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How to help ds with problem solving, ideas please?

(14 Posts)
claw2 Thu 20-Mar-14 10:26:37

I am planning a meeting with SALT and she doesn't 'get it' and I would like to try and help her 'get it'.

The difficulty ds has is he is good at thinking of solutions in a structured 1:1 environment ie with SALT.

However a lot of time he is unable to identify what the problem actually is or his perception of the problem isn't accurate, so applying a solution is impossible or he is applying the wrong one due his logic.

Is the answer to help him with the difficulties which are impeding his ability to identify the problem before trying to problem solve?

How do you help a child with identifying the problem correctly?

PolterGoose Thu 20-Mar-14 10:43:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KeepOnKeepingOn1 Thu 20-Mar-14 10:59:01

Stress has a huge impact on ability to problem solve because of the physical production of chemicals and hormones that have a severe impact on ability to reason. I have found the Alert programme useful for DS1 in getting him to focus attention on and consciously notice his body rather than identify a 'feeling' iykwim. So he can learn to notice just one thing at first - how fast his heart is beating - and then others, his breathing, how loud his voice is, whether he can think straight etc, and then learn that when he recognises that in himself, to use self-regulating techniques. It doesn't matter that he can't name how he was feeling or whether or not his feelings were an over-reaction to what other people see as 'normal'.

But it only works if the underlying stress level can be brought down by meeting need/reducing the everyday stress response to an unsuitable environment. If he has to focus attention on his everyday environment to cope and it is triggering fight/flight responses, he will not have the spare mental capacity to consciously notice his body.

claw2 Thu 20-Mar-14 11:00:43

I appreciate your input Polter, you are very knowledgeable with this kind of stuff, much more than me!

I think ds can problem solve in real situations, but only sometimes, its the times when he cannot identify the problem accurately because his difficulties have got in the way, that is causing him distress.

For example:

very literal understanding of language, not understanding abstract/complex language and rigid thinking etc

So teacher/brother or whoever says/does something, he doesn't understand it correctly because of his difficult.

For him the problem is - this person is lying to me, this person is confusing me, this person is a threat.

His solution is - don't listen to this person, get away from this person, don't trust this person

PolterGoose Thu 20-Mar-14 11:13:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Redoubtable Thu 20-Mar-14 11:25:16

claw I agree with what polter and KOKO have said above WRT to literal thinking and stress levels.

IME whatever strategy you try to implement has to get over the obstacle of the stress reaction when children know they have difficulty, and anxiety about being 'wrong'.

That, to me, is where the 'breathe,think,do' strategies and mindfulness are helpful; it is a strategy which can transfer to 'real life'

I bang on about mindfulness but I have found it to work with children across a wide variety of diagnoses and ages. Its (IME) parents who are resistant to it rather than the children.

I like the smiling mind ones which are also available as an app.

A longer one

claw2 Thu 20-Mar-14 11:40:29

Thanks Polter teaching of idioms etc was something that was written in his SALT report when he was 5, we are still waiting! I have been doing some work at home with ds and he is starting to get an idea and understand some.

I think with ds its even more subtle than that (although subtle, its having a massive impact on him)

I agree they do need to up their game and communicate in way he can understand. They also need to deal with the underlying reason too.

An example of how subtle it is and school are not even recognising it.

Remember the microphone incident.

TA asked who wants to go and try some microphones. Ds and several others raised their hands. So already unexpected and unstructured.

Anyhow to cut a long story short, it went wrong on so many levels, but to the point ds was handed the microphone and told to say something, he couldn't think of anything and asked what shall I say, he meant literally he needed to be told what to say. TA said 'say something random', which is exactly the same as 'say something' and of no help at all to him!

So ds sat with the microphone in silence until it was taken away. He then got upset and went crying upstairs to a different TA saying 'he wasn't allowed a turn' Ds's thinking he hadnt had a turn, as he didn't speak and all the others did.

So TA says ds was allowed a turn, but he didn't want to. The other children say he did have a turn etc.

To ds TA and other children are now telling lies, as it doesnt match his idea of a 'turn', they are all bullying him, he feels threatened etc.

So he screams at them all and runs away.

To school ds is just making it up, cant get his own way etc, etc.

PolterGoose Thu 20-Mar-14 11:48:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Redoubtable Thu 20-Mar-14 11:55:39

claw I'm not disagreeing with polter here, but the planning/organising part has to come in first, before the language component.

That is why I advise using the Dyspraxic strategy of 'breathe-think-do'.

And the insightful TA would have walked him through it by asking him 'imagine you are onstage as a preacher/rock-star/prime minister; what do you say'.

claw2 Thu 20-Mar-14 12:18:45

Thanks everyone and redoubtable I agree, I totally understand what others are saying, it is probably too advance for school to understand, if they are not even getting the basics. I need to go back to the bare basics with school. Planning/organising.

The first step for ds in the mic incident, would have been to add a little bit of structure to an unexpected and unstructured activity, just a little explaining of what was going to happen and what was expected of him.

By the time he eventually got to the point of having a 'turn'. Other children taking the mic from him, messing about, not following the rules, doing unpredictable things, his anxiety would have already risen and his thinking gone. He literally needed to be told what to say at that point.

Obviously school cannot plan for every eventuality, but if they plan where they can, then he would be more able to deal with the unexpected.

Thanks everyone, I think I have an idea of where I need to start with SALT now.

claw2 Thu 20-Mar-14 12:37:22

Polter you will be pleased to hear I have just ordered a copy of the explosive child. It was a bargain 2p! Also raining and cats and dogs for ds and another book Boc suggested.

Those should keep be busy for a while smile

PolterGoose Thu 20-Mar-14 12:38:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

claw2 Thu 20-Mar-14 12:49:36

You know what it really threw me, I have been so used to dealing with ds internalising, being extremely passive, not externalising at all. Even though I have always seen the connection between internalising/externalising in my head, when ds suddenly switched in real life, I felt like I had to deal with differently, if that makes sense!

It took me a day to realise, I deal with it in the same way, all the same principles still apply.

PolterGoose Thu 20-Mar-14 12:59:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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