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Behaviour problems in EYFS - advice please!

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Daniello, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. Hi there,
    I have posted this in Behaviour as well, but wanted advice specifically from EYFS ppl too :)
    I am a teacher of Foundation Stage and am dealing with quite a disruptive year group. I am looking for some advice on a particular child. He displays some Asperger-y/Autistic-y behaviour (although is not statemented and this has not been diagnosed) eg: likes order and structure, stuggles to cope when plans change, can't deal with too much going on around him, always asking what is happening next. He seems detached from himself and his own emotions. When he smiles it doesn't seem real - it's disappeared as quickly as it appeared. He doesn't seem sad or upset, just angry. There seems to be issues going on at home but his behaviour has been bad since pre school. He will often push children out of the way if they are too close, and will punch/hurt others (including teachers) for no apparent reason (the other day he started hitting and scratching me because I had asked him nicely to 'please move forward'). It is getting progressively worse - he can not transition from one thing to the next, he can not line up without hurting others. He is very sly about it and he knows when an adult is watching.
    I have tried a behaviour chart where the day was split into 7 sessions (and playtimes) and he got a smiley/sad face for each session depending on his behaviour, It worked for a while because he was desperate to get all smiley faces. Then he was happy if he just got one. So this didn't work and was stopped. I am currently doing a home-school contact book regarding his behaviour but mum doesn't really write a lot. I have tried zero tolerance where if he becomes aggressive he gets a red card and is sat out but this sets him off even worse.
    I feel like everything I'm trying isn't working, and am looking for other ideas to try! Anyone?!
    Thank you x

     
  2. Hi there,
    I have posted this in Behaviour as well, but wanted advice specifically from EYFS ppl too :)
    I am a teacher of Foundation Stage and am dealing with quite a disruptive year group. I am looking for some advice on a particular child. He displays some Asperger-y/Autistic-y behaviour (although is not statemented and this has not been diagnosed) eg: likes order and structure, stuggles to cope when plans change, can't deal with too much going on around him, always asking what is happening next. He seems detached from himself and his own emotions. When he smiles it doesn't seem real - it's disappeared as quickly as it appeared. He doesn't seem sad or upset, just angry. There seems to be issues going on at home but his behaviour has been bad since pre school. He will often push children out of the way if they are too close, and will punch/hurt others (including teachers) for no apparent reason (the other day he started hitting and scratching me because I had asked him nicely to 'please move forward'). It is getting progressively worse - he can not transition from one thing to the next, he can not line up without hurting others. He is very sly about it and he knows when an adult is watching.
    I have tried a behaviour chart where the day was split into 7 sessions (and playtimes) and he got a smiley/sad face for each session depending on his behaviour, It worked for a while because he was desperate to get all smiley faces. Then he was happy if he just got one. So this didn't work and was stopped. I am currently doing a home-school contact book regarding his behaviour but mum doesn't really write a lot. I have tried zero tolerance where if he becomes aggressive he gets a red card and is sat out but this sets him off even worse.
    I feel like everything I'm trying isn't working, and am looking for other ideas to try! Anyone?!
    Thank you x

     
  3. Have you tried a visual timetable - so he knows what is happening through out the day?

    He sounds like he might need a very short one e.g. two pictures at a time Now and Next - a picture/symbol for each one - when you complete the now the next picture moves across and add the next task.

    You can get pictures in various sights - this one might be useful as I think it has symbols for all tasks like lining up, put coat on etc do2learn
     
  4. Heyo
    This sounds like a child who has come into my nursery - the advice from pre 5 and ed psych we have been given is visual timetable, having a safe place (e.g. bean bag) using his name and one word instruction, picking out fights - (that sounds bad) but not challenging everything just a few things-allowing some leeway.
    We have also started to turn lights off coz apparently lights for children with autism flicker - as very sensetive so for some time we have lights off - makes it quite dark but other children are not bothered also he likes calming music - claasical opera type music.
    Hope this helps - our child has made some small steps of improvemnt and is seeming calmer.
    Sa
     
  5. I have a visual timetable for the whole day (for the whole class), but will defo try the now and next one as he often asks what is happening next. When you say a 'safe place' what do you mean - why/when would he use the safe place? I've been doing some research tonight and think I need to stop reacting in a mean/loud manner as this is just showing him aggression I suppose! Thank you for your ideas - please keep them coming! I'm at my wits end!
     
