I am often reading and hearing about the frustrations of parents and carers of children with special needs when interfacing with their children's school. What follows is my attempt to open dialogue with a school that has otherwise proved resistant to accepting and implementing specialist advice about the individual care and management requirements of some of my clients. I am hoping that it creates the possibility for conversation between the school and I.
Baby Girl: I love you to the moon and back mommy
Me: I love you to the moon and back too baby, night night sweet dreams
Baby Girl in a confused voice: Mommy, when CAN we go to the moon though?
Today I met for the 6th time with the therapist from the organisation that have been helping myself and big girl with her sleep troubles.
At our last session she gave big girl some relaxation tips, the result were instant and incredible, but the novelty wore off quite quickly and she soon returned to her poor sleep pattern.
So today, armed with big girls sleep diary’s for the last 3 weeks I looked forward to some getting new advice on what we could try next.
No, it seems that they’re out of idea’s and I’ve had my full quota of 6 sessions.
So big girl just has to try harder it seems, great!
3 years ago today we travelled 3 and a half hours to the girls local authority and met with their teachers, nursery staff and foster carers.
3 years ago today I knew very little about child development.
3 years ago today I knew very little about the lasting effects of trauma.
3 years ago today I knew little about attachment.
3 years ago today I knew nothing of the education system.
3 years ago today I knew nothing of the mental health care system.
3 years ago today I knew nothing of post adoption support.
3 years ago today I had no understanding of how much adoption would change our entire lives.
3 years ago today I didn’t know how significant a tiny hand holding mine would be.
3 years ago today I had no idea how much ‘sleep’ would impact our lives.
3 years ago today I knew nothing of parenting a child on the autistic spectrum.
3 years ago today I didn’t know how warming childrens laughter could be.
3 years ago today I didn’t know how the tiniest of milestones would bring us the greatest of joy.
3 years ago today I didn’t know how many tears I’d cry.
3 years ago today I didn’t envisage life often feeling so hard.
3 years ago today It didn’t occur to me that some of my friends weren’t my friends at all.
3 years ago today I didn’t even know what CAMHS was.
3 years ago today It didn’t enter my head that some of our family would choose to leave our lives.
3 years ago today I didn’t know how many people would judge, criticise and berate me.
3 years later I now know Post adoption support is something you have to fight for.
3 years later I’m fighting a school system that doesn’t and won’t even try to understand.
3 years later I have a child with an ASD diagnosis, 1 with Auditory Processing Difficulties and the knowledge that there may be more to come.
3 years later I know about attachment.
3 years later I’m living with the effects of early trauma.
3 years later I still don’t understand the mental health system.
3 years later I still don’t understand the education system.
3 years later I’m somewhat of an expert on childrens sleep disorders.
3 years later I’ve attended over 25 CAMHS appointments.
3 years later I know how precious any kind of ‘touch’ is from a child with attachment difficulties.
3 years later I’ve lost count of the tears I’ve cried.
3 years later I love to listen to the girls laugh.
3 years later I’ve still not got used to friends and family ‘leaving’.
3 years later I’m still not used to being judged, criticised and berated.
3 years later an act of defiance is classed as a joyous milestone.
3 years later I know how hard adoption can and does feel.
3 years later I have more (adoptive) friends than I’ve ever had.
3 years later I know what a dramatic difference adoption has made to my life.
3 years ago today I wasn’t a mummy.
3 years later I’m a mummy to 3 school aged children, they’re 3 traumatised children with attachment difficulties.
3 years later, like any new mum 3 years in to their first parenting experience, I’m still learning………………………every day.
There aren’t many mum’s that embrace there child’s acts of defiance, but I do.
When big girl screamed at me whilst stamping her feet in anger today, I smiled inside.
She showed me a little bit of ‘real’ today, for that moment she trusted me, and it was only a moment sadly, but it felt wonderful
I read something beautifully written about something terribly sad today, I’d like to share it with you.
