Special school exclusions

My very high functioning 12-year-old has now been excluded twice from his special school in the last 2 months.

His behaviours are difficult but not insurmountable, the special school seems to be making these behaviours worse rather than better.

Anyone else experienced this, he seems to be finding the interaction with a large number of other autistic children very difficult and staff appear quick to physically intervene, he views this as assault and climbs to height to find a safe place........

  • I'm not much help.  But I agree with your son and I consider unnecessary physical intervention as a form of assault.

    And as long as this safe place is 'safe' , they should leave him in peace for a reasonable length of time.  And not try to get him down.

    I remember my time in a special school in the 1970s.  Where all of us had some kind of behaviour problems.  One girl's safe place was sitting quietly under a table tennis table.  She came out eventually.

  • I work in an SEN school so I can try and give you my opinion from a school side but also my opinion from having autism myself. It is impossible without having met your child or know the school to comment fully but I will try.

    We do exclude in the school I work at but it is rare and is usually for physical violence. Each school will have their own behaviour and exclusion policy.

    The problem for the school with your son climbing to a height is that if he falls, they are liable. He may see this as a safe place but by definition a high place isn't safe. Has your son been worked with when calm about safe places? Identified some that he sees as safe or given a place he can go when he feels like this?

    Physically intervening is an incredibly hard decision for staff to make. You have a very short amount of time to make the decision. There isn't time to think of all the possible actions. I can completely understand your son seeing it as assault and not liking being touched myself, I probably would too. However if he is putting himself in danger by climbing to unsafe heights, I can understand why they would do this. Physical intervention is generally used to keep the child and others safe.

    It is important that work is done on these behaviours when he is calm though. Or it will continue to be a negative loop. Is it the right setting for him? I'm a huge supporter of special schools but they are not one size fits all.

    I personally would call a meeting with the school and talk about his behaviours and the plan to manage those behaviours with the hope it doesn't escalate to that point.

    Don't know whether any of that helps at all. I hope it does.