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Anyone work in SEN and had experience of positive handling?

(58 Posts)
Mustrum Wed 31-Jan-18 16:57:49

This term I have been assigned 1-1 to support a child in KS1 who has no diagnosed SEN but has extreme difficulty coping with the classroom environment. (Obviously I'm not going to give any more details about the child.)

A few days into the assignment I had to physically restrain the child. The whole episode lasted about an hour and other members of staff were involved. I was withdrawn from supporting the child while the situation was reassessed. This was not punitive. Next week I will be working with them again.

At first I felt that I could have handled the situation better, and avoided reaching the point were restraint became the only option. My colleagues are not of that opinion - at least, not to my face. They feel that, if I did make mistakes, they were reasonable mistakes given the circumstances.

Over the past week, however, I have come to the conclusion that, in fact, my actions were irrelevant. The child was going to behave that way whatever happened and whoever they were with. It was unavoidable, and I was just the lucky or unlucky person who was there at that moment. Everything I did was containment and damage-limitation.

What I'm struggling with is: is this an arrogant attitude? Am I swerving my responsibility?

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becotide Wed 31-Jan-18 17:01:54

No and No

De-escalation will only go so far with kids who Are Not Coping.

Short of sending him home, where he might have lost his shit anyway, There was probably very little you could have done.

If you have to deal with him escalating again, think - can we avoid this envirnment and is it reasonable to do so? ie, leaving classroom, eating seperately, quiet place to go etc

if not, then you unfortunately just have to handle the physical outburst.

fortifiedwithtea Wed 31-Jan-18 17:13:02

You restrained a small child for an hour. Holy fuck! You should not have done that angry sad

You should be ashamed of yourself.

becotide Wed 31-Jan-18 17:17:02

ODFO Fortified. Mumsy of one docile 9 month old girl, are we?

RavenWings Wed 31-Jan-18 17:21:23

Oh get lost fortified. OP said the whole incident lasted an hour, not the restraint. That probably includes triggers and calming for the child too. Maybe reading a post before hitting the outraged button would do you some good.

hockityponktas Wed 31-Jan-18 17:25:31

Sometimes restraint is the only option sadly.
Have you tracked the child's behaviour to identify possible triggers?
What coping strategies and techniques have you put in place for the child?

hockityponktas Wed 31-Jan-18 17:28:04

Fortified would you feel the same if the child wasn't restrained and then badly hurt themselves or someone else around them?
You clearly have never worked with children with sen otherwise you would know that the op would not have done that unless absolutely necessary at the time.

HangingRoundInABofAlorsStance Wed 31-Jan-18 17:33:28

Hi OP
Sounds difficult and you have my sympathies but as a parent of a child similar to how you describe I would simply want to know what the initial trigger for the meltdown was, whether any escalation could have been avoided, why restraint was necessary and how many were involved and whether safe space was available and had been offered.

pp - The whole episode lasted an hour not the restraint if i understood correctly. if child is hurting themselves or threatening to, or about to chuck a chair or hitting out wildly at others or about to run off into the road etc i can see why restraint might be needed but clearly as a last resort when in danger of hurting themselves or others. Mine would be worse from it though when he needs to bolt hence me asking about the safe space/circs.

Mustrum Wed 31-Jan-18 17:33:31

Most of the time I can get them to cooperate by promising specific rewards, but that only works when they are not angry. Once they are angry - nothing works, short of complete capitulation to their demands.

Ideally we'd have a meltdown room - safe and unexciting, where they could be as angry as they like and I could act bored by it. I'm pretty sure that they escalated to force me to respond.

Unfortunately- we don't.

I'll be meeting with SLT to discuss the new behaviour plan tomorrow or Friday.

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fortifiedwithtea Wed 31-Jan-18 17:35:43

@becotide Oh really? You think have several [biscuits]

I am the mother of a 15 year with learning disability and mental illness. During her time in A&E she was restrained to prevent her hurting herself even more. She had cut her head open in a fall at this point. Nursing staff told me restraint should not go on for more than 20 minutes. After 3 fucking hours sedative at last worked. She had been held so long on the floor that she wet herself.

No surprise she is now having flashbacks to that .

And yeah I will be outraged. I'm sure OP found herself in a far less extreme situation. There must have been an alternative .

hockityponktas Wed 31-Jan-18 17:37:53

Have you worked out what the triggers are for the anger?
You said the child doesn't have a specific diagnosis, is there a reason for that (ie is it just behavioural/emotional?)

