School is one of the most important learning environments for a child, not least because it is an ideal setting for developing language, social and communication skills. Once mastered, these skills will stay with your child for life, long after he or she has left full-time education.
For typically developing children, school can be a wonderful experience – academically, socially and emotionally – and many typical children thrive and reach their potential at school. What if your child has behaviour problems, an acquired condition, developmental disorder or is simply struggling at school? Children like these often need specialist help if they are to have the same positive experiences at school.
Changes and upheavals in your child’s life can cause anxiety and can impact your child at school. These include moving house, divorce and separation, the transition to a new school and bereavement. These can also affect your child’s behaviour, self esteem and enjoyment of school and specialist support can make all the difference.
So what can be done if your child is having difficulties at school?
Helping your child at school
NETwork Interventions has years of experience of successful school-based interventions. Our team of highly trained behaviour analysts and psychologists can help by:
- Designing recommendations to help your child at school. This will be tailored to your child’s unique skill set, needs and motivations, taking into account the resources and capacity within your child’s school. Based on the most recent research and practice in the field, your child’s recommendations will also be grounded in reality – so you can rest assured that it will work - even in a class of 35 children.
- Working with you to teach your child : Our team will work with your child’s teacher, SENCO and other staff to help them implement a tailor-made programme for your child. We will ensure that all those working with your child are equipped with the training, skills and confidence to make it work. However long we are involved with you and your child, our regular support and involvement will ensure that we get maximum results. We know your school staff already have a full time job and we will do all we can to ensure they can be successful in implementing recommendations to help your child succeed.
- Improving communication: Communicating with children suffering with a learning disability or other disorder can be a challenge, particularly in a classroom environment – and specialist training can make all the difference. Better communication between your child and his or her teacher can reduce feelings of isolation, reduce challenging behaviour patterns and result in a more willing learner.
- Workshops for schools: More and more schools are asking us to provide training programmes for teaching assistants, special needs assistants and learning support assistants. We also offer specialised training programmes for SENCO’s and head teachers. All of our training workshops are based on the most recent research advances in the field and are directly tailored to the unique needs of the school.
- NETwork programme: Over the years we have linked up hundreds of parents and siblings of children with autism and other developmental disorders, acquired disorders such as eating disorders, behaviour difficulties and many other conditions. Sharing your experiences with other parents in a similar situation can be invaluable.
Making it work
The degree of intensity, duration, and implementation of any behavioural intervention should be tailor made to suit the child’s needs and to accommodate the resources that the school has available to help the child. We also ensure that your child doesn’t become dependent on the support provided throughout the intervention and we gradually fade this support out, leaving you with a child who behaves and interacts just like the other children in the class.
The first step is to agree with you and your child’s school as to the best way to move forward. As soon as you, we and the school are happy to proceed, we get going with the programme.
School observation: Interventions start with a school observation. A fully-trained behaviour analyst will spend a day observing your child at school, gathering information from the professionals who work with your child every day and collecting data that will be used to inform the strategy we design for your child. All of this will be done in such a way that your child will be unaware that the observation is for them specifically.
Report and recommendations: We then present our observations to you in a written report, video report or face to face, depending on what works best for you. We will give you an honest, impartial assessment of your child’s skills, successes, challenges and struggles and will propose detailed interventions for helping your child, including costs and time scales.
Your child’s school may well have its own speech, language and behavioural professionals. NETwork Interventions works collaboratively with other professionals working with your child, seeking always to support and add value to the work of other professionals.
- Added capacity: Your school’s behaviour, language or other specialist may be limited in the time he or she can allocate to a particular child. Our school observations typically last at least one day per child and in most cases we also offer a home observation in addition to this. We often spend periods of time in different school environments as not every lesson or situation can be seen in one day. For example, if your child struggles in PE and numeracy, but these lessons aren’t on the same day, we will make sure that we are in school with your child on both days.
- Specialist knowledge: We can access the latest research and specialist knowledge a school may be unable to access. Research advances in Behaviour Analysis are happening all the time and we are increasingly being asked by schools and Local Education Authorities (LEA’s) to provide workshops and research for staff, equipping them with the latest, scientifically validated research.
- External perspective: Because we are independent, NETwork Interventions can offer a level of impartiality which many families find helpful. More and more parents are asking us to mediate and provide an external perspective where they are unable to agree with the school on how to best help their child. We can talk through the options available for your child with you and your child’s school, providing professional guidance on the best way forward.
In all of this we appreciate teaching is a highly demanding profession and we never make unnecessary demands on a teacher. We also know that the changes this will bring about in your child will positively impact your child’s learning, behaviour and social skills and will help improve his or her relationship with other children.
What results will we see?
Some children progress so rapidly in their social skills, communication or behaviour that they go on to behave and interact just like other children of the same age. For some children this may not be possible although even the most severely affected child can make huge gains. Some of the results you may see from the programme include:
- An increase in ‘on-task’ behaviour at school, leading to better academic results and improved behaviour in the classroom.
- Better social skills, leading to the development of stronger friendships and higher levels of confidence and self esteem.
- An increase in compliance, resulting in more positive relationships within the family and with teachers, peers and other adults.
- A decrease in impulsivity and distractibility, making for better relationships with others and a more contented child.
- Better language and communication skills, reducing frustration and resulting in a happier, more contented child.
The next steps
If your child is struggling at school or you are a teacher and would like to hear more about our school-based interventions, please get in touch with us today.
Did you know?
Almost every child will need additional help at some point in their school career. Whether it’s an intensive programme to teach language or after-school tutoring to improve numeracy skills, we all need help sometimes. Often families are told to just wait and see” if the problem sorts itself out. Our experience has shown that intervening at early stage will give you a greater chance of eliminating problem behaviours and struggles your child has, and will decrease their susceptibility to longer term problems such as depression and sleep problems.