  6. You need to speak to the SENCO. You've probably already done that. Do it again. Keep a log of behaviour incidents to show the SENCO and also so that you can track what specific situations cause problems and what reactions from staff work best/ worst.
    You could have a card with hand prints on it - 'kind hands'. When the child shows violence or aggression remind him to have kind hands and suggest he goes and puts his hands on the handprints. It's just a visual reminder of expectations.
    We had a child with aspergers syndrome last year and got a lot of advice. Some things worked better than others. We put up a screen across an alcove in the room. Behind that he had his own table and a selection of things to play with. We encouraged him to go to his place if it was clear that he was struggling to keep calm in the general environment or on the carpet. It was never used as a punishment, but we would explain why we thought he might want to use 'his place' "You're making a lot of noise" "you're bothering x" etc. "do you need to go and play in your special place?". To start with a member of staff would have to be with him or he would not stay there for long but after a while he started to see it as his refuge and he would take himself there if things got too much.
    Some children have a special cushion or mat on the carpet to focus them on sitting still. Visual prompts are useful. Activities, with an adult initially, involving taking turns and making choices. After a while choose a sensible child to play and take turns. Make explicit what is going to happen and the order of events. "X is having the bike, y is going next, then it's your turn", keep reminding and stick to it like glue.
     
  7. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I've taught children on the'spectrum' whove been beautifully behaved.
    Just wanted to have that noted.
     
  8. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    who've
     
  9. Point taken, Inky.
     
  10. Thank you for your advice. Inky - I'm not saying he defo has Aspergers/Autism, it''s just that he is displaying some of the associated behaviour (from the experience I have had with ASD children).

    I have given him a special 'spot' to sit on when we are on the carpet. This works well because he knows where to sit and tthe others know to give him space. I have tried in the past few days giving him a soft toy to keep his hands busy - this has worked well. My main concerns are tidy up time, getting into a line to move into a different part of school and at the end of playtime, and also playtime. These are the times when the most aggressive behaviour occurs.

    We are having general problems with the whole yr group as they play so roughly that lots of children are getting hurt at playtime - it's awful! We tried going into the hall and explicitly teaching playground games. During this, the child in question totally freaked out. I asked him to sit out as he was being silly and pulling the other children around the room. When I moved towards him he started running away from me, I told him I was not going to chase him. He then started randomly pushing other children in the room - for no apparent reason. I just wish I understood his reasons behind his actions. And I wish I knew what discipline/sanctions I need to put in place as this aggressive behaviour can not go on!
     
  11. Does he have speech and languauge problems as these are usually associated with autism as are communication difficulties and issues around "sameness"? You could ask for advice from SALtherapist but I think you are already using appropriate strategies eg the visual timetable. It is very difficult and challenging but I'm sure you will see some progress even if only tiny steps.
     
  12. Hi,
    A couple of ideas that have worked for us, with mild spectrum children and with defiant disorders, anger management and behavioural difficulties:
    very gentle zero tolerance - quite staff intensive, but worth it if a child needs retraining, We noticed a big difference in one week. No warnings, but quiet removal to time out and then discussion about incident, not always with other party involved. We did this on every occasion, no exceptions, boy was it hard work, but worth it.Parents did the same at home,they were amazed.
    A quiet word in the ear - before tidy time or transitions, let the child know what is coming next, so they can be prepared for it, perhaps also giving them something specific to do to guide them through that tricky moment of change.
    I guess if you try some of the suggestions that posters have given and it still doesn't work, you need to go down the diagnostic route.
    Good luck.

