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Edinburgh Community Support Services

Edinburgh Community Support Services case studies

Ben's story

Please note pseudonyms have been used to preserve confidentiality.

Edinburgh Community Support Services started working with Ben in November 1999. Ben was struggling to manage his behaviour both in school and at home. He was refusing to adhere to school and class rules, and refusing to complete his work. He was also finding himself involved in numerous physical fights in the playground.

At home, the parents expressed feelings of powerlessness and lack of parental control. They felt that Ben "ruled the roost".

The action plan was agreed with the family and school. The support teacher supported Ben in class by working alongside him, keeping him on task and helping Ben catch up with his peers. The support worker individually worked with Ben, focusing on how to manage anger, raise self-esteem and build his confidence. The support worker also worked with Ben in class, in the playground, introducing co-operative games, and encouraging him to use the new skills developed during the individual work. The social worker initially worked with the whole family doing video work. This was to video the interactions between family members, pointing out the positive interactions between family members, and looking for ways to build on those. She also undertook the task of working with the parents while Ben was at school. The focus of this work was to empower the parents, building their confidence and encouraging them to adopt a more consistent approach.

This was achieved through completing a series of work sheets adapted to changing parental behaviour with a view to taking control and accepting responsibility. This was something neither parents had been able to do. However, after a few weeks they were able to recognise who had all the power in their home, and how they in fact reinforced this indirectly by always giving Ben his own way.

They are now more confident and in control in all aspects of their lives. They are more relaxed in dealing with professionals, and dad who previously had a poor relationship with the school is now involved in school activities, and also provides playground support which is valued by the school staff and children.

Ben is now working independently in class and is much more settled at home.