ERIC
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School & Drinks

So, son (8) is at school. They have been briefed as to water requirements through school day a number of times now. In casual conversation with teacher yesterday (who I have found to have a negative attitude re: drinks and continence issues previously) I find out that she is 'telling him to drink but he doesn't listen'. Yes, I say, that's why we have to stand over him at home and make sure he gets to the bottom of a cup. I ask about star chart the SENCO mentioned 2 weeks ago - 'Tried it. Didn't work'

Any suggestions? He's going to go onto medication for overactive bladder soon, but I'm not comfortable with doing that if he's not getting the volume of water he should (1.4 litres a day).

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Hmmm, that's tough. How do you feel about going over the teacher's head, and speaking to someone more senior? Do you have any written evidence from the hospital about your son needing to increase his fluids? They can't argue with that, surely?

Yes, it's inconvenient for them to police this, but it's a health condition like any other, and if your son was diabetic but making a fuss about being injected, they would still have to ensure that it happened.

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Yes, that's how I feel. Considering we flagged this up (and other stuff dyspraxia related) in July before he started in Sept, I am most frustrated that I am still having these conversations. Feels like she wants to roadblock at every opportunity. I am thinking of CC'ing the head. I don't want to bring them into it, but increasingly I feel I don't have other options.

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If you've tried to get the teacher on board several times without success, I agree that you may now have no other option. Good luck xx

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Thanks.

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But the teacher would not inject insulin. Teachers are 1st aid trained, but should not be the main day to day managers of ongoing conditions (30 kids - think how many need medications etc).

The issue here is probably someone "over the teacher's head" assuming this is just a little thing and not 'medical'. The teacher will have NO time and NO resources to support this child without neglecting other children, and so she will offer then have to rush off and teach the class.

It needs to be addressed as a pastoral matter with the pastoral care team.

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It's very tough because - as a teacher myself with a child with similar issues - she will in a class of 25-30 have other students with various medical needs (some potentially life threatening or equally hard to deal with), will be under strict rules and instructions as to their academic progress (which is actually her job: she is NOT the school nurse) and will be watching all those kids. Her job is to supervise all 25-30 AND teach them.

Do not go in and 'blame' her.

I would never, ever - in a hypothetical world - be able to get my daughter to drink her movicol and water at the same time as doing my job (and that's my own not an unrelated child). I would fail at my job: teaching the 30 kids in the room. Medical care is not HER job personally, as it's impossible: it is the SCHOOL'S. Without support we face very difficult choices eg do I watch the boy for his water or the girl for her asthma or the boy for his insulin...?

It is the SCHOOL'S job. There should be a care plan in place and a medical or support trained staff member coming in to help with this. I've worked in schools pastorally for over 15 years and I've never ever worked in a school where medical issues were treated as phase 1 (100% teacher led).

You need to go in to the school and address this as a care plan issue. There will be someone whose job it is to do this at the school: they need to be alerted in terms of medical severity etc, as it sounds like that hasn't been put in place.

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Thanks, no one has ever said that before. In all the years we have been at school. It is useful to know from a teachers point of view. Wish the teacher had told me that they would refer concern on.

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Your child should 100% have a care plan and a NAMED member of staff you know the name of to monitor drinking.

Push for that.

That takes all the problem away from the classroom. The teacher doesn't have hours to spend with one kid, so can't wait and wait for him to drink (or she'll be getting more angry parents because their kids are ignored/not learning) - but a named staff member can take him somewhere quiet and/or spend that time watching to get sips into him etc because for that portion of the day, that IS their role.

This will cost the school as it's a staffing need - which is where SENCOs etc can be reluctant. Push for it. It is your right!

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We now have a person who supports drinking - only after a fight. And ind healthcare plan is being drawn up. The whole year has been a battle though. I am fed up.

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That's fair enough, but the class teacher is generally the first point of contact for a parent, and she should be referring the issues to the correct member of staff/asking for extra support, if she does not feel that she can cope, not just being negative towards the parent.

I mentioned insulin because there is a diabetic boy in my son's class, and both his class teacher and TA have been trained to test his glucose and inject him with insulin. There is not a permanent school nurse on site.