     
  13. Sorry should hav been more clear - our child's safe place is a brightly coloured beanbag slightly away from other children which he can go to at anytime he feels he needs to - though he still seems to like to curl up on the 'teacher's chair'.
     
  14. Well, working on the assumption that all behaviour is some form of communication, and rarely happens "for no reason", it sounds a bit to me like your youngster is trying to communicate that he finds several aspects of school life confusing and anxiety-provoking - especially the more 'unstructured' times like playtime, tidy up time, moving around school, when there is a lot more movement of other people (which is unpredictable) and more noise (could impact on sensory processing abilities) and less clear visual guidance (which creates uncertainty). Have you tried using Social Stories for situations such as "how to line up nicely", "what to do at tidy-up time", "how to play with our friends nicely"? - if you're not familiar with Social Stories, your school link EP and/or local autism advisory service or special school outreach team (if there is one) can advise.
    You say the special spot on the carpet generally works well; this is a good indicator of how specific you will need to be in terms of visual support in the classroom. Really break things down, as has been suggested by other contributors with the visual timetable; a 'whole-day' timetable is likely to be far too much information for him to be able to process and hold onto in his head in one go, so a simpler "Now + Next" card/poster etc will probably be better.
    Similarly re: possible sensory issues and how much auditory/verbal information he can process, it may be that, like some people on the autism spectrum or with social interaction/communication difficulties, the higher his arousal/adrenaline levels go due to anxiety/confusion/defensive behaviours (including 'hitting out'), the less verbal input he is able to make sense of and respond to appropriately. Try and 'catch' him before these times if you can, employ some calming strategies, and really limit verbal input to single words with LOTS of processing time (i.e. don't repeat things too quickly). I sometimes use the 'bottle of pop' analogy - if you let it get shaken up for too long, it'll either take a lot of 'keeping still' to subside again, or explode all over the place quite uncontrollably! :)
    I think you also show good insight in terms of your own response to him, i.e. he is mainly hearing negative comments and tellings-off due to the 'difficult' behaviour - I'm sure you're doing this already but would it be possible to make a bigger deal of _any_ positive behaviour you see, to get him used to receiving positive feedback? (Notwithstanding the previous point about not over-doing verbal input at times of anxiety.) Even if it's only "he stood in line nicely for 3 seconds before getting disruptive again" - you could give a comment like "I noticed you standing very nicely for a moment there, well done Fred". Try and spot as many 'exceptions' as possible, even if they're really tiny. This might get him used to being noticed for positive reasons, and being praised (and what he has to do to be praised), rather than perhaps have to 'be good' for what might feel like an impossibly long period for him (even if it's only 20-30 minutes to you) in order to get a reward.
    Just a few thoughts anyway. They might or might not be of any use :) I'm sorry if they've come too late for you (only just seen this post!), but hopefully might be helpful for you and/or others....
    (from a final year Trainee EP)
     
  15. Choirgirl my colleague has used all of your suggestions/strategies on a couple of difficult chn this year; one Aspergers, one Autistic. Though little seems to change in the short-term, believe me, as an onlooker, those two chn changed dramatically. Yes, they still had regular 'meltdowns' (especially coming up to Xmas with all the changes in routine), BUT the same consistent handling won them over. They are exhausting, challenging but extremely rewarding ultimately. And whenver they had a real meltdown in the classroom the EA took them out to do some photocopying or something , in order to decrease the sensory overload and protect the rest of the class.

    I have a similar child coming in February; only hope I can do as good a job.


     
  16. rosiecg

    rosiecg Occasional commenter

    One thing that worked for us at tidy up time was to be really specific - "Mason, I need you to put away 5 toys" or "Sean please can you pick up all the yellow bits of Lego".
    Just 'tidy up' was too broad and unfocused for my lot but by giving set tasks there is a clear end to the activity, makes it a lot easier to comprehend and do.
    This can be hard work for the adults though, always having to remember to give a task, so we also used a visual guide on the wall, with pictures of the toys and the childrens' names next to what they would have to clear up.
    Another thing we did was have 'tidy up music' - just any song, but the children recognised that as soon as the song goes on they should start tidying, and everything must be away and they must be sitting on the carpet by the end of the song.
    Hope this helps!
     
