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Turning over tables(14 Posts)
Hi, I wonder if any more experienced SN parents may be able to help me work out how to avoid this happening again. My 6 year old DS who has suspected ASD (working our way through the NHS diagnostic pathway) turned over half the tables in the classroom yesterday while the teacher had briefly left the room. Unfortunately one falling table hit another child. It did not seem to be a meltdown but maybe a communication effort. He was unable to explain to the teacher why he had done this, but at home he told me it was because the teacher had said the activity was about being calm, and he didn't like that idea. He also mentioned that he didn't like the calm music and it made him want to "go crazy". Any other children with similar triggers? I have suggested to him that if he needs to "go crazy" again that jumping up and down and shouting and hand flapping would be a a safer option, and he seemed to accept the idea.
@littleapple Hi, how does your son generally cope with school? I wonder if the music made him react like he did? Does he have sensory processing issues?
My son can react quite dramatically to things like sound, smell and lighting levels.
He says he hates school, and can struggle with the transition of going in. Having said that although he sometimes shows signs of anxiety like pacing around and frequent toilet visits, he generally copes well in terms of getting the work done. Have not really properly investigated sensoey processing but I think that may have something to do with it. He really finds it hard to join in with any singing activity in a group, but likes singing and making music alone. We don't listen to much "calm music" at home - in the car he much prefers rock or anything loud, busy and manic sounding, and had said he doesn't like "relaxing music". I wonder whether he might normally have escaped the music and left the room but thought he shouldn't as teacher wasn't there. Thanks for your ideas!
Do you mean the teacher left a class of 6 year olds unsupervised?
He says he hates school, and can struggle with the transition of going in. Having said that although he sometimes shows signs of anxiety like pacing around and frequent toilet visits
Sounds like school is not meeting his needs. If he has sensory issues maybe there needs to be some strategy put in place whereby when he feels overwhelmed he can remove himself from the classroom.
You could ask for an OT assessment.
@littleapple Bless him! I agree with @Ellie56. Great that he has managed to tell you how he is feeling. Sounds like sensory processing issues. OT, educational psychologist input would be helpful.
Have you ever considered an EHCP for your son? You do not need a definite diagnosis for this. Have an look at your LA website under special education needs. Maybe contact National Autism Society for advice.
I think the turning over tables is probably distressed behaviour. The school needs to meet his needs.
Let us know how you get on! 😉
Does he have a demand avoidant profile?
Thanks, i'm not sure of his profile yet as after an 18 month wait from referral we've just had one parents only appointment to record developmental history, strengths and weaknessess, so are waiting for the next step whi h will probably be an obsetvation of him at school by someone from the ASD pathway team. School SENCO did recommend I attend training on sensory processing. It seems where we are based (Merseyside) parent has to attend the first training seminar to then get to meet OT for more individual advice. Unfortunately the first available training in March was fullly booked, so I'm on the reserve list.... I'll investigate if school can bypass this by referring him directly although I'm sure the training would also be helpful for home life.
Oh, forgot to say at present school don't think he needs an EHCP, or even an EHAT at present. To be fair this is the first time he's turned over tables at school, although there have been a fair number of other incidents (hitting, scissors cutting another child) and incontinence problems currently being treated by the continence nurse. Most of his violent outbursts tend to be at home, so I think he may be masking at school, hence the anxiety. I will put it to them again. I get the impression they are trying to help with various interventions so we agreed to meet half termly with minuted meetings to assess how these are going, in the hope that if we do need to apply for something more we could show what we've already tried, if that makes sense.
@littleapple It does sound like he is masking. Unfortunately some schools will say that an EHC is not needed. School may not fully understand his needs. Also it is not for school to advise. He could do with an assessment of needs. The threshold for carrying out a needs assessment is low. I think the wording is 'may have additional needs over and above peers'.
Keep a log of behaviours at home and school including what your son managed to tell you about how he is feeling.
Your LA will have an Independent Advice Service that you can contact for impartial advice. Also there is IPSEA and SEN SOS.
EHCP's involve additional work and funding. I don't want to make a judgement on how the school is advising you but it does sound like your son is struggling.
Seem advice as you actually can apply for an EHC needs assessment as a parent. Hence my advice to keep a log and start to gather a folder of evidence. I have had to do this for my son and now have an EHC in place.
Thanks @Niffler75, that is very helpful. I kept a log for part of last year in the run up to the first ASD pathway appointment, but it kind of fizzled out with exhaustion/ focussing on all the continence diaries, so will restart that and try to be a bit more methodical. How many weeks or months worth of evidence did you gather before going for the EHC application?
@littleapple We are home educating currently. School was a complete disaster for our son with his distressed behaviour not being seen as such and the wrong approaches used.
My evidence was based on documenting his strengths and challenges, how he learned at home and triggers for meltdowns. We adopted our son and had input from post adoption team and also from our paediatrician. He does have a diagnosis now but EHC was awarded on the basis of need.
We applied ourselves as parents for EHC needs assessment and submitted all the evidence we had collected. As part of the needs assessment we then had ed psych and OT assessments and recommendations.
Still awaiting suitable provision but that's another story!
My best advice is to visit the websites I listed and read up on your rights. You know your child best. Do not get fobbed off with excuses!
I know it's hardened you are exhausted but start with some reading make a list of what needs to be done. Break it into manageable chunks.
Perhaps school could give your DS a (coloured) 5 point scale chart, that he could point to, to indicate that he is getting towards 'overwhelmed'? (Staff could de-escalate before eruption.)
Perhaps school could provide ear defenders and a 'quiet place' so that your DS could/can independently regulate his own sensory need?
Thanks @pandyandy1, school have introduced an "emotional barometer" in all classrooms but so far ds has not been using it. Perhaps we need to practice at home. He had some input through a "seedlings" course in the form of art therapy to help with anger, feelings, communicating emotions. He made good progress but the seedlings councillor said he is still at the stage of trying to identify his emotions rather than being ready to communicate them, so we need to work on modelling how we identify and express emotions at home. Again with the quiet space it is available already, but it's just getting him to the stage where he realises on time when he needs to use it, rather than after the "explòsion".
The advice given is good advice! Read up on the process of applying for an EHCP yourself and (at your DS's next meeting) let school know that your are aware a parent can also apply.
You said school are trying, as in delivering various interventions and meeting half termly, which is really positive. But do ask to meet sooner if there are further behaviours that put your DS, or anybody else's child, at risk of harm!
In the meantime, it may be worth leaving some sensory aids out at home for your DS to naturally explore. Ie ear defenders, weighted blanket, huggy vest, fiddle toys etc. Over time, you will work out which aids your DS likes/dislikes at certain times.
In regards things fizzling out 'due to exhaustion' - everybody here understands that and has been there!