The toolkit will be a primarily digital resource for teachers and parents to use collaboratively. Different 'strategies' will be organised into 'modules' which are designed to help the child reach different behaviour goals. These strategies will be chosen by the teacher and SENCo, influenced by conversations with the parent and child about what behaviours they would like to improve on and may consist of whole class activities, individual learning etc.
Click on each of the following steps to find out more about how the toolkit works:
For this activity we need both parents and school staff to better understand traits of hyperactivity, inattention or impulsivity. We are putting together our training resources for this still, but we think the structure and instructions for school staff and for families will be as follows:
For teachers, teaching assistants, SENCos:
All school staff will need to attend an ice breaker/group meeting
- A short presentation will be delivered by a research team member/SENDCo to provide general/basic information about traits of hyperactivity, inattention or impulsivity
- We aim to remove any misconceptions and misunderstandings that you may have and provide a better background for teachers to understand what traits of hyperactivity, inattention or impulsivity really are, as we understand that many teachers may not have the opportunity or training in this area.
At the end of this meeting, you will be provided with a list of resources for teachers and parents alike to complete
- Some will be compulsory resources (i.e. the future learn course and foundation booklets) to be completed over a defined period, as it is necessary to all have the same understanding before developing interventions for children.
- Other resources will be optional in case you have further interests in learning more. These will not have a time limit to be completed.
If you have any questions please feel free to talk to our research team members present
As the toolkit is for children who have traits of hyperactivity, inattention or impulsivity, we will offer parents some training on how these traits can affect their children.
- We would like you to complete some learning around what the impacts can be for children who struggle with attention, hyperactivity or impulsivity.
- We are aware that some people may not have had the chance to do much learning about this and that some people may have some misconceptions about these traits, or have heard some myths but not know if they are true
- Hence we have provided you with a list of resources to go over at home. The list contain some compulsory resources for you to complete in the next 2-4 weeks that we have asked all parents and school staff to complete (as it is helpful if everyone has the same understanding). The list also includes some optional resources if you have the time or wish to further broaden your knowledge.
If you have any questions please feel free to talk to our research members present.
Key things the training will cover:
- Traits of hyperactivity, inattention or impulsivity are not issues of morality or simply a deficit in attention
- Involvement of dopamine in the developing brain
- Executive functions and traits of hyperactivity, inattention or impulsivity
- Delay aversion and traits of hyperactivity, inattention or impulsivity
- Other theories about how these traits come about
- Gender differences
- Sensory processing
- The variation between children with traits of hyperactivity, inattention or impulsivity: every child is different and unique, and their traits will affect them in different ways
- Growing up with traits of hyperactivity, inattention or impulsivity
The purpose of the Know Me activity is for the key staff in school to get more acquainted with the study children. In doing so we will need parents or guardians, teachers and teaching or learning support assistants (TAs) to all work together and communicate information to ensure we can get the most accurate information in order to later tailor toolkit strategies and learning activities specific to the child.
To ensure that we can develop the best interventions for the study children we will be completing some activities to get to know the child better. This will include learning about the child’s strengths, difficulties, likes and dislikes, hobbies, sensory processing and triggers…
- The teacher and TA will record sensory behaviour on a sensory checklist. This will be as easy as possible, with teachers and TA’s each having a card with a table of sensory behaviours to look out for. If a behaviour is noticed, the teacher or TA will start a tally and record behaviour throughout the day (Planning group, please let us know what sorts of behaviours we might look for!).
- The TAs/parents will identify the child’s current trusted person or people at school. If the current class teacher/TA is not one of these people, the trusted person may be asked to help with this activity.
- A homework and/or class activity will be set for all students in the class to produce a piece of work about themselves – this should allow students and the study child to be creative and create a piece of work describing who they are as an individual (i.e. likes, dislikes and hobbies)
- This format could be a poster in school, it may be a webpage, a blog, a newspaper article, a comic book or a film. Individual teachers can select the format of this so that it engages the study child in the activity.
