School Facilitation – A personal experience

One of my favourite processes was one with a child at a reputable remedial school in Johannesburg. We were called in because of his complete refusal (often accompanied by ‘meltdowns’) to participate in classroom activities and learning. Everyone was in agreement that he had all the potential in the world from an academic perspective, but he was not benefiting from his school placement simply because of his behaviour, which was affecting the learning of the other children in the class, too. When I conducted the initial school observation, the teacher was relieved that he behaved exactly as he usually does, so that I could see how difficult it was to get him to participate. She admitted that she was at her wits’ end. I could not help but smile throughout the school observation, because I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were going to help this child, and help this teacher. This teacher was fantastic in terms of collaborating with us. She was on board with every goal we set, and made sure she created the opportunities we needed to work on the target skills. She let me observe whenever I needed to, and held regular meetings with me and his parents to evaluate progress. His behaviour reduced to practically zero rates within just a few short months and we were able to start fading out facilitation. Unfortunately for me, I had to hand this child’s case over to another supervisor, but luckily I was able to do so with confidence that we had laid an excellent foundation for further progress. Today, he remains free of behavioural incidents, and his facilitators have faded to the point of being outside of the classroom for part of some days of the week, with a view to be completely without a facilitator in the next few months.