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Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by SCIIBY, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. Hi - I am new to this forum but have been reading it for sometime. - Its great for helpful information and tips.
    I wonder if I could ask for some help/advice. I am a TA in reception/year 1 class. I have been doing the job for 3 years.
    Since Christmas we have had a pupil in our class who is basically incontinent. She is undergoing medical treatment (4 lots of oral medicine) at the hospital to try and help but it has been advised to us that she has no muscle control in that area and she suffers with constipation (therefore on laxatives to help.)
    Most days since Christmas she has had four - five accidents during the day (both wet and the other.) It can be so bad sometimes that it simply is all over her! However, mum refuses to put her into pull ups or to have her wearing some other form of protection (ie pads etc).
    This pupil is 5 years old and simply cannot clean herself up. Since I am TA in the class I have been advised that it is my job to do this for her. I have been told that county guidelines say this and that it is ok for me to do it without another adult present.
    So far I have cleaned her up although I am abit uncomfortable with doing it by myself - I always ask for another member of staff to be there because of the nature of what I am having to do.
    The thing I want to ask is this:
    1 Do I have to do it all the time - I am at my wits end - I cannot switch off when I go home - sometimes it can take up to 20 minutes each time to clean the girl up - I feel that most of my day is spent just doing this task!
    2 I have read the county guidelines which only talk about occassional accidents (fair enough, I understand that this could happen in a reception class - I don't have a problem doing it occassionally but this is every day - constant - it makes me dread going into work.) The county guidelines also talk about pupils being in pull ups or some sort of protection. If the girl had this it would make things slightly easier to deal with - we have had instances in school where it has leaked onto furniture/the carpet creating a mess to deal with - also I feel it is against health and safety requirements and is not fair to the other children/staff within school. Would the school be entitled to demand the parents put some kind of protection on the child within school? I have been told we cannot refuse to allow the child to attend school because of inclusion rules - I understand this, but surely we are not refusing her to attend just asking for her to be in pull ups or wear some kind of pad?
    3 County guidelines say it should be in my job description. It is not.
    Sorry for the length of this posting - just looking for others view point on it. Please understand, I am not a hard uncaring person,I do feel dreadfully sorry for this child, I do want to help, I know even if she were in pull ups she would still need cleaning up and changing - it just might make the logistics of it a bit easier!
    Thanks to all
  2. champansara

    champansara New commenter

    I really feel for you. Like you say, it is normal for kids to have the occasional accident at reception. It isn't reasonable for you to have to clean her up like this several times a day, especially if the "accident" is likely to leak out onto chairs etc. I think the parents and senior management are being very unreasonable. They can refuse to allow her at school if the parents aren't being responsible and working with the school. Otherwise, perhaps the school can offer to provide pads/pull-ups for the school day???
    Basically, I would refuse to do it, and state officially in writing that you feel it is not only unpleasant and arduous for any member of staff, but detrimental for the inclusion of the child. The leaks are far more noticeable like this, other pupils must be aware of it happening, whereas with pull-ups it can be more discrete. Also, it means a lot of valuable lesson time is being wasted in cleaning up. I would also respectfully suggest that the person telling you that it is your job to do this try it themself for a couple of days.
    Hope you get it sorted out soon.
  3. As a TA in a Foundation Stage Class initimate care around toilet triainig is part of the job. If you don't do it who else is there ?
    Teacher could do it but then you as TA would probably be having a moan that you were left with managing a class of 30 on your todd on v. little pay a couple of times a day.
    Perhaps up until now you have had a lucky run of things with the toilet accident side of things.
    More and more and more children are coming into schoool untrained because of pull ups and disposable nappies. Often the decision to toliet train very late in the day is parental chocie rather than disablility, but the DDA prevents the school from raising the issue and we just have to deal with it . There are frequent posts on EY forum which bear testament to this. Dealing with toilet issues might not be in your generic job description but the incidence of poo accidents has risen over the last five- ten years years with DDA loophole. I am not saying that is a correct stae of affairs but we are stuck with poo !
    However the child in question does have a genuine disability and I feel that there should be a care plan in place for this child which is drawn up by school, health specialist and parent. I think you are right to follow this up and am surprised that there have not benn moves to put this in place.
    Then the issue around nappies etc could be raised and the fact that you as general TA are being taken away from class room duties to support the individual child. It would seem to me that child might need a TA to support her during this time as children with other special needs might have.
    You also need facilities and equipment to support her. You don't need another person in the room when you chane the child unless there have been safeguarding queries around this child in the past.
    Speak with class teacher, speak with SENCO, speak with your Head and if all else fails speak with your EYAT.
    Post on EY forum because there are some very clued up people on there about how to go about things.

