Before the summer holidays I wrote about our struggle with a LAC child who was very challenging. I was worried about the impact that her behaviour would have on the rest of the school. I think it’s time that I gave an update.
She had requested a 1:1 to support her. I managed to persuade the powers that be to increase her statement funding so that I could employ a full time 1:1 support for her. I am aware that there is evidence that Teaching Assistants don’t increase progress and attainment. I would argue that it depends how they are supporting the child. In this case, the support is emotional. And it is working. She has settled really well and you would hardly notice that she is in the class. She is even smiling around school now, especially if I mention my football team (which plays in League 1) as she is an Everton fan and she teases me about this!
In contrast I spent a large part of today with one of the children from the support group. One who I also wrote about before the summer holiday, who I had managed to engage in his writing with one of the puppets in my office.
He is not settled. In fact, he has become violent and aggressive. His language is foul towards both adults and other children. He was removed from his classroom on a number of occasions today as he was being dangerous. Throwing things at people, stamping on plastic boxes to break them and generally causing havoc. There seemed to be a number of triggers. Other children making sly comments, staff asking him to come and work with them to name a couple.
What I found interesting was that he didn’t really resist the removal from the room. He made a show of ‘resistance’ but actually wasn’t. First time he came out I took him to the PFSW office where the two of us talked with him. It became clear that he was extremely tired. When we asked him about this he told us that his dog was (still) keeping him awake. He then told us a ‘secret’ – that he had been fighting with some of his ‘mates’ out on the estate.
We asked him why he had been late this morning (he is late every morning, we are working with the ESW but so far have not managed to resolve this). He said his clock hadn’t worked. I asked him how he felt about being late. He hates it, as you would imagine. I made a decision. We have not wanted to pick him up before school as we were hoping that dad would manage to bring him. But now it is at breaking point. So we are going to pick him up in the morning and bring him to breakfast club. He seemed really happy about this. It remains to be seen how this impacts on his behaviour and engagement in school as this isn’t the only problem he has but at least it will be a start.
This child is full of anxiety. To the point where he can’t keep still most of the time. It is not ADHD, more like an uncomfortable feeling in his skin.
This afternoon he had to be removed from his class again, so I brought him up to my office. I asked him if he minded if I got on with my work. I had decided not to engage with him as I felt that this was why he had wanted to get out of his room. He said he didn’t mind and so we existed alongside each other for a while. I was typing on my computer, with my back towards him. He was sitting at the table, playing with some blutack that he had taken from one of the posters in my room. Another interesting thing about this child is that he calms down very quickly. He doesn’t remain out of control for long and he doesn’t resist any attempts to calm him down.
While I was typing, he was playing with the blutack. He made a little man out of it which he showed me. Although I wasn’t giving him my full attention I was still responding when he talked to me. It was fascinating listening to him. He was playing imaginatively and talking to the character he had made. I couldn’t hear exactly what he was saying but he was actually still for quite some time.
Eventually I saw that he was beginning to tire of that game so I put a pot of colouring pencils and some paper on the table for him. He screwed up the first bit and used it to ‘wedge’ into the window. Then he sat down and said ‘I’m going to draw a rainbow for my dad.’ I felt that it was his way of trying to make things better – a symbol of hope…