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ASD violent behaviour at mainstream primary

(22 Posts)
Wibblytummy Thu 07-Mar-19 18:26:09

Hi,

I'm not sure where to start but am really desperate for any advice, if there is any please.

We have a 7yr old, who is currently in the waiting list for assessment for autism (we're at least 14months off I believe..) To give a brief background, he has always had his quirks, hyper verbal from a young age, very up and down in his temperaments and obsessive with his interests. He would have periods of irrational violent outbursts, but this could be for a week but then not again for 4-6months.. Because of this timing in between the violent bursts we presumed perhaps hormones/growth spurts and we never quite knew whether to have him assessed or not (although with hindsight it seems obvious we should've). His violent episodes would always be at home and never at school, where he was excelling mostly in everything but handwriting.

Before Christmas the violent episodes became more frequent and so we took our son to the GP who agreed that assessment would be beneficial. However since this increase in the violent episodes, he has become increasingly inflexible, red mists etc. These have now gone from never at school, to increasingly so. He will often refuse to do as his teachers ask and has had several incidents where he has gone in to a melt down (once flipping PE equipment when asked to change groups and once a table when he was upset for being in trouble for talking) Things are mostly manageable at home, I'm attending a play therapy course to support what he's doing with the play therapist at school, booked in to a parenting ASD course etc.

However the school situation has been a bit of a rollercoaster. They are supportive when he has a red mist and are setting up safe spaces for him to go to when he gets angry. However his teacher is increasingly frustrated with his refusal to do things and sees this as him "making a choice to behave that way not like the red mist episodes"

Today I was called in to a meeting at pick up as he had gone in to a red mist episode with another child (who he had a squabble on the playground with, the other child repeatedly threw hoops at my sons head but then my son went in to fixated anger with him), my son was being increasingly threatening and being unkind to the other child, even followed him to head teachers office when they tried to take the other child away. Thankfully he didn't hurt the other boy but as he wouldn't stop following him my son was forcible restrained and taken to another room, where he then spent the whole afternoon in solitary in the school office. Other children are increasingly alienating him also, due to his behaviour. He gets catcalled on the walk home about how he has "issues" and "haha did you see him screaming in the corner today?!" etc.

The school are talking about him not being allowed to go on class trips, having to spend his lunch times in the office instead of the playground and I feel like his time at school is becoming so miserable (and also not fair on others like the boy today) but I don't know where to turn now. He is advanced in learning for his age (he's 7, reading age of a 12+) he is above expected in maths, english. His only struggle is handwriting which is near illegible - so I'm not sure he could go where they are for learning difficulties.

Any advice on how to cope with any of these situations (violent in school, mainstream/special school etc) I would be incredibly grateful for. We're finding our feet with all this and have an almost calm home life with our son and two younger siblings but school is becoming such an issue for him. Outside of these episodes he is incredibly wonderful, bright and funny.

Sorry for the waffling mammoth post..

Legofriday Thu 07-Mar-19 18:35:39

God, your poor child. What a nightmare for him.

You need school or you to apply for an EHCP. Your son needs more support at school to access learning. For example, school need to put in place strategies to assist him with transitions, eg a well maintained now and next board, timetables, social stories about trips etc. He needs someone to help structure lunch /play times, so that eg he can join in a supervised game rather than be left to struggle with a noisy, chaotic environment where he might be missing the social cues etc.

There should be a LA autism team, maybe at the lead special school for autism at your Borough. Get school to get them in to observe your son and then train teachers /TAs.

School need to observe what's causing the stress and big reactions and address that. Not punish him for being autistic. Not allowing him out and not allowing him in trips is fucking ignorant, excuse my language. Wankers.

Wibblytummy Thu 07-Mar-19 20:18:17

Thank you so much Legofriday. I can't say what a relief it was to see you say that last bit, as that is exactly how I felt, that he was being punished for his autistic traits such as inflexibility, and I felt at such a loss of words as I tried to explain to his teacher that he isn't choosing to behave as he does.

Thank you also for the advice in regards EHCP and finding the LA team. I keep seeing mention of EHCP on various pages and when researching special schools and had assumed it was something that came with diagnosis but will put in some research now as to going about getting him one. Thank you.

grasspigeons Thu 07-Mar-19 20:34:01

I would start by asking for a meeting with the school SENCO and asking them to start recording incidents carefully. The should have an ABC log for all incidents going forward. They need to record refusal as well as more dramatic incidents.

Also ask for the senco to plan some interventions, carry them out for a few weeks and then meet to review them. Ask that they are recorded in the plan / do / review format.

All this will be useful evidence when requesting an ehcp needs assessment and some of it might actually help him.

lego has some good suggestions of things they can try.

The school also may have access to a specialist autism teacher who can come and see him. He wont need a diagnosis for this.

I can recommend the Freemantles Outreach website (this is a special school near where I live) It has lots of ideas under the resources heading for schools to try.

This page is useful for refusal

freemantlesoutreach.org.uk/docs/New_PDF_helpsheets/Approaches_for_children_with_ASD_who_resist_learning_-_edited_19_7_16.pdf
there are also fact sheets on transitions and so on.

Wibblytummy Fri 08-Mar-19 11:23:13

Thank you so much, those resource sheets are great. Already planning on printing them out and taking them with us on Monday. Thank you!

springintoaction Sun 10-Mar-19 07:23:39

This sounds eerily familiar. My super bright boy at 7 started with the red mist descending at school and it was met with neurotypical behaviour strategies at school and harsh consequences until they started to realise maybe there was more too it. By then the damage was done and his school experience was utterly miserable with social isolation and anxiety. For a year we waited for assessments and diagnosis and the lengthy process to get an EHCP for support as school could provide what he needed without it (mostly because so much damage was done). He was also put on a reduced timetable and had fixed term exclusions a lot (the outbursts and incidents got worse with increasing anxiety)

He's now 8.5 with a diagnosis of autism, being gifted, sensory processing issues and anxiety. He has an EHCP now but fell out of the school system before it could be implemented and the damage from MS school from that year of waiting and trying to understand is profound. There aren't any special schools here for super bright children with autism so not sure what will happen for us.

