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behaviour in children

User Article   1032 Views   By administrator on Nov 02 2009, 5:41 pm

Statistics reflect the crisis state of children’s behaviour in the UK today. There’s the one that tells us 5% of children now have a diagnosed behavioural disorder like ADHD and then the one that tells of 20% of children around the world are presenting behavioural symptoms.

However a grim reality is that more families are in crisis because the schools are unable to cope. More schools are in crisis because families can’t cope – so where do you break into the cycle?

The inevitable result of this conundrum is the phone call home to “Remove your child from school for x number of days.”

The inevitable impact of this? crisis point for families, for the parents who often are unable to work because of having their child at home and for the children whose behavioural  problems worsen because of it.

Keri’s story:

A single parent and  working Mom with an 11 year old autistic son:

 

“I'm at work right now.  Trying to finish things up so that I can take tomorrow off to begin working on finding a suitable school for ‘N’.  He's with his dad.  He told him about Friday's incident.  He informed his dad that Ms. ‘D’ the assistant principal told him to, “Go outside because that's where the animals scream.  In here people don't scream."  I’m now getting a fuller picture of what transpired.  No wonder he’s having meltdowns.  He’s being verbally abused. 

 

Schools are also in crisis, unable to cope with the increasing demands that behavioural issues make on  their resources.

Why all this has come about?

What’s happening to the  statutory requirement that educational provision is in place for children under 16?

 Once upon a time, when behavioural problems happened and a child couldn’t be managed in class, there were local authorities in place that had teams of specialised staff that could be brought in to  deal with the problems and provide back up support. Of course, like everything else, this cost money and local authorities had the  funding to provide this service to schools.

The winds of  change blew across a generation in crisis and over the past few years this funding has been gradually  eroded from the local authorities and paid directly to schools. So the teams of specialist support  were lost, as schools picked up the mandatory requirement to provide the education for under 16s.

Ideally, the expertise that had been available to Local authorities was available to be bought in by the schools concerned to support the behavioural problems in house. However, schools were finding themselves juggling  purse strings. There were  buildings to maintain, equipment to replace, curriculum requirements to implement and implementing PPA  time in school. Much of the funding that had been made available had to be allocated towards covering classes  and this had to be done as cheaply as possible within the budgetary constraints and often involves unqualified staff.

In many schools  teachers themselves, unless they have undertaken some form of specialist training as part of their career development, will  not have  an in depth understanding of the diversity of conditions they now increasingly encounter in the classroom. Diagnoses like ADHD, hyperkinetic disorder, ADD, ODD, OCD, Autism, Asperger’s and Tourettes  to mention but a few  designer labels which are served up as a daily  menu in mainstream classrooms. Specialist behavioural units and special educational needs schools are also bursting at the seams with ever increasing  demands and ever diminishing resources. No one is able to catch and cage the dragon because everyone is too busy putting out the fires.

 Jean is a mom with 2 ADHD children, one of whom has an extreme sensitivity to wheat. She was distraught recently, when  having explained  to her 5 year old daughter’s teacher that her child must be careful with what she eats and can’t have play dough etc. The little girl was still given a lolly as a reward which contained additives and ingredients that she is behaviourally sensitive to and which triggered extreme behaviour all evening.

Many  specialists in behavioural support  have now gone freelance due to the dissolution of local education authority support teams. In this way professional expertise was made available  to support schools. ‘ School Action Plus’ can access additional funding per year to support that child for extra intervention   if  it is found that a child is not making adequate progress. If a child’s special educational needs cannot be met under School Action, then specialists may be consulted and new teaching strategies and placements provided.

 

Extra intervention under ‘School Action Plus’ can be made if, despite receiving an individualised programme, a child:

 

  • has emotional or behavioural difficulties, which substantially interfere with the child’s own learning or that of the class group, despite having an individualised behaviour management programme.

     

  • has ongoing communication or interaction difficulties that impede the development of social relationships and cause substantial barriers to learning;

     

 

SO WHY ARE SO MANY PARENTS  DREADING THE DAILY PHONE CALL HOME FROM SCHOOL TO COME AND PICK UP THEIR CHILD?

 

And let’s face it, it doesn’t take much for children to cotton on to this strategy – would they rather be at home playing on the play station or in a busy stressful overcrowded environment which  their sensory hypersensitivity reacts to as hostile and threatening?

 

More from Keri:

 

I spent most of yesterday making phone calls and doing research. Yesterday I found out that N was suspended for 3 days.  His dad’s going to pick up his school work today. 

 

I emailed another school Sunday.  I haven’t heard from the Head and I’ll follow-up with a phone call today.

 

As I mentioned, I called the LA yesterday and the director of children’s services promised to contact me within 2 hours with information.  I haven’t heard from her.  I also contacted a legal advocate, but the intake person said that it takes between 1-3 days for the lawyer to return your call—so I’m waiting.  I think that I’m going to have to go that route, but that’s long-term.  I’m calling a case manager today—I’m not sure what they do or if I’m interested in their services.  In addition I’m off work and of course they want to know what’s going on and when I’ll return.

