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Sorry to barge in - any ideas?

(24 Posts)
diamondsforapril Thu 09-Feb-17 21:43:33

Teacher here.

Have a lovely 14 year old girl who has ASD. She is keen, wants to please, but loses her temper easily. Can come across as very rude unintentionally when she's actually upset rather than angry if you follow me.

Unfortunately other kids have twigged she 'explodes.' Some unkinder ones actively try to make her do so. I really do throw the book at them when they do but she will lash out.

I've given her loads of praise when she ignores and I know it's hard ignoring kids when they are being horrible to you. I wondered if anyone had any strategies they have found that work? Would really like to help if I can.

PolterGoose Thu 09-Feb-17 22:17:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Userone1 Thu 09-Feb-17 22:51:45

Teasing someone because they are different is a form of bullying.

What's your schools bullying policy? Apply it.

amunt Thu 09-Feb-17 22:55:44

I like that very clear and proactive approach your school has Polter, sounds like great practice.

diamondsforapril Fri 10-Feb-17 01:33:29

Absolutely it is User but what I'm trying to avoid are situations where she explodes and lashes out and ends up in trouble as well (I don't condone this by the way.)

Thanks Polter

Things can escalate pretty quickly even when kept well apart - kids shouting stupid stuff across the class and so on.

zzzzz Fri 10-Feb-17 06:25:23

Crazy morning but hopefully I'll be back

SaorAlbaGuBrath Fri 10-Feb-17 06:28:27

If the other kids are shouting out across the class they need to be removed from the class until they can keep their nasty comments to themselves. Can you involve their parents? I doubt they'd be impressed that their kids were deliberately distressing someone with ASD to provoke a reaction. That's sick.
Why can't they be dealt with by school, for what is blatantly disablist bullying?

Userone1 Fri 10-Feb-17 06:47:09

Maybe she is lashing out because she is being bullied!

SaorAlbaGuBrath Fri 10-Feb-17 06:53:55

She is lashing out because it is literally her only form of defence against these awful bullies. The fact she's being punished for that makes me very sad, school should be protecting her so it never even gets to that point in the first place.

Userone1 Fri 10-Feb-17 07:07:59

"I've given her loads of praise when she ignores and I know it's hard ignoring kids when they are being horrible to you"

And what did you do about the bullying?

Tanaqui Fri 10-Feb-17 07:18:49

Hey, harsh User- she says she throws the book at them! These are teenagers, they can, unfortunately, be horrible to anyone "different". The op is trying to help,

Userone1 Fri 10-Feb-17 07:24:46

Throwing the book at them obviously isn't working, as they keep doing it.

I'm not being harsh, I'm pointing out it's bullying and should be treated as such in line with school anti bullying policy.

Exactly they are 14 years old, not little kids.

diamondsforapril Fri 10-Feb-17 07:34:42


An example might be

Richard shouts across the room, 'Hey, Abby, is is true you fancy tom?'

He's doing it to wind her up: it works, she screams NO, and storms across to Richard and starts punching him.

It's bloody horrible of Richard and I do follow the systems and remove him and bollock him but some of the other kids have SEN too and don't always see the consequences of their actions.

I am, as someone has said, trying to help.

zzzzz Fri 10-Feb-17 07:38:28

I find threads like this interesting, not least because they highlight how important observation, reflection and focused response are and how unfocused and knee jerk we have the tendency to be.

It's a useful thread OP, and I'm interested to see what others think.

My own thoughts are that it's important to consider what each person gets out of this dynamic before you attempt to change it.

The antagonists are bored/looking for entertainment and for teens I would suggest looking for the status increase that bothering and belittling brings to them in their group.

For the disabled child I would imagine that the fallout stops the taunting and gives emotional relief and probably gets adults to step in and help.

For the teacher the taunting isn't the issue, intellectually possibly but in this instance the disruption to the lesson is the paramount concern with a possible floss of "wanting the child to cope better". I know that will be hard to read, but the "good" scenario in your post was that the disabled child took the taunting quietly so it should be faced (and can be addressed).

So what to do?

Keep antagonists busier and more engaged with other things (ideally school work). This class just got a whole lot harder.
Remove any status from taunting disabled children (or any children). This is a whole school thing but shame and group disapproval is a powerful thing.

Give the disabled child a voice that is always heard and always valued. The lashing out will stop when a quiet response is respected. Give them somewhere they can freely go to regroup and regain balance. Give them a time and a way of communicating difficulties.

Yikes late for school, but your change is obviously the easier bit because you can do it yourself and don't have to get anyone else on board.

Userone1 Fri 10-Feb-17 07:41:07

I appreciate you are trying to help.

