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      Depression, Mental Health and Crisis Support   06/04/2017

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puffin

Physical interventions by teachers causing meltdowns UPDATE 9 april

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puffin   

We are having a problem with M's school at the moment. M is 11, has AS, is on the verge of puberty and in a mainstream middle school class with 1:1 LSA support. She has made huge developmental strides at this school and everyone has been pleased with her progress. However since about February there has been a downward spiral caused by illness and many changes

- the flu and post viral fatigue symdrome,

- an assault on M in the playground by an older child

- irronically disability training for staff which means that her classroom staff are replaced with supply teacher several times each week - meaning that there are now 4 teachers per week teaching

- an adverse reaction to a vacination,

- and that her LSA seems to be working with another child approx 50% of the time

She is going through a stage of automatically saying no to various - usually trivial- requests. When she acts in this manner the staff physically intervene.

 

The school's new head teacher (reputation for being tough) has informed us becasue the problems during a 6 week period that they tend to place M in a pupil referal unit from September due to her violent behaviour. On closer investigation we have discovered that the physical interventions have always been started by staff. M believes that she only acts in self defence when the staff attack her! What we have found out is that the situation is escalating from trivial incidents - for example if M is unwilling to go out in the playground often staff are physically dragging her, manhandling her or attempting to carry her. She reacts by fighting to get free and screaming "leave me alone". On one occasion she had bruises on her arms.

 

I will add that there has never been any suggestion that she has attacked other children or staff prior to the staff touching her - it seems to be a reactive panic response from being physically restrained.

 

It also contradicts the advice given to staff by Ms educational psychologist who advised that the school to avoid direct confrontations and physical restraint - he even offered to educate the staff in appropriate strategies - but this offer was not taken up by the school.

 

 

I wanted to know what your thought?

 

Is this acceptable on the schools part? as it seems to us that this is a dagerous escalation from the staff.

 

We feel that we are in a no win situation - the staff provoke an incident - usually over something trivial and get a reaction - and now M is blamed for her reaction.

Edited by puffin

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Suze   

er ....don,t know what to say...............A HUGE LACK OF UNDERSTANDING!!.........perhaps might convey a little of what I think.This isn,t acceptable, and I,m pretty mad on your behalf..........I think you need some experts onside and into school pronto..........the school are handling this badly and exacerbating the problem!!

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oxgirl   

There's NO WAY staff should be trying to pick up an 11 year old girl or drag her around against her will, it is totally unacceptable!! I'd be furious if that was my child and I'd make a formal complaint against staff who did this. They need to be developing strategies to get her to cooperate with them without resorting to physically dragging her around. I have seen this in the unit where my son goes, where less able children are grabbed by the wrist and dragged outside and there is no way I would allow them to do this to my child. I don't blame them for lashing out, maybe there is a good reason why they don't want to go outside. These children should be respected and not herded about like cattle for the convenience of staff. :wallbash::wallbash::wallbash:

 

Puffin, if I were you, I would go in and talk to the person in charge or write a formal letter to complain about this. Good luck. >:D<<'>

 

~ Mel ~

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The way she is being treated to me is discriminating against her ability.

Have you contacted ipsea for advice? Because I think you need to be looking at her rights here.

Has the school got a behaviour plan/risk assessment done.

i know when we had issues this was done with school and myself to protact staff and little p.

If school hasnt done one how can they refer her to a pupil referal unit is it a way of getting her out of school by the back door?

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julieann   
We are having a problem with M's school at the moment. M is 11, has AS, is on the verge of puberty and in a mainstream middle school class with 1:1 LSA support. She has made huge developmental strides at this school and everyone has been pleased with her progress. However since about February there has been a downward spiral caused by illness and many changes

- the flu and post viral fatigue symdrome,

- an assault on M in the playground by an older child

- irronically disability training for staff which means that her classroom staff are replaced with supply teacher several times each week - meaning that there are now 4 teachers per week teaching

- an adverse reaction to a vacination,

- and that her LSA seems to be working with another child approx 50% of the time

She is going through a stage of automatically saying no to various - usually trivial- requests. When she acts in this manner the staff physically intervene.

