Saturday Softplay is something that we do quite regularly, this week we went to the local leisure centre for a session that is ran by a small local club for disabled children.
As usual he went straight for the smaller, quieter bouncy castle and started bouncing away quite happily, leaving me to have a hot cup of tea, which I have to admit that was quite nice.
Then he decided that he would get inside one of the pieces of softplay. He loves small spaces so often when he gets into a space like this he wants to stay there.
But this is when the trouble started, other children also like this particular piece of softplay, and as he can’t talk he can’t tell them to leave him alone and he is vulnerable to being pushed around.
Some girls came up and tried sitting on the edge and gradually pushing him out of it, K stood his ground and stayed inside the hole in the middle, they soon lost interest and went away.
Then a boy came over who was much bigger than K and pushed the piece with K still inside, and flipped it over to tip him out. When K followed him as he wanted to get back inside, the boy pushed him away using pieces of play equipment to push him back, banging him on the head with it and knocking him over.
I can only assume that this other child’s parents were paying no attention. I know that if it was my child doing this I would have intervened, there is a big difference between rough and tumble and picking on a child that is smaller than you are.
So I got up and told him that he should not be pushing around children that are much smaller than he is, that I would be watching and that I would be speaking to his Mum if he carried on with what he was doing..
The boy apologised and moved away letting K continue to play as he was before he had been disturbed. The boys parents never came over to see what had happened so I assume they still weren’t paying any attention. The workers from the leisure centre did apologise for not intervening sooner.
This is exactly why I have insisted that K has fulltime 1:1 at school and that this 1:1 supervision includes playtimes and lunchtimes as I feel that it is these free play times when the children are not being fully supervised that he is the most vulnerable to bullying and this kind of behaviour.