Suspended surrounded sustained
By you within you for you
I wait I wonder I wish
To be born to be birthed to be bonded with you
Sounds sensations are heard felt feared
Your fright is my fright your stress is my stress
I hear it I feel it I taste it
Rage filled resentment directed at you at me
This my introduction to your abuse filled existence
Even before my first breath I am bruised
Bracing myself for the onslaught
Harsh words looks slaps shoves
This womb like cocoon my only defence
Yet I hear the cries taunts pleas protests
I feel slaps grabs gropes gouges
I become a pre-birth victim of vile violent abuse
By Jane Evans
This was taken from here http://www.parentingposttrauma.co.uk/1/post/2013/05/unborn-victim.html
If your a regular reader you’ll know that we’ve had some behavioral issues with baby girl at school. Since we made the decision to move middle girl from their shared room, baby girl has been sleeping considerably better and consequently the frequency and severity of her ‘difficult behaviors’ are much less. They haven’t gone though. I recently asked our GP to make a referral for baby girl to see our community pediatrician as I’m wondering if baby girl might have some sensory issues. If she does, it would explain the issues she had with sharing a room and also explain why she becomes so easily dysregulated.
Anyway, I knew a long time ago that baby girl was struggling at school for various reasons, so I put together a helpful guide for her teacher before the start of the school year last July, I did one for all of the girls, you can read big girls here. I also included a copy of the National Children Bureau ‘Understanding Why’ booklet. Baby girls letter was obviously different to big girls as it focused on her needs, here is a small extract:
Sometimes when it looks like I’m having lots of fun and behaving ‘silly or excited’, I’m actually not coping very well and may need your help to calm me down and reassure me that everything is ok. I find unstructured time at school a little overwhelming because I can’t regulate my behavior. Mummy says I’m a bit like a bottle of fizzy pop, and the excitement of school shakes me up and up, but when I get home I take the lid off and fizz all over the place. Please help mummy by helping to keep me calm throughout the day. Sometimes I might just look like I’m an active bubbly little girl, but really that’s just me not coping very well. When I’m coping I’m very kind, considerate, thoughtful, chatty and sensitive.
I’ve had my suspicions that baby girls teacher hadn’t bothered to read the information I gave her for a while. Today I read another message in baby girls ‘home school diary’ that just reinforced my suspicions.
‘XXXXX was distracted this afternoon and although she was asked several times to avoid distractions she still put herself in distracting positions. Silly behavior this afternoon as well Mrs B’
I wont tell you the words I initially used when I read this, but lets just say I tut’d, a lot!
I spoke to baby girl about her day at school she talked about children ‘being very naughty’ and her teacher ‘using her shouting voice’ , one particular incident I suspect would have been quite worrying for baby girl, they were doing some maypole dancing and one of the boys tied the ribbon around his neck and the teacher shouted, I expect there was a lot of panic around the incident which would have frightened her and also a lot of shouting which she also doesn’t cope well with. Baby also tells me that during one of her own many telling’s off this afternoon her teacher informed her ‘Mommy wont be very happy with you when you get home’. I’m not even going to tell you how furious that remark made me as I’m not sure I could refrain from swearing. It was the wrong thing to say to a child with a background such as hers and generally just wrong on more levels than I can count.
So, do I waste even more breath trying to get her teacher to understand, or just hope September brings a new teacher who doesn’t think she knows my child better than me!?
Today was MY session with camhs, at least I thought it was supposed to be, seems I got mixed up and was actually supposed to have been taking the girls, oops!
So my arrival without the girls threw their plan somewhat but we decided to use the session to feedback on the previous sessions.
I talked about how difficult I’d found the sessions and they talked about how difficult it must have been for me.
I talked about how hard I’m finding things and they talked about how in tune we all appear to be with each other.
I talked about how I worry about the girls emotions, they talked about how they see me as a ‘processor’ type parent (this is good apparently, means I’m ‘thinking’ about their feelings and experiences and how they effect them on a day to day, moment to moment basis, I think).
I talked about how I worry I’m too strict, they talked about my boundaries giving security.
I talked about my experience of the first time we met the girls, they talked about how overwhelming it must have been for all of us.
I talked about how I feel like I don’t know how to help the girls in the best way, they talked about how I know the girls better than anyone.
I talked about people around us not ‘seeing’ what I see or understanding the girls struggles, they talked about understanding their struggles and believing me.
We talked about all sorts and covered lots in our 60 minutes, I felt they praised me quite a lot, which I really wasn’t expecting, but think I needed. They pointed out several positive things that they’d observed and I left feeling quite a weight lifted, I guess that’s the whole point of the sessions!
Next Tuesday its me and the girls, I must remember to take them this time!!
It occurred to me today that this is the 24th CAMHS visit I’ve blogged about, we’ve been to a few more which took place during the initial referral stage before I started my blog taking the total up to 27 CAMHS appointments in 15 months, that’s quite a lot isn’t it!