“Kyle is now a popular member of the school, who can participate, make friends and enjoy learning.”
Kyle arrived at Avon Park in Year 2 and was and was significantly below in terms of child-development milestones. He wore nappies, preferred to crawl around the classroom rather than walk and had very little speech. His parents had been extremely attentive of Kyle’s needs but had shied away from putting in necessary boundaries. For example, in an annual review parents explained that the house revolved around what Kyle wanted to do and that if he didn’t want to do it then the whole family missed out. He also had a very restricted diet and was unable to dress or look after himself.
Upon arrival staff realised that Kyle needed significant support academically, but before he could thrive in the classroom they had to address the clear deficit in his personal development and his highly restricted communication skills. Through the school’s internal team around the child (ITAC) approach, therapy, education and pastoral staff all gathered to agree the support that would allow Kyle to find a solid foundation to work from. They knew that a consistent structure with clear boundaries and expectations would be the best way forward.
Personalised plans and one to one support were put in place with the school’s speech and language therapist and occupational therapist. They also worked closely with teaching staff to enable much of the therapeutic support to take place within his classroom, so that Kyle could apply his new communication and social skills at the same time as he progressed his academic learning. Kyle was placed in the nurture class and stayed within the one classroom all day, enabling him to benefit from a familiar and consistent environment.
Initially, Kyle’s parents found it very difficult to support him and the ‘upset’ that boundaries and expectations would cause and would spend hours emailing, calling and visiting school to ensure he was ok. However, Avon Park’s family liaison officer supported them to understand the plans and strategies in place and offered dedicated assistance to them to ensure that they could re-inforce structure and expectation at home.
As Kyle began to develop, so did the plans and support around him. ITAC meetings changed focus to be responsive to his needs and continually build upon his confidence and skills base. Healthy eating, making friends, managing behaviours and specific academic focus, such as literacy and numeracy, all became new areas of attention and aspiration.
Kyle made tremendous progress in school, both academically and socially. He has now successfully transitioned into a Year 7 static class where he is now following Year 7 expectations in terms of behaviours and routines. He is showing more independence in terms of organising his belongings and getting his resources ready for class. He can work independently on short tasks and contributes well to group discussions.
Kyle has made 5 months progress in reading every term since September 2019 and can now write using a standard pencil. Kyle can ask for help and is accessing learning from a range of specialist teachers.
He is developing friendships and learning to play with his peers, not just alongside them, and is beginning to talk to visitors to his classroom about his work. He tries a new food every day, can dress himself for PE and has incorporated at least 2 new foods into his diet since September.
Kyle is now a popular member of the school, who can participate, make friends and enjoy learning.