- Another class activity will be the ‘hobby sheet‘ which will include age-appropriate images and words asking children about their hobbies and what they like to do, what things they do that make them more awake or alert, what things they find calming or relaxing, and what makes them sad, happy and angry.
- The format of these two activities should allow the study child to be sociable and interact with classmates and not single them out as being the only person to do this.
All of this information will be triangulated between the teachers, TA’s and parents when they meet to understand motivations and set targets, and loaded into the toolkit website to customise strategies for a particular child.
After learning more about the personality traits of hyperactivity, inattention or impulsivity, and more about the child that the toolkit is to be used with, the next step is for school staff and parents to agree on what key behaviours they want to support the child to improve with the toolkit.
In this research study, we are asking for two clear behaviour targets.
To decide these targets, there will be two meetings about each child. At each meeting, the SENCo, class teacher, any relevant TAs or other school staff and the parents/guardians and child will be invited. Parents and children will be asked if they wish to join in person or whether they might to join the meetings online from home. By joining online from home, we hope this will be a less intimidating experience for parents, and also gives children the freedom to listen in and engage if they want to. Parents/guardians will make the decision about whether the child should know about and be involved in these meetings.
The first meeting will focus on understanding what aspects of school the child is currently struggling with most. This will be a bit of a brainstorm, and thoughts from school and home will be drawn together to make a shared decision about what the toolkit could target for that child. The first meeting will end with a list of perhaps five possible behaviour targets.
Between the first and second meeting, the school staff involved will make an effort to understand more about when these five behaviours are happening, and importantly, what happens before that behaviour (is something triggering it?) and what happens afterwards (is something reinforcing it in a positive or negative manner?). This information, sometimes called a "Functional behaviour analysis" (a psychology term) will be brought back to the second meeting and discussed, so that school staff and families can decide which two are the most realistic to target and change. Others may remain on the list to be targeted after the first two. In the second meeting, once these problems are fully explored, families and school staff will together decide on positive behaviour goals for the child that would show they are making progress away from the problem and towards the target or solution.
These goals will be created in the form of five or six gradual steps, so that each week the child is able to achieve a goal before it is made more challenging.
- Danny's teacher, TA and the SENCo identify that Danny is never able to complete any worksheets in English lessons. His parents say he is able to complete all his homework without a problem, but that they monitor him closely and redirect his attention when they see he is daydreaming.
- Between meeting 1 and meeting 2, the TA observes that English lessons always occur just before lunch and Danny has been in back-to-back lessons for a couple of hours by this point. They also notice that Danny can only work quietly for 30 seconds before becoming distracted, and when he becomes distracted he never returns to the worksheet, so it stays unfinished. They also notice that although Danny becomes distracted, because he is sitting quietly and daydreaming, the other classroom staff do not realise that he has stopped working.
- The behaviour goals for Danny might therefore focus on the roots of the issue: that, in the final lesson before lunch, Danny is unable to attend to work for more than half a minute, or to re-engage with work. The first goal might be: 'Danny can work alone and focus for one minute' (with the number of minutes gradually increasing as Danny meets and sustains the goals). Or 'Danny is able to re-engage with a worksheet if directed to return to work after becoming distracted' (this time Danny's goals might be smaller steps to achieving this overall, for example starting with 'Danny understands what the teacher means when they say he needs to try and focus', followed by 'Danny is able to remember what the task is he needs to focus on' and so on.
- Some of these goals will be phrased in terms of the child's ultimate goal behaviour, but getting to that may be more about what the staff should do to support Danny, for example by noticing that he is distracted in the first place, or by moving lesson plans around so that worksheets are done earlier or later in the day.
- When these goals are agreed in the second meeting, staff and parents will look at how they match up with things on the behaviour web, so they can pick the best module and strategies to support Danny to reach these goals (see below).
The toolkit is still in development and we will be conducting research alongside its use to ensure it is suitable to roll-out on a wider basis. Therefore, if you choose to take part we may ask you to offer some feedback at certain points alongside completing activities required by the toolkit.
Click on the relevant section below to find out more about your role if you decide to take part: