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Hi – I would definitely consider looking into language to find out if there are any underlying language needs, if you haven’t already.

Research shows that 81% of children with SEMH needs have unidentified language difficulties (Hollo et al, 2014). Many language difficulties are really hard, almost impossible, to identify without an assessment. It could well be that the child struggles to express himself to peers and therefore misunderstandings are causing frustration or his behaviour is the way that he is communicating to them, it could be that he is not understanding what they are saying – leading to conflict. The reason why language needs are so hard to spot is due to conscious or subconscious masking – e.g. shortening sentences so that they don’t have to use complex ones that they can trip up over, using simpler vocabulary, being quieter, using cues to support understanding – like context, seeing what other pupils are doing, following the teacher’s non-verbal support e.g. pictures, gestures, facial expression… the list goes on.

Here’s some really useful information from The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists:

You are welcome to use our Language Link screen to see if there are any underlying receptive language needs on our free trial: here’s the link – (you can use this on the free trial for up to 3 pupils).

Good luck finding the root cause!