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Aggressive year 2 child with developmental delays - please help!

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by notanear, May 11, 2014.

  1. I've recently taken over as a 1:1 Learning Support Assistant for a boy in year 2 with quite severe behavioural difficulties, and I'm struggling to find a strategy that works.

    I should preface this by saying that his development and communication are way below his grade level. He's probably reading, writing and speaking at a Nursery - Reception level, struggles to count past 10 and understands very little of what goes on in class, work-wise.

    His problem behaviours include not being able to sit and listen to teachers with the other students, shouting and making noises almost constantly, difficultly transitioning between activities, refusal to participate, running out of the classroom whenever he feels like it and being violent/verbally aggressive towards other children and staff when he doesn't get his way.

    The main thing I'm struggling with is that none of my usual strategies for behaviourally-challenged students (ie, developing a clear and consistent chain of events if he misbehaves, maintaining high expectations, rewarding good behaviour, finding out his interests and trying to make work relevant to them, etc etc) seem to work with him. His behaviour and reactions vary hour to hour, the smallest thing can set off a huge tantrum and the smallest thing can bring him back from one, and it's different every time.

    I also struggle with explaining things like rewards/consequences to him because his communication and concentration are so poor that he rarely understands/listens/takes in what I say. He interprets almost any attempt by and adult to talk to him as him getting into trouble (doubtless because this is what he is used to) and completely shuts down when I try to explain (even in the simplest language) what is expected of him.

    The behaviour management plan in the school is a little wishy-washy - I have the option of sending him to the Head Teacher if he is violent or his behaviour becomes too disruptive, but she is often in meetings, away or too busy to deal with him. I also have the option of him missing his playtime, but this a) results in him hitting me, running away or screaming swear words at me and b) requires me to find another teacher who will be inside during playtime to watch him as my job also requires me to act as lunchtime/playtime supervisor and I can't stay inside with him. So it isn't always possible to find someone and requires me to rely on chance a lot, which I don't like doing as I don't want to say he's lost his play if I can't follow through.

    This is the most extreme behaviour case I've ever worked with. I worry a lot that his refusal to participate in class activities, as well as the strategy I am usually advised to follow being to take him out of class if he becomes too disruptive, means he is just falling further and further behind and isn't learning anything. I also struggle to manage his aggression and I hate coming to work knowing I'm probably going to be kicked, punched, bitten and screamed at. I know I shouldn't take it personally and most of the time I don't, but it's hard to get through to a child who is usually on the brink of that kind of anger.

    Any advice at all would be very much appreciated. I'm determined not to give up but I'm also starting to feel quite stressed out!
  2. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    Do you really believe that it is acceptable to be sworn at, hit and kicked by a 7 year old(ish) child? Would you accept this sort of behaviour from a child of your own? The school should not allow this and it should be dealt with at a higher level. Parents should be involved ( although I guess that they are useless specimens) and social services if necessary. If this behaviour is not dealt with now, just think what he will be like in 10 years time. I don't think that you will be able to sort this out on your own - nor should you.
  3. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I agree with Saluki in that you are not going to be able to solve this on your own - even the Head needs some specialist advice. In the end,the student may need to be referred to a Pupil Referral Unit where the teachers are trained to deal with the anger he is displaying and have the resources available to help; for example a time out area where he can go immediately if he is putting himself or anyone else in danger. I know PRUs cater for key stage 2,3 and 4 , but don't know if there are any in your area for a child as young as this. It sounds as though he does need an assessment by an educational psychogist and a social worker at the very minimum if this behaviour has gone on for a long time.
  4. nearly_there

    nearly_there New commenter

    This child sounds like he has more issues than simply being a "naughty" child. The title of your post says he has developmental delays have these been fully diagnosed and investigated? There may be more going on in this little man's head that is realised. I would suggest he needs an educational psychologist referral and assessment. I think it would also be worthwhile contacting your local special school to ask advice from the teachers there. Many special schools do outreach work. There seems to be a lot of assumptions being made in some of these replies, not sure a PRU is exactly the right solution.

    I do have experience working with exactly this type of pupil and would not mind a personal message if you want to more practical advice about this young boy.

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