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Personal space and ASC

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by AuntieL, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. AuntieL

    AuntieL New commenter

    I'm an ASN teacher and, although I've been teaching in mainstream secondary for many years, I'm really new to ASN and am looking for some advice.

    I'm currently working with a 14-year old boy who has an ASC diagnosis. Most of his classes are mainstream and he also has some in our ASN base. He's supported in all classes either by myself or a TA. Since october, we've all noticed that he seems to cower away from any staff member - like he's petrified of being touched. It makes it quite difficult to work with him - he doesn't sit on his chair properly (perches on the side furthest from staff), his writing is deteriorating because he doesn't hold his pencil properly etc. We all reinforce that we are not going to touch/ hurt him but it's increasingly more obvious. I've spoken to him about it and his response is to question why it bothers us so much (I've explained that it makes it more difficult for us to work with him). He is slightly better when we sit across from him, rather than next to him but this isn't always possible.

    I was wondering if anyone has any advice on how to make things easier for him. I've read about encroaching into personal space but I can't find anything about the opposite.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. blueskies31

    blueskies31 Occasional commenter

    From my experience you have to respect his needs for personal space. You could try doing some social stories with him but respecting his needs are paramount. Perhaps once he knows people better he may feel more comfortable?

    I'm currently working with a y7 pupil with ASC. He has no friends and he doesn't want any. This week he told me he likes to be on his own so why does he need friends. I'm now trying to tackle it from a communication perspective I.e. when would you need to communicate with someone?
  3. AuntieL

    AuntieL New commenter

    Hi blueskies31,

    Thank you for your reply.

    He really only reacts like this with adults - he doesn't react the same when pupils are near him. We do all make a point of not being too close but I'm now wondering about whether to advise everyone not to mention it to him at all - effectively ignoring the behaviour. I think your point about him knowing people better is important - other than us being the staff who work with him, he really doesn't know anything about us. I'm also going to think about the need to communicate with others - it's definitely something to consider.

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