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If this child was in your class, what would you be thinking?

(33 Posts)
snowdaze10 Sun 18-Mar-18 20:35:53

Just curious really what teachers think when they have a child in their class like this. My son is 6 (year 2) and we're having such a tough time. For the first 2 years of school he was a dream, really happy in school and doing well. All of a sudden in year 2 he became incredibly violent and aggressive at school. We think it's based in anxiety but he runs from classes, hides in small spaces, throws anything he can get his hands on, kicks, hits, wields sticks etc. He's excluded on a daily basis and now on a part time table table for 1 hour a day to avoid permanent exclusion. He ends up monopolising TA time as they run after him or try to calm him or console him once he's calm and realise what he's done and is really upset by it. He doesn't have any extra funding and I'm told doesn't qualify for any extra support (an EHCP request has gone in but it will take a really long time to come to anything, if at all) and I'm told he doesn't qualify for any other setting bar mainstream and the school he's in is the best for SEN in the area. He's awaiting testing for ASD, mental health problems and has motor/sensory problems and is academically highly gifted (tested as such - not just my opinion!!)

Anyway, I'm curious as to what teaching staff think of you had this in your school? When I'm there I get a pity / anger / indifference / irritation / frustration / annoyance etc basically any thing you can think of. I don't know if they want me to keep him at home? Wish he didn't exist? Couldn't care less? Think for God's sack woman do better with your child? Feel sorry for me? - I have no idea but I can't bare going there anymore. I've done as much as I can and nothing is working and I have no idea where to turn to make it better and feel like I'm supposed to know somehow! What would you want me to do if this was happening in your school? What do you wish you could tell parents?

Thanks all.

Toomuchsplother Sun 18-Mar-18 20:42:08

Sounds like you are all having a hard time.
I am not in the business of offering online diagnosis but have you heard of PDA? Pathological Demand Avoidance Disorder. It is currently seen as part of the Autism Spectrum and in basic terms involves heightened anxiety surrounding everyday requests. Children can present as badly behaved when really they are suffering from extreme anxiety.
Might be worth having a look at the PDA society.

MsJaneAusten Sun 18-Mar-18 20:45:23

First of all, hugs. This sounds incredibly tough. I really feel for you flowers

I teach secondary so can't give you any feedback about how a teacher would feel with a child like this in their class, but I have a DS who is also six and sounds quite similar.

What sounds different is the support I'm getting: school have been great - lots of positive encouragement, thinking proactively about how to avoid anxiety and thus improve his behaviour, referring us to the local Barnardo's for more support; we've also seen the GP and have been referred to community paedeatrics for an ASD assessment etc; Sure Start / Barnardo's have given us parenting support.

What support are you getting? You sound alone, and exhausted!

snowdaze10 Sun 18-Mar-18 20:45:41

Thank you. Yes - it's one of many theories surrounding him. School are trying demand avoidance strategies to no avail. I'll be honest - it seems like a hassle for them! That's why I'm curious to hear what teachers think with children like this - do you get annoyed? Do you wish parents did something more?

Toomuchsplother Sun 18-Mar-18 20:47:57

I realise I haven't answered any of your questions. I think if he was in my class I would be trying to work with you and get to the bottom of why. I would talking to you about what works at home and what doesn't, do you notice any triggers, does in respond to different people in different ways. I would be seeking as much outside agency support as possible, Ed Psychologist, Occupational Therapist etc,
I would however also have a duty of care to other children in my class.
Does your DS follow any kind of visual timetable? Does preparing him for change help?
Sorry this is disjointed but just throwing things out as they pop into my head!!

snowdaze10 Sun 18-Mar-18 20:48:08

Msjaneaustin - school are pretty supportive, well, the senco is and we've been referred to everything going but the waiting lists are so long we haven't seen anyone. They have tried lots of different things to reduce anxiety but nothing is working really. Barnardos/sure start you say? I've not thought to access anything through there!

