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Keeping calm in class

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Can anyone help with suggestions for helping.a child (13) keep calm in classroom? Especially if teacher is causing the child to feel unjustly accused or picked on and childs emotional regulation is not good. Alternatives to swearing at teachers might help! His present school is very good for him in many ways and I don't want him expelled, which could happen if this continues, but obviously they cannot tolerate this or nobody would send their kids there ( private school) He would not cope well in big and only local comp.

Also, ways of explaining to teachers about restlessness, spacing out( disassociation) flashbacks hyper vigilance and stress of specific subjects can cause the child not to absorb the lesson, and which take quite a while to get back to a regulated state if being told off. And ways for teachers to handle it differently, especially the teachers who use sarcasm which some kids genuinely don't get ( without making teacher feel criticised, difficult I know ) Ways for child to cope without feeling different ( which they will do if safe space means moving seat or leaving classroom, though maybe being sent an errand , or a run round the grounds, might help if it can be done without shaming.

I did give in some info before, leaflets about trauma kids in classroom, but I think a set of specifically tailored strategies for my child is more likely to get through the system. as they have offered to meet with us and therapist to discuss same. They do know quite a bit about his background and why he does things but obviously have to resolve this for everyone's sake.

It doesn't help that there are a lot of kids with problems in his class and some get allowed more leeway due to their needs.

Any thoughts thanks?


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You could look at the Louise Bomber books and write down the strategies which you feel might help your son. I've bought these books for both of my daughter's schools. The first school didn't bother reading them and the second one, only slightly better. I've found that giving a whole book doesn't really work as well as picking out the bits that are relevant to your child and talking through how to implement these strategies. One of these books is specifically aimed at teenagers I think. Hope all works out for you in the long run.


A xx


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How is he at recognising he is struggling? DS had a flow chart to help him assess if he could cope in class or was struggling...and if he was he was allowed to go chill in the support base until he felt calm enough to return to class. He did opt out completely of one class he found particularly tricky (or rather found the teacher tricky).


Worked well for a couple of years, but has been withdrawn this year and he is also back to swearing at the teachers (and they are clamping down on this in general) which is a sure sign he is dysregulated....so we are also back to the drawing board...


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Anks Bop, do you know where we can get such a flowchart? He is acutely aware he struggles sometimes and particularly in certain classes ( Maths and French, the two that even bright kids struggle in , if they are blanking out or not absorbing due to stress, because you can't get away with missing bits , like in say history, as things build on the previous stuff. But it migh help him know when he needs to do something or exit, and lists or decision and/ or's suit his way of working/ thinking.

I think stressing the dysregulation rather than it being deliberate might be useful, they will get that about him, but I need some practical tips for him so that they can feel we are not just making excuses for misbehaviour.

I do have the smart but scattered teens book but no time right now to read it.

Thanks

Pingu


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I just looked at the Teenage book on Amazon and it's over seventeen pounds !! Don't have that sort of cash to spare, but will ask post adoption worker if there is a copy kicking around anywhere, or maybe see if local library can get it, they are quite good at requests and have several similar sort of books on shelves.


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The flowchart was specific to him, developed by his guidance teacher and Ed Psych - basically stream one was I'm fine and go to class, stream two, I'm wobbly and need to go to medical room or inform teacher, stream three I'm really struggling and will go to support base. We did base a lot of his support on the Louise Bomber stuff.


Maths has been a big problem for DS - he is now 15 and doing exams, but he's not doing Maths - he has Nat 3 (Nat 5 is equiv to o-level, Nat 4, cse). He panics even going to the class and most of his melt downs (lose it and swear at teacher) have been in Maths. I also think Maths teachers in general are less empathetic than say art subject teachers and that can make it hard.


Interestingly he did really well in German, until he went on the exchange and had a disaster and we had to go and rescue him (that was an expensive weekend!); then he refused to go back to class.


I'm now at the point of supporting him to revise - he has good intentions but never managed to implement them, so the last couple of days I've intervened heavily and he has done some work and feels better about it...its going to be a long few weeks until the end of May when the exams are over!


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Hi, I noticed that you said that he wouldn't cope very well at big comp, but it sounds like he's not coping very well where he is either.


The thing about comps is that they do have to meet the needs of all the children and they are more likely than a private school to have experience of children like your son. Not saying they are all great at this but I wouldn't write them off.


It may come to a point where the private school won't tolerate the behaviour any longer, no matter the reason for it. And so I would just quietly make a plan B just in case.


And if you see the writing on the wall in the next year, I would suggest you move before he is pushed - it is hard to move in the GCSE years for obvious reasons. I know a boy (not adopted) who has been out of school now for several months because his private school couldn't cope and no other private school will take him from year 10 onwards and he can't cope with mainstream.