 

The school's new head teacher (reputation for being tough) has informed us becasue the problems during a 6 week period that they tend to place M in a pupil referal unit from September due to her violent behaviour. On closer investigation we have discovered that the physical interventions have always been started by staff. M believes that she only acts in self defence when the staff attack her! What we have found out is that the situation is escalating from trivial incidents - for example if M is unwilling to go out in the playground often staff are physically dragging her, manhandling her or attempting to carry her. She reacts by fighting to get free and screaming "leave me alone". On one occasion she had bruises on her arms.

 

I will add that there has never been any suggestion that she has attacked other children or staff prior to the staff touching her - it seems to be a reactive panic response from being physically restrained.

 

It also contradicts the advice given to staff by Ms educational psychologist who advised that the school to avoid direct confrontations and physical restraint - he even offered to educate the staff in appropriate strategies - but this offer was not taken up by the school.

I wanted to know what your thought?

 

Is this acceptable on the schools part? as it seems to us that this is a dagerous escalation from the staff.

 

We feel that we are in a no win situation - the staff provoke an incident - usually over something trivial and get a reaction - and now M is blamed for her reaction.

Hi Puffin,

Wow what can I say!!!!!! Staff are not aloud to have physical contact with pupils unless they are posing a danger to themselves or another person. Although Aspies don't understand other peoples personal space they do react violently when theirs is invaded often lashing out. The school are abusing your trust in them and bullying M because they know she isn't able to speak up for herself.

What is it with these people. Call themselves professionals I sometimes feel ashamed to be part of this organisation.

ASD LSA -2 yr 8 girls A/S son 17 A/S.

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smiley   
- for example if M is unwilling to go out in the playground often staff are physically dragging her, manhandling her or attempting to carry her. She reacts by fighting to get free and screaming "leave me alone". On one occasion she had bruises on her arms.

 

Is an outside agency - i'm thinking along the lines of an autism outreach team - involved?? I would be furious to see an AS (or any child for that matter....) being treated like this - and would make it very clear to her school that it is totally unaceptable - and in the most part, not needed - training in ASD seems to be what's needed.

 

There is no way ANY child should be man-handled in that manner. If physical handling needs to be used - (for the child, other children or your safety etc), there are very strict procedures to go through after each 'incident' - and is certainly not used as a way to make the child do what you want them too. Ask the school if they are keeping an account of when this is happening and why. They legally have to. If not, why not.

 

Sorry not to have a rant - this is a pet hate of mine - makes me soooooooo cross :angry::angry::angry:

 

>:D<<'> >:D<<'>

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phasmid   
We are having a problem with M's school at the moment. M is 11, has AS, is on the verge of puberty and in a mainstream middle school class with 1:1 LSA support. She has made huge developmental strides at this school and everyone has been pleased with her progress. However since about February there has been a downward spiral caused by illness and many changes

- the flu and post viral fatigue symdrome,

- an assault on M in the playground by an older child

- irronically disability training for staff which means that her classroom staff are replaced with supply teacher several times each week - meaning that there are now 4 teachers per week teaching

- an adverse reaction to a vacination,

- and that her LSA seems to be working with another child approx 50% of the time

She is going through a stage of automatically saying no to various - usually trivial- requests. When she acts in this manner the staff physically intervene.

 

Phas jr had post viral syndrome about a year ago. It left him very washed out and constantly tired after very little activity and of course any little bug knocked him for 6, she's going to be very fragile till she's fully recovered. The school need to accept this is the case and be supporting her through it. When you couple this with the fact she has suffered an assault in the playground AND her AS its no wonder she is reluctant to go out at break times.