  4. Hi
    I really feel for you, I was in the same situation a few years ago, as you say it really gets to you howvever willing you are. We did get the child in pull ups, (although we then had to have a nappy bin provided to dispose of them properly,) sometimes parents used them and sometimes not. We even ended up getting our own packet of them and using them after the first accident. If the soilng was very bad we did call the parents using the excuse that we hadn't got the facilities to clean him up properly. Is it possible you can ask for the changing to be shared with some other staff, so you are not constantly doing it. I know I wish I'd pressed for other people to do it, in my case the child left the school and it was then that I realised how much pressure it had put on me. I also agree that it is better to have someone else around although I was in the same situation as you and usually it was only me there. We also had the school nurse to help liase between parents and ourselves, the only solution we had was that he feft, we never knew how the next school got on. I think you definitely need more support from your teacher and head, and I think you need to let them know how you feel. Good luck
  5. Sciiby
    I notice that this is your first post. Welcome aboard and I am sorry if my post was harsh. Do venture over to EY forum, because it attracts a wide range of practitoners working with the younger age groups. Perhaps, re post on EY Forum and see what they come up with.
  6. I can see why you are finding this all very difficult.
    Most TAs (particularly those in Reception classes) recognise that some of their time will be spent dealing with toilet accidents but five accidents in one day seems excessive for you to have to deal with. You cannot be supporting the other children if you are constantly dealing with toilet accidents. Is there anyone that you could talk to and try to work out how best to manage this situation? It may be within your job description to deal with 'personal care' but in terms of your job satisfaction spending your days up to your eyes in poo is demoralising to say the least!
    You sound like a very caring TA but it sounds as those you need a clear care plan. I certainly would be asking for some support and clear guidelines.
  7. Thanks for your response
    Don't worry about being too harsh - I just wanted opinions from others be it good or bad.
    Of course I understand where you are coming from on this - I know that as TA it is my job to deal with toileting accidents - these are inevitable in an early years reception class. This girl is a year one by the way just to clarify - however, this situation is clearly not the norm. This girl has got a recognised problem and she cant help it. I really feel for her. Quite rightly you have said we need a care plan for her. One thing I didnt mention before is that there is a care plan in place - we have regular review meetings with mum and the school nurse at which the plan was devised.
    Mum confirmed on the plan that she would send the girl in some kind of protection, be it pull ups or a pad. The plan was put together at the end of the last term and she agreed in front of all of us to do this. However, she has failed to do this and has now said she will not allow her child to wear these.
    Mum has complained that other children have told this child that she 'smells and poos herself'. I feel mum is not helping the situation by refusing to send her in pullups therefore the other children will see it - especially when it is on the carpet or running down her leg! On Monday on the way to get changed this little girl said 'Oh Mrs x - its running down my leg - what shall I do - shall I hop?' This broke my heart really - I feel so sorry for her.
    Things have moved forward now since I posted yesterday. The head has told me that she no longer wants me to deal with this little girl - she thinks it is too much stress and not good for my well being! Can I just say I have never refused to change/clean up this little girl - I have been professional all the way along - ok I must admit I have complained to my teacher (in private - not in front of others) but come on - I think I was entitled to let off a little steam especially on the days when it was really bad. The head says she is compiling a rota for other staff members to deal with it. Perhaps if she had done this in the first place we would not have got to this situation would we?
    Sorry for my rant - once again thanks to all for your replies, it just helps to talk to others.

