Brian (aged 10) lives at home with his two younger brothers, his Mum, Jacinta, and his Dad, Thomas. Brian’s youngest brother, Ben, has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and lives next door with his grandparents due to his desire for a quiet and calm daily routine.
When I met Brian he was refusing to go to school, often saying that he felt unwell. When pushed by his parents to attend, he was disruptive in school; often being rude and uncooperative with the teachers and carrying on this behaviour at home. Mum was worried that this behaviour at home would influence his two young brothers and approached me for help.
I initially worked with Brian to encourage him to come to school, but after a short successful spell of attendance, he soon began missing school again. Brian said he didn’t like the smell of school and was worried something bad might happen to him if he went, so Jacinta was letting him stay at home. Brian’s morning routine was also not conducive to helping him to get to school: Jacinta would make Brian breakfast but then take his siblings to nursery while Brian waited at home, which often ended up dissuading him from going in to school. Brian would also control what time he went to bed, the amount of television he watched and whether he did his homework, leaving Jacinta feeling she did not have any control or say in his routine. I decided to visit Jacinta and Brian in the morning to see his routine and quickly saw that Brian was disruptive and rude to Jacinta. I spoke with Brian and persuaded him that he needed to go to school that day and started working with Jacinta to develop stronger parenting techniques. Jacinta and I also created a home routine for Brian to follow: he was told that he had to earn TV and computer time by displaying good behaviour and completing his homework.
Next, I started a Friday class with fun activities before school for all the children who needed special encouragement to attend and as Brian was one of the oldest, I tasked him with helping the younger children. This greatly improved Brian’s confidence and he began to enjoy attending these classes. I also worked with Brian to understand and develop methods to allay his fears about school and put his mind to rest. Home life was also improving as Brian’s new routine helped to maintain stability at home and create clear boundaries. I worked with the whole family and as such, Brian’s grandparents began to take a step back, leaving Mum and Dad to assume more control over family life. Brian began treating his parents with respect and he had remarkably improved behaviour at home and at school. Importantly, Brian started to make friends as he was going into school everyday which improved his overall confidence and happiness. Brian says: “I’m much happier now and I don’t worry about things so much.”
I’m delighted to have helped this family to get back on track. Keep up the good work, Jacinta, Thomas and Brian!
*Names have been changed