Mustrum Wed 31-Jan-18 17:38:24

Every moment of the episode was witnessed by other adults. It was fully recorded and the parents informed.

We take these situations extremely seriously, no-one wants to distress or harm a child. We want the best possible outcome for every child. Do you really believe I'd still be worrying about it a week later, if I had acted callously ?

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fortifiedwithtea Wed 31-Jan-18 17:40:51

You clearly have never worked with children with sen otherwise you would know that the op would not have done that unless absolutely necessary at the time.

HAHA you got that wrong

hockityponktas Wed 31-Jan-18 17:42:25

Ignoring fortified as she's clearly trying her hardest to be goadygrin biscuit

becotide Wed 31-Jan-18 17:43:09

They aren't wrong, Fortified. You may have experience with mental health problems but you are demonstrating a phenominal lack of insight into the classroom environment.

FuckMyUterus Wed 31-Jan-18 17:45:00

mustrum you have my sympathies. My son has SEN (also not diagnosed) and whilst attending a meeting at school this week I heard him in full meltdown mode, and asked to go to him. When I got to him he was being restrained by a highly qualified and fully trained one to one teacher. It distressed me to the point that I sobbed whilst calming him down, it was absolutely vile to watch, and I can't even imagine what it must feel like to have to resort to anything physical when a child is already that distressed. Nothing in the way of advice to offer though I'm afraid as my son simply doesn't become violent at home.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 31-Jan-18 17:45:18

How much training have you had? I'm not sure "acting bored" when a child is in distress will be helpful. Keeping completely calm, of course.

HangingRoundInABofAlorsStance Wed 31-Jan-18 17:45:41

Oh and I was a behaviour support for a term - I was heavily pregnant though so always told not to restrain and to provide an escape route.
Also - my own child reacts diff with diff people and diff approaches. If he is heading for a meltdown it can sometimes be headed off at the pass. If he is spiralling already in it then no it would not make a huge diff who is there but I still, as a parent and a teacher, think self-examination (not self-recrimination) is no bad thing rather than a fatalistic approach...because a similar situation will happen and you might be able to defuse it.

FuckMyUterus Wed 31-Jan-18 17:49:02

fortified regardless of how long the restraint went on for they have to keep the child themselves safe, themselves safe from physical abuse and other children and staff! If I found out my son had hurt himself/others in a situation where he could have been safely restrained I would be beyond angry that they had not taken reasonable steps to ensure the safety of my child and others! Have a bit of empathy and don't kick people when they're already down and doubting themselves.

Mustrum Wed 31-Jan-18 17:49:27

I can understand fortified's anger, but this situation was completely different to your dd's. I don't want to have to restrain a child. It is very much a last resort.

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Faintlinesquints Wed 31-Jan-18 17:54:19

I think the word 'restraint' can conjure up some horrible images if people aren't really aware of what it entails.
My (Sen) dd needs restrained, most often than not it's with a 'teddy bear hug' from behind, with constant even pressure. Is a comfort to her and does calm her down, but it can be scary for someone to see her trying to resist it, if they don't know the reason why.
Sometimes restraining a child is absolutely necessary to prevent injury to themselves or others.

Every Sen child is different, view the episode as a learning experience. It's good that you have the opportunity to discuss the new behaviour plan fully before interacting with the child again, and you will soon discover what works best for this child.
Good luck.

Marcine Wed 31-Jan-18 17:54:36

I have had a job that involved sometimes restraining a ks1 child.

You need to absolutely insist on training eg Team Teach that is geared towards under 8s. Otherwise you are putting yourself and the child at risk. Other staff need to be trained too so you can hand over to backup if necessary.

Mustrum Wed 31-Jan-18 17:56:30

How much training have you had? I'm not sure "acting bored" when a child is in distress will be helpful. Keeping completely calm, of course.

I am trained in basic restraint and am experienced in supporting children with SEN.

In this case the child was categorically not distressed. They were focused on manipulating the situation. Hence the need for me not to respond.

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frazzled3ds Wed 31-Jan-18 17:58:22

I was recently sent on the Team Teach training course - very interesting and useful, and gave me some great ideas and strategies to use should a situation escalate.

If you've not already done the course it could be worth asking to go on one. Meanwhile reviewing the positive handling plan is a definite must, and getting the child's parents input on what they find works best (which I'm sure they will have already done but worth updating).

Good luck.

Mustrum Wed 31-Jan-18 17:59:09

We are Team Teach trained. No untrained staff are allowed to restrain a child.

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