  8. Oh SCIIBY, how I feel for you! You are me in a parallel universe!
    Every single day for the past month or so I have had to deal with at least a couple of Reception children who 'leave it till the last minute" and wee themselves. This mostly means nothing more than passing them clean underwear and possibly spare school uniform (skirts, trousers etc) and letting them clean themselves up and change themselves, with me and a second TA observing as a 'witness' although I don't have physical contact with them.
    In addition, we have a Reception child who just basically wets herself whenever, and wherever, in the classroom, and sits in the puddle until we realise what's happened. Another supervised and witnessed/clean up/change of clothes 10 mins in the toilet, and clean-up/antibacterial wash of furniture & carpets in the classroom.
    But the one to beat the rest has been the boy with a psychological constipation problem. Doesn't poo for at least a fortnight, and will not do so on the toilet. So, when it inevitably comes, it comes with a vengeance, about 3 times a day, for a few days. In his pants. And he will not mention that he has done it. But he doesn't have to, because a few minutes later, we all know he has.
    The first couple of times, in our ignorance, me and another TA dealt with it - but he is incapable of cleaning himself properly, even with the wipes that his mother put in his bag. After a couple of days of this, and with me refusing to deal with it anymore, the mother took him to the doctor, who prescribed him whatever medicine to loosen the stools. And by God that medicine worked.
    At this point, we all agreed that Mum should be called whenever it occurred, to clean him up (thankfully she was mortally embarrassed and agreed). Our usual policy of "no pull-ups" as all children are supposed to be toilet trained upon entry went out the window, on a short-term basis. It was actually worse. It came out everywhere - all up his back etc.
    Upon seeing me almost screaming, wailing and heading for a nervous breakdown, my teacher & Head confirmed that I should not be having to deal with all this, and eventually put an action plan in place that means parents are contacted to come in and deal with the cleaning up of their child, should their child be unable to do it satisfactorily themselves.
    As TA's in Reception classes, we all know that we may have to deal with the occasional accident, even though we are not contractually obliged to do so. When it goes beyond the occasional (and reasonable), we have every right to refuse to do so, and WE MUST REFUSE TO DO SO. You will not be at risk from losing your job through this, and you must make a stand.
    Good luck - let me know how it goes. I'm thinking of you [​IMG]
  9. julobu
    Thanks so much for your kind message - Its so nice that people understand how I feel about it and dont just think I am making a fuss!!
    My headteacher has told me that we are not allowed to call mum in as this would be seen to highlighting the fact that this child has this problem - never mind that everyone else sees it anyway when it runs down her legs!! Mum still is refusing to use some kind of protection.
    My headteacher has now been in direct contact with the girls gp - mum had got her gp to write into school claiming that child does not need pull ups/protective pads!! (we live in a small village - gp is also personal friend of girls mum). Headteacher has had a direct conversation with gp who says she had no idea of how bad things are for us at school. Mum doesnot appear to have been completely open with the gp about it.

    Headteacher has also been in contact with Health and safety dept at local county council. They also back us up saying we should not be in this position.
    Meanwhile I have not been changing this girl as I have been told I do not have to. Luckily for everyone else the last episode we have had seems to have cleared things out for a few days!
    We will wait to see what happens next week!
  10. Who says "we are not allowed"? Is this your Head's personal opinion? Ask your Head where it states that this is the case!
    The problem is already highlighted by the fact that the other children are more than aware of the soiling, as is the poor child. When we call the mother of the child I mentioned in my situation, it is carried out in as discreet a way as it is when myself and other staff are involved. Nobody screams it from the rooftops!
    My personal feeling is that, when Mum is constantly called in to clean up her child, she will realise the implications involved, and the need to address the situation herself - albeit with help.
    I do not wish to judge any parent who has to deal with this problem; in fact I faced an identical problem with my own daughter at a very young age - the result of a nasty vomiting & diarrhoea bug. It was a distressing time for both of us. The Mum needs help, but needs to understand that she cannot leave the school staff to deal with it alone.
    Let me know what happens [​IMG]
  11. Thanks for both responses
    I have read the Hertfordshire guidance notes - I have read similar notes before and have understood them. However, these do state about children in nappies - this is my query - the parents of this girl refuse to allow her to wear pull ups/ protection. Also I have never said I would not deal with the occassional accident but I would argue that 4 times a day from the same child, not just wetting but also soiling does not amount to "occassional accidents."
    Jolubo - I must say that I agree with absolutely everything you have said - probably because you and I have been in similar situations!!
    As mentioned we will see what happens next week - once again thanks to everyone for their responses.[​IMG]

  12. I don't think it's too dramatic to say that this mother's behaviour amounts to abuse or neglect. This child is being forced to suffer unnecessarily due to her mother's ignorant attitude. This is particularly true as this child has a physical disability and not a psychological adversion to being toilet trained.
    According to the Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect, child abuse
    is "any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or
    caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm,
    sexual abuse or exploitation..." Hygiene is specifically mentioned when defining neglect also.
    I'm not saying arrest the mother but maybe if a hint or two were dropped she would realise how serious this situation could become.
  13. Hannahannah
    I also to think the same as you. Back in the summer I told my headteacher that I felt this amounted to some kind of mental or emotional abuse/neglect, for exactly the reasons you have outlined above. She agreed with me but I think she wanted to see how things were after the summer holidays (I think she was secretly hoping that miraculously this problem would rectify itself over the summer - at that time the mother had not clarified the whole situation to us - she never told us that it had been confirmed to her that this child had no muscle control - in fact prior to the child starting school she never even told us there was a problem - I had to discover this myself and then report my concerns to the teacher/headteacher!!) I get the impression that the parents would rather ignore/sweep the whole situation under the carpet and pretend that there really isn't anything wrong here.
    We will see what develops over the next few weeks but I will again talk to my headteacher about it.
    Thanks for your message
  14. I do feel for you as well. I had a child in the reception class I was in last year. Nearly every day without fail I would be in the toilet with him changing from top to toe, even lunchtimes because no-one else was prepared to do it and the child in question wasn't happy with anyone else. In the end our medical officer had a word with the parents, with the head present, and recommended a check up. The 'accidents' seemed to happen when they were ill. It has turned out since they had their tonsils out this year the problems have vanished. There does seem to be an underlying medical condition, but believe me, it does get better. Just remember that there are people 'above' you that you can talk to about this, so please don't worry.x
  15. we had a similar situation in our school a few years ago where a child had toiletting issues (both varieties!) and my colleague had to change her up to 8 times a day. we created a log to record the date and time of each change and this was useful as the 'powers that be' could see how frequent it was - it seemed to make them take it more seriously and gave them something concrete to show parents and other agencies involved.
    i am in reception and see any changing that i have to do as just another way of caring for and supporting the children i am working with. it isn't the highlight of my job admittedly, but I can make a difference to that child even in the way I clean up pooh! :)

