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Managing a girl with autism (hurting children and staff)

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by kgalvin, Oct 24, 2015.

  1. kgalvin

    kgalvin New commenter

    Good morning,
    I am a teacher in New Zealand and I have just had a 10 year girl with autism moved into my mainstream class of 31 year 5 and 6 students. sShe has been at this school since she was 5 and the violence has steadily increased. It seems to me that it has been 'normalised' and we are just accepting the behaviour.
    She is ORS funded which means she has a teacher aide working with her for 10 hours a week and I have a lot of contact with her educational psychologist. She has a varied and good educational plan in place- some at her own level and some integrated with the rest of the class when it is appropriate.
    This girl is unpredictable. I have recorded between 8-20 incidents a day when she has pinched children (leaving red marks) pulled hair, kicked or hit. She has attacked a teacher aid (repeatedly punched and kicked her) and I have been elbowed and pinched leaving a huge bruise.
    We use visual cues when this happens 'stop no hurting' and she then has a 'consequence or resetting activity' putting beads in a jar.
    The Principal is aware of what she is doing in the class and I have formally complained about the violence but she is unwilling to remove her from my classroom for more than 5 minutes.
    It seems that my new girl rules the roost and because she has autism we have to wear the consequences. We have no policies in place to deal with this.
    I am an experienced teacher and I have a zero tolerance to violence policy for my class. What are some avenues that I can take?
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Contact your union and ask them what your legal position is. I would say the school is walking on very this ground should someone get seriously injured by this student and they had not taken any steps to protect the other children and staff; in fact, they would be looking down the barrel of a lawsuit.
    phlogiston and agathamorse like this.
  3. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    There should be some kind of risk assessment for this child and your employer should have a report form for violent incidents.
    But I wonder if the other children's parents complaining might have more effect?
  4. kgalvin

    kgalvin New commenter

    Thanks for your reply. Nobody likes to step up the anti, but it is looking as if I might have to. Unfortunately I am not a union member (long story) so I may have to contact an employment lawyer if things do not improve.
  5. kgalvin

    kgalvin New commenter

    Thanks for your reply. There is no risk assessment for my girl, nor any policies or procedures in place. Her violence has become normalised and everyone just expects her to hit others....sigh.... As far as I am aware, the parents are also very ambivalent to their children being hurt by her- I think it is a PC issue....
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    We had a boy like this in secondary school - totally unpredictable. He had a TA with him 100% of the time, even break and lunch (especially break and lunch) and was never ever allowed to be on his own. Even if the TA took her eye off him for a moment he was likely to hit or punch another student.

    He sat on his own with his TA next to him, blocking him from any access to other students (difficult in a small classroom with a big class). That seemed to work mostly for him and protected other kids. As this girl gets bigger and stronger she will become more of a risk. Maybe the parents should be complaining about this as a H&S issue to get changes made?
    agathamorse likes this.
  7. teachingking123

    teachingking123 Established commenter

    Child protection officer
  8. senlady

    senlady Senior commenter

    I know this post is from a while ago but I had to reply.

    You state that the behaviour has been normalised and I feel that even from your post this is definitely the case.

    What is being done to try and fathom out why this behaviour is ongoing? Behaviour IS communication, particularly with ASD and you need to work out the message in this case and how best to support the pupil to deliver this message in another way. Be a detective, study her every move, use a STAR chart or an Iceberg to try and support you working out what is causing this.

    Yes it is unacceptable behaviour in any area of life but with her additional needs this young girl needs support to learn an acceptable method instead.
  9. CurriculumForAutism

    CurriculumForAutism Occasional commenter

    Some kids with autism have sensory processing difficulties which can present as challenging behaviours. Some kids are skilled task-avoiders, and prefer the "consequence" of a negative behaviour to the original task they had been asked to do. My son with autism used to be very aggressive- both sensory triggers & task avoidance were factors.
  10. dr_dig

    dr_dig New commenter

    Can I ask if you have had any training around Autism and inclusion?
    questionsandanswers likes this.
  11. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You say 'unpredictable'. So nobody can identify any triggers? There are no signs of escalation? It's 0-60 in 3 seconds?

    Surely the aide must have SOME idea. I'd advise the aide keeps a low profile and isn't constantly in her face or in her ear. The aide should try to observe more and interact less.

    The sensory aspects can be crucial and it sounds as if you don't know (and why should you unless you've had the appropriate training`) much about this.

    In brief.

    1. sensory input to child is overwhelming - the child who covers her ears at loud noises and hates certain tastes, doesn't want to be touched
    2. sensory input is insufficient - the child bangs and kicks and screams in order to OBTAIN satisfaction

    That's really simplistic but it's a start. This girl may NEED lots of sensory input. She should (perhaps) have more physical activity and some fabrics/blocks/small items to put in a pocket to play with to fulfil that sensory need.

    Maybe. But I haven't met her.
  12. barbaramcn

    barbaramcn New commenter

    I'm wondering what is the Ed Psychologist advising? I would get them on board to support your case as well as you. Sounds like you need support (as well as others) to be assertive and reinforce non negotiable boundaries. As you know children will 'push the boundaries' if they are allowed to and of course condoning behaviour is allowing and reinforcing to 'push' further.
    Has anyone spoken to the parents and offered them support? I think the Ed Psychologist could do this too. They should be included in discussion so that all involved agree to and support each other in supporting this child to learn positive behaviours to gain positive outcomes, otherwise she won't develop positive relationships in the future. Good luck.
    Barbara McNeill - Psychotherapist
  13. scott1980

    scott1980 Occasional commenter

    You need a risk assessment, behaviour plan and meetings with professionals and parents.
  14. questionsandanswers

    questionsandanswers Occasional commenter

    When they do take her out for 5mins what do they do with her?

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