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(Ireland) "What is endemic in our schools now is the disruptive child"

Feb 18, 2019, Irish Times: ‘Problems with disruptive children are now endemic in our schools’ …Endemic Unfortunately, what is endemic in our schools now is the disruptive child. Equally, but frustratingly endemic, is a dearth of psychological support to ensure these children maximise the integrity of their school-based time and allow the majority of non-disruptive children the opportunity to do the same. In reality there is hardly a school in the country which does not daily face disruption from a child whose behavioural needs remain as a memo on a National Educational Psychologist Service (NEPS) waitlist. In the meantime, school principals and staff try to join the dots and keep the teaching and learning rolling happily and the disruption to a minimum. … As in the case of six-year old Kevin. In the absence of a psychological report, Kevin had no label I could slap upon his head to explain why he spat in his teacher’s face (and mine), climbed and ran across desks, broke classmates pencils and markers, used the f-word almost as often as he used the c-word to address his teacher, was seriously violent to staff and classmates to the point of regularly causing injury…. But like all children Kevin was a wonderful child, which I discovered on the many “sensory breaks” we shared walking around the school playground. A wonderful child who displayed negative behaviours which needed to be reduced and ultimately removed in order for him to learn successfully. Behaviour Having identified key behaviours to target we wrote up his plan where we chose one behaviour to reduce at a time. Kevin was rewarded for successfully overcoming a behaviour. However, anytime he displayed a serious behaviour there was a phone call to be made. It was home for Kevin for the remainder of the day. … Support Primary school pupils now include many with major psychiatric needs which require support for the child, his or her family and the school entrusted to teach them. … The problem is now pandemic. We need to talk about Kevin.


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