  16. Hi
    I am having problems with wetting this year. But we have written into our policies that if a child pooh themselves parents are called to clean them up or take them home.I do feel for you. I would think it is a health and safety issue especially as you haven't got factilies to clean her up properly.

  17. Hi SCIIBY, how's it going?
    I've had a slightly better week so far (although only 3 days in, hope I'm not tempting fate);
    only 2 wet incidents, but again involving the worst "offender" so more cleaning of furniture/carpet, and supervision of cleaning up of the child. Would have been worse if I hadn't been ushering her to the toilets on the hour, every hour!
    Only (!) 1 of the horrible No.2, and we called Mum in again. However, that only counts for 2 days as the poor lad wasn't in today.
    Great to get a few more responses here from people who've been, or are going through the same thing. Interesting comments about how this can be considered neglect in some forms, and in some cases. I find it worrying to see a young child in my classroom apparently indifferent to sitting in her own puddle, moving about the classroom in wet clothes, and using her own clothes to wipe her hands after washing them or getting them wet/glue-sticky etc. (Have voiced my concerns to my SENCO & Head, though).
    How's it going your end? (Sorry, probably the wrong phrase to use?!) [​IMG]
  18. I know how you feel. We would never refuse to change a child for the occasional accident. We have a child at our school who had the problem all through FU and into KS1. She has now been given a medical statement and has a TA every morning to deal with the problem. Discuss with your SENCO. The child has a problem they need help. How can a four - five year old be expected to clean themselves? We found that so much time was being used up on one child when there were other problems including medical in the class also. You need extra staff and you have to find the money from somewhere no one is just going to give it to you. You have to fight for it unfortunately.
  19. Hi all
    Thanks for the many responses - It certainly has been interesting reading.
    Well this week has been slightly better, in that we had a clear day on Monday. Tuesday there were a couple of wet accidents. Wednesday was both. I reported to both class teacher and another TA that she needed changing - this was after asking her if she needed to get changed at which she said she didnt - I told her to go and check in the toilet and then if she needed to get changed to tell a grown up. She came back to me and still insisted that she didnt need to get changed. I however still told the teacher and this other TA that I thought she needed to get changed.
    I then left it for about 20 minutes at which time it was blatently obvious that actually I had been right and she did need to get changed. I asked the other TA again (after telling class teacher 20 mins ago) she said she would go see. Next thing she bought the little girl to me saying that yes she did need changing - should she do it. I said she should ask the head as this has been taken out of my hands now (headteacher has said that I shouldnt do it anymore as she feels it is affecting my personal well being!) but I did say that I thought she should not have to do it on her own - ie she should have a witness. Also turns out that class teacher had chosen to ignore fact that she needed changing because she didnt want to do it!!![​IMG]
    She went to see the head who said she would have to change her on her own as she didnt have anyone else who could be a witness. When the TA came back she told me this - she was not happy and felt like she had been pushed into a corner. She also stated that it was clear that the child had been like this for a while because it was all stuck on her and hard to get off with those silly wet wipes! She said that whilst cleaning up the child she said to her that she really needs to tell her when she needs changing. Childs response "oh well it gets done doesnt it!" I wouldnt say this was a standard 5 year olds response - sounded more like something shes heard from her mother!
    I do really think that we should be able to call mum in when its like this.
    FYI my SENCO is also the head teacher.[​IMG]
    Well anyway its now the beginning of our half term hols - to all you Toilet TAs and anyone else reading this have a really good well earned break![​IMG]


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