My advice would get: don't think things will get better without better understanding and support; MS schools are very poor at understanding and support without true diagnosis - they tiptoe around; start self referring for assessments if school won't - OT, SLT, CAMHS, if you're on the the ASD list ask to see communication and interaction list. Start getting evidence and apply for the EHCP yourself, put complaints in if waiting times are long and make a nuisance of yourself politely. Start thinking about a back up plan if things keep going wrong. I wished I'd pulled him out of there months before we did as the damage done is horrendous. But I buried my head in the sand and wanted it to work for him at school because that's what everyone else does - goes to school, has friends, happy times etc. But allowing him to continue going to an environment that didn't understand him or support him make him anxious which manifested as anger.

MumUnderTheMoon Fri 15-Mar-19 16:39:28

Your son doesn't have a learning disability so he won't be able to attend a special school but there are units for kids with autism in some schools or schools specifically for autistic children. I know excluding him from the playground and trips seems harsh but I would accept that in the short term until he is assessed and you can access decent support in school. If he is reacting in such extreme ways in school then something is clearly causing him to feel stressed. Has he any insight into it? Does he defend his actions later or does he know it's wrong?

drspouse Mon 18-Mar-19 22:19:31

Your son doesn't have a learning disability so he won't be able to attend a special school
Erm ASD is a social learning disability?
And there are special schools just for ASD (awkward for us as our DS might well suit these, but hasn't got an ASD diagnosis and isn't likely to get one at the moment, and there are many more of these than schools for ADHD)

MumUnderTheMoon Tue 19-Mar-19 00:20:27

@drspouse To be identified as having a learning disability your IQ must be below 70. Autism is a developmental condition not a learning disability.

drspouse Tue 19-Mar-19 11:51:17

It's a specific learning disability.
Anyway, the point is moot because there are lots of specialist schools SPECIFICALLY for children with ASD.
So it is meaningless to tell the OP that their child won't get a place at a special school.

MumUnderTheMoon Tue 19-Mar-19 12:21:44

@drspouse autism is not a learning disability of any sort. I do not have a learning disability, I have a developmental condition that affects social functioning, your insistence that I have a learning disability, specific or otherwise, is insulting. You are misinformed.

drspouse Tue 19-Mar-19 12:47:26

What kind of disability is it then? The NAS website says it's a disability so that's why I assumed learning disability.

MumUnderTheMoon Tue 19-Mar-19 12:56:21

A disability is an impairment that is physical, cognitive, developmental, intellectual, mental, sensory or some combination of these. Autism is developmental and for some people sensory in nature. And while it can impact on a persons mental health it is not a mental health condition in and of itself.

drspouse Tue 19-Mar-19 13:46:14

I didn't say it was a mental health condition. But if it's not a learning disability, but the NAS say it is a disability, and people often include it in "hidden disabilities", what kind is it? What's the difference between a developmental disability and a learning disability? I thought "developmental in nature" just meant "starts in childhood"?
Confused.com!

MumUnderTheMoon Tue 19-Mar-19 14:19:18

A learning disability pertains specifically to IQ. A developmental disability is one which arises before adulthood and is lifelong. I wasn't suggesting that you had said it was a mental health condition.

drspouse Tue 19-Mar-19 15:00:50

But dyslexia can be called a learning disability?
Can you see why I'm still confused?

WhoKnewBeefStew Tue 19-Mar-19 15:05:33

This is my 7 yr old dd to a ‘T’

Speak to the school senco, get the school nurse involved and have regular catch ups with school.

I’m desperately trying to stop my dd being excluded for such behaviour and thankfully they are really persevering with her. We’ve got all the school ‘bodies’ involved and Senco are helping with her referral to a child dr for an assessement.

Keep plugging away OP

MumUnderTheMoon Tue 19-Mar-19 15:33:05

Dyslexia isn't a learning disability again if your measurable IQ is over 70 then you do not have a learning disability. Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty. I don't think I can be clearer.

drspouse Tue 19-Mar-19 16:00:04

But it says on the Dyslexia organisation website that it's a specific learning disability.

MumUnderTheMoon Tue 19-Mar-19 16:35:08

Perhaps there is a difference between England and Northern Ireland in the terms used but I would argue that their website is in error.

drspouse Tue 19-Mar-19 17:00:18

Everything I can find uses disability, difficulty, and difference interchangeably for things like dyslexia, developmental language disorder, etc. etc. etc.
I also know families whose children have an intellectual disability or a global learning disability and to my mind, those are different, but using (as the Dyslexia Association does) the word "disability" for a difficulty with some of learning, but not all, isn't insulting or wrong, it's just one way to describe it.

My DS has ADHD and though "officially" it's not a "learning disability" he definitely has problems learning because he can't pay attention, he has a hidden disability, he gets Disability Living Allowance... obviously he's only 7 and can't speak for himself but I don't have a problem with people saying he has a disability.

MumUnderTheMoon Tue 19-Mar-19 17:07:51

I didn't object to the term disability I object to people referring to autism as a learning disability. I think I've made myself clear about the proper use of specific phrases and did so because I thought you were genuinely interested to understand my point but as that seems to not be the case I think we'll leave it there.

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