Please note that threads in this topic are removed from the archive 90 days after the thread was started. If you would like your thread to be retrievable for longer than that, please choose another topic in which to post it. Our SN area is not a substitute for expert advice. While many Mumsnetters have a specialist knowledge of special needs, if they post here they are posting as members, not experts. There are, however, lots of organisations that can help - some suggestions are listed here.

Can anyone give me advice on coping strategies for dealing with inappropriate behaviour with pre school with possible autism???

(27 Posts)
NotInTheMood Sat 07-Sep-13 13:39:15

I am a pre school teacher only been in the job for 6mths and avent got a lot of experience.I am really struggling on how to deal with unwanted behaviour and consequences. He seems to have reached a developmental stage where he is pushing boundaries such a running away and laughing, not sharing and screaming, pushing and hitting. He doesn't like to be told 'no' and flings himself when he has to be removed from an activity. He doesn't have portage but does have an advisory teacher who I've seen once 5mths ago as they have cut the service and there is only 2 in our whole area. I am learning as I go but when I achieve or overcome one area another arises or something else changes. I just want to do my best him as he is staring school next September.
What kind of boundaries can I put in place and consequences is understanding isn't great and he is very strong minded lol.

NotInTheMood Sat 07-Sep-13 13:39:47

Sorry preschool child my iPad had a mind of its own

PolterGoose Sat 07-Sep-13 14:34:42

Is this a child in be pre school where you work? Have you spoken to your manager? The SENCO? When my ds was 3 his private nursery called in the county's early years SENCO for assessment and advice, she was very good.

What do his parents do at home that works? Listen to them, they know him best.

If he does have ASD (in fact, even if he doesn't, none of the ASD strategies would harm a child without!) what helped my ds was clear language and instructions, visual timetables, pre-warning of any change in activity or when nearing snack or lunch, not forcing interaction with peers, never ever saying "no", giving limited choices. Again, if he does have an ASD he is very likely to have sensory problems, so have a look at sensory integration, this doesn't mean sticking him in a 'sensory room', it means working out his sensory needs and responding to them, ideally he needs an OT to do this, but you could read 'The Out of Sync Child' if you're interested.

My ds does not respond to consequences at all, behavioural management techniques based on rewards and punishments/sanctions/consequences were and still are completely ineffective.

zzzzz Sat 07-Sep-13 16:45:09

I think the thing to do is to change your focus.

Seeking to control this child through punishment or reward is one way of looking at the situation.
Another way of looking at it (and I would say a more helpful/nurturing one) is to look at what you need to do to allow him to get he most out of his education.

Differentiation (and I'm afraid it is uber differentiation for the ASDish child) is the key. This is a huge undertaking, but and it is a huge BUT you will become an infinitely better and more effective educator as a result. Look at each part of his day. Analyse which skills you want to teach (these may be very very different from the other children in your group). Remove extra stresses. Find activities that provide relief from stress.

Children with ASD suffer from stress on scale that few of us will ever truly appreciate. The child you see being stubborn about stopping painting, may actually be experiencing the sort of terror you would feel if told to step naked into a packed auditorium. The behaviour normally described as "a tantrum" or "a meltdown" is better characterised as an anxiety attack. Change the way you think and feel about this child's behaviour and you will be giving him a gift that he and his family will never be able to thank you enough for.

This board is full of great practical advice for individual problems,and some amazing parents. Keep posting, I'm sure we would all want to help.

Toni27 Sun 08-Sep-13 00:16:02

Be firm and consistent.
Provide a regular routine with photographs of each thing you do in the day. Eg lining up time, carpet time, free play. Introduce a now and then board.
Spend a short time each session doing a turn taking game. Pop up pirate is good, go out of the room to some where quiet and teach him everyday to take turns. Specify by saying (your name)s turn (his name)s turn.
Give choices where ever possible, showing the two choices ie this keeps it VISUAL ie do you want apple or banana.
Main thing, Reduce your language, chances are if your using loads of words, he can't understand you.
This s all so important I'm impressed you asked on here for advice because some preschools can't be bothered.
These things were all used in my sons nursery and changed his life. He was so happy there and is now about to start at mainstream school thanks to the hard work put in at nursery and us at home.

NotInTheMood Sun 08-Sep-13 09:54:16

Thank you for the replies. The pre school and myself have had no support from outside due to cuts. I am very laid back and believe in following the children's lead and distraction, distraction, distraction. My colleagues are of old school and I feel my natural approach to the situation is right adapting with the child whereas they want to impose some boundaries and have certain expectations of him. There is a conflict between them and the development centre and. Am in the middle. The thing is the development centre have not been supportive as they have not followed us up yet.

