Ben attends school 5 days a week for only 3 hours a day. He has been partially excluded from school because of his aggressive behaviours, his tendency to attack teachers and students, and because those around him are fearful to engage in their learning through worry of being assaulted. Ben has a new Behaviour Support Practitioner who did some observations at the school, at the home, and took the time to stop, listen, and observe. The Behaviour Support Practitioner noticed that Ben’s behaviours were significantly different in the home environment, then what they were at school. Ben seemed to always want his shoes tight, he didn’t like tags on the back of his clothes, and the told the Practitioner that he only likes to wear short sleeve tops and shorts – no pants or jumpers.
After speaking with Ben, his family, and his school, the Care Team created a few goals for Ben:
Reducing occasions where Ben becomes violent.
To keep him enrolled at school by reducing instances where Ben is suspended.
To help him engage in academic learning so he doesn’t continue to fall behind
To help him make friends at school.
The Behaviour Support Practitioner continued to do observations for a few more weeks and ran a Sensory Profile Assessment for Ben by asking his Mum, Dad, and his educator to complete this for him. The results of the assessment appeared Ben was far more responsive to sensory stimuli then other children his age and needed much more support to process and understand stimuli then other children his age. The Practitioner also facilitated an Adaptive Behaviour Measure Assessment for Ben, and found that his communication skills were very low, and his coping skills were significantly below average for his age.
The Behaviour Support Practitioner liaised with Ben’s educators about ways in which they could reduce the sensory stimuli in the school environment – reducing noise, light, etc. This wasn’t always possible in the school environment because there are lots of students however, during peak times when Ben would escalate, before and after school, and when transitioning to and from activities, his teacher was able to remove Ben from the classroom, take him for a short walk, and re-integrate him into his learning session. Ben didn’t miss out on any learning - but he was not exposed to the noise and uncertainty of the transition period.
Since the school have implemented some basic communication and interaction guidelines for Ben – talking to him at eye level, speaking calmly, not shouting across the room to him, using short and simple sentences with Ben, and better supporting his transition to and from learning activities, his behaviour has improved. There have still been incidents where Ben has hit another student and slapped his teacher, but this has only happened twice in a term compared to what was previously occurring multiple times per day. Ben hasn’t been suspended from school for two school terms either.
The longer-term goal is for the Behaviour Support Practitioner to support Ben remain in class 100% of the time, and transition unsupported to and from learning environments and activities, just like other students do. To do this, the Behaviour Support Practitioner is engaging Ben in an Emotional Regulation Program and teaching him how to use Fidget Spinners and Stress Balls to regulate his emotions when things are tough for him. Its important Ben learns to do this without distracting other students and without Ben requiring a teacher to support him through multiple transitions throughout the day. The Behaviour Support Practitioner will continue working with Ben on his communication and coping skills to help him verbalise his thoughts, feelings, and emotions without becoming aggressive, and help him cope when there are sensory stimuli that makes him feel uncomfortable.
For now, Ben is engaged in school and the school have agreed for Ben to start attending school full-time again 3 days a week because they are happy the risk to the educators and other students has reduced enough to allow this to occur. This has been a huge benefit to Ben, giving him more opportunity to learn at school and practice his new skills.
Mum is also happy that she can return to work 3 full days a week, and can enjoy a rest from Ben’s challenging behaviours and having to pick Ben up from school at short notice. Transitioning back to a healthy routine has allowed the family the time and space to rebuild their emotional capacity and their tolerance to continue implementing behaviour support strategies at home.
Until next week!
If you have any questions about anything contained in this post, or previous posts, please feel free to reach out to me! Jessica Ryan PH: 0499 237 466 E: Jessica.Ryan@quantumbehaviour.com.au
Whilst case studies are reflective of true scenarios, all names and identifying information has been removed to protect the privacy and confidentiality of our clients. Pseudonyms are used to ensure all identifying information is removed.