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SN child unsupervised in playground


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#1 trishalishous

Posted 16 December 2012 - 12:36 AM

We took our kids to hungry jacks today, and sat out in the playground. While there were heaps of kids there was no problems. Then the other families left, except for us and a boy about 9yo. We were sitting there eating when her shoes and socks came flying out of the play equipment. I freaked out and we grabbed her down before he could remove any more of her clothes. Her pants drawstring was knotted so I don't know if its a coincidence, or if he was trying to untie them.
it took us sometime to find his support worker who was sitting 2 rooms away in the main restaurant.

I am really disturbed that a) his support worker wasn't supervising him, and he could have easily gone out to the busy road, and that b) our 2yo was in a potentially bad situation. We told the support worker in no uncertain terms that she should have been supervising and we would be making a complaint to her employers.
unfortunately she is directly employed by disability services, rather than an agency, so I don't think there is anyone to really complain to.

after they left, staff came and apologised to us, and two recently arrived families piped up that they had seen him left there alone on a number of occasions.

so this isn't the first time he has been unsupervised, and I worry that this has the potential to turn nasty, due to a lack of care.

is there anything I can do to make sure he is adequately supervised around other children?
what would you do?

#2 Laborious Nicety

Posted 16 December 2012 - 12:46 AM

You most certainly can complain to disability services.  It's just the same as complaining to an agency.

That's a dreadful situation for your child and for the child with SN.  The carer needs to be hauled over the coals.

#3 baddmammajamma

Posted 16 December 2012 - 12:54 AM

QUOTE (Balzac @ 16/12/2012, 01:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You most certainly can complain to disability services.  It's just the same as complaining to an agency.

That's a dreadful situation for your child and for the child with SN.  The carer needs to be hauled over the coals.



ALL OF THE ABOVE! Trish, do you have her name or any identifying information?

That poor child. sad.gif

Edited by baddmammajamma, 16 December 2012 - 12:55 AM.


#4 trishalishous

Posted 16 December 2012 - 01:15 AM

I know the childs name, his school, and 'of' his parents, but my mum knows all his details, as she was approached to support him a few years ago. Thats how I know that they self manage their funding.
Shes finding out his carers details so I can complain to disability services, however its a fairly complex situation so I dont see much changing sadly (his parents both have support workers, and are unable to care for this child, so he has pretty much 24/7 support workers, but due to his parents inappropriate behaviour (fighting, hitting, swearing) the entire family has trouble finding support workers)

#5 baddmammajamma

Posted 16 December 2012 - 01:21 AM

Oh man, that's awful. Heartbreaking.

#6 BlondieUK

Posted 16 December 2012 - 02:49 AM

Heartbreaking.
But please do not assume that he was going to or trying to remove other pieces of clothing (unless there is more to it than what you said). Many children with SN have fixations over socks and shoes. Mine does - if he doesn't like someone's shoes he may ask them to take them off "and put them in the cupboard, please!"
Glad your little one was ok and not hurt.
Perhaps it's also worth speaking to the manager of that Hungry Jack's - if the carer is consistently neglecting her charge, then surely that's grounds to refuse the child entry to the playground?

#7 ~ky~

Posted 16 December 2012 - 02:56 AM

Not a great situation to find yourselves in ... how sad taht this boy had no one watching out for him  sad.gif

I also want to point out that some SN kids are absolute sticklers for the rules and often, the rules are in those types of playgrounds that no shoes or socks are allowed on the equipment - he may have been making sure that your DD was "complying" to the rules as it could have been distressing him ... Just a thought. I know that sometimes things like this upset my DS ...

#8 Tree Sage

Posted 16 December 2012 - 05:51 AM

how did the shoes come off without you noticing? Were you supervising your daughter?

maybe she was the one who took them off

I kind of dont get why you are upset about this.
a pair of shoes and socks got taken off and thrown off the play equipment.
so what?
probably not supposed to be on anyway.

I would be more upset about the other child's family life.

#9 Eirinn

Posted 16 December 2012 - 06:00 AM

QUOTE (beansidhe @ 16/12/2012, 06:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
how did the shoes come off without you noticing? Were you supervising your daughter?


Oh come on! In that type of play area it is impossible to eyeball your kid the whole time once they get up into the tunnels. Whenever I take my 3 and 1 year olds to an indoor playground like that, I am always sitting right there in the play area with them and watching, but it would be totally possible for their shoes to come off without me being able to see it.

I do agree OP, that your daughter could have removed her own shoes and socks. I also agree that it is reprehensible for that boy's carer to be two rooms away, whether or not he is SN.

#10 ~sydblue~

Posted 16 December 2012 - 06:03 AM

QUOTE (beansidhe @ 16/12/2012, 06:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would be more upset about the other child's family life.

