Here at BitePRO® we keep the identities of those in our testimonials private, to protect vulnerable individuals and the reputations of organisations. 'J' has kindly offered a testimonial to raise awareness of his experiences.
I've been working with students who have complex behavioural and social/emotional mental health needs for the past ten years of my teaching career.
I always take great care to ensure that all the appropriate behavioural risk assessments are carried out and adhered to; and that the risks these behaviours can pose to staff are minimised. However, as we all know, we cannot plan for everything and accidents can and do happen.
Manual Handling Leaves Teachers Vulnerable to Behaviours That Challenge
I've managed to avoid being bitten for most of my career, however it's an ever-present risk in our industry and one that we see occur all too often to others if not ourselves. I was working in a beautiful class with 9 complex needs students, 5 of whom were permanently wheelchair bound.
As any special needs teacher or learning support assistant knows, manual handling is a physically demanding and highly necessary part of the job and often leaves us at our most vulnerable.
The Student Was Simply Trying to Communicate
Whilst assisting with a transfer for one of my students, I was bitten on the upper arm, through a jumper, a shirt, and an undershirt, breaking through the skin.
This led to not only the physical trauma to myself, but emotional trauma to the student, who was scared at the reaction of other students and staff and was simply trying to communicate.
Signed off Work for A Week
This led to me having to attend hospital to undergo several tests and injections, as well as wound dressing. I was signed off for work for an entire week. This not only has a detrimental effect on me, but the entire classroom environment and management of the school, both financially and physically.
If I had been wearing a similar garment to Bite-pro, all of this could have been avoided. No work would have been missed, the environment in the class would not have suffered and, most importantly, my health would have been better protected.
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