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Swearing child

Discussion in 'Primary' started by sweetTA, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. Hi I posted on the TA thread but it's really quiet over there!
    I have recently started a new TA post in quite a difficult school. It's my 6th year as a TA and have worked with many different children in the past. I have concerns about a child in my class (Y1)
    The child has autism and has 1:1 support for half the time. The remaining half of the day he is with me. His communication skills are poor and he has a very short attention span. He is usually worked with out of class but is in class for the start and end of lessons.
    The thing is this boy swears a lot. He uses swear words more than any other words and he picks this up from his family. The word he uses the most is the C*** word and he calls female teachers this and well as B****ES. He calls male teachers BAS****S. 'F -OFF' whenever he is asked to do something.
    Now I am wrong in thinking this child should not be in mainstream school? I am at my wit's end dealing with the constnat swearing and now other children in the class (and school) are going around using the words he uses. It just doesn't seem right or fair on the other kids. Any advice?
  2. The only reason for a child to be in a non-mainstream school would be if their learning was disadvantaged in some way by being there.It might be an idea to introduce a reward system focused on the swearing, if this hasn't already been tried. He might respond to this as there would be a clear connection between the behaviour and the reward. Meanwhile perhaps you could do some work with the rest of the class regarding copying the behaviour, explaining the child's problem with swearing, and perhaps going into the diagnosis of autism in a very sensitive way (talk it through wih the parents first -I've had this situation and found the parents wanted me to make clear to the rest of the class that their child was autistic), and asking for them to help him by not copying.Of course you should discuss these strategies with his class teacher first.
  3. what about the learning of the other chidlren who are being subjected to it?
  4. I'm not sure how another child swearing will impact on the learning of the majority of the class.
    The swearing needs dealing with but I agree that it is not related to the child's placement in either mainstream or special education.
    Is there an advisor on children with ASC who might have some ideas for a specific reward system? Or a way of explaining why swearing isn't appropriate in school (social stories spring to mind) Or your SENCo?
  5. Thanks so far
    I've had lots of advice on here as well as in the TA forum.
    I think when I get back to school I need to speak with the SENCo. We already have a record book where we note everything down and there us a school incident book where physical actions are reported so all is being documented. We do do social stories woth him each day and a swear free 15 mins allows him to play on the toy bikes for 5 mins(his favourite thing). Once he gets on the bike - he swears!
    I do think his swearing affects other children in the class/school. There are quiet children in his class who are scared of him as when he swears he shouts words repeatedly at them. Just before the end of term a girl was so upset at C*** being shouted at her ear on and on that her mother kept her off school on the last day of term. It isn't as simple as separating him from the child/children he is shouting at on any particular day as he is part of the class and has to join in as much as possible. He's great at spelling but I've lost coount of the number of times he has written swear words on classroom displays or on tables or other children's work so it's not just a verbal thing.
    He's been assessed for Tourettes which he doesn't have. It is wearing being called all sorts of things under the sun each day -fat B****, tart, etc. There are four others on the class with milder autism and the class teacher has her hands full with providing them with 1:1 or group support.
  6. WolfPaul

    WolfPaul New commenter

    The parents of the rest of the children may possibly take a different view.
  7. WolfPaul

