Behavioural & Emotional Needs
What we do for children with behavioural / emotional needs
Disruptive or emotional behaviour in a child is sometimes (but not always) linked to an unaddressed need in their life (e.g. feelings of low self-worth), an underlying medical condition or other familial/societal/environmental pressures. Despite the many different causes, proactive support is available in school.
All children are taught a ‘can–do’ mindset and that it is okay to sometimes get things wrong. This emphasis on resilience is a recurring thread through all elements of school life, including assemblies, play, clubs and problem-solving in lessons.
Some children will require additional support, examples of which can be found below:
- Providing access to a clearly marked calendar so that the child can understand routines and prepare themselves ahead of time, prior to the upcoming timetable.
- Encouraging the child to do their best and ‘have a go’. The child may benefit from discussing their feelings and learning potential strategies to use if worried or angry (e.g. deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, counting to calm down, having a designated quiet space). These strategies are best taught and practised when the child is calm.
- Parents may wish to liaise with our Home-School Support Worker, Nicki Hircock, who may check-in with the child during the week and support them as and when required.
- The child may be offered a symbol they can use if this is felt appropriate, which can be used to exit the class to give calming down time – something the child can learn to manage for themselves.
- A behaviour support plan may be put in place. This details the specific and progressive behaviours the child exhibits including known triggers (so these can be avoided), as well as tested methods of calming the child down (so all adults will be able to follow a set plan as and when needed). This will be reviewed on a regular basis and as the child matures, so they should learn how to manage these behaviours and underlying emotions for themselves.
- Occasionally, the school may liaise with Havering behaviour agencies, to help find ways of managing a child’s behaviour within the busy school environment. Children who continue to struggle may be referred to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) for further support, by either the school or GP with parental approval.
How parents/carers can help
- Catch your child being good and use a rewards chart displayed in a prominent place such as the fridge door. Have an outcome your child is working towards, e.g. a trip to the cinema. Positive parenting is vital, as it is important that your child knows that you do recognise when they have done well and have made an effort.
- Talk about the positive aspects of your child’s personality.
- Remain calm when faced with challenging behaviour.
- Use countdowns, e.g. "I’m going to count down from three and I want you to sit down: 3, 2, 1"
- Make sure that sanctions are clear, consistent, appropriate to the event and followed through.
- Discuss what happened when your child has calmed down.
- Instil in your child the need to be honest about what happened. Let them know that you appreciate their honesty, and make it clear that it is the behaviour that is not appropriate, not the child.
- Try not to label, criticise or blame your child, which will give them negative messages which can stick and can have a detrimental impact on their emotional wellbeing later on in life.
For more information, visit www.youngminds.org.uk or www.minded.org.uk
The charity ADDUP offers lots of great support for children and young people and their families who have ADHD or present with challenging behaviour (no formal diagnosis is required to access the service).
They have lots of ongoing projects running including:
- The Summer Holiday project
- Family outings for example to Southend
- Saturday morning drama project
- Social and communication and skills group
- Children’s voices group
- Training for parents and their children
There is a yearly membership fee for families and then the projects each have additional costs. For further information you can visit their website at www.addup.co.uk; you can also call them directly on 01708 454040.