You can be upset about the other childs life and what is happening to them, however that does not mean that you neglect to worry about what could of happened to the younger child.
The OP has already said they know about the child.
So if noone is doing what they should in regards to supervision, the next step is going over their heads.

#11 charlottesmum04

Posted 16 December 2012 - 06:17 AM

Please find a way to report the worker.  I will never forget the day i came home early from respite to find my kids on the street and the support worker in my lounge room watching neighbours.  It was the last time she ever worked in my house but i always wonder how many other times it had happened before that evening.

#12 LambChop

Posted 16 December 2012 - 06:18 AM

QUOTE
the other child's family life


What information do you have to be making any such assessment about the other childs family ???

Edited to add: Oh right sorry, I missed a post with family information.

Edited by LambChop, 16 December 2012 - 06:41 AM.


#13 madmother

Posted 16 December 2012 - 06:21 AM

Must admit that when both mine were under 3 I was either in the equipment with them, or made them stay on the sections I could reach!

Too young and too many places where they can get either stuck or hurt in those massive playgrounds.

(Yes, I was one of those embarrassing Mums flying down the slide showing the world her knickers...)

But without knowing the child, his history and how he is affected, I do not assume to be able to judge whether the care worker is in the wrong.

When DS1 was 9 I would have happily let him and his brother play without close supervision.



#14 Tree Sage

Posted 16 December 2012 - 06:39 AM

QUOTE (LambChop @ 16/12/2012, 07:18 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What information do you have to be making any such assessment about the other childs family ???


only going on what was posted in this thread. She said her mother or someone knows of the family I think.

#15 LambChop

Posted 16 December 2012 - 06:46 AM

I was wondering.... would you have been freaked out if you hadn't actually known the child and their situation ?  Not that a freak out isn't warranted for the individual child, just when I first read it I thought... whats the big deal about shoes being taken off ?  Seemed kind of harmless.

I just wondered what you were actually going to report - just "he took my kids shoes off" doesn't sound overly dangerous, was he doing anything else that did warrant an expectation of intense care in that moment ?

(I would hate to think that parents would freak out about random children with special needs being unsupervised in general !)

Edited by LambChop, 16 December 2012 - 06:46 AM.


#16 TeaTimeTreat

Posted 16 December 2012 - 08:27 AM

Actually one of the other rules of those playgrounds is that parents/carers must supervise their children, I would be watching a NT 9 year old to make sure he wasn't getting up to mischief, sounds like this carer has been using the HJ playground to babysit her charge while she ignores him and eats/reads/whatever, yet she is his paid carer!

I would never have done that as a nanny or a FDC etc, duty of care etc.

#17 ~Karla~

Posted 16 December 2012 - 08:37 AM

QUOTE (~ky~ @ 16/12/2012, 02:56 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Not a great situation to find yourselves in ... how sad taht this boy had no one watching out for him  sad.gif

I also want to point out that some SN kids are absolute sticklers for the rules and often, the rules are in those types of playgrounds that no shoes or socks are allowed on the equipment - he may have been making sure that your DD was "complying" to the rules as it could have been distressing him ... Just a thought. I know that sometimes things like this upset my DS ...


Yup. My 6yo would insist that all the other kids take their shoes off because it's the rules. Nothing sinister to it at all, just a lack of flexible thinking and a desire to be the "rules police" at times.

#18 CrazySingleMum

Posted 16 December 2012 - 09:06 AM

I don't think the OP wants to report the boy for possibly taking off her DDs shoes and socks. more the carer who wasn't providing appropriate supervision for her SN charge.


#19 Laborious Nicety

Posted 16 December 2012 - 10:22 AM

Agreed the socks may not be sinister at all but the very fact of a kid with a disability unsupervised with a toddler is not safe.

Even with self managed funding, the support workers must have safety checks and do their jobs.  I'd personally ring the dept (the parents are answerable to the dept about their funding) and Child Safety because that child with a disability is not safe if the carer is not actually even in the same room while the kid with SN is in a risky situation--those play areas are places where conflict between kids can break out and the carer needs to be in reach.

#20 Fifi LaRue

Posted 16 December 2012 - 11:26 AM

QUOTE (Balzac @ 16/12/2012, 10:22 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Agreed the socks may not be sinister at all but the very fact of a kid with a disability unsupervised with a toddler is not safe.

I'm sorry but why is the very fact that a child with a disability is unsupervised with a toddler 'not safe'.  How is it any different to an unsupervised child without a disability?  Both my children have a 'disability' - one of them (even at 9) I would have no issues with leaving without direct supervision (as in being close but not necessarily within vision) but then other I wouldn't dream of taking my eyes off.  No different to NT children really.