  17. Hi.
    Im not sure what the original question was that was raised however, the answers are useful for my situation at the moment. I have a little boy who is soon to be four. He attends a school nursery provision and a local childminder. At the current time he is presenting with challenging behaviour in the form of pushing, grabbing, hitting and on one recent occassion has bitten another child. I have knowledge of behaviour strategies so at home I am firm but fair with him and try to be very consistent. I developed a behaviour plan with the nursery staff which focused on simple direct language, processing time for direction and a star chart for good behaviour.
    The nursery staff wanted the stars to be given specifically for him using 'kind hands and feet' in other words no pushing or hitting. He attends for a 3 hour period and has yet to acheive a star this week!
    I have a few concerns:
    Is the time period too long?
    Should he have one chance to be reminded what he has to do to get a star?
    Should he get more praise rather than it being so specific?
    When he is good nothing is said or given to him everything seems to focus on the fact he may have pushed somebody on arrival and then the star is lost with no opportunity to earn it back
    Sorry for waffling!
    Any ideas or strategies would be so welcomed.
    Thank you (Frustrated parent and teacher of Health and Social Care)
     
  18. GordonNome

    GordonNome New commenter

    He is three and they expect him to manage to change his behaviour for a WHOLE 3 HOURS? No wonder he is not able to get the star - I would say that is too much at once. And he has recently bitten a child once? (ie not repeatedly, just once). While that is not desirable behaviour it is also not at all rare at this age.

    I think maybe your nursery staff need to have some reminders of small children and behaviour management strategies. I don't doubt he is being "challenging" for them but he sounds far from impossible to me.

    For my own children I broke down the time periods into smaller chunks at this age. I would say he needs regular reminders about kind hands and feet, and also needs to be distracted if they spot him starting to get too excited. For example, if he and "Fred" always play rough together then maybe they both need distracting once they start to play together rather than it escalating again.

    What does the childminder say?
     
  19. Thank you so much for your response I thought I was starting to go mad and already had him 'labelled' in my head with a variety of different things!!! I have a meeting with the nursery teacher, learning mentor and Headteacher - yes can you believe at this stage she has been drawn into behaviour discussions!! I like your ideas and will be taking them and some more of my own including visual timetable and of course the distraction/diversion skills technique with me as I think this my be a learning experience for the staff rather myself as a mother as he is usually excellent at home with the odd blip. I think their issue may be related to dealing with the individual child as a comment made was 'we cant give him constant stars because this will impact on all the other children' my answer - so what! Childminder is struggling but is easier to work with and obviously more forgiving. Will test some new strategies and keep you posted.
    Your opinion is much appreciated. Thank you
     
  20. GordonNome

    GordonNome New commenter

    What other sanctions/rewards do they use? At a similar age we withdrew our eldest from one nursery setting as they were not coping with another child exhibiting similar behaviour to your son - our son started copying the undesirable behaviour as he could see child A was getting away with it. We moved him to a new school-based nursery. He pushed/hit twice I think - the first time in the playground where he was immediately taken away, had a chat about good behaviour and was sent indoors for the rest of play, the second time on the carpet where he was again removed (basically given a time-out) with gentle reminders about the consequences of forgetting kind hands. Problem more or less solved! Of course he forgot occasionally and still does, but he fully appreciates that not using kind hands will result in a timeout.
    What do you do at home with him in these circumstances? I reinforced the new nurseries policies and we chose to also give timeout for pushing/hitting/biting etc. Instant time-out, no negotiation, one minute per age of child in the same spot as the bad behaviour (assuming it is safe) and IMMEDIATELY following the push/hit (not too long after or they forget what they did to get the sanction). So we have done time-out at playgroup in the hallway, in the supermarket to one side of the aisle, in a car park (well, on the pavement rather than in the middle of the road)....
     

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