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That's interesting from an insurance perspective - we've had well meaning teachers being forbidden from all sorts of things, and often schools don't let any teaching staff do that kind of thing as (worst case scenario) someone untrained bungles in, having seen it done, and does something dangerous.

I complained that my child's problem was being led by enthusiastic teachers not a continence trained TA (who is a named person on their pastoral list). Once the TA and SENCO came in on things it was better for her medical AND learning (with something like toilet issues, negative emotions about that won't get switched off after 'drink/take your medicine' happens, and this can damage the rest of the learning relationship which was what I wanted to avoid. Also the teacher didn't really know what she was doing, and why would she?).

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At our school the pastoral manager (a member of office staff who does the 1st aid) plus 2 back up staff who are also non-teaching do the insulin. We have a high number of diabetic students too (a lot of our students are from a background where genetic diabetes is high). She can focus 100% on that. Otherwise (for example) a child falls/is in a fight/vomits, the 1st wave supervising (teacher/TA) deals with it but that makes the insulin late OR they have to ignore the crying child and do the insulin. Either way compromises duty of care.

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I don't think we have a school nurse either.

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There may not be a school nurse but there will be a pastoral staff member. Legally, there most definitely will be someone named - often they are office based or else a TA and can be quite reluctant to come forward as they are also juggling roles. However they need to be pushed to do this by their manager or SENCO.

In my school, I'm not allowed to do certain things (insurance etc) such as injecting. I am a pastoral staff member of 15 years experience and would be happy to.

I would also (being in the industry myself) be unhappy with a teacher managing my daughter's care: I know the training simply isn't there, it isn't their job and there is someone who should be doing it.

I have complained at my child's school because they WERE letting the teacher do it, and not using her care plan. Actually there is a TA who has had ERIC training and she needed to be involved.

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A TA with ERIC training sounds like an excellent idea.

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Had another chat today at end of school. I asked if there was a TA or someone else who could supervise drinking. There is a TA in class but she is allocated to another child with complex needs, so no go. The SENCO knows about the drinking issue already but hasn't suggested that someone other than the teacher should be involved. I shall be asking some questions though, based on discussion here today. So thank you everyone for your input.

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Hi there

This is a real challenge! I bought my daughter a drink bottle with times on the side. She just needs to drink down to the time it says then refil at lunchtime.

Obviously there may be other issues, in the past she has tipped the contents of her bottle away in order to have emptied it! But because this new one looks nice and is easy to follow it seems to be working better. Fingers crossed.

You can get them on Amazon

Good luck

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Unbeknown to me, my son started self regulating his water intake (one drink at morning break from what I can ascertain) because teachers wouldn’t let him go to the toilet when he needed to....

I feel for you, he is 11 and at a lovely new senior school. Teachers know, and is never a problem.

I would approach the teacher more formally. Speak to Senco, get the star chart and give it to the teacher. If that doesn’t work, speak to her seniors.

My son ended up with an impacted bowel through sheer lack of fluid intake!

Good Luck and keep going into school, be a nuisance if you need to be but ALWAYS super polite!

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Couple of things I've tried with my 8yr old son who has overactive bladder:

So they recommend spreading 6 x 250mls over the day. So one for breakfast at home, 750 during school, one straight after school then last one with dinner probably works for timings!

But as I'm sure most parents on here know getting kids to drink at school is hard work!

Keep things fresh, change your ideas say every month, as the novelty can wear off quite quickly when they're being asked to do something all the time!

Get a Wobl watch and set vibrating reminders for your son to drink

Get a 750ml bottle and draw pen lines on it, divided into 3; say 10am/12:30/2:30 for example and encourage them to drink up to that line by that time?

Or try filling 3 separate small bottles. Most shops sell water/fizzy drinks in 200-250ml bottles. Take 3 bottles to school, take the pressure of a bit

By the time they get to 8 most school staff expect/assume kids will have "grown out" of these issues however your son has a medical condition and I would recommend setting up a meeting with the Head devising a "care plan" of sorts Schools have a duty of care for all children so the Head should enable all their staff to get on side with your child. Also maybe if this teacher is negative then maybe your son has been told he's not allowed to drink unless it's lunchtime. Also at this age maybe use a reward chart at home instead of school.