At home mum doesn't cope well so he has no boundaries at home. The only thing he's recently done that concerns me is the running away and laughing like its a game. He will run away outside, or run in the toilets trying to close the door. I feel he needs to learn this behaviour is not acceptable because I am scared he will run away at home or across the road. When I chase him he thinks it is a game and laughs. We have a traffic light system but I am not sure he understands.

PolterGoose Sun 08-Sep-13 10:53:53

At home mum doesn't cope well so he has no boundaries at home

It worries me somewhat that you're criticising mum, I have no doubt that to outsiders I have looked as if I don't have boundaries, it's not the case, I just have to prioritise which means I have to ignore some behaviours as you cannot address everything at once.

FanjoForTheMammaries Sun 08-Sep-13 11:05:13

It isn't about boundaries.

The best thing you can do is erase that concept from your head and think about how to help the child cope with preschool IMO.

NotInTheMood Sun 08-Sep-13 13:27:55

Sorry I've just been studying about boundaries so I have that in my head right now. I just want to help manage some behaviours this is just one element. I am doing my best here like I've said I've been asked to deal with certain issues with no help or support. I am not criticising his mum at all. It's just I have inside knowledge about the family without going into detail like I said I am in an awkward position In more ways then one. Believe it or not I've even heard professionals say tantrums or meltdowns so when I've used them on here I've been criticised without even realising it causing offence. I use is distraction a lot, I make things fun and try and make dressing/lunch times even a game. I use objects of reference instead of pictures as this seems easier for his understanding.
The thing is he is in a main stream pre school so i often feels like I have to limit the disruption to the other children. This is how my supervisor is making me feel. I just want to do what's best for the child with the right help and support .

NotInTheMood Sun 08-Sep-13 13:31:00

I admire his mum if anything.

zzzzz Mon 09-Sep-13 11:41:23

Of course you will do your best. You wouldn't be asking if you weren't trying.

Behaviour management is a bad way to approach any child. We are not building walls around our children and forceing them into education. We are lighting candles. Try to keep in mind (regardless of the feelings of older and more experienced teachers) that mainstream IS everyone. We are a valuable part of mainstream life and children with sn are not at ms school as a favour any more than anyone else.

If you engage that child the behavioural/boundary issues will be minimised.

mimbles Wed 11-Sep-13 18:42:41

I support a child with ASD and recognise the behaviour you mention in the initial post up top! X would run away, laugh/scream at things, hit etc when I first started working with him in nursery & reception. Since yr1 and into yr2 he's coped much better and I think that is largely to the much more structured day. We use a visual timetable, which helped him feel less anxious, and as school becomes more predictable for him his behaviour improves. I did use rewards with him, setting a clear, simple expectation (ie sitting on his special mat for 1 min during carpet time -egg timer helped him visually), with the reward being time with a special toy (he loved trains then). He's come so far and I'm delighted with his progress smile.

zzzzz Wed 11-Sep-13 19:20:17

Are you measuring his progress by how much education he is receiving or by how much easier his behaviour is to manage?

NotInTheMood Thu 12-Sep-13 16:00:11

Ah thankou sorry was feeling a bit anxious myself about returning to work. He's kind of regressed over the 6 weeks obviously so trying to settle him back in again this week Monday was a very difficult day as it felt like I was back at square one :-( it def has improved though as the weeks gone on. I've been ignoring a lot of things as he seems to do things for my attention iykim so I've given him simple instructions and wait for him to make the choice for example he wouldn't put his shoes on to go outside. I kept language simple saying 'shoes on first then outside' he was really upset and anxious over this and kicking out ect so I placed the shoes in front of him and sat near the door and waited repeating if necessary. He then gave me the shoes eventually but seemed anxious about putting them on even Though he wanted them on iywim again I repeated and just ignored the shouting eventually he allowed me to put them on and I praised him lots and he went out to play :-)
I've printed some photo cards instead of icons and trying to find some decent ones and I've made him a choice board. But tbh he doesn't seem to respond to pictures he says no constantly. I find I have to make things fun or coax him a lot.

mimbles Thu 12-Sep-13 17:00:51

Have you tried putting him in the pictures? I guess all these special children are different and its a case of finding what works for them. The little child I support used to have 'favourite phrases' ie no, later (that lasted a while!!) and go away (still much used!)
Sometimes I felt he used these words almost as a comfort thing, repeating them endlessly, sometimes laughing and vocalising random sounds.

zzzzz Fri 13-Sep-13 13:06:47

"he's kind of regressed over the six weeks obviously"

?????? confused

WilsonFrickett Fri 13-Sep-13 17:18:43

I guess all these special children are different

All children are different. All children are special. Mine no more or less than anyone else's.