 

Why is her LSA working with another child? Does your daughter have a statement? If so then the hours on it are the hours of support she should be getting - end of, no question. These can only be changed at annual review if the school can prove she has improved. Fair enough that may mean backing the support off a bit in order to show this but, a 50% reduction to do this seems excessive.

 

Does the disability training the staff are getting include training on ASDs? I know it's a two-edged sword that they are getting awareness training during teaching time but at least they're getting some!

 

The school's new head teacher (reputation for being tough) has informed us becasue the problems during a 6 week period that they tend to place M in a pupil referal unit from September due to her violent behaviour. On closer investigation we have discovered that the physical interventions have always been started by staff. M believes that she only acts in self defence when the staff attack her! What we have found out is that the situation is escalating from trivial incidents - for example if M is unwilling to go out in the playground often staff are physically dragging her, manhandling her or attempting to carry her. She reacts by fighting to get free and screaming "leave me alone". On one occasion she had bruises on her arms.

 

I will add that there has never been any suggestion that she has attacked other children or staff prior to the staff touching her - it seems to be a reactive panic response from being physically restrained.

 

It also contradicts the advice given to staff by Ms educational psychologist who advised that the school to avoid direct confrontations and physical restraint - he even offered to educate the staff in appropriate strategies - but this offer was not taken up by the school.

 

Each and every member of staff involved in physical intervention HAS to have received training in the correct techniques to be used - for their own sake as well as your daughters. Also each time this happens a log should be filled out. Ideally it should state:

  • What prompted the incident.

  • The behaviour that took place and their reaction to it.

  • The consequences of this.
Not just that they had to use some form of restraint. There is no way that they should be touching her UNLESS she is presenting herself as a danger to staff, visitors, pupils or herself. You say this isn't the case so what reason are they giving for the use of force? If it is to get her out into the playground then clearly they have no, or little, understanding of the difficulty children with ASDs have at social times to know that these times are often the cause of distress. Reacting in the manner you describe is totally unacceptable!

 

 

I wanted to know what your thought?

 

Is this acceptable on the schools part? as it seems to us that this is a dagerous escalation from the staff.

 

We feel that we are in a no win situation - the staff provoke an incident - usually over something trivial and get a reaction - and now M is blamed for her reaction.

 

As a behaviour support specialist working in a middle school there is no way on earth I would allow any staff members to react to your daughter in the way you report they are. Ask, in writing, to see the schools policies for:

  • Disabilities.

  • Restraint.

  • Disability awareness training: Including their;

  • Disability Equality Scheme.
stating that you are unhappy with the manner in which your daughter is being treated. I would also advise raising this with the Chair of Governors as well by cc'ing a copy of the letter to them too. As well as contacting IPSEA as already suggested I would be contacting the Disability Rights Commission and seeking their advice as well.

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i would look here

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6515077.stm

which explains the new laws and powers given to school staff

 

Among other things, this Act allows schools to hold parents responsible for their children's behaviour, and it makes parenting orders and behaviour contracts enforcable by law. And it also means that the teacher's legal right to challenge behaviour, set a punishment and have it enforced is now protected in law.

 

dont have to agree with it but its law

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Corcaigh   

Puffin, it looks to me like you have plenty of material for going legal here. I had a slightly similar experience with my son (who's 11 too) when he was still in his horrible old school (left in '05) and started coming home with bruises on his arm produced by his ignorant SNA (Special need Assistant, here in Ireland). There were also witnesses who had seen him dragged by this person around the school. This was the last straw (there were many more issues of course, that school was very abusive towards special need children and their parents) and we withdrew him. Since he moved to a new school full of professionals who really know how to handle Asperger kids, his improvements have been exponential. Now he's a different child, full of interests, his violent reactions completely disappeared (he's not afraid of school anymore, obviously) and we are the living proof of how correct handling and sensitiveness can turn a stressed and anxious child into a cheerful being.

