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joshanddanfans

luchtimes unstructured times, can they cope

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hi my boys struggle on through mainstream. has anyone got any asd children who struggle with unstructured times,especially lunchtimes. if so do you know of any useful strategies for child during lunchtimes to help the school keep him occupied and not lost in the abyss of the playground.

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Zemanski   

Com (14) has 1-1 supervision specifically to help him initiate and build relationships and to protect him from bullies written into his statement. It wasn't put in place in November when it should have been and he ended up excluded in February because he couldn't manage lunch times with another lad on the spectrum who was sharing his provision - they are friends but their needs clash dreadfully.

 

Having access to a quiet area when over stressed helped a lot, he was allowed to go to the SEN room (not ideal but relatively safe) or the library if he wasn't coping but because he doesn't recognise his own stress levels rising he needs someone to suggest leaving a situation or he will just wait till he explodes.

 

Com is out of school because he can't cope with the environment any longer, mostly because of social times being so difficult for him.

 

Zemanski

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Tez   

My son always struggled through unstructured times, particularly due to bullying. During Junior school they tried to get the dinner ladies to organise play ground activities and to help and encourage A to join in. They then tried introducing a circle of friends scheme. This still didn't work, so he was allowed to stay in the classroom during break and lunch times and could choose a "friend" to stay with him. He was encouraged to have a few so that he wasn't dependent on any one and they had contact with the other children. The teacher would supervise and organised games and other activities for them.

 

When he went to Secondary school this stopped until we discovered that he was spending break times hiding in a hedge to avoid bullies. At this point the SENCO suggested that he attended her lunch time club where he could play strategy games with other SEN children and so that she could have an opportunity to observe him. This went down like a lead balloon with A who refused to go, so the Deputy Head made a room available next to his office for A and a few friends and this worked much better, although he did suddenly discover he had far more friends than he was ever aware of, and the Deputy Head had to intervene.

 

Ultimately, as with Zemanski's son this didn't really work either and A came out of school about 15 months ago. The bullying during unstructured time was the major factor that exacerbated his problems.

Edited by Tez

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KarenT   

J has a tough time at breaks too, but now school allow him to stay in the classroom with a friend - they usually read or make models but there's nothing organised for them. Lunch breaks have been harder to plan because of the school's geography - KS1 is on the ground floor and the staff room on the second, so there are no teachers around downstairs to supervise as they have to have a lunch break. However since May his hayfever has been so bad they've allowed him to stay upstairs outside the staffroom so they can keep an eye on him - again there's nothing arranged for him so he just reads.

 

TBH I'm not exactly happy about this - although on the one hand the arrangement allows J to keep out of trouble by keeping out of the playground melee, it's not encouraging him to learn how to handle those situations and I do think he needs some help in that area. It's on my list to suggest at his October IEP review - I'd prefer him to go outside to begin with and have the option of coming indoors if he's not coping, but right now he stays inside regardless and I don't think that's good for him in the long term. Fortunately he goes up to KS2 in September and they don't have afternoon breaks, so that will be one less thing to worry about.

 

Karen

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jb1964   

Yes, same here. My daughter only goes part-time now (mornings only and finishes at lunch times).

 

During breaktimes and before school starts she's allowed to sit in reception and if she feels like she can do a full day then there is a quiet room available to her.

 

Take care,

Jb

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M also finds lunchtimes difficult.

 

His school put into place a seperate room he can eat his lunch in if he finds he can't cope in the hall. he also has access to the computer room at lunch which is supervised and he can go there.

 

The AA teacher suggested getting m a stress ball, which i did and if he feels stressed he has started taking it out to the playground. Not sure how long that will last though!

 

mum22boys

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tabz2711   

My foster daughter has attachment difficulties and she too finds any unstructured time very difficult, I have encouraged her to join any lunch time activities. The school is not supportive and I feel that CH is very vunerable and unsafe during those times.

 

I have even helped to run a club at lunch time so that I know that she is safe.

 

I have been told that children who have these diffiulties might be able to get a mentor to help at those difficult times.

 

We have to keep CH at home for a week whilst the school put safe measures in place for her. She is leaving that school in a couple of weeks and we are hoping the next school will be more understanding of her difficulties. This school takes in children that have been expelled and also has many foser children with lots of issues, so really need to sort out stratagies to enable them to cope.

Hope you get the lunch times situation sorted out

 

S*

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ediebee   

Our sons school have eventually made a visual timetable for him to organise his time at lunchtime. he does share a dinner time assistant with another child. He has chosen activities that he enjoys such as bird watching, or train spotting (through the very high fence and under strict supervision), activities that are not hard for school to provide, just using what's there really and what he used to want to do anyway. Another easy one is a long walk all round the school fields on a bug hunt. His visual timetable is up on the wall at eye level for him so that as lunchtime approaches he can check that particular days activities and hopefully feel less stressed about filling his time. Recently school have added a "play with friends" part of his time and he is coping with this at the moment as it is just for 10 mins and his school mates also seem to have realised that he needs to be included but at just 10mins they tolerate him better than having him for the whole lunchtime. Better 10 mins positive play, than an hour and a half of being rejected. This seems to be working well. It's to everyones advantage if your child returns from breaks not feeling stressed and unhappy, the afternoons may be better also. I'm not saying it's going to fix everything but it certainly helps and isn't that hard to provide really.

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Canopus   

Break times were no end of problems for me and I was bullied regularly. I asked my parents if they would send a letter to the school telling them to allow me to stay inside and do some activities, but my parents refused because they thought it would single me out and highlight my differences which would increase the bullying and victimisation as a result. My parents were more interested in assimilation and fitting in with classmates at the time. It was written into my statement about the bullying in the playground but there was no mention of any solutions or providing alternative activites for me.

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curra   

M has always had lots of difficulties at lunchtime and at any unstructured times in lessons, outside the school, PE games etc. . Lately his problems intensified as he wanted to join a group of boys in the playground who ridiculed him. He got into a long series of troubles with another boy and ended up excluded. Until now the school did not provide specific support for him other than lunch time clubs that M did not go to because he didn't find any of them interesting. Now he has a supervisor who is with him at lunchtime and sees that M doesn't get bullied by that particular group. M is also having an LA in the lessons to supervise that he is not teased by his peers. After what happened M doesn't wish to fit in that group anymore and has become very fearful and withdrawn.

He had similar problems when he was in primary school but things got a lot worse in secondary.

 

Good luck!

 

Curra

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OPooh   

There's that dinner dinner batman thing for help with lunchtimes - am sure it's on here somewhere.

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Karen A   

Dinner Batman looks really good.Its great that this council considered lunch times important enough to produce this pack. :D:D

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Bagpuss   

We recently found out that our dd (5 ASD) is abit of a loner at playtimes/lunchtimes. We hadn't realised this before, as she would always say she'd been playing with friends and naming them and we had made a point of going down to the school to observe her during these periods to put our minds at rest. During our Early Bird Plus course we were discussing socialising and the TA from our dd's class said that our dd was abit of a loner, and that the other children would run off and she would try to keep up (she had muscular dystrophy, so cannot run fast) or she had difficulty understanding the rules of the game they had chosen to play. I felt deep sadness. It was suggested that equipment be made available, ie hoops, balls etc and the TA said hoops were already available and that our dd liked to play with them by herself, and quite often she chose to be alone. I'm not overly concerned about when she is choosing to be alone, and would never seek to force friendship on her if she didn't want it. But did feel quite low about her maybe trying to join in/take part and having huge difficulty doing so, not only because of ASD but also physically due to the MD. I know some children at our dd's school chose not to play at playtimes, but from what I can gather basically they are offered a video to watch by the dinnerladies.

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