Jan-14 20:10:35

Lougle you are a great advocate for special schools I know you will believe me when I say dd2s is amazing . Lesley I hope you get some resolution soon

Lesley25 Tue 28-Jan-14 20:11:39

Thanks lougle, I know that when ds doesn't want to comply they physically pick him up off th e floor and that's when he lashes out. Similarly with a chair and a desk they physically try to place him in the chair.

I will mention the tubigrip on arms..

The issue as you quite rightly pointed out is "attending to the demands of an adult".
I love how the sitting at a desk should be an iep and we should build up to it. I've printed out your tips and I'll be having a word with the senco tomorrow. Thank you both for taking the time to reply.

lougle Tue 28-Jan-14 20:28:06

They should never be picking him up off the floor, nor physically placing him in the chair. The only time physical intervention should be used is when a child is a danger to themselves or someone else.

Another question to add to your list:

-Is the TA/teacher trained in behaviour managemet?
-If so what training have they done?

Most Special schools use either Team Teach link or PROACT-SCIPr-UK link (pronounced 'skip')

Both of these are accredited within the BILD (British Institute of Learning Disabilities - link Physical Interventions Accreditation Scheme.

The vast majority of the focus of these methods is deescalation - which should be sufficient for around 95% of behavioural incidents.

Only about 5%, as a maximum, of intervention for behavioural incidents involves physical restraint of any sort.

The Use of Reasonable Force advice to schools, from the Government, makes it clear that force must only be used to prevent harm. Specifically, the guidance says:

"Reasonable force can be used to prevent pupils from hurting themselves or others, from damaging property, or from causing disorder."

Nowhere does it say that force, reasonable or otherwise, can be used to compel a child to work.

You need to tackle this straight away. Tomorrow.

lougle Tue 28-Jan-14 20:29:03

Btw, in that document, behaviour as simple as guiding a student by the arm, is considered 'force'.

Littlefish Tue 28-Jan-14 20:34:10

I agree with lougle. They should not be picking him up or putting him onto the chair. Those are actions bound to cause escalation. Ask to see the paperwork they have filled in following those restraints and watch them try and bluster their way out of it!

cansu Tue 28-Jan-14 20:41:36

I would say they have a responsibility to get help. I suppose the key question to ask is what would be done about this in a special school? How would it be handled differently? What reaction is he getting when he scratches / pinches? Have they tried to analyse when it is happening, is it when someone is close to him? Is the demand withdrawn if he scratches? I would ask for a meeting to discuss this. Ask them to tell you what they are going to do. If they don't know ask them to get Outreach in immediately to come up with a plan.

lougle Tue 28-Jan-14 20:45:37

Would they be picking up an 8 year old and putting him in a chair? Would they be doing so to a 10 year old? Being small doesn't mean they can man-handle him.

Lesley25 Tue 28-Jan-14 20:49:09

Oh right. I better raise this as a priority tomorrow.
You know thinking through this you're absolutely right. There should be strategies that don't involve picking up etc and if not, guidance should be sought.
Now come to think of it this seems like a cop out strategy for trying to get my ds to comply.

lougle Tue 28-Jan-14 20:59:24

Check that they are recording:

-All incidents where they are physically intervening with your DS. Anything more than a touch or a gentle leading by the hand, to which he is co-operating. In other words, if they're holding his hand but he's moving in the other direction (trying to get away) then it's a physical intervention.

-All incidents where he causes injury to the staff. All of it - scratches, pinches, no matter how minor.

In my LA they have to fill in records and send them to the LA.

Check that they have a behaviour policy, and what it says. Check that they are complying with it.

In DD1's special school, a behaviour plan would have:

Details of the child's needs
What triggers behaviours
What the desired outcome of the behaviour is (ie. scratching - wants you to leave him alone/wants to do what he was already doing. Hitting - frustrated, wants to spin wheels)
What motivates the child ie. what rewards should be for positive behaviour
What intervention to use when behaviour is seen (e.g. move away from child, move other children out of vicinity, etc).
What staff should avoid (e.g. don't attempt to force compliance, don't approach from side, don't stand too close)
What the child's normal 'behaviours' are and how often seen.