 

If you have a valid alternative, do change school. The reason why we didn't take legal action towards the old school was because at the time we were two very exhausted and depressed parents. If you have the energy, do it. Do not let them abuse you child.

 

Take care,

Martina

Edited by Corcaigh

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curra   

Hi Puffin,

 

It doesn't seem to me to be acceptable. Even under the new law physical retstraint should be used only to control very aggressive behaviour, not to force a pupil to go to the playground or to their lesson. There 's interesting information also in

 

http://www.teachernet.gov.uk (search for "physical restraint")

 

" There may be occasions where it is necessary for staff to restrain a pupil physically to prevent them from inflicting injury to others, self-injury, damaging property, or causing disruption. In such cases only the minimum force necessary may be used and any action taken must be to restrain the pupil. Where an employee has taken action to physically restrain a pupil they should make a written report of the incident in the form prescribed by the school's policy on restraint."

 

You have reasons for complaining.

 

Best of luck! >:D<<'>

 

Curra

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puffin   

I just wanted to thank you for all of your replies. We have had a lot of sleepless nights and thinking to do over the weekend and we have written a long letter of complaint to the LEA that ran to 8 pages! It really ruined Easter that they dumped this on us and then had nobody available to answer the 'phone.

 

We have found out:

- there have been more restraint incidents than we have been made aware of. On one occasion she was carried screaming to a group room and was restrained by a male LSA for over an hour who was alone in the room with her without the school informing us properly (vague information about her being upset at school that day) - I am really concerned that this treatment is totally wrong for AS and secondly that it is not appropriate for a male staff member to restrain an 11 year old girl in this way.

- the special needs person at the LEA had not approved the reduction in LSA hours.

- there has been no new evaluation or assessment of her school support needs since she was 7 (now 11)

- Her current Statement provision/IEP makes no reference to the current problems - it contains really minor issues such as not waiting in the dinner queue

- she gets no speech and language support at school - despite problems being shown in this area in her previous assessment - when she was 4!

- She cannot be accepted into the local unit as the pupil whp made death threats against M is there (remember the thread about this last year) - therefore they are intending that she should go to a unit 30 miles away. However most of the children have learning disabilities whereas M is acceptionally bright.

 

 

 

One of the probles is that noone really seems to know what her needs are at the moment and we are reluctant to move her anywhere until this has been clarified.

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cmuir   

Hi

 

I'd be outraged if my son were manhandled in the way that you describe. It's frankly no wonder your daughter behaves the way she does.

 

My son has big behavioural problems and when he first started school (mainstream last May - he's 5 and has AS), all hell broke loose. During his FIRST HOUR at school I was frogmarched to see the HT and told that if Robert behaved same way again, he'd effectively be suspended. Needless to say I was initially very upset, then furious with the HT. I felt she'd written him off before he'd even started (she said her staff couldn't cope with boys like Robert and that she'd had a boy like him at her last school!). I told her to forget about her league tables and quoted all sorts from the Support for Learning Scotland Act. I also advised her that it was no wonder that he behaved badly because despite them being fully briefed they had failed to put things in place eg visual timetables, etc. Things have improved I'm glad to say, but I was amazed and disgusted that I had to phone our EP/Challenging Behaviour Team and 2 professionals ended up sitting up the back of the classroom for 3 weeks solid to observe what was happening. We were told that what they saw was a very anxious little boy and simple things like allowing him to have his bag and jacket right beside him instead of hanging them up in the cloakroom helped to ease his anxiety. The Challenging Behaviour Team devised a six point action plan which basically entails Robert losing his playtime if he ignores warnings. Staff are advised not to have any visual, verbal or physical contact with him during that warning period at all unless he becomes a danger to himself or others. Thankfully, that's only been actioned once which resulted in specialists being called into the school as a matter of urgency - the staff were initially completed stunned/upset/lost/etc. Again, the Challenging Behaviour Team intervened and helped calm things down.

