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Edinburgh Community Support Services case studies

John's story

Please note pseudonyms have been used to preserve confidentiality.

John lives at home with his mother, stepfather, sisters aged eight and five and stepsister aged one. He has little contact with his natural father and any contact is inconsistent, as he is constantly let down by him. John fights continually with the older sister, and can be cheeky to his mother, but will respond to his stepfather. He has few friends in the community, and has been involved in fighting.

Reason for John's referral

John’s behaviour was very disruptive in school. He threw things in class, knocked tables over, shouted and swore. On one occasion, he ran out of school onto a railway line. John is average ability in most subjects and is in the top maths group. He manages better in the mornings with directed work, but finds project work very difficult, as well as art and gym. Difficult behaviour is triggered by frustration, as he finds learning new concepts difficult. John gives up easily and will refuse to complete work or do his homework.

How we supported John

After meeting the family and the workers involved with John, an action plan was agreed with John, his family and the school that would address their concerns.

The teacher, working alongside the community support teacher, provided:

  • a structured environment
  • consistent rules and ways of dealing with his behaviour
  • treatement just like the rest of the children in the class i.e. did not excuse any bad behaviour
  • positive encouragement and rewarded good behaviour
  • consistently filled in behaviour chart making notes of any inappropriate behaviour, enabling the support teacher to talk about this with him.

The support teacher began by working with John on an individual basis outside the classroom, devising with him a positive behaviour programme. In this particular case, he earned chess pieces. This time was also used to discuss his frustration and alternative strategies for dealing with his anger.

John then progressed to working in a small curricular group outside the classroom, thus allowing him to develop his co-operative skills.

The support teacher subsequently supported him one to one in the classroom for a short period before moving onto small curricular group, again within the classroom. By the end of the teacher’s involvement he had moved onto working without support in the class setting.