Im feeling really quite sad and fed up lately and its all to do with school. Not the girls new school, they seem to be settling in really well, it is still early days though so Im not going to get too gushy about what a great time they’re having. No, whats really bothering me is the amount of facebook and twitter comments, moans, rants and even blogs I’m reading from adopters who are struggling with school. It really frustrates me that so many children are struggling and suffering because most schools just don’t ‘get it’.
Now I know that there isn’t really much specific attachment training available for teaching staff and I appreciate that schools have budgets and when deciding whether to spend money on training geared towards one child, or training geared towards all the children, then the majority win. However, what schools also seem to forget is that ‘attachment’ based teaching would benefit ALL of the children, not just the traumatised child in the class thats causing problems. But even without specialist training, why aren’t teachers listening to adopters, why am I reading frustrated comments about adopters feeling defeated, head teachers not listening, class teachers being dismissive, traumatised kids being re-traumatised by being excluded, punished, shamed and ostracised.
Just a few examples:
A boy, refused to come in from the playground at playtime, and became aggressive when they tried to force him. He was excluded for a week. No consideration given that this little scared boy was worried that no one was going to collect him from school because the pick up arrangements that day had changed. Change is a big thing for adopted children, change = bad in their minds.
A child arrives in class to discover the seating had all been changed. Asked the teacher why, and was told ‘because I can’. Child has melt down and is sat outside head teachers office to sit in shame and read the school rules manual.
Child complains of feeling sick, school ring parents. Parent explains its just anxiety due to the test that day, school demand the child is collected, parent misses day at work to sit with child during test. This child had his own TA.
And the comments I’m reading over and over:
School has been the one huge headache in our adoption and parenting journey.
Bloody schools when will they learn that just because they present as ok in school there are no issues.
I have tried to tell them, but all they see is someone who copes at school.
Told my child was fine, treated like a paranoid Mother.
We had this with school too, and even though we secured funding for extra support in school for a term, school refused it and told us it was us.
Even if they can’t see it at school some compassion wouldn’t go amiss, but they clearly see us as the enemy.
They’ve called him a model pupil. Except he often comes home wet, having not told anyone that he’s wet himself for fear of being told off.
She may smile and say she’s fine, but she’s been up all night peeing on my bedroom floor and in my wardrobe because you gave her the wrong spelling test.
Talked to them about regulation and stress and certain flash points, but they kept saying we don’t see this at school, My hubby asked the HT what she had found useful about Louise Bomber book and it was quite clear she hadn’t read it.
I can’t get school to recognise that their actions impact on behaviour outside of school.
He is not coping with the changes and this is showing by him wetting at school and home Her bright idea is to show him how to use the toilet, He knows what he needs to do!
Teacher informed me we are JUST doing stuff like family tree!
Started wetting himself the week before school started and has had a couple of accidents since as well. Stress induced I’m sure.
School is major stress for them.
hitting, kicking boy begging me to take him home at school