Hope that helps a bit

Cheers

Amy

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Thanks Amy. Yes, we too have a plan of how to spread drinks across the day - identical strategy. Teacher says they will draw lines on big bottle. She didn't want small bottles as felt too flimsy and likely to spill...He is allowed to drink anytime. His bottle is on desk next to him. We are going to monitor situation and refer to SENCO/head if we feel no great gains are being made.

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We have similar issues with daughter of same age, who would happily drink nothing all day long! I worked out what she needed - a normal sized glass or mug should hold 200-250ml. A drink at breakfast, one after school and one with dinner, along with her school milk (~180ml) and a full bottle of water (about 600ml) would give her more than enough fluid. Last year we had some success with a sticker system. I told her she was to drink roughly one third of her bottle at each of the 3 breaktimes (and marked this with pen on the bottle). She kept 'forgetting'. So every morning I put 3 little stickers on the front of her jumper (those little stars, or smiley faces) and every time she did her drink she was to take off one of the stickers. It worked better than reward charts, asking the teacher to monitor etc. And, by the way, she started medication for the over active bladder in the spring and it has really made a difference. She only has an accident every few weeks now and in fact doesn't bother with her tablets at the weekends any more.

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A really helpful thread! I can't really comment on the school side of things but just wanted to provide one little ray of light for you - we went on the medication for an overactive bladder in the summer and it has really helped my daughter too. Accidents are few and far between now! It's also helped her drinking - I think it might make her a bit more thirsty but I think she also just has the confidence to drink as she knows a nice big drink won't necessarily mean an accident. Good luck xxx

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That's good to hear. I'm hoping my daughter might get medication. We are fairly sure she has an overactive bladder ( up to 20 wees per day and small amounts and urgency).

How old is your daughter? Mine is only 5. ( turned 5 last month) i think that's why we've not been prescribed it yet.

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Thanks both of you. Great to hear some success stories :)

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I am having the same, people dont seem to understand that the drinking is part of the treatment for their condition. I have bought her a bottle with times and pictures of cups down the side to help her see how much and when to drink. She also gets to drink squash or watered down apple juice as getting her to drink just water was nearly impossible. I also teach in her school and understand that it is hard to remind a child when u have lots of remember. My child is 5 and i do try and make it more on her to remember as her body is her responsibility and use a reward chart. I also make her drink when she gets out if school the amount she should have drunk in school if she hasnt got down to the right marker. Try speaking to the teacher again maybe with your son so everyone gets to understand that the drink is part of his medication.

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MY daughter is on toltoridine he’s worked better than oxybutum we have being told to up if we need to she dosent empty her bladder properly and has a lot of pelvic floor activity when weeing so she’s on a program of therapy. If u wanna chat inbox me and more than happy to help xx

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Some people think drinking more equals wetting more! We know it doesn't but people who haven't researched it just assume!

My 11 year old used to wet the bed. He doesn't now ( apart from very rarely). He went to stay with his grandad for three nights recently and wet every night ( even though he's stopped here). I then found out his grandad had told him not to drink much, in case he wet! It's weird that it set him right back straight away as I would have thought his bladder had now stretched. But it must have done. He's been fine again since. Need to educate grandad!!

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Update: chart in his homework diary now, and this is now filled in daily (result!). Bottle and cup with straw at school for water...and we have begun Oxybutynin...flushed cheeks but no obvious side effects. Filled in form to let school know about potential side effects....Fingers crossed that the meds will help...reducing 20 tiny wees a day to somewhere less would be a great present from Santa :) Used pull ups for recent trips, sports events and a concert, so we have navigated the season OK. still at least 1 pair of wet trousers a day but we can cope with that. Wet beds lots less after a trial with a buzzer. He is now waking up - or we wake him - at half 9 for a trip to the potty. He's in our room so we can keep an eye on things. Plus heating has packed up...the god of boilers not smiling upon us this week! Feeling more positive atm. How's everyone else doing? x

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