Case Study 6: Perry

A runaway success…

In September I delivered a therapeutic intervention called Story Links with a 7 year old boy called Perry and Beverly, his Mum (names have been changed). Perry’s behaviour was extremely difficult in school. He was at risk of exclusion as he was constantly absconding from the classroom and not listening to staff. The Police had been involved as they had been involved in looking for him and returning him to school. He was at risk of harming himself or putting others in danger. He was attending three sessions a week with Primary Behaviour Support as well as having a reduced timetable in school. So, a challenging situation…

Story Links is a parent partnership intervention over ten weeks. It is used with vulnerable children or those at risk of exclusion with behaviour issues or attachment difficulties. A behaviour target is set in school and rewarded with an activity time at home. Feelings are also discussed; we each talk about a comfortable and an uncomfortable feeling. Each week a new story is co-created with the child, parent, school staff member and the story links trainer. This was all set up and we were ready to go…

Having thought that the situation was challenging – when I arrived at school for the first session I quickly realised that that was an underestimation: the room that had been booked was in use, the T.A. prepared was off sick, Beverly did not arrive and Perry had run out of class twice that day and was somewhere in the school grounds being monitored for his safety. So I asked school to find me a room, quickly! I asked the admin staff to call Beverly. Then I followed Perry around the school whilst talking to the TA about the intervention so that if he came in we could make an attempt at a story. Not a promising start.

However, Beverly did come, Perry then came into school and we did manage to write a story with a positive solution. Perry was able to take the story home and he had a copy in school to read.

Initially Perry appeared agitated over exuberant, anxious that Mum would arrive. Over the following weeks Perry was becoming more and more settled. He liked the predictable structure of the session. His input developed from copying examples to being able to describe feelings with a good level of understanding. His stories were imaginative and funny and as a group we had a lot of giggles.

By the end of the sessions, Perry’s behaviour in school had dropped dramatically and his timetable is increasing. He described his feelings about the sessions ending as ‘angry’ demonstrating how much he valued them. School have agreed that he can join a Therapeutic Story Writing group to continue to build his self-esteem. Beverly described the sessions as “really valuable” and “quite emotional” as she explained she could see Perry’s reading develop and recognised that he had a great imagination and was very creative.

So after a stumbling start, it felt like a runaway success…

Jo Barham

Educational Psychologist, Hampshire EPS

March 2017

 

From the Dragon’s Mouth