We have a child whose behaviour is challenging. Sometimes. He is the absolute equivalent of there was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead……

On a good day/ morning/ hour/ 10 minutes (take your pick according to the day) he is delightful, interesting, polite, considerate, wanting to learn, relatively articulate, in the next minute he is not! We have tried lots and lots and lots of strategies. Today he has run amok around the school and in his own charismatic, Pied Piper way dragged several other children off task and round the school with him. The Educational Psychologist happened to be in school today, she is in next week to see this lad so we sat and had a conversation about him. Our EP loves structured conversations, encouraging us to solve our own problems and see our own solutions…

“What have you tried….?”

We mentioned visual timetables – do they work – sometimes, well differentiated tasks that are accessible – does that help – sometimes… we listed him being in class, him being outside, being in our behaviour group, in our Nurture Group, having an experienced 1-1, having mum in to help him as a sanction, having mum in to help him as a reward, following when he absconds, not following when he absconds, incremental rewards, sanctions, clear expectations, shouting, not shouting, offering safe places, offering timeout cards… the answer to all of these things was that they work, sometimes. We have tried looking at ABC charts – there are no obvious or even tenuous links to what triggers the behaviours. We have tried purchasing a short term place at our local EBD school – did that help? No, only for the first day then he reverted to type whilst there and came back no different – we thought a longer spell there might help him, the cost is exorbitant but if it was the best thing for the lad….. sorry no places available. We confirmed that we had involved health, we had referred to Learning Support Services and also to SALT but were still in the queue for an appointment, the local authority exclusions officer was actively involved, the parents have done parenting courses – their other children are nothing like him…

A discussion that checked that we use simple clear language, that we don’t inadvertently offer choices when no choice is really there was constructive and then we were left with the helpful suggestion of “well try and offer more of the things that sometimes work…. ” that seems to be anything and everything. Are we any further forward? Not really.

Next week should be interesting, the EP is going to observe him, work with him and then talk to us and the parents (who have exactly the same problems at home). A lot will depend upon how he comes back after the weekend either the EP will work with a delightful child and think that we are lying or she will spend the morning watching from a distance and trying to see if she has any strategies that work more often than sometimes!


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