Lesley25 Tue 28-Jan-14 21:23:24

Thanks everyone. Printed off and ready to roll tomorrow.

ouryve Tue 28-Jan-14 21:45:38

If the issue is following adult directions, then they need to make the adult direction more motivating than sitting at a desk. DS2 is a little older, now, and attends to most of his tasks either standing up or kneeling at a low desk. The quiet room he uses has softer chairs. All a lot less forbidding for a child who finds sitting still for more than a few minutes uncomfortable.

He'll happily sit at a desk for 10 minutes when there's an iPad or food on it, though. I don't know a lot about TEACCH, but it sounds like too many difficult demands are being made at once. If sitting at a specific desk in a specific place I considered important, then the task on that desk needs to be more motivating. If the task is more important (it is to me, but them I'm just a mum), then a regular spot for doing that task needs to be created which is far less forbidding.

I'm always covered in scratches from DS2, btw, but he walks up to me, grabs my hands and sticks his nails in.

lougle Tue 28-Jan-14 22:11:15

I can't understand people who think the priority is getting the child to do what they want, without earning it!

DD1's old SALT did this. 'DD1, look at this book with me.'

DD1: 'Look!' point to exciting toy on high shelf.

Repeat x 100

Weary mother: Why don't we do one thing DD1 wants to do, then one thing SALT wants.

I tell you, if a child was under a table playing with a bit of blu tack and I was their teacher/SALT, I'd flipping get under that table with them and give them MORE blu tack to get their attention.

It's got to start somewhere and expecting interaction without earning it isn't it.

zzzzz Tue 28-Jan-14 23:04:39

That lougle is because you have a brain.

Just a quick hijack to say lougle your thoughts on SS have been incredibly helpful to me. MS just isn't going work for ds and while I think HE is adequate now, having the idea of SS has released some of the pressure of feeling I am the only option. thanks this is a bigger deal than you can ever imagine 5.5 terms into HE and 24,7,365 care.

lougle Wed 29-Jan-14 06:48:37

thanks to you too, zzzzz, that's really encouraging. There's good and bad everywhere, but I'm glad that I can bring some balance to the 'SS= expensive babysitters with low expectations' impression that many have acquired over the years.

autumnsmum Wed 29-Jan-14 06:54:08

Lougle my dd is achieving far more at ss than she ever would have at mainstream

autumnsmum Wed 29-Jan-14 08:27:07

Lesley wishing you luck for today

Lesley25 Wed 29-Jan-14 16:00:44

Thank you all.
It went rather well.
I spent hours typing everything up from the posts and now the school will be having a emergency meeting with the asd specialist teacher Friday morning.
The ta took all my feedback well and followed everything I suggested today- she documented the smacking episodes today and it's emerged he's doing this in response to her saying no when eating play dough or posting pecs cards down the radiator e.g very stimulating activities. She didn't do any OT today so I've asked her to continue incorporating these in his day as fun activities like chase etc.

I've also asked explained teh concept of building on the friendship between ds and her - and teh reason ds listens at home has been years of mutual trust between us. He's only known her for 2 weeks so In hindsight it was not the right way to teach him by forcing him into a chair or sitting at a desk. Work time should be what he's into.

On a side note, I marched ds to the doctors late last night who said he wanted to give him antibiotics as his cough might be bothering him and leading him to express it negatively...

Anyhow, I stopped all work time that involves putting ds in a chair even lunch and instead asked for work time to be achieved when ds is playing - e.g, ta get your hands dirty and play...

I'm also pulling him out at 1:30 till Monday as he's not eating and again this could contribute to aggression In the afternoons. I've asked the asd specialist to address this ASAP on Friday, as this cannot be a permanent solution.

Thank you all so much for helping.

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