Toomuchsplother Sun 18-Mar-18 20:49:55

Also have you asked your GP for a paediatrician referral or a referral to OT? They might be able to put pressure on.

MsJaneAusten Sun 18-Mar-18 20:52:14

Oh, okay, I'm glad you feel supported. Here's a few of the things DS's teachers do for him in case it helps you think of other things that might help your son.

- Lots of support re transitions (e.g. warnings when activities will finish in class; information about what topics he's moving onto; chances to meet different staff before they cover his lessons, etc)
- Changed from a weekly to a daily behaviour system (he was basically always on 'red' when it was weekly; he now stands a chance of having some days on 'green')
- A safe space in the classroom that he can retreat to at any time
- A copy of this book in his bag to refer to:
- A named supervisor at lunch and break times who he can go and stand with when he feels himself struggling

These are just the ones I can think of, and they're done without the need for an EHCP or a diagnoses. It honestly doesn't sound like your school is the best in the area for SEN if they're suggesting that supporting him is 'a hassle. Sorry!

Re Barnardo's, it wouldn't have crossed my mind either, but here Sure Start and Barnardo's work very closely together. They offer parenting programmes, which I initially turned down (I was offended tbh) but I'm glad I did it eventually as it helped us work out strategies to best support DS.

MaisyPops Sun 18-Mar-18 20:52:22

Honestly, with a parent as supportive and reasonable as you then I would be frustrated for you and wish I could do more to get the system to be less shit.

ScattyCharly Sun 18-Mar-18 20:59:39

Hmm. I’m no expert but what has happened between Y1 and Y2? His behaviour seems to have changed beyond recognition?

junebirthdaygirl Sun 18-Mar-18 21:06:34

Have a child like that and do exactly what Jane Austin suggested. Try to prempt blow outs by giving time out at regular intervals.Huge amount of compassion for child in school . We try to begin every day afresh. He has seen psychologists..educational and clinical. Not on autistic spectrum they decided. As long as parent is cooperative and we feel we are all working together there is no judgement.
One thing that did help was playtherapy outside school as he learned how to express anxiety and how to handle emotions a bit better. Still difficult but a slight improvement.
But he has been like this from day 1. Why did your ds suddenly change when he was doing well? What happened?

RandomMess Sun 18-Mar-18 21:08:11

@snowdaze10 due to the sudden onset of his behaviour I would read up about the condition called PANDAS

snowdaze10 Sun 18-Mar-18 21:15:36

Thanks all. The majority of things in these posts have been trialled actually so that's good to hear they are the right things. Nothing seems to be helping sadly. Also glad to hear that you don't judge the parents!

He was fine up to this year but actually there were some slight signs that fit this anxiety / ASD possibly / angry side they were just so very mild and insignificant we didn't really notice them. But I guess looking back there were signs there but he was happy.

Cassimin Sun 18-Mar-18 21:24:34

We have asd diagnosis with pda.
Sounds much the same as your little one. We are year 5 now and things have settled in school.
We have had input from Nspcc, emotional wellbeing team. Also school have brought in outreach from local Sen school.
In answer to your question l think every teacher is different. Some just don't get it and think child is being manipulative and defiant on purpose. They don't realise it's down to anxiety.
Some are good and work with child to help with their anxiety.
We are currently going for EHCP, school weren't interested so I've started it myself.
There are timescales that need to be adhered to so should not be too long.

wentmadinthecountry Sun 18-Mar-18 21:54:39

Main thing is the school evidencing every intervention they have tried, going to local school group for suggestions (LIFT here), then maybe applying for High Needs Funding to give him 1:1 support?

Is he overstimulated in class? IE is it one of those in your face rooms? What's the lighting like? Does he sit somewhere on the edge where he can safely retreat to his "safe place"? Does he have clear boundaries? Are playtimes a trigger? Can he spend time with a smaller number of children? Is it a bit more free in structure so he isn't entirely sure what's expected of him? Does the teacher give clear, rair instructions, have visual signs with him as reminders? PDA isn't recognised by many LEAs, just to warn you.

