Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Second common scenario

Last time, I talked about a common scenario for secondary school, this time I will share a common primary school one.

Picture the scene: playtime in small primary school:

Boy, L, aged 9 is knocked over by another boy who was playing football, 'Sorry!' he shouts as he runs off. L is very angry as he had bumped into someone last week and had been told off and had to stand by the teacher. He had been messing about and had been 'an accident waiting to happen' according to the teacher. So he duly reports the other boy to the teacher on duty. 'I saw L, it was an accident, don't worry about it,' she responds.

L has quite a black and white view of life and doesn't really see the difference. His vocabulary isn't great so the term 'accident' had been used last week and again today so what is different?

He's irritated so argues with the teacher, 'But he did it, it wasn't an accident'. The teacher is calm for a short while but then equally irritated (she's probably got so much to do, she'd rather not be doing a duty anyway).

He's angry now so shouts at the teacher as he would his mum (he doesn't know those pragmatic rules where he should be modifying his language to his teacher). The teacher is now furious and sends him to the headteacher.

L still doesn't see that he should not argue/be respectful so yells at the headteacher. He is now so upset by the sheer injustice of the situation and can't hear any reason whatsoever,

L is excluded for the rest of the week!

If they could understand that he has:

  • poor auditory memory
  • difficulty remembering and learning new vocabulary
  • rigid thinking
  • lack of pragmatic awareness
They might handle him differently.

If the school set up was communication friendly and staff knew about these difficulties it would make their life and poor L's life so much easier.

Speech and language therapists have a valuable role to play in assessing child with behaviour difficulties. All behavior is communication, it's telling us something. There's no point in working on the symptoms i.e. rudeness, shouting at teacher etc, we need to understand the cause because then we can address it.

Unfortunately, there are may Ls out there but it upsets me every time!


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