I'm suggesting you help by treating the repeated harassment and intimidation as bullying.

If this is the way the girl is treated in the classroom, I dread to think how she is treated when a teacher isn't around.

diamondsforapril Fri 10-Feb-17 07:49:16

User, thank you. I have. I do. Every time.

zzzz thank you too. Again, I really do do my best but it's quite hard, as things can escalate from zero to past a thousand in a spate of seconds. I am taking this very seriously indeed, but what I wondered was if there were any obvious strategies I was missing in keeping the girl calm until I could deal with the problem. At the moment before I can even draw a breath she explodes (mostly.)

PolterGoose Fri 10-Feb-17 07:55:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PolterGoose Fri 10-Feb-17 07:57:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

diamondsforapril Fri 10-Feb-17 08:05:01

I agree and I will order that book today Polter

I will do whatever I can, but my powers as a classroom teacher are limited, which I'm sure you understand. If I can make her feel safe, comfortable and supported in my classroom, thrnnthsts a start,p smile

diamondsforapril Fri 10-Feb-17 08:05:12

What is that last line! grin

Userone1 Fri 10-Feb-17 08:15:36

Trying to change her behaviour, without changing the conditions, isn't going to work. She probably doesn't have the skills to make the changes you are expecting.

For example classroom is probably too noisy, others sitting too close etc, etc

Not enough routine, consistency etc.

Do you have any specialist services you can call upon ie ASD specialist, OT

UserOO7 Fri 10-Feb-17 08:51:42

The honest answer, as both a parent of a girl with autism and an experienced teacher, is I never quite found the answer.

The strategies are space (tiny room?), bullying policy (are the senior leaders playing their bit as well?), talking (all your time there's 29 others?).

I have had some success with:

-visual sign, e.g. Ruler with a red side. Child holds it up as soon as someone is mean, you very quickly deal with the issue. Holding the ruler up gets a reaction.

-very very strict no touching policy for the ASD child also, that leads to instant time out. Shouting etc or other things slide, but this is the no no. It does work in time (controversial I bet). ANY touch=time out the room instantly to cool off, other explosive reactions are deal with calmly.

-talking to child with ASD about THEIR non-neogiables/ triggers, what are the persistant things done each time that always tip them over the edge. Apply the same zero tolerance to other pupils for this, e.g. even a whispered 'who do you fancy' to the child=immeadiate internal exclusion. Display these if you have too in words or pictures, let child with ASD reference/ point at them. Allow around 3 for clarity, you'll find many actualy have a few senstivities that are constantly picked on (eg fancying boys/ gait) and can ignore other things/ ask for help calmly.

-would headphones during independent work be possible? Ear buds and stick to non-popular music makes less fuss for others I've found, eg classical and nothing catchy to sing to if others want to hear.

-fiddle box? Box of bits, or pencil case

-is there a buddy child they enjoy sitting near? Would they actually like their own space?

-whatever you do, I've found visuals excellent to catch the eye of the child. Such as signed class rules/ individual pupil agreements/ a visual sign they can use to get attention

lastly, go and haunt the SENCO without shame...

OneInEight Fri 10-Feb-17 09:25:59

ds1 is at a specialist school and currently in a somewhat challenging class (himself included).

The teachers that handle the behaviour the best are very positive and use reward systems (masses of housepoints) both for ignoring provocative behaviour AND for being nice to each other! We can see at home that this system has improved his tolerance of teasing etc by how he reacts against his brother. He has not quite grasped the concept yet that it is only nice to do something for others when they want you to do it!!! Not sure how much scope you have for this is a mainstream classroom but my point is you may do better via rewards rather than sanctions.

As others have said the final trigger for the lashing out is only the tip on the iceberg. For ds1 there will have been several things go wrong previously before the final outburst so classroom too noisy, being shoved in the queue before going into the classroom, a cover teacher, unexpected lesson change so also think how you can manage the classroom situation to reduce her overall stress levels as well as tackling the particular issue of name calling.

zzzzz Fri 10-Feb-17 12:22:15

I think you are going about this in a sensible way and giving it the thought it requires before implementing any changes, and to be frank, that's quite refreshing smile

What did strike me is

but what I wondered was if there were any obvious strategies I was missing in keeping the girl calm until I could deal with the problem

While I understand this is a huge driver for you, I can't help but point out that her reactions are the result/effect/symptoms of what is going on NOT the cause. It's rather like having a small child with chicken pox and focusing on what concealer would cover the spots.
Her behaviour is causing you concern but for the disabled child it is highlighting and forcing recognition of her difficulties. In that respect it is a functioning and effective behaviour. If you want it to stop either you force her to escalate still further ( which NOBODY wants) or you stop the triggers.

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