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1:1 advice with this child (Down Syndrome)

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by tartetatin, Apr 19, 2019.

  1. tartetatin

    tartetatin New commenter

    Hello there. Following the Easter break, I am going to be working 1:1 with a different child. I don't know her terribly well, but needs must, as her usual 1:1 has just left the school.
    I'd like to ask for your advice please, so that I can do her justice. I am generally pretty successful in the 1:1 role, and have worked with children with autism and ADHD, to good effect. However I am a bit nervous about this change. The girl is in Year One, but is 2 years older than the other children in the class. To my knowledge, she isn't fully toilet trained. She is mostly able to recognise letters and numbers, but not write them. She is incredibly strong-willed - as well as physically strong (tries to wriggle out of holding your hand, won't always stand on two feet or comply with walking) - and has to be watched like a hawk, as she's a flight risk. She is rather mischievous, and likes to run through the class, toppling things over, etc. I suspect I'm going to have my work cut out :D Teacher's role with her is limited.
    I have been able to reason well with my other children, which definitely makes life easier. So if we do X and X, then we can do Y. However I don't think it's going to be as easy with this child, from a cognitive point of view.
    Ideally there would have been a transition period, to get to know her (and vice versa!), but no such luck in this case.
    I'd obviously really like for this to go well, for us both, but have no experience in working with children like Maggie (not real name).
    Your tips and help would be massively appreciated.
    Thank you.
  2. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Is she autistic?
  3. tartetatin

    tartetatin New commenter

    Hi dunnocks. No, I believe she is not.
  4. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Some of the most sensible and reliable children I have ever taught have been children who have Down's syndrome without autism.

    Predictable routines, small areas of responsibility, clear explanations and instructions and demonstrations, does she use signed English?
  5. tartetatin

    tartetatin New commenter

    Thank you, dunnocks. I have no doubt that sensible and predictable will come with age, but for the moment anyway that’s just not her!
    She is verbal, so that’s good. I guess I’m mainly a bit nervous about the physical act of being with her, and encouraging her to do things that she does not want to do. She’s pretty impulsive and will run off, lie down in puddles, etc. I’m just not used to that.
    Previous 1:1 told me that she is indulged at home, which shows at school.
    Do you know what though, it will be another experience, and despite my initial nerves, it will all be fine (after day one!). I am looking forward to getting to know her.
  6. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Hi tartetatin, I don't personally work 1-1 but we have a Downs child at our school - and the behaviours you describe sound very familiar! Even down to the 'indulged at home'. I know that our child's 1-1s (there are two, half the day each) would say keep working on the reasoning with her and establishing routines - if you do X and X, then there will be time for Y. Equally, try to build an understanding of consequence - if you don't complete your work, then we won't be able to have extra time on the outside equipment / do cooking, etc.
    Although you say the teacher's role with her is limited - and I do understand how and why that happens - work together to include her with the class wherever possible. Definitely in PE, Art and Music, and there's no reason why she can't be working on the same Humanities topic (differentiated tasks and outcomes). It's so important for her to be 'part of the class'.
    You have a really positive attitude to this new role and I'm quite sure you will quickly build a relationship with the child and help her to achieve. Best of luck!
  7. tartetatin

    tartetatin New commenter

    Thanks so much, dunnocks and Sunshine!
    Hope you both have a lovely and restful Easter.
  8. stargirl81

    stargirl81 New commenter

    Hi Tartetatin,

    AS we now nearly at half term i was wondering how these last few weeks have been for you? x

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