    WolfPaul New commenter

    It is evident that the school's management is failing in its duty of care to all the children.
  8. Ah, it does sound as if it's impacting on the other children's learning! Apologies I wasn't aware of the extent of it from your first post.
    Not sure about him swearing as soon as he gets on the bike. That's tricky and I'd want to refer it to SENCo/other specialist. Does he still get his 5 minutes if he swears as soon as he gets on? If it's reliant on a swear free time period but then he immediately swears it seems a bit self defeating! Equally if he's earnt the reward it's self defeating to take it off him.
    I suppose you'd need to think about why he's swearing. Does he enjoy people's reactions? Is he angry? Does he just forget it's inappropriate because he's so used to hearing the language at home? Is he aware of the 'no swearing target'? Is the reward motivating enough? Are there sanctions? I'm not expecting answers- just some things I'd be thinking about in your situation- may or may not be helpful!
    Do you have a chance to debrief/work with other children sometimes? It can be intense working one to one with a child for a lot of the time, especially with challenging/aggressive behaviour. Me and my TAs sometimes have a bit of a 'wow, that was hard work today' session when things are getting a bit fraught and it really helps, although if your CT has her hands full with others that may be hard.
    Ideally you would be able to work with family/class teacher/ any other professionals and come up with something consistent. Not always easy though! If other parents are starting to complain that can get things moving a bit
    Do let us know how it goes....
  9. Thanks Anon
    We give him one warning if he swears on the bike then he's off. But he gets so angry that he either hurts himself by throwing himself onto the floor or trying to throw the bike. So he does realise that this treat will not last if he does what he's not supposed to do. However I do think he is so used to hearing swearing from his parents he finds t hard to understand what's right and what's wrong.
    For example when he dad picked him up last week he greeted his son with something along the lines of 'Hello you cheeky F***ER'!!! Swearing is used as part of everyday communiaction in his family. The word C*** is used almost as a term of endearment by his father towards his mother as in 'The silly C*** forgot to make your packed lunch today, what a silly mummy!' And she certainly has a few choice words to describe him!
    Each morning I work in the class as a regular TA whilst another TA works with the boy so I do get a breakbut I dread the afternoons with him.
    When I first posted I didn't want to give too many detailsfor fear of being recognised but now I don't really care! After all I'm asking for advice to helpme with my job!
  10. There's really two issues here I think 1) he is used to hearing swear words all the time and uses them, without realising they're inappropriate (something that happens with children without SEN). 2) his autism means he needs different behaviour management strategies.
    All I can think of is some very specific work on what words are OK to use at school and at home. If he's good at reading then a list of swear words it's not acceptable to use in school with an easily recognised symbol at the top? Something like this perhaps?
    He could make up his own alternative swear words e.g. "at home I can say xxxx but in school I can use my special word fiddlesticks' instead" That might help because it gives him something he is supposed to do rather than trying to remember what he's not supposed to do- which can be a more difficult concept for some children. He could have another list of those 'special words' with a different symbol e.g.
    It might (or might not!) be easier to use one 'special word' for all the swear words he's not allowed to say or he could make up different ones for different swear words e.g. the 'f-word' is fiddlesticks, the 'c-word' is kiwi fruits etc. If there's someone with a good relationship with him he could even have fun thinking of silly words to use instead of swear words, and help break the negative cycle of feeling like he's constantly being told off for something he thinks is normal.
    I wasn't clear from your post because you mentioned multiple social stories. Does he have a social story particularly to do with swearing? Something like "People use different words at home and at school. Using some words in school can make children in my class feel sad. I will try not to use words like xxxx, xxxxx, xxxx, in school. I can say "fiddlesticks" instead. If I remember to say "fiddlesticks" instead of xxxx, xxxx, xxxx in school I can ride my bike. Mrs X will be so proud of me if I try."
    It would then be worth going over the lists of words and the social story regularly- maybe even at the beginning of every 15 minute session (if that's when his behaviour management system begins again) That might be too much- it depends on the child.
    As you said he's used to hearing these words at home. It's going to take some time for him to learn which ones he can use in school. That makes it tough for you but accepting that he will not change overnight might help you gather resources for the long haul!
    Is the bike reward just for not swearing? It will work best if you focus on one thing at a time and not get confused with whether he's doing enough work, sitting still etc
    Ideally someone should talk to parents and explain that his swearing is causing problems with the other children and because of his SEN he's finding it difficult to modify his behaviour. They obviously feel swearing isn't a problem so it would have to be handled sensitively. Noone's accusing them of being terrible people because they swear (I've been known to swear myself!) and neither is their son but it's having a negative impact on him and the rest of the class and he needs extra help to sort it out because of his SEN. You might feel you could have this conversation with them if you have a good relationship, or it might be better coming from the Class teacher, SENCo, Head, specialist autism team etc
    Lastly I would caution being sure that
    Children with Autism do learn differently than other children and it could be that he hasn't made the connection between swearing and being told to get off the bike. It seems obvious to us but his brain assimilates information differently. The whole concept of 'what he's not supposed to do' may be quite confusing for him. Have a look at this blog http://bhenson.blogdrive.com/ for a description of how the world can seem to someone with Autism. The entry for Friday, May 28, 2004 deals with following rules and 'behaving well'
    Have you had specific training on working with children with autism? It's amazing how seemingly obvious things can be completely confusing and even frightening to them.
    Sorry if this seems obvious or isn't relevant to your child!
  11. Sorry only just seen this- I'm sure they may! And having read the other post then it does sound as if it's impacting learning as he's shouting at the children and in some cases scaring them, which is different.
    I guess the point I was making was hearing someone say a swear word won't prevent a child from learning something. I was being a bit pernickerty (sp?) but I think people can make a lot of assumptions about people/children swearing. It is, after all just a word, and I think most children would understand a conversation such as "Lots of people don't like that word because it's not polite. We're trying to help Child x understand that but he's still learning so sometimes he forgets. I think you will be good at remembering so please don't use that word at home/school"
    Inclusion is about people making adjustments to each other (both the 'SEN child' and the 'mainstream child') Of course that doesn't mean that it's OK for him to shout Cxxx repeatedly at another child! Equally a child shouldn't be excluded just because he uses swear wordss (IMO)
  12. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    if a pupil is in main strem, should the "whole school behaviour policy" not be applied to them in the same way as others?
  13. Not in my opinion, because it might not be appropriate for that child. I don't think anyone is claiming inclusion means treating all children in exactly the same way. It's about providing different levels of support (and time) to enable children to take part in the life of the school.
    The standards should be the same- swearing isn't appropriate and steps are being taken to stop it - but the steps to get there are different depending on the child.
    In my Y1 class we phase in the 'whole school behaviour policy', which is different to the system we use in YR/YN and we modify it further for children who need that (some are on SEN register for behaviour, some are not) A good behaviour policy is adapted to the needs of the children.
  14. The inclusion/SEN policy supersedes the behaviour policy and schools are required to make "reasonable adjustments" for children with SEN.