I've been there with a pupil - I really feel for you. Stick at it - unfortunately, you are really going to have to fight his corner with all the cutbacks in education. Sounds like you're doing all the right things. You just need to be a very well mannered pitbull.

wentmadinthecountry Sun 18-Mar-18 21:56:44

I never got annoyed with the child by the way - just with the stupid system that wasn't supporting the child.

Almahart Sun 18-Mar-18 21:59:36

One of mine was like that at that age - they now have asd diagnosis and are at specialist secondary

It is very tough

I would recommend The Explosive Child - regardless of whether he is diagnosed or not, the techniques in the book are brilliant

I would also keep weekends quiet as if he does have ASD (or eve of not) school will be exhausting and overwhelming for him and his nervous system will need time to calm down

Appuskidu Sun 18-Mar-18 22:01:45

Have the school implemented a consistent management plan so that all adults are on the same page?

Is there a Pastoral support plan (PSP) in place because of the reduced timetable?

MsGameandWatching Sun 18-Mar-18 22:02:19

My son was like this. He was later diagnosed with autism, dyspraxia, hyper mobility and sensory processing disorder. He's home educated now as he was completely unable to manage in a main stream environment.

RavenWings Sun 18-Mar-18 22:06:39

Been there before, such a hard situation for everyone in it.

I'd feel a lot of different things. Sorry for the child, and the parent (although would feel frustrated if the parent was just sticking their head in the sand, which tbf you aren't).

I'd feel sorry for other children in the class who had their learning disrupted or were hurt. I'd feel frustrated too, I think that's natural, but much more frustrated with the system and the lack of appropriate provision than the child. I wouldn't be able to provide the 1 to 1 support he'd need by myself in mainstream but I've seen so many teachers expected to.

prettypaws Sun 18-Mar-18 22:13:54

I know you didn't ask but have you totally ruled out home education to avoid all of these difficulties and distress? I've known some success of children being flexi schooled for time out to recover and basically trying to emulate the home environment as much as possible in school when there, with familiar items and expectations, quiet calming environment and one to one support. Sadly it often takes a lot of hardship before it gets to the point of that being out in place.

SuperMoonIsKeepingMeUpToo Sun 18-Mar-18 22:19:41

Have you considered (or can you afford) a private educational psychologist? That should speed up an EHCP. It's bad things have come to this, but EHCPs are very thin on the ground in county council's, and I'm pretty sure I'd take that route in your shoes. I'm no doctor, but it sounds like he could well have PDA, and school needs some serious guidance on how to provide for him - really odd considering the school considers itself the best for SEN in the area.

Really feel for you and your little man and hope you can get a solution soon. He sounds so miserable and you frustrated.

snowdaze10 Sun 18-Mar-18 22:20:45

I feel like as there is no support for him and things are so tough that we may have to home educate. But in doing so will be catastrophic for careers and finances. We'd have to move away from family to afford it. Life changing stuff. And ds wants to stay in school - he likes the idea of school and how it used to be but hates how he feels when the outbursts happen.

Frustration is my main feeling (and heart rendering sadness) so I can understand that that would be what the staff feel too.

seasaltartichoke Sun 18-Mar-18 22:21:31

I'd look for a smaller independent school with much more support and smaller class sizes. His behaviour will be more manageable there and you can pay for additional support if he needs it. It does sound like PDA / ADHD and he'll need medicating to help him with this and to modify his behaviour. Best of luck OP.

snowdaze10 Sun 18-Mar-18 22:23:12

He's had assessment by some professionals, ed psych included and there is a lot of disagreement about what is causing his behaviour. There are many assessments with lots of strategies but you can't reach him to apply any of them or if you can, there's no support/staff to do it proactively. The school is good and are very inclusive but they have been hit hard by the budget cuts. Any other school would have Px'd a long time ago. So sad all round.

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