Sunday, 11 February 2018

Bad behaviour? no, just a lack of awareness and understanding of SLCN

Many of the children I work with get in trouble because they have language and social communication difficulties which impact simple, everyday interactions. This is just a typical one from last week:

A lovely young lady I met recently, Ruby aged 12 years, was very upset to receive a detention for something that had happened in school. The teacher was one she knew but was a maths teacher, who was covering a science lesson. 

This is what Mr Jones, the teacher reported and says happened in lesson:
He'd asked the class to be quiet, Ruby 'decided to continue talking'. He asked her if she understood what he'd said, and she said, 'Yes,' but carried on talking. He became cross and told her to 'be quiet.' She was shocked and said, 'But it was quiet working and if you wanted the class to be silent, you should have said.' Mr Jones felt that Ruby was being difficult and disrespectful for no reason.  He discussed this with her, but due to her response he felt he was unable to get anywhere and had no option but to give a detention for her poor attitude.

Teacher who was normally in maths covered science

Ruby dislikes change and hadn’t been prepared
Teacher asked the class to be quiet
Ruby carried on talking
Ruby has a literal interpretation of language, so he didn’t say ‘silent’
Teacher probably looked at Ruby and pulled a face to indicate he wasn’t pleased
Ruby carried on talking
She can’t read facial expressions and would not be able to interpret his intentions
He asked her if she had understood
She said, 'Yes.'
In her mind she had got the right interpretation
He said, ‘I meant silence!’
 She said, 'you didn't say that!'
She has difficulty with word definition and is sure she knows, whereas she might be slightly off or way off
She also cannot read inference
She said, ' You should have said that then.'

Ruby has little understanding of the rules of modifying language to teachers. She doesn’t know it's rude
Teacher thought she was being disrespectful
As she would be if she was of typical social understanding and /or pragmatic ability
 She hasn't got the language or pragmatic skills to interpret the situation

Ruby wouldn't let the subject drop
She has a clear fairness rule/sense of justice which she thinks the teacher was being unfair as she didn’t understand
Teacher discussed it
Ruby didn’t give the response he expected
She doesn’t understand as she thinks she didn’t do anything wrong
Teacher would be upset with her and may be was possibly feeling a bit under-confident as he was not teaching his subject

She can’t put herself in others shoes/see their point of view

 That's not the worst one I heard this week either!

We need so much more awareness about language and social communication difficulties, it's NOT just children with ASD!

Please support the campaign to save the Communication Trust as they are working hard to help schools understand more see more here