So do have a look at the local options, private and state, just in case - but fingers crossed you don't have to go there xx


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I agree about the looking around and having a plan B (always a good idea!) However I don't have as much faith in secondary schools as Flosskirk (from experience - though I know there are others with a more positive experience) - especially at GCSE time - they too will want to keep out anyone who is unlikely to meet the target (again I'm saying this from experience) so it might be worth looking at local colleges and what they can offer as they can take kids in year10 (and sometimes in year 9) if they are unable to attend school. Though do investigate the local secondary too and ask lots of specific questions - you will soon get an idea of their limitations. Also any alternative schooling including on-line learning - my grandson goes to a home ed school (4 days a week 10-3) - he is autistic and it suits him - this is after about 4 secondary schools which could not meet his needs despite having all the right things to say. My son went to college in year 10 after being out of school for a year through school refusal. These places are much more relaxed and flexible than secondary schools - no uniform / little homework / mobile phones allowed etc (within reason obviously) and working at the child's pace. (schools are all supposed to do that of course and to meet the needs of all children but unfortunately the reality does not always live up to this) My grandson also has tutors on the 5th day provided by the LEA through his statement.


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Just to add to what safia has said, round here there are some schools which do offer a good range of options for children who are struggling. Some schools do, some don't - we have a lot of choice round here, which I know not everyone has. But if there is a choice, it's well worth checking the schools out to see if any of them is better than the others.


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Thanks folks, we do have a plan B, in another town nearby easily reachable by train, and there is now a referral for therapy for the psychological symptoms. There is also a request on for Ed Psych visit. If he has to go elsewhere we know where to go. I posted because I am looking for classroom strategies appropriate to his age to help him wherever he ends up.

When we placed him in his present school the issue for him was self esteem and class size and his need to feel safe in order to be able to learn and be happy in class. Until now he has thrived so if he can manage it we would like him to stay there as change would be massive for him and he is happy and has good friends there. He is on S2 so a little young for our local colleges which are 16 plus, and in any case he is too young emotionally and socially and would not cope with the environment.

His present school has handled the recent couple of incident well ( really it all stemmed from one incident and two upsets added to it) They do understand his issues and want to make things work if at all possible. He has been back several days now and doing very well so far. He came back the first day saying he had apologised to the two teachers involved and is now aiming to keep his head down in class!! He says he has also switched which classmates he spends break time with as he has realised a few of them were having a bad effect on him. The school are getting the support teacher to assess his maths tomorrow as it was a major stress point and he is pleased that they have promised some help for this from a teacher he says is very nice. We are planning to draw up a summary list of strategies for class if things got tricky again , he is suffering badly from past trauma memories coming back at the moment. But he does have some element of self control and obviously we hope he will have taken fright and will use that control.

Interestingly we had a blow out at home after that first day back , but he has been fine tonight. Fingers crossed for the future.

Thanks for your support folks.


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Have you considered applying for an EHCP? I know of several children in private schools with LA funded 1:1 support. It might increase the amount of strategies available if he was able to take a walk etc?


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We live in Scotland, I don't think these exist, support is simply on a basis of need.


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Going back to specific strategies you asked for - maybe the best thing would be to draw up a list yourself and then get their agreement - when you go through it you could explain the thinking behind them. Do you have someone on post adoption support who could help / advise you and the school - or someone in the LEA working with looked after children (I know your son is in private school - but may be worth asking anyway) The person I found most helpful was a therapist at my daughters school who had experience of looked after and adopted children - maybe looking further afield for advice - also Sendiass (is that the same as parent partnership?) or IPSEA?


I wrote down some book titles last night which may help:


Recently I have been reading Bessel van der Kolk's The Body Keeps the Score - Brain Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma - it has a lot in it about developmental trauma and lots of ideas - particularly some in the epilogue for schools - I bought it recently and it was only £6.99


Others I had already are: Teenagers and Attachment - Andrea Perry and Attachment in the Classroonm - Heather Geddes - both of which are really good and have lots about teenagers - also of course Louise Bomber's book - Inside I'm Hurting - What about Me?


Our son's school was very resistant to thinking outside the box and not very willing to listen either - but they did agree to him having a card to leave the classroom when necessary - he never used it although he had run out of the classroom before on several occasions - sometimes it is enough for them to know there is an option without them having to use it. Sitting at the back of the class so he can see everything? Having a safe place / person in school he can go to if necessary? Does he have a mentor? Is that something they could consider? Dissociation is really hard as they just confuse it with daydreaming so an explanation (ideally from an expert) would be useful. If AUK or your library could lend you any of these books then maybe you could copy relevant bits for them?


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Thanks Safia, some potentially useful stuff there that I will check out. School are open to suggestions for how best to support him.

He had a good week seems happier at school and home, now getting some of the the support he needed, and knows the rest is in the pipeline, hopefully can move forwards from there.


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