OP I admire you for being proactive and posting on here, but it really concerns me that you aren't being given proper support to help this child. Can your pre-school re-refer? Is it a case that your supervisor doesn't 'see' the difficulties, just the behaviour, so isn't chasing people up as s/he should?

NotInTheMood Fri 13-Sep-13 21:01:06

Look if I word things inappropriately I do not wish to offend. Those were the words spoken by my supervisor and to be honest I am working fultime and have been too lazy/brain dead to worry about how to word things without causing offence.
He has been away from the setting for 6 weeks so obviously the progress he had made previously has sort of taken a step back as with most of our children. We are trying to settle them into the routine of things.

I am not getting any support not the correct support any how. I have put pressure on my supervisor to get in touch with the advisory teacher who is now visiting the setting. I just hope I've been doing things correctly and not being told falsely by my more experienced colleagues. The sad thing is our LA services have been cut drastically and the parents have refused portage so the pressure is on me. I am finding it very draining and challenging because I've only been a qualified childcare assistant for 6mths, I am having to study for an level 3 as well to work as a 1-1 and I've been had no special need training/ courses. I was assigned this role too. My colleagues seem to want to do things their way which contradicts some of the literature that I am reading.
I come on here a while ago and spoke about the childs 'meltdowns' etc and got flamed and yet this has been the language spoken by so called professional and I mean psychologists!!! How was i supposed to know :-( My manager uses the word tantrums which I would never use.

NotInTheMood Fri 13-Sep-13 21:08:21

I just meant that I'm too tired to really be researching info on here and wording things/grammar/spelling I just want to switch off and relax during my time off so its all coming out wrong on here. I am just frustrated as i want to do my best for this child and I feel my lack of experience is letting him down I wish I never agreed to it.

zzzzz Fri 13-Sep-13 21:34:51

However tired you are from a full weeks work, however stretched by your course, however difficult you find it, you are experienceing less than one percent of the roller coaster of exhaustion and bewilderment that his own parents are experienceing.

I do feel for you picking your words but please be aware that the posters responding are probably putting in at least as much effort not to be offended.

When you use pseudo medical words like "regressing" you paint a picture that may be more or less than you intend. We don't talk about nt children regressing over the summer, we say they've got out of routine etc.

Regardless of all this there is a child whose parents need clear guidance as to what help is one offer and who needs preparing for school.

mimbles Sun 15-Sep-13 14:20:57

Zzzz sorry just realised you had queried my comment re progress. X uses a visual timetable, but I've noticed he only uses it when anxiety is high. When he is very anxious it is hard for him to learn and interact with his peers. I count success as staff making his day predictable enough that he feels safe enough to interact and learn.
Guessing I'll also get shot down now so will take myself
outside for a flogging. takes self outside

zzzzz Sun 15-Sep-13 15:22:50

mimbles I honestly don't know what you mean by that? I'm not sure anyone has been shot down. If you genuinely want to learn how to be a better TA and help others with your experience this is a great board. If not please don't waste your time or other posters, many of us are more than stretched as it is. confused

TimidLivid Sun 15-Sep-13 16:12:18

Hey keep posting I know u just want to help and I call it meltdowns when my child has them. My ds behaves the way u describe and I admire that u want to be different than your colleagues and really help the child.

mimbles Sun 15-Sep-13 16:52:05

I guess I felt for NITM when I looked back over the thread. I have 2 dc's with sen too so know how stretched out things can get. I do want to learn more and try to share the bits I can but maybe I'm not well suited to written comms without verbal inflection to really know where someone is coming from.
Am sorry if have offended anyone or wasted your time. It was not intentional. Every blessing.

PolterGoose Sun 15-Sep-13 17:27:32

NotInTheMood the thing is, the child you are supporting could be the child of any one of us parents posting on here. It worries me hugely that children with the greatest and most complex needs are 'supported' by untrained, under-trained and unqualified staff. You shouldn't need to come here to ask for advice, your setting should be providing an adequately trained and experienced member of staff to work with this child. However, if you are to carry on in this role you have a responsibility to do the best you can, which means learning, reading and training, and also making it clear to the setting, ofsted, the LA etc that you are not properly trained or supported to do this role.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now