John, a Year 6 student who has attended the same large P–12 school since Year 2, is a popular and competent student. However, John’s class teacher has observed behaviour over the past two weeks which seems out of character. Usually outgoing and confident, John seems reluctant to participate in class discussions and less confident when undertaking new tasks, seeking reassurance and struggling to begin and complete tasks well within his capabilities. He has asked to go to the sick bay on a number of occasions, as he feels unwell. The classroom teacher has asked John if anything is the matter, and has offered assistance. John said that he was ‘ok’ and had just been feeling tired and unwell.
The teacher has also spoken to other teachers who have contact with John to see if they, too, had noticed changes in his behaviour. General consensus is that John seems more withdrawn and anxious than is usual for him.
The class teacher then spoke with John’s mother and asked if she had noticed any changes at home. She confirmed that John had become more easily upset than usual over recent weeks. It was agreed that John’s class teacher would continue to monitor his behaviour and provide additional support including additional instructions and support during tasks, and encouraging him to seek assistance when he is feeling unsure. Weekly discussions with John’s mother were scheduled to keep her informed.
When to include
At the follow up meeting, both John’s teacher and his mother agree that he has continued to exhibit a range of anxious behaviours so they agree that referral to the school psychologist is required to investigate his behaviour further. They are also attempting to discount any outside influencers, such as possible bullying, that may have affected John’s behaviour.
The school psychologist met with John and judged that additional strategies were necessary to help John manage his anxiety.
At this point, being confident that John’s behaviour is not the result of outside influencers, there is sufficient evidence to include the student (John) in the collection as having a social/emotional disability. With the intervention of the school psychologist and the additional tailored strategies provided to the class teacher to support the student’s social and emotional needs, the student would be receiving support within quality differentiated teaching practice.
If the school psychologist determined that John also required regular sessions to help manage the behaviour, the level of adjustment would increase to supplementary.
Note: The student can only be included in the collection if the school can demonstrate that adjustments have been in place for a minimum period of 10 weeks of school education (excluding school holiday periods), in the 12 months preceding the collection.
John’s teacher arranged to have a discussion with the school’s Student Welfare Coordinator to discuss his concerns about John and possible coping strategies that could assist him. A follow up meeting was scheduled with John’s mother in three weeks to review the situation. It was agreed that at this point, they would consider a referral to the school psychologist if John’s behaviour continued to be a concern.
At this point, it is not clear that there is sufficient evidence to support the student (John) having a social/emotional disability (and therefore be eligible for inclusion in the data collection), although symptoms of anxiety are apparent. The teacher has been supporting the student by actively monitoring the behaviour and providing additional support in the classroom.