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Restraint and removal from the classroom

(13 Posts)
Towanda Sat 14-Sep-13 08:18:55

Ds2 is 5 in six days time and started full time school on Monday. Prior to that he'd done 4 days until lunchtime and before that he was in the nursery attached to the school from January 2012 (and before that at a private preschool for 14 months!) We suspect he has an ASD, either HFA or AS and have done for a long, long time. We saw a paediatrician who decided that he would assess him for ASD even though he was a gastro specialist and the autism team refused to see him. Because he's coped relatively well at nursery with an absolutely wonderful teacher who worked with us and him and supported him really well, the ed psych refused to see him. We have an appt to see a neurodisability specialist at the end of the month after our GP decided to re-refer him for assessment during the long holidays. He has a number of sensory issues including touch and if overwhelmed and unable to cope, he gets extremely upset and screams. If touched when he's in this state, he lashes out and scratches, nips and has bitten me on occasion too. If he's picked up he will kick against you. To date, this hasn't been an issue at school because he's understood that I'd be collecting him at 11.50 and he can meltdown in relative safety at home.

Considering he's in a classroom with 48 other children (split into 2 classes with 2 qualified teachers) and 4 adults, things had been going really well until Thursday. The inclusion manager called me in at home time and took me off to the inclusion room (realistically its an isolation room) to tell me there'd been an incident.

Ds2 had been using the smartboard mouse when another child tried to snatch it off him. He uses the computer/smartboard as a zoning out thing when the noise/smells/sights/touch is all getting too much for him. This is recorded by the nursery class teacher in his SEN file and his home/school book. Ds2 didn't want to be touched at that point and lashed out, bending the child's finger back. Punishment was 2 minutes time-out on the thinking chair which he initially refused. He was eventually coaxed to do the time-out and then went immediately back to the smartboard. Repeat the process - bent the finger back (apparently, the child had told the teacher the wrong finger and ds2 has to be correct so showed them the right finger) and given another 2 minutes time out on the thinking chair which he did without question.

It was then decided, after his second punishment, that he would have to go to a KS1 class in a separate building for 10 minutes time out - they don't allow him in a sibling's class and we have one in nursery, one in yr2 and one in yr3 but that still leaves 4 classes in the same building and the so-called inclusion room. Ds2 flatly refused so the inclusion manager was called and started to escort him to the KS1 building

Initially he started to walk out of the room but on realising what they were doing, he again refused and started to scream and stomp his feet (according to the behaviour report I've been given) so the inclusion manager nodded to one of the TA's who assisted her in removing him from the classroom to the inclusion room which is next door. The report states that both staff are Team-Teach trained and that the inclusion manager held his body with his arms wrapped around his body and the TA 'picked up his feet'. He's told me that they carried him in an L-shape with his torso upright and his legs out straight, held together at the ankle. The report says caring c's were used throughout.

Once in the inclusion room, he was held by the inclusion manager with his arms wrapped around his body until he calmed down. Once calm she released him and they discussed the incident. The other child was brought into the inclusion room, ds2 apologised and they both returned to the classroom. Am not sure of the timing of everything but it was long enough for ds2 to calm down completely.

So that's the background. My concern is that he was handled inappropriately and things escalated ridiculously. I have very little knowledge of Team-Teach but I know through dp's adult restraint training at work that carrying by torso and ankles/feet is frowned on now due to the strain it can put on the spine. Is it appropriate that ds2 was removed from the classroom in such a manner - he's under 4ft tall, one of the smallest in the class despite being the oldest. Does Team-Teach restraint involve holding by the feet? Also was the third punishment ie the time out in another class appropriate after a second punishment had been given - should it have gone to time out elsewhere after the second incident instead of second go on the thinking chair, it being dealt with as far as ds2 concerned and then telling him he was going somewhere else? If that hadn't happened it wouldn't have escalated to the point where he had to be removed?

I'm seeing the SENCO on Tuesday and I want to be prepared because if he's been physically handled inappropriately then I want to take it further to ensure it never, ever happens again. I also want questions answered regarding the reception staff's apparent lack of knowledge re ds2's traits, quirks and issues as they seem to know nothing despite everything being recorded by me/nursery teacher/senco (for example the fact that he hums monotonously alllllll day, which has been noted since he was at the private preschool let alone since arriving in the school nursery)

If you've read all that, thank you so much and I'm sorry its so long. If anyone could help me to piece together some stuff to say to the SENCO that would really be appreciated because frankly, at the moment I want to restrain them in a similar fashion and see if they like it and am struggling to get beyond the anger at the thought of my little boy being manhandled like a sack of spuds!

There are 48 other children in the class, it sounds more like a holding pen than a classroom!.

I would be applying now for a Statement from the LEA and also start to look around other schools with a view to moving him. It sounds like your son's additional needs are clearly not being met currently and the staff there do not know how to get his needs met.

TOWIELA Sat 14-Sep-13 08:43:54

I agree with Attila - start the process of getting a Statement and finding a school which know how to act appropriately. This school clearly can not cope with him - it will only get worse for him as the years go by.

I do not know anything about restraint and how it should be done, but I would be beyond furious if this "technique" had been used on my DS.

Towanda Sat 14-Sep-13 08:46:15

It's a large L-shaped room converted into one from two separate classrooms and has two carpet areas, two smartboards etc. Thinking chair is at the rear of the room near the coatpegs.

Can I apply for a statement myself or do I need to go through school?

Ineedmorepatience Sat 14-Sep-13 08:49:01

I think their inclusion room should be called an exclusion room.

As far as I know inclusive practice doesnt include carrying a child to a room away from everybody else!!

This school will try to force your child to fit in!! They will not include him sad

Speaks from experience!!

TOWIELA Sat 14-Sep-13 09:00:26

IPSEA has a help page here www.ipsea.org.uk/What-you-need-to-know/SEN/Statutory-assessment.aspx

Read as much as you can on this board about Statements - this is a group of very knowledgeable people.

Do not delay in starting the process - it is very very long process - my DS's took nearly two years from me first applying to finally getting a Statement suited to my DS's needs.

PolterGoose Sat 14-Sep-13 09:33:25

Hi Towanda flowers

He sounds very like my ds was in reception, thankfully you're already in the assessment process so you're ahead of where I was back then. Applying for SA is a good idea, you can do that yourself, what you need to do now is to create a paper/evidence trail to prove that school aren't meeting his needs, as this will support your application.

Write to school, complain about his treatment, explain he needs extra support and will not learn how to behave by being put on a naughty chair, which is what it is, despite what they call it, they need to pro-actively support him and help him learn how to deal with the sensory overload. Has he seen an OT? Have you read Too Loud Too Bright Too Fast Too Tight which is all about sensory defensiveness and helped me a lot.

Have you looked at the SEN Code of Practice? You will see that SEN support should be needs based, not diagnosis dependant.

It took me a very long time to get school to understand that ds did not respond to punishments (or whatever they chose to call them) and that treating him the same as the NT children was ineffective. I found a lot of strength in Ross Greene's books The Explosive Child and Lost at School

I have now looked at the Team-Teach website; its a course of either 6 or 12 hours!!. Words fail me.

IPSEA's website is very good, use it!.

bigTillyMint Sat 14-Sep-13 09:46:06

Hi I am TeamTeach trained. It sounds like the staff were doing mainly the right thing, but I'm not sure about the carrying. I can ask my colleague who is a TeamTeach trainer if you would like more info?

Caring C's are for when the child is able to respond to the adult and just needs to be guided out. It sounds like he was held in a wrap, but we do not move the children around whilst holding them in a wrap - we would get them to walk if possible, and if that was not possible, they would be held in-situ until they were calm enough to walk. We do hold their feet if they are kicking - in a TeamTeach hold on the ground or on chairs. I

Plus the bottom line is always de-escalation and trying to avoid holding children - we would try to distract/cajole a child out of a situation.

Aside from that, it sounds like you need to urgently push for a statement. And check on the school's Risk Assessment for your DS and plan for this kind of occurrence.

cocolepew Sat 14-Sep-13 09:53:42

There is no carrying in Team Teach. The only way you move a child is using momentum to guide them in the direction you want then to go.
There is Advanced Team Teach but afaik that only involves holding the legs (with your body rather than hands iyswim).

bigTillyMint Sat 14-Sep-13 09:55:46

Yes, that's right coco.

Towanda Sat 14-Sep-13 10:30:15

That's what I thought re carrying in Team Teach from the little I've read. I really feel they were excessively heavy handed over a situation that need not have escalated the way it did so I'll put that in writing to the head/chair of govs (if they're the right people!) Should I be asking for a copy of the school's physical intervention policy as well? The SEN policy and behaviour policy are both on the school website so I have copies of them.

If I can apply for a statement myself I'll set that ball rolling next week. I've read bits of the SEN code to quote at the SENCO when she decided to take him off school action and put him on provision mapping without telling/consulting us. Everyone just kept saying that he'd be fine and I was worrying about nothing or being too negative. I'm not going to be fobbed off any more!

Towanda Sat 14-Sep-13 10:38:50

Oh and I missed out the fact that the SENCO appears to be trying to blame ds2 for the whole incident because he apparently can't take turns. When he first joined the school he struggled, wanted to be first at everything all the time and got upset when he wasn't. SENCO was nursery teacher when he joined Jan 2012 until July 2012 and then the brilliant teacher he had last school year moved down from KS1 and she and I put in lots and lots of work to get him to the point of being able and willing to take turns, share, not needing to be at the front of every line etc. It's like the SENCO doesn't know him sometimes.

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