If anyone follows the Bright Futures School updates on facebook, you’ll know that a family has recently moved from Ireland to Oldham so that they could try to get a place at our school for their daughter, Saoirse (pronounced Seer-sha).
The family took the plunge and moved and we worked together on the information that needed to be submitted for the EHC needs assessment request. It was agreed by our local SEN Team and panel that Saoirse could be placed at Bright Futures School whilst the EHC needs assessment took place and Saoirse started with us in May 2016.
It’s always a bit hair-raising when a new pupil starts because although you’ve read all the paperwork and maybe even seen video footage of the pupil, you never know for sure whether it’s going to work. Factor into the equation that this family had moved from another country for a place at our school and…….gulp……no pressure!!
Saoirse is a lovely, bright little girl with masses of potential. We all love her to bits. She and Lucy are developing a friendship – it is beautiful to watch it unfold as each of the girls takes steps forward in their development.
We have made the decision, as we did with Lucy, to work exclusively on guiding with Saoirse, so she is in her own room doing different guiding activities with a series of different staff. The objective is to use the guiding framework to support Saoirse to step into her co-regulatory role in a turn-taking pattern.
The first clip is from one of Jo’s initial sessions with Saoirse: they are taking turns to ‘fish’ in early July 2016.
Saoirse knows the concept of turn-taking but struggles to allow Jo to have her turn. Jo has to control the equipment in order to help Saoirse competently take turns: at different points, Jo moves the fishy board away or puts her hand over it so that the turn-taking pattern isn’t broken. She also has to verbally set limits when Saoirse tries to go out of turn (not taking on board her communication partner’s needs) by grabbing the fishing rod when it’s Jo’s turn.
An example is at 2.08 when Jo tells Saoirse that it’s her (Jo’s) turn. Saoirse says ‘noooooo’ and Jo has to repeat the framework ‘my turn and then your turn’. Saoirse then places the rod out of Jo’s reach on the floor and leaves her seat. Jo waits and after Saoirse has picked up the rod, she holds out her hand for it. Saoirse makes the decision to come back into the framework and step into her role by giving Jo the rod. As Jo takes her turn, Saoirse struggles again with not being on her own agenda and reaches for the line. Jo has to place the line in her hand to show non-verbally that it’s still her turn. So at this time, Saoirse is experiencing quite a lot of difficulty co-regulating with Jo.
We move now to a clip of me with Saoirse from 22.9.16, some 3 months after the above clip.
Staff have been working hard on basic turn-taking and you can see that Saoirse is now much improved at stepping into her co-regulatory role (yay!). In this clip, I’ve been tasked by Sharon, our external RDI guru to try to focus on using the ‘sender/receiver’ role set as well as facilitating more experience and emotion-sharing, now that basic turn-taking is established.
My analysis is in black and Sharon’s feedback is in blue.
Prior to this activity, we have been rolling playdough. Saoirse let me know she’d had enough after about 10 minutes, when she moved away from the table. I took this as my cue to change the activity, as follows:
Clip 1 - When I state what we're going to make, this seems to motivate Saoirse to re-engage and she returns to the table. As she sits down, I set limits around eating the choc as I think she will struggle not to eat it. I tell her and show her that there is some that we can eat when we've finished. She repeats 'finished' as if accepting this (and using it to regulate?)
I model breaking up the choc but soon see that this is too hard for her so I change to sender/receiver again, break the choc into single pieces myself and pass the pieces to her to place in the bowl. Once we have established the pattern, (1:10ish) I pause for her to reference before I pass the choc great stuff. I continue to do this and there is some lovely referencing :):) I pull away when she goes to snatch and she continues to reference me and seems to smile....? I'm not sure that the beginning of this isn't more around learned behaviour but as you progress I do think it looks more like social referencing 'are you ready / do you have more?'
We do more of this pattern and I introduce a chant I think this really helps Saoirse & she seems to be joining in too! Just has more of a 'we' feel around it. When we finish, I say we can eat our choc. She seems not to understand as she moves her hand towards the bowl so I model eating and she eats her choc.
She shares quite a lot of gaze whilst we are eating our choc, which is lovely it sure is, no goals, no aims just sharing the experience. I say we need to go to the kitchen to melt the choc and she says 'kitchen’ (she is saying a lot more words throughout the school day). We go to the kitchen. Initially Saoirse seems to react negatively to you saying that 'we can't eat anymore' but then regulates around the need to go to the kitchen, maybe mentioning again the making of the rice cakes helps here too?!?!?.
Clip 2 - I set up for the next role set. I model scooping and we do this. Then I pour. We have a spill and tidy up. I spotlight Saoirse's good idea re tidying. She gets hold of the bowl so I wait until I see an opportunity to move the bowl away When Saoirse was scooping from the bowl into the cup... I'm not sure she just wasn't a little muddled as to what was happening next, as she quickly adapts. She holds the cup and I pour. Then I reverse the roles. I spotlight Saoirse's helpfulness and then wait until she has finished with the rice crispies on the table. I pour from cup to bowl and invite Saoirse to pour from jug to cup. I spotlight my change in pouring (JND of height) and say that it’s raining rice crispies. Saoirse smiles and repeats 'raining' with lovely dynamic gaze. Nice experience sharing.
Saoirse then gets up and is distracted. I wait. She pours and moves away again. She starts to spin herself. I wait. When she stops and references, I pour. ok
Off camera - we get the choc.
Clip 3 - I pour the choc in because it’s a bit too hot to give her a role here. I set limits around licking the spoon at the end (authentic reason = germs). When she goes to lick, I move the spoon back and say 'mmmm hmmm'. I spotlight her helpfulness. I have to keep setting limits around the licking but she manages to stay within them - major progress :):) as she has struggled with this a lot previously. So sweet, she is almost drooling but does well to wait.
Clip 4 - I acknowledge that it’s hard to wait to lick. Zoe I'm wondering if it would help Saoirse's understanding of 'all done / ready' if you showed her the bowl & stated something along the lines of 'all mixed together now', so she can physically see the difference???
When I am ready, I offer the spoon to Saoirse. I say 'ready' and she says 'ready' and references. I emotion-share my excitement and anticipation. We lick and I share my thoughts about the choc. She references quite a lot. I continue to share my feelings about our mixture. I spotlight that she has got some rice crispies left and she responds by eating them. Agree again some lovely moments in this tiny piece including Saoirse's yummy noises.
I loved this session. And me.... moving in the right direction!
Where to: Sender/receiver (our turn-taking role set) is working really well - think it's a case of using this in as many different scenarios as possible, so Saoirse continues to grow in her ability to turn take. She is so much calmer here.
Our underlying aim is to continue to grow the emotional connection & experience sharing across interactions - well on track!
The difference 3 months of guiding makes :)