 

The challenge here, as you know, is even if I returned N to school on Friday; a similar incident would probably follow within a week.  Without implementing effective supports, I feel that I might as well keep him out school, versus existing on pins and needles waiting to be contacted to come and pick him up.

 

I’m hanging in.  I trying to see some light at the end of the tunnel. “

 

 

The dilemma is that schools have had to use that funding to cover other provision costs.

 

 

Take for an example one quote I had in May this year from an assessment and observation  behaviour unit for specialist provision. This quote is  from a lady who had just started  training on an OFSTED commended behaviour support programme:

By the way ‘A’ has had no night terrors since starting the programme.”

 

The results with  case studies were very encouraging from early into the programme in May by  October this year an  email from her manager paints a different picture…

 

Sorry I have not got back to you sooner. As you can see under enormous stress at the moment with staffing but also with the LA cutting budget dramatically. Am in meetings most of time at moment. Bottom line is I’m not sure if I will be able to continue training as they are making such cutbacks. It’s a shame but I know you will understand how radically things can change in our lives and we have to rethink and prioritise. The idea of ‘L’ and I doing this training was always a luxury which was great, but now with ‘L’ gone, budget down, short staffed, I have no time to give attention to the programme to do it justice.”

 

 

And so ‘A’ starts having night terrors again????!

 

 

For parents and children and professionals who are caught up in this downward spiral of where to go next. There is now an online community and FREE downloadable resources (therapeutic and educational). The site has been available since the summer to help support children with  behavioural problems. It provides a meeting place for isolated parents and professionals to share understanding, information and experience. Free resources are sent out every week to anyone registering on the site. A social networking site for behavioural challenges.

A recent quote from Mary, a Special Ed teacher:

Love the Willow book, actually am thinking I might use it with two boys I'm supporting who have bullying and behaviour issues and incorporate into our new sensory room, was just thinking about activities to do with them as they are not coping in class in the afternoons, and then your newsletter came! One is deaf and one hearing, both in year 5 and the teachers can't manage them so I'm sort of picking up the pieces and helping where I can.”

 

Although names have been changed for confidentiality all of these comments are from professionals and parents who have joined a new online community, which shares expertise and resources to support children who are excluded from school and their families. Through this level of support  families can start to make a difference to the situation together from a therapeutic as well as an educational perspective. Parents are able to form an educational partnership with schools  by  educating  their children in a way that suits their learning personality. The HET approach is based on Eco therapy. A simple philosophy that looks at the way children lean and that by changing our perspective on the past we are in fact recycling and creating a different future. This is meshed with recycling projects for the home, extending to the school or workplace and then into the community. The next level is to understand about core issues, when we project our issues on to other people and blame them and they  bite back we create a dynamic. When this is understood and seen for what it is then we are energy saving so we don’t engage in negative scenarios. Alongside this, is a framework of energy saving projects and finally when we are able to see through this and manage our diet, exercise, environment, we reclaim our power – we are empowered and self sustainable. So alongside this is the sustainability programme at three levels. The Eco therapy is delivered through online eco projects and animal sanctuary help programmes. These encourage Random acts of kindness in young people form a family based level. The approach involves learning about handling behavioural issues with children from real life internet characters like Daisy the Pig with ADHD and attitude and Ruby the rescue boxer dog, who together form the ‘Snow friends’ project.

The HET programme is now no longer available through the educational system, where it was commended by OFSTED and heralded as a “flagship of excellence from a DfES consultant evaluating behaviour improvement programmes. Available now, online to parents and professionals that still wish to offer this level of support to children and families despite the ever increasing demands on dwindling resources. The online therapeutic and educational resource has won the ‘Rediscover your Heart award’ for the empowerment and inspiration of young people this year.

HET  as a therapeutic support programme offers  a simple stepping stone basis to support parents with  setting goals, behavioural management in partnership with schools, creating incentive charts, emotional management, diet and nutrition, exercise, core issues, negative patterns,  family dynamics, relaxation techniques , cellular support and the Eco-Therapy alternative curriculum family fun based projects which bridge the home school divide.

The unique online community is for parents and professionals to come together and share understanding. In addition to being able to access the programme from the site and train in these techniques HET  offers Freely downloadable resources to support children, parents and professionals and weekly newsletters containing free learning and therapy resources for  those who subscribe to the email list.

 

 

Linda Porter is a teacher, psychologist, advisory suppor teacher and therapist. She  founded HET Holistic Educational Therapy programme which provides a comprehensive, integrated, holistic,  child centred, and self monitoring approach to supporting behavioural issues like ADHD for children, parents and professionals.

 

 

For more information visit to access FREE resources and share strategies www.HETwebsite.com

 

And for background information into the programme www.holisticeducationaltherapy.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bury   ADHD
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