  15. WolfPaul: I guess we'll have to agree to differ on the swearing issue!

    don't think swearing is appropriate in a primary school and I do think steps should be taken to stop/prevent it. However I'm
    not personally offended by it and I don't think using swear words makes
    someone a bad person or a bad parent. To me a swear word is just a word, only given power by people's response to it. "I don't like you" can have just as much - or more power
    to hurt/insult as "Oh fxxx off" which could even be said jokingly- (and
    it seems this is the way this child's parents use it). Generally in
    society swearing is viewed as rude and so in a public place, amongst a
    variety of people- like a school - the language isn't appropriate and children should learn that.

    I think aggression is
    different- that's more serious and can be grounds for exclusion.
    Aggression might involve swearing, as it does in this case, but it
    doesn't always.

    Some of the other behaviours this child shows that the OP later expanded on are obviously cause for concern.

    I do stand by my original comment that I don't think using swear
    words- in and of itself- is cause for exclusion- but of course other
    people are entitled to think differently [​IMG]

  16. megsie

    megsie New commenter

    I'm afraid I do think that to speak to your child in that way is poor parenting and a bad example to set, even if said in a jokey way. I wouldn't like to have to listen all day to that and I certainly wouldn't want my own children subjected to that sort of language. Some of those swear words are very offensive. Clearly it is going to be a difficult problem to solve if the parents are unsupportive.

    I'm afraid I disagree with you about the exclusion aspect, constant aggressive swearing at other children would undoubtedly impact on the learning of others and their enjoyment of school. I had a child very similar once a long time ago and we made all sorts of concessions and alterations to the school day but unfortunately he still remained unable to cope in a large class., eventually he was moved to a special school which suited his needs much better.
  17. MarilynDan

    MarilynDan New commenter

    I firmly believe that far too much is expected of mainstream schools and the teachers and TAs in them.
    Inclusion may have been brought in with the best of intentions but there are children for whom inclusion does not work and I speak from experience. Younger teachers have always worked with 'inclusion' but never saw the best of what special schools could offer. I am not saying that all 'special' children should be in special schools (or that all special schools and behavioural units were good) but I very vocally put forward my misgivings at the time the concept of inclusion was first discussed. I was worried then and still am.
    On a personal level I would not wish my child to be constantly subjected to the swearing described here. Neither would I want it in class.

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