Profile

I found an example SEN profile online and wanted to share it. Sadly I am having difficulty attaching it to this post, so I will have to add at a later date.

I did something similar for my son (although I shamefully rushed mine using felt tip pens). I’m sure I missed lots! In fact, I know I did. My mother in law said that his difficulties during transitions were not included but luckily I mentioned this, and so much more, during our visit. I also forgot to mention that I use 3, 2, 1 and time out/thinking chair, but this was also mentioned in person. I mentioned a lot in person like how he will strip off if he gets wet…despite loving water. How he always has fingers and toys in his mouth, and that we have tried so many chewy toys and none of them seem to appeal to him. He likes a Lego one for a particular sensation between his lip and top teeth/gums, but the majority of the time he just swings the chewy by its chord so it has to be confiscated. He also hates having it around his neck…and I’ve caught him trying to pull it tight around his neck… He licks windows and blows raspberries at them; he also does this to phones. He has compulsions to touch people and grab their faces. It’s usually through excitement so he has no control and doesn’t pick up on the fact that most people don’t like it.

When he was at the settling in session at school, they got to see some of this behaviour immediately. When asked to do things, he just wandered around aimlessly. He struggled with transitions and didn’t put his hands on his head or line up like the other children. He cried his heart out and shouted/screamed when he realised he had to take off his builder outfit at the end of play time, and hit me out of frustration.

It’s just too tricky to put everything about these wonderful, challenging, unique children on one page. And too late for me to tell you any more.

As a reminder to myself, I want to discuss the oral needs he has and the dangerous things he has done. I also want to talk about behaviour management strategies for children, SEN or not. This may include at home, in the classroom and out in the world.

Isolation

Thank you Claire for joining us and for your question about isolation booths.

https://www.google.co.uk/…/www.…/news/amp/education-47963554

This is something we need to discuss.

A local school has adopted zero tolerance for the children they teach. I have been told by parents and teachers that they are put in isolation over low level behaviours such as chatting. They are not allowed to talk in between lessons, whilst walking through the corridor, which I think is a shame. I used to love speaking with my friends in between classes to reflect on the lesson and see how they got on with a particular task etc.

I understand that this school experienced a lot of behaviour issues in the past and it is performing well now, but does it have to be this way?

I am very torn.

In particular, how does this affect SEN children? When I was working as teacher, isolation booths were something I only experienced later in my career. The objective was to help children concentrate but I didn’t really find that this worked all that well. It literally just isolated the children…who were usually SEN.

Celebrating the Positive

I believe strongly in balance and celebrating the positive. Yesterday I was feeling extremely run down and was a little anxious about what the day had in store for me.

The children picked up on my vulnerability and rather than exploiting it, which has happened on occasion, they were very sweet.

My eldest in particular was very cuddly and said, “Don’t worry, Mummy, I’ll take care of you.” He doesn’t always pick up on my emotions but when he does, he always gives me cuddles and kisses.

We had a very sedentary day, snuggling on the couch and watching movies.

I try to limit screen time as I’ve noticed that this can overstimulate the children. My eldest tends to stim and tic a lot more than usual when exposed to screens or when he’s tired.

However, some days it can’t be avoided.

This got me thinking about the misconception that autistic people have no empathy.

Admittedly, my eldest needs very obvious clues to identify how I am feeling, and is not very in tune with people outside of the family, but he’s such a sensitive boy who is very loving and affectionate. This shocks a lot of people!

One of the paediatricians we visited said that sadly the criteria was a little out of date and that it needed to move with the times.

We now realise that ASD is a spectrum, not in a linear fashion, and that no two autistic people are the same, despite sharing similar traits.

This is something I will address in more detail in a future post.

What is autism? Is everyone a little bit autistic?

Are autistic people empathetical?

Socioeconomic Factors

I had to share this because it is something I have discussed with various different people. Should socioeconomic factors be considered as an additional need, or something that should qualify children for extra intervention?

I believe so!

The article states, “The researchers emphasize that these findings suggest that interventional policies aimed at children living in poverty are likely to have the most positive impact on individual brain development and society.”

I do not believe that children from poorer backgrounds are in any way inferior or less able to achieve, but I do know from experience that some (and I am very careful not to suggest all) children do not have access to basic needs such as nutritious meals and heating, and I refuse to believe that it does not have an impact on wellbeing and the ability to focus on learning.

I remember teaching a little girl who didn’t want to go home because her family had no heating, having to choose between food and warmth. I also remember having to bring extra food in daily for a little girl who never had breakfast or clean clothes. These children were very bright but often unengaged, and who can blame them?

Some parents worked so many hours to provide for their children that they spent barely any time with them, and I also believe this has an impact.

Although this is an American article from 2015, I found this study interesting.

Some people deny that austerity has caused poverty, or at least exacerbated it, but this is the reality for many families, and in the long run, it does our society no favours! We are letting people down!

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201503/socioeconomic-factors-impact-childs-brain-structure

How it all began…

When I was a teacher, I came across a large number of children with additional needs. It struck me that more and more children were presenting with SEN, however many of these children were not diagnosed. Any teacher will tell you that when you have your own class, the children become your extended family, so you naturally do whatever it takes to help them. Whether it’s spending hours of your own time worrying about and trying to find ways to support them, or indeed spending your very hard earned wages on anything you feel will make their learning experiences positive and meaningful.

I spent hours researching and creating resources to help those children ‘cope’ within the classroom environment but still, some children just could not succeed. This created all sorts of issues such as low self esteem and a feeling of failure, inevitably exacerbating the behaviour. I witnessed children being labelled naughty and this infuriated me. Some children experience chaotic home lives which can influence their behaviour, but I had my share of children who struggled for a plethora of different reasons.

In our society we are very quick to judge parents and assume that children are spoilt brats, devoid of manners and discipline. “Bring back corporal punishment!” I’ve heard people say. “All this ADHD and autism…nonsense! In my day, this didn’t exist and it’s just an excuse for children who can’t behave!”

Well, the reality is, children with additional needs have always existed, but they were not diagnosed and probably spent their lives being misunderstood and labelled incorrectly. It is highly plausible that numbers seem to have increased due to more people being diagnosed, but studies also suggest that genetics have a part to play. I will revisit this further in my blog.

These opinions never sat well with me, but they wounded me even further when I had two children of my own who were both flagged up as being SEN.

Automatically, people assumed my children’s behaviour was a result of my parenting, or pandering as it was once described. I prefer to call it helping my children to feel safe, secure and loved. I prefer to call it having realistic expectations and clear boundaries. I also prefer to call it picking your battles.

Some people didn’t believe they were SEN at all and suggested I was seeing things that weren’t there, completely invalidating their everyday struggles, as well as mine. But again, I will explore this further in my blog.

I have created SEN Child of Mine to share my experiences, to offer support to others, and also to explore the world of SEN today. I look forward to exploring this journey with you and invite you to share your world with me.