reframing ‘disorder’ as difference
One of the largest mainstream schools in the Tees Valley area was experiencing a rise in children with behavioural challenges and negative attitudes towards school. To avoid mass exclusions they commissioned us to provide early intervention to these students, whom we engaged in groups of three for 1 day per week. Using therapeutic roundtable discussions, positive behaviour support and hands-on, meaningful activities promoting personal development and autonomy, we improved the students’ attendance, commitment and overall conduct, impacting their academic engagement. The students showed an increase in respect and boundaries towards their peers and the adults around them, a decrease in negative attitudes and actions, and ultimately avoided exclusion.
Struggling to control his aggression and concentration, Hayden had been excluded from education for over 6 months. He would present disturbing behaviours, often hitting himself in the head, and would be highly confrontational, posing a threat of physical harm to others. Despite no formal diagnosis, Hayden had an unhealthy belief system and attitude to authority. Through careful strategising to increase his social, emotional and self-management skills, Hayden showed dramatic improvements to his mental stability, attitude to learning, behavioural, creative and academic abilities. Recognising that despite these advancements Hayden would not be able to thrive in a mainstream setting, we assisted the multi-agency team around him to bring forward an EHCP assessment with the aim of finding him a specialist provision, in which he could continue to flourish.