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Supporting Students with BESD and Attachment Issues. March 2013. In Ashlawn. Number of students on role diagnosed with Attachment Disorder? Zero. Number of students previously on role with a diagnosis of Attachment Disorder? One. So why learn about it?.

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in ashlawn
In Ashlawn

Number of students on role diagnosed with Attachment Disorder?

Zero.

Number of students previously on role with a diagnosis of Attachment Disorder?

One.

so why learn about it
So why learn about it?

Don’t focus on the diagnosis or ‘label’

Look instead at the behaviours your are presented with and consider whether any of these strategies would be suitable.

Many of the strategies suggested will be successful with a range of BESD students.

besd bingo
BESD Bingo!

Think of 3 students who are highlighted for BESD (Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties) on the SEND register

think for a moment
Think for a moment…

How did you learn how to behave?

potential causes of attachment issues
Potential causes ofAttachment Issues

Neglect

Abuse

Separation from/Changes of the primary caregiver

Frequent moves and/or placements

Traumatic experiences

Maternal issues – depression, drugs, alcohol

Undiagnosed painful illnesses – colic, ear infections

Lack of connection between mother and child

Young or inexperienced mother with poor parenting skills

what is attachment disorder
What is ‘attachment disorder’

The chemical connections in the brain are forged in early years (0-6 months, then up to 2 years)

If a child does not receive these secure attachments in their early years, then they will not have learned the ability to feel empathy, compassion, trust and love.

It is not ‘hard-wired’ like ASD, but the wires are incredibly tangled!

slide15
But…

It would be unrealistic to focus solely on basic needs and early developmental stages, although it is important to pay particular attention to these in order that you can access some of the higher stages

… students with attachment issues didn’t get (and aren’t getting?) that first bit!

what are attachment issues1
What are Attachment Issues?

We all have them to a certain extent

They can range from anxiety and specific situation security to extensive social and behavioural difficulties

Many BESD children have attachment disorders to some extent

why so explosive
Why so ‘explosive’?

‘Breaking Point’

‘Balanced’ person

With Attachment issues

characteristics what we see
Characteristics – what we see

There is crossover with other Special Educational Needs

Intense control battles, bossy, argumentative, defiance, anger

Resists affection on parental terms

Lack of eye contact – but will look into your eyes when lying

Manipulative – superficially charming and engaging

Poor peer relationships

Steals

Lies about the obvious

Lack of conscience – no remorse

Destructive to property, self and/or others

Lack of impulse control

Hyper-vigilant/Hyperactive

Learning lags/delays

Speech and language difficulties

Incessant chatter and/or questions

Inappropriately demanding and/or clingy

Food issues – hordes, gorges, refuses to eat, eats strange things, hides food

Fascinated with fire, blood, gore, weapons, evil

Very concerned about tiny hurts but brushes off big hurts

Parents appear hostile and angry

slide22
ASD…?

There is crossover with other Special Educational Needs

Intense control battles, bossy, argumentative, defiance, anger

Resists affection on parental terms

Lack of eye contact – but will look into your eyes when lying

Manipulative – superficially charming and engaging

Poor peer relationships

Steals

Lies about the obvious

Lack of conscience – no remorse

Destructive to property, self and/or others

Lack of impulse control

Hyper-vigilant/Hyperactive

Learning lags/delays

Speech and language difficulties

Incessant chatter and/or questions

Inappropriately demanding and/or clingy

Food issues – hordes, gorges, refuses to eat, eats strange things, hides food

Fascinated with fire, blood, gore, weapons, evil

Very concerned about tiny hurts but brushes off big hurts

Parents appear hostile and angry

slide23
ADHD…?

There is crossover with other Special Educational Needs

Intense control battles, bossy, argumentative, defiance, anger

Resists affection on parental terms

Lack of eye contact – but will look into your eyes when lying

Manipulative – superficially charming and engaging

Poor peer relationships

Steals

Lies about the obvious

Lack of conscience – no remorse

Destructive to property, self and/or others

Lack of impulse control

Hyper-vigilant/Hyperactive

Learning lags/delays

Speech and language difficulties

Incessant chatter and/or questions

Inappropriately demanding and/or clingy

Food issues – hordes, gorges, refuses to eat, eats strange things, hides food

Fascinated with fire, blood, gore, weapons, evil

Very concerned about tiny hurts but brushes off big hurts

Parents appear hostile and angry

the whole brain
The whole brain
  • Routines
  • No empty threats
  • This is a HUGE step!

The primitive brain needs structure and certainty

The emotional brain needs sensory stimulation, rewards and familiarity

The higher cortex is then available for choices and reflection

effective strategies
Effective strategies

Structure

Clear ground rules and consequences

Challenge/Reward

Down time

Regular review

Routine

Familiar language

Be consistent with warnings

effective strategies1
Effective strategies

Time

One step at a time

One instruction at a time

Clear time frame – there must be an end in sight

Take up time

Warning time

Modelling

Do what you want them to

creating opportunities for being
Creating opportunities for ‘being’
  • Special jobs and tasks
  • Check in times
  • Opportunities to share interests with an adult
  • Create ways to encourage a secure attachment
  • Opportunities should be unconditional and not earned or used as a sanction
creating opportunities to gain positive experience of success
Creating opportunities to gain positive experience of success
  • Contrive opportunities that allow for success, including artistic, musical or physical expression
  • Reward effort with down-time
  • Reward good behaviour with responsibility
  • Opportunities should be rule bound, time structured and earned by responsible behaviour.
lightbulb moments
Lightbulb moments!
  • We can support, we cannot cure
  • Full attendance = 17% of a student’s time each week

Therefore, a lunch-time group is 1.56% of their week

  • Attention seeking Attention needing
  • Familiar responses create routine
      • ‘This always happens this way in this room’
  • Traditional ‘talk’ or ‘play’ therapies do not work with these children, as this relies on the ability to develop a trusting relationship
  • Natural consequences, not lectures, work best. Their mind-set will be ‘you cannot hurt me any more than I already am’.
take something away from this
Take something away from this…

What aspect of your own behaviour do you need to change?

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