24. A Primary Child with Significant Challenging Behaviour Supported in a Specialist Provision

Background This Looked After (later adopted) child had experienced many traumas early in life and had numerous confirmed and suspected diagnoses including attachment disorder, ADHD and foetal alcohol syndrome.  Understandably, this vulnerable boy began to struggle in school. A wide variety of strategies and resources were planned and implemented. He was ultimately excluded as a result of his extremely challenging behaviour. Solution Focused Approach In order to meet this boy’s additional support needs, it was agreed that he should attend each day the Specialist provision for primary children with challenging behaviour. He was supported by two members of staff. Strategies Key success factors included: • providing a calm and nurturing approach in a positive supportive environment; • providing a safe base for growth, development and learning; • building a positive relationship between the pupil and his teacher through close contact, talking, sharing and humour, where trust was a key feature; • building and maintaining a supportive and positive relationship with his adoptive mum; • working in close partnership with other agencies, sharing information daily when required; • outdoor education (indoor rock climbing, building shelters, cooking over a camp stove etc).
Range of Strategies to Promote Positive Behaviour and Improve Learning • Classroom environment offered a safe base. • A visual timetable provided routine and structure. • Individualised educational programme. Social stories. • Therapeutic play opportunities. • His two supporting adults modelled appropriate behaviour. • Active learning approaches to literacy and numeracy motivated the boy and used his strengths. • Consistent approach was used to support the pupil work through his range of emotions. • Gradual introduction to sharing space with other pupils. • Gradual introduction to more challenging tasks and ex pectations. • Daily short bursts of physical activity. • His needs were recognised, in particular his need to be active (taught various gymnastics moves) and the need for therapeutic approaches such as building in opportunities to release tension and anxiety through the use of music, wrapping up in blankets, etc. • A range of outdoor education activities, eg wall climbing to safely facilitate his need to experience the exhilaration of danger and risk. Individualised Planning and a Flexible Curriculum in Line with Curriculum for Excellence This pupil had a Co-ordinated Support Plan and an Individualised Educational Programme which took into account his wider needs. Active learning approaches were paramount to the success of his engagement in the curriculum. This included hands-on indoor and outdoor games, writing for real purposes (for example an letter of invitation to mum for the Christmas concert) reading to/with the stick insects or puppets, etc. Alternative approaches and opportunities were sought at all times to engage this child, for example, through outdoor education . Partnership Working The (mainstream school) Headteacher maintained close links with the Specialist provision. This included visiting the pupil in his new school, attending his birthday party there, regular phone contact and meetings between the Specialist provision and his primary school. Frequent multi­ agency meetings between education, social work and other support agencies helped ensure the best care and education for this young person. As home life became increasingly difficult for this young person and his mother, regular overnight respite was organised. Staff from the care team and the Specialist educational provision worked very closely shoring strategies and mirroring approaches in both settings.
Successful Outcomes included:
  • a significant decrease in incidents in the community/involvement with the police;
  • a significant decrease in aggressive and challenging behaviour;
  • a positive attitude and eager willingness to attend school on a daily basis;
  • almost complete engagement with his daily timetable and an increasing ability to stay on task;
  • increase in personal strategies/self-management of anger and anxiety (initially very vocal and threw things frequently. He began to express his thoughts/feelings verbally and self-reflected at times;
  • decrease in anxiety. This was evidenced by the fact that initially this vulnerable pupil would hide daily and wrap up in blankets . He moved on from this situation to rarely needing his blanket (often forgetting it) and no longer hiding;
  • a positive and successful relationship with the Class teacher;
  • a successful transition to a Residential school. Although this young person progressed very positively within the Specialist educational provision, full intensive support was needed to support him beyond school hours and to allow for an intense attachment programme of therapy to be completed with the family.
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