 

Apologies, that was all very long winded, but the point I'm trying to make is that after seeking outside help ie professionals for outside agencies, things have improved greatly. A massive improvement could be made by seeking specialist help and advice and by introducing visual timetables, buddying system, social stories, there's surely no need for physical contact at all. The staff you're talking about certainly aren't diffusing the situation, they're actually inflaming the situation! They really need intervention for outside agencies (ask your EP and insist on specialist help!). As for the Headteacher, he really needs put in his place and told about how it's all supposed to be about inclusion!!! In Edinburgh, there's a person called the Pupil and Parent Support Coordinator. He was pretty good. I don't know if there's an equivalent where you're living. I'd suggest some of the aforementioned to the HT and if you don't get a positive or proactive response, I'd certainly consider moving schools to one that more suitable and more clued up.

 

It's a very difficult situation and having had such a nightmare of a start, I really do sympathise. Best wishes. Be strong and stick to your guns!

 

Caroline.

 

NB: Just read the bit about vague and non-existent reports of incidents. I'm sure that's against the law/regulations. I'd look into that further and use that as amunition. As a parent, you should be informed and that's clearly not happening.

Edited by cmuir

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phasmid   
I just wanted to thank you for all of your replies. We have had a lot of sleepless nights and thinking to do over the weekend and we have written a long letter of complaint to the LEA that ran to 8 pages! It really ruined Easter that they dumped this on us and then had nobody available to answer the 'phone.

 

This seems to be a favourite tactic used by far too many LEAs. It is often NOT the case that the LEA itself is on holiday over school holidays like Easter and Whitsun. In the meantime you have been left to stew.

 

We have found out:

- there have been more restraint incidents than we have been made aware of. On one occasion she was carried screaming to a group room and was restrained by a male LSA for over an hour who was alone in the room with her without the school informing us properly (vague information about her being upset at school that day)

 

As a male school employee this is something we are warned about. Basically you should not put yourself in a position where an allegation 'could' be made against you. That should be rule number one, taught on day number one.

 

- I am really concerned that this treatment is totally wrong for AS and secondly that it is not appropriate for a male staff member to restrain an 11 year old girl in this way.

 

You have every right to be concerned. This treatment IS wrong for ANY child, never mind one with AS. A male member of staff can restrain a female pupil although it would be preferable for it to be a female member of staff. See above.

 

- the special needs person at the LEA had not approved the reduction in LSA hours.

 

Then the LSA has no business being elsewhere. This is not open to debate. As these are statemented hours it means the school are under a legal obligation to provide them.

 

- there has been no new evaluation or assessment of her school support needs since she was 7 (now 11)

 

That's ridiculous. Where are the records from each annual review? What do they say? Etc, etc!!

 

- Her current Statement provision/IEP makes no reference to the current problems - it contains really minor issues such as not waiting in the dinner queue

 

That simply shows that the school/LEA have not carried out proper reviews in accordance with the CoP.

 

- she gets no speech and language support at school - despite problems being shown in this area in her previous assessment - when she was 4!

 

Following the assessment who was supposed to provide this? The health people or the education people? My guess is it wasn't made clear at the time and they will have been being arguing over it ever since. It needs to be clarified.

 

-She cannot be accepted into the local unit as the pupil whp made death threats against M is there (remember the thread about this last year) - therefore they are intending that she should go to a unit 30 miles away. However most of the children have learning disabilities whereas M is acceptionally bright.

 

Don't dismiss it out of hand, at least have a look at it before making your mind up on it. It could be the right environment for her - it's possible. If you look and it isn't then at least it will be an informed decision. The problem with the 'right' unit may not be an easily solved one.

 

One of the probles is that noone really seems to know what her needs are at the moment and we are reluctant to move her anywhere until this has been clarified.

 

Sounds to me as if you need everyone involved with your daughter to sit down together and talk to each other. A full scale review needs to be done as a matter of urgency. I would suggest you write to the LEA seeking a review as soon as possible - give them a time limit to respond. I hope you get it sorted, for all your sakes.

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puffin   

Hmm - do I smell backtracking.

 

I wrote a long letter to the LEA taking up some of the points that you had raised. I think that the LEA may be going into panic backtracking mode.

 

According to the LEA the HT has not made any decision about the PRU - the meeting we attended was merely "consultation". Funnily enough I would have thought that:

- the HT saying "I have decided"

- the HT having ascertained a place was available in the PRU

- the HT handing out legal texts concerning her right to make the decision

- the HT handning us a brochure on the appeals procedure

the it was quite a reasonable interpretation on our part to think that a decision had been made - but apparently we were "mistaken" :)

 

One good thing is that the LEA seem to be going along for our request for an assessment by an ASD expert - so autism outreach are being called in - so hopefully thats a good thing.

 

We have taled to M and she says that she has only ever reacted to the staffs attempts to drag/lift her. She wants a little quiet moment during break but this is not possible since the group moved to a classroom that leads out to the entrance hall. There is not quiet room or even any benches to sit on in the cloakrooms. She has triend to use "words" to explain to staff not to touch her when angry such as "leave me alone" "don't touch me" but they ignore her and do the physical intervention in any case.

 

The only problem that I have now is whether we trust the current school to be the right place for M. The problem is that living in a remote rural area there arn't a lot of choices. Can we trust the staff and the head?

 

We have found out about an "ASD/ADHD" class 40 miles away housed within an EBD school - but I'm not sure that it would be the right solution, especially as many of the other pupils have significant learning disabilities/delays whereas M is of above average intelligence and works several years above her level in some subjects.

 

Any ideas?

Edited by puffin

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has your discussions with the lea been verbal or do you have there views in writing,leas word is often not worth anything unless it is writtn down. Given the very poor judgement shown by this head I would want written proof of everything in case you need it afterwards, I would atthe very least complian to the governors.

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puffin   

As from last week everything is going in writing as we know we can't trust the head. We even made the LEA receptionist give us a handwritten receipt for a letter that we delivered by hand - although I think we she thought that we were a bit mad.

 

We were a bit concerned that they seem to be playing down the restraint issue. They have not responded to the concerns we raised in our letter. We have talked to autism outreach and found that they were involved at a meeting last year and advised classroom staff against any form of restraints being used unless it was a situation of acute emmergency. I am not sure that an 11 year old wanting to find a quiet place to read her book really falls into that category.

 

I think that the LEA will be getting abouther letter tomorrow asking for a clarification of this policy.

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Karen A   

Hi Puffin.We are at a similar stage to you with HT/LEA/Governors with a number of issues.I read the link posted by Curra for new guidance issued this week.

The guidance is very clear with regard to the current Dfes position.If you have not looked at it it is worth reading it.

As you have said it is worth making sure everything is documented from now.Ask for a written response to any discussions and make sure there is another individual with you if you have a meeting with the HT.

I don't know if you have contacted ACE.I found them extremely helpful and knowledgable and think it would be worth phoning them if you have not done so.It took a long time to get through when I phoned but was worthwhile.

You could also try talking to Parent Partnership if you have not done so-I know they vary from area to area but may be helpful.

[sorry if I am repeating what has been said-limited ASD access/High noise level in the house does not help concentration >:D<<'> >:D<<'> >:D<<'> .Sorry you are having a tough time-I know it feels like :wallbash::wallbash::wallbash: ]Karen.

The Dfes have also issued guidance regarding ''The use of restrictive physical intervention for pupils with severe behavioural difficulties'' and ''The use of foce''.The guidance is in another section of the same website as the one posted by Curra.It may be worth having a look at these so that you are aware of the Dfes current position when you speak to the LEA after the hols.Sorry I do not know how to put in a link.Karen.

Edited by Karen A

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