Do strict behaviour policies support neurodiverse students?

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Poll: Do school behaviour policies support neurodiverse students?
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BlinkyBill
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Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson has said 'the long periods spent at home during lockdown have impacted children’s “discipline and order” and a crackdown in schools is needed,' a premise that has been challenged by educational specialists (you can have your say on this discipline drive specifically over here).

In an article on TES this week, concerns were raised about the project, pointing out the potential gap in catering to neurodiverse students.

In particular, the promotional video from lead school Bedford Free School was referenced, including their 'silent-corridor policy' and strictness around things like forgetting equipment or not paying attention 100% of the time. The author of the article, an autistic teacher of autistic children, points out:

'In the UK, one in five people is neurodivergent, meaning they are autistic, dyslexic, dyspraxic, have ADHD, Tourette’s or another neurodevelopmental condition that causes them to think and act differently to what is the societal norm. The “small stuff” that Lock describes in the DfE video are diagnostic characteristics of these conditions, and part of the biological make-up of neurodivergent children.'


So what do you think?

Does your school take into consideration neurodiverse students when it comes to behaviour policies?

If there anything your school does that is particularly helpful or unhelpful?

How might really strict behaviour policies affect neurodiverse students?
Last edited by BlinkyBill; 4 weeks ago
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barnet1471
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I was not aware of any neurodiverse students when at school myself, other than one who was dyslexic, and who was supported well and now is at university.

Perhaps before commenting on school behaviour, the Education Secretary should look to his own and those of his fellow cabinet members first. Lying through their teeth is not a good example, and not tidying up your hair when announcing the death of one of the Royal Family is another bad example.
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glassalice
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When applied in an appropriate way, clear and unambiguous rules/ boundaries can be very beneficial to most children with ASD (this is not the case for children who fit a PDA profile).

Having said that, a one size fits all approach would be harmful to 'neurodiverse' Aka 'special needs' pupils. Certain rules would need to be adapted for certain pupils in order to meet their needs, I am fairly sure that schools are obliged to do this anyway under the equality act 2010.
Just off the top of my head, some pupils with ASD may struggle to wear a tie due to sensory integration difficulties, forcing them to wear said tie would be ridiculous.

I would imagine that the same goes for most other children with conditions like ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia....
Last edited by glassalice; 4 weeks ago
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hxnnxh_13.11.06
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The thing with neurodiversity at my school is that we don't actually know who falls under that category.
We were involved in neurodiversity week and we learned a lot, but it was shocking to see that we don't realise who is an SEN student or not. There are three SEN students in my year of 64 including myself. One of the boys goes for autism and I think the other boy goes for dyslexia. I go for anxiety and traits of autism. What has affected me, I'd say, is that I have been too scared to tell people that I go to SEN teaching. At my previous school, it seemed as though the students with SEN teaching were looked down on. I wasn't one of them at the time, I have only recently been assigned SEN teaching in January as I was recommended by the deputy's head pastoral. One of my friends has recently been diagnosed with dyspraxia - around the same time I was diagnosed with anxiety - and I'm the only one who knows about this. She's scared to tell anyone else.
I find SEN teaching extremely helpful, I learn coping techniques to battle my anxiety, I find the best ways to deal with stress and other things that really get me down, and overall I feel as though I'm improving as a person. I adore my SEN teacher, she's like an angel sent down from heaven, catching me at the right time to stop me from falling.
I think we have amazing SEN support at my school, they are extremely helpful and can be beneficial for people like me, but I think more awareness needs to be raised around students.
On the behavioral side, it seems that once you have SEN support, people really try to listen and understand you. I have felt like this almost always since January. However, when I didn't have the support, teachers seemed to get angry at me, didn't understand why I was anxious or stressed, etc. I think they tried to understand, but when I couldn't explain it to them they thought I wasn't helping myself, so they didn't really want to help anymore. I understand that, but this happens to any undiagnosed SEN student. It feels as though you aren't really listened to and understood, it feels as though you're going crazy. Then when you have an SEN diagnosis, they understand. It feels as though everyone needs a diagnosis to be listened to. This shouldn't be the case.
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Interrobang
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There are some schools that support these students very well, and others who do it poorly, and others who do their best with the resources they have, but aren't brilliant at it, or some who do well for some students and not for others. Basically, there are schools across different levels of the spectrum.

Zero tolerance doesn't work. Not everyone can be silent down the corridor, and why should children or teenagers be silent anyway? Adults aren't silent in the corridors in offices. As long as everyone respects each other and are sensible, it should be fine. Obviously there are times when silence would be needed, like around exams, but 99% of time a bit of chatting won't do harm.

These policies (as with a lot of government policy around education) is trying to fit all square/triangle/pentagon-shaped children and teenagers into a tiny Etonian-sized hole, and it won't work. In fact, it's likely to do more harm than good. Plus as previously mentioned, the Equality Act applies to schools as well, and they should be making reasonable adjustments. And there are some 'reasonable adjustments' that could benefit those who don't even have a label (diagnosed or not)
Last edited by Interrobang; 4 weeks ago
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CosmicApathy1
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all the schools i went to do not give a **** about neurodiversity. If you happen to not fit in with the one size fits all approach then you're ****ed
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Darya.
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(Original post by CosmicApathy1)
all the schools i went to do not give a **** about neurodiversity. If you happen to not fit in with the one size fits all approach then you're ****ed
:ditto:
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jos_0982
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Yes, all schools should be proud of their neurodiverse students. The positives of varying thought processes should be embraced, and at the same time they should be helped to overcome any of the difficulties they experience from their conditions, and not just stereotypically labelled as troublesome or difficult.
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BlinkyBill
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(Original post by hxnnxh_13.11.06)
The thing with neurodiversity at my school is that we don't actually know who falls under that category.
We were involved in neurodiversity week and we learned a lot, but it was shocking to see that we don't realise who is an SEN student or not. There are three SEN students in my year of 64 including myself. One of the boys goes for autism and I think the other boy goes for dyslexia. I go for anxiety and traits of autism. What has affected me, I'd say, is that I have been too scared to tell people that I go to SEN teaching. At my previous school, it seemed as though the students with SEN teaching were looked down on. I wasn't one of them at the time, I have only recently been assigned SEN teaching in January as I was recommended by the deputy's head pastoral. One of my friends has recently been diagnosed with dyspraxia - around the same time I was diagnosed with anxiety - and I'm the only one who knows about this. She's scared to tell anyone else.
I find SEN teaching extremely helpful, I learn coping techniques to battle my anxiety, I find the best ways to deal with stress and other things that really get me down, and overall I feel as though I'm improving as a person. I adore my SEN teacher, she's like an angel sent down from heaven, catching me at the right time to stop me from falling.
I think we have amazing SEN support at my school, they are extremely helpful and can be beneficial for people like me, but I think more awareness needs to be raised around students.
On the behavioral side, it seems that once you have SEN support, people really try to listen and understand you. I have felt like this almost always since January. However, when I didn't have the support, teachers seemed to get angry at me, didn't understand why I was anxious or stressed, etc. I think they tried to understand, but when I couldn't explain it to them they thought I wasn't helping myself, so they didn't really want to help anymore. I understand that, but this happens to any undiagnosed SEN student. It feels as though you aren't really listened to and understood, it feels as though you're going crazy. Then when you have an SEN diagnosis, they understand. It feels as though everyone needs a diagnosis to be listened to. This shouldn't be the case.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I used to be a teacher and so much of what you're saying resonates with what I saw students experiencing. I think your point around the experience of undiagnosed SEN students is a good one, and the original TES article I read was speaking around the same issue. They pointed out the high proportion (especially girls, statistically) who may go undiagnosed well into adulthood. So I suppose there's the part of the equation for diagnosed students, who must receive adjustments according to law, but there's also the impact of strict behaviour policies on those students who are yet to (or may never) be diagnosed.
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