That being said, when my children are supported by a SUPPORT worker, I expect them to follow the support plan, and by the sound of it, this particular little boy probably should have been more closely supervision (based simply on what has been previously disclosed by the OP).  We have Self Directed Funding, we have complete control over who is and isn't a support worker with our kids.  If you know that the family has self directed funding, do you know who distributes it (as it sounds like the parents might not)?  Have you thought about approaching the parents about the lack of supervision provided by the support worker?


#21 Great Dame

Posted 16 December 2012 - 12:11 PM

I think ALL kids should be supervised in those play things but I'm not getting the issue with the shoes and socks?   You seem to think something sinister was going to happen?  I think that's a big jump to make.


#22 ~Karla~

Posted 16 December 2012 - 12:18 PM

QUOTE (Balzac @ 16/12/2012, 10:22 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Agreed the socks may not be sinister at all but the very fact of a kid with a disability unsupervised with a toddler is not safe.

Even with self managed funding, the support workers must have safety checks and do their jobs.  I'd personally ring the dept (the parents are answerable to the dept about their funding) and Child Safety because that child with a disability is not safe if the carer is not actually even in the same room while the kid with SN is in a risky situation--those play areas are places where conflict between kids can break out and the carer needs to be in reach.


I agree with the fact the support worker was not doing her job properly, but I have left my 6yo for a minute or two in those sorts of play areas while I've gone to the loo or to order a coffee etc. I don't think that having a disability automatically makes a child a risk to a smaller child if not under direct supervision every single second. At my local Maccas, there's no seats in the play area so I sit outside the glass wall and drink my coffee. I don't think that was putting any other children at risk (haven't done it for quite some time now, as given the current issues with him, I wouldn't be comfortable doing that at present).

#23 Laborious Nicety

Posted 16 December 2012 - 12:35 PM

Ok my parenting is obviously different to others original.gif.  To me, with my kids with ASD, being unsupervised is a risk that we never ran at that age.

One because he was likely to go feral at any opportunity, the other because he was a bully magnet like no other child I ever met.  They were at higher risk than kids who are NT--if that's not true for your kids, fair enough.

The carer was still being paid to care and was being PAID to supervise this child in a public space.  That's very different to a parent ducking out to the loo.  Nobody can argue that the carer was doing her duty of care as a paid employee.

#24 trishalishous

Posted 16 December 2012 - 12:41 PM

QUOTE (LambChop @ 16/12/2012, 04:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I was wondering.... would you have been freaked out if you hadn't actually known the child and their situation ?  Not that a freak out isn't warranted for the individual child, just when I first read it I thought... whats the big deal about shoes being taken off ?  Seemed kind of harmless.

I just wondered what you were actually going to report - just "he took my kids shoes off" doesn't sound overly dangerous, was he doing anything else that did warrant an expectation of intense care in that moment ?

(I would hate to think that parents would freak out about random children with special needs being unsupervised in general !)


I didnt know about the family until I ran into my mum an hour later. I only realised he was SN when we took DD off the playground, as with the crowd of kids I hadnt really noticed much about each individual, only my DD.
He didnt approach my DD until they were alone, and he had no problem with the other kids wearing shoes. She is unable to remove the shoes she was wearing (buckle strap). When I posted on FB that night (no details, just 'wish people would watch their kids. Some older boy at hungry jacks just took DDs shoes and socks off and threw them away.') I had 2 friends message me, guessing who it was, and telling me that he has undressed other kids in the past, so has a full time 1-1 support worker inside the Ed Support unit (my friends children also need support at school, and spend some time in the Ed support unit)

Id be reporting the fact that he was unsupervised. where his carer was sitting she couldn't see him, nor did she check on him in the hour we were in the playground. The playground is one easily opened door away from a busy main road.
My godson is the same age, and NT, and Id never leave him unsupervised where he could easily 'escape' (he knows not to run onto the road, but kids do silly things sometimes, and I wouldnt trust him 100%)

The reason I freaked out is that I realised how badly things could have gone, as I wasnt able to see DD 100% of the time while she was inside the playgym thing, so partly a reaction to my own parenting fail

#25 Spa Gonk

Posted 16 December 2012 - 01:11 PM

I think all playgrounds have dodgy behaviour happening in them sometimes.  I know I have had sand thrown at my kids, had them pushed over or hurt.  And on occassion my kids may also do dodgy things back.  I figure it is part of life and that is why I am supervising, so I can intervene.  Some parents are right onto it, others see it and do nothing.  So I suppose I see it more as my role to keep my children safe, rather than to lecture any parent or carer on how I think they should be looking after their children.

But in this case (if the gossip is correct) it appears there may be no parent or person who is taking an active role in the child's wellbeing, so by all means ring the agency and report it.




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