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Case Studies

Case Study: John - Year 2
Main Difficulties:
Hitting adults; hitting other children; off-task behaviour – seriously underachieving
  • Close to permanent exclusion
  • Hardly a day would go by without him hurting another child; also lashing out at adults
  • Bright – good thinker - but seriously underachieving
  • Wandering around the classroom and school
  • Diagnosed with ADHD
  • Home concerns – John believed he could fly – would he jump out of a window?
Behaviour causing concern Developmental task(s) that were (re)visited Strategies used

Hurting other children/adults

  • to start to give up beliefs about being the centre of the universe
  • to express anger and other feelings
  • to test reality, to push against boundaries and other people

Part-time attendance – with TA support when in school

John to play with just one other child – with adult support – to intervene when John started to become frustrated

Clear consequences for hurting others – consistently applied

Wondering around classroom/school

  • to use all senses to explore the environment

Time built into his daily planner to explore classroom and wider school environment with adult to satisfy his hunger for stimulus

Believing he could fly

  • to separate fantasy from reality
  • to start to follow simple safety commands eg 'Stop', 'Come here', 'Go there'

Science experiment – weighing different objects; predicting which could float down when dropped; weighing himself

Affirming his thinking skills – ‘You’ve got a very good little professor in your brain haven’t you?’

Outcomes – and any thoughts as to why particular strategies worked

Progress was slow and steady. Some setbacks - several fixed term exclusions. Part-time attendance was good for all concerned – less pressure on John and meant that the same TA could support him, providing consistency and helping build trust. He started to treat her with greater respect and care.

Regular contact with main carer – developmental tasks shared with her to help her understanding of John's behaviour

Playing with just one other child and having adult support for this definitely helped as it was more realistic – he couldn't cope with more than one peer. Exploring round the classroom and school helped him to get this out of his system and he was soon staying in class and settling to his work.

And he didn't try jumping out of the window!!

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Case Study: Robert - Year 8
Main Difficulties:
Settling to work; accepting

Robert was very close to either being permanently excluded or sent to a special school or. Many staff described him as being very ‘immature’ and felt frustrated with his disruptive behaviour and the fact that he wasn’t working any where near his potential. He often came into lessons very angry about a perceived injustice that had occurred during breaktime and was unable to switch off from this and settle to his work.

A teaching assistant started working with Robert to help him produce more work.

Behaviour causing concern Developmental task(s) that were (re)visited Strategies used

Not accepting help

  • to signal needs; to trust others and self
  • to accept nurture
  • to learn skills, learn from mistakes; to learn to be ‘good enough’

Traffic light system – card with Red – ‘I need help’; Amber – ‘I might need help’; Green – ‘I can do this’

Difficulties settling to task

  • to develop internal controls
  • to learn to listen in order to collect information and think

Contract between TA and Robert - acknowledging difficulties he had in settling and stating expectations and support he could access Robert given specified amount of time at beginning of lesson to settle

Verbally abusive towards TA

  • to accept nurture
  • to test reality, to push against boundaries and other people
  • to express anger and other feelings
  • to develop internal controls

Giving him settling down time reduced conflict

Contract included expectations as to how he was to treat the TA

Building of trust outside of classroom – finding out about his interests etc

Outcomes – and any thoughts as to why particular strategies worked

Over half a term or so, Robert began to learn to trust his TA. He responded well to not having the pressure to settle to work immediately – and within several weeks was settling to it within a couple of minutes. The contract meant that he felt more of a part of the support – that it was being done with him rather than to him. It also reduced the amount of time he would normally waste in arguing with the adult – the contract stated the expectations, he had signed up to them and this wasn’t up for negotiation until the review date.

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