Behaviour support at school, 12 months on
Testimonial: "To see him support his little brother... is wonderful. It makes me see the ripple effect of what good school support can do."
Behaviour support at school, 12 months on
Last year I was seriously considering moving my 11-year-old son Eric to a different school. He was struggling with some of the other students’ behaviour towards him in the playground and it was affecting his own behaviour. But my beautiful boy turned to me and said “No Mum, I don’t want to change schools. I’m happy, I’ve got friends, and I love learning in class”. What a journey we’ve been through to get him from hating school to loving it so much.
My name’s Imogen and a year ago I shared my story about my son Eric’s Behaviour Support Plan. Eric has Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. In my last story, I talked about how he would scream in the classroom, was suspended and wasn’t allowed outside to play with the other children at break times. In my last story I also spoke about how Eric eventually got a Behaviour Support Plan. I talked about how great it was, and how having it meant everyone could see the Eric I’ve always seen.
Eric’s now in Year 5 and while some things such as Behaviour Support Plans and Student Support Groups have stayed the same since last year, new support systems have also been added.
The biggest change is that we’ve had to get more support for Eric while he’s at school.
More recently, Eric’s been able to walk away from fights and arguments in the classroom and talk to a teacher he trusts. Eric now feels teachers see his true character and he wants to make them proud. This is why he wants to do the right thing and not engage with trouble.
But that’s easier said than done, especially at recess and lunchtime. When teachers aren’t around fights have broken out. So because of these incidents, we’ve made a few changes to his support.
Firstly, we’ve got a Safety Plan in place, which is an agreement between Eric and his school that he needs to keep himself and others safe. It’s also about what he needs to do if he doesn’t feel safe – like which teachers to go to and what he can tell teachers if he needs to regulate his behaviour. We did this plan just before school started and Eric signed it.
The Safety Plan also says a person providing disability support needs to be outside with him at recess and lunch. That’s been a big change for Eric because she stays close by in case there’s an incident and he can go to her for help. He got a bit annoyed and embarrassed around his friends at first but she stays in the background and it’s been really good. I think it makes him feel safer in the playground.
We were also recommended other disability support for the classroom. I used the About Me profile at the start of the year and it was really useful. It’s positive and helps teachers understand how to talk to Eric which helps him to see his teacher as someone to trust – he now loves chatting to his teachers about gaming, music, soccer and dogs!
I still think a Behaviour Support Plan is essential – we were lost and confused about what to do before. We’ve made a few changes to it since last year as his behaviour has regulated. The triggers of peer aggravation and regulating are still there but he seems able to cope with it better.
But I think it’s about more than a Behaviour Support Plan. I think support plans, new or old, need to be living documents. They should be adjusted regularly and discussed at meetings. Even the About Me profile should change as children’s hobbies and interests develop. It’s important to just be ready and accepting of any change in support your child needs.
Despite a challenging 12 months with peer interaction, I’m so happy Eric now has more support at school.
As he’s older and in Year 5, I find his learning and behaviour is at its best when he’s got some leadership roles. He really pushes for them. He’s responsible for getting lunch orders and has been an office monitor. It makes him feel responsible, helps him get along with others, helps him talk to new people, and to be more involved with the school.
He doesn’t need to wait for a title to lead either. His little brother Alex started Prep this year and Eric loves guiding him around to say hello to teachers and showing him where to go. To see him support his little brother, walking around the school yard, showing him the right way to behave at school is wonderful. It makes me see the ripple effect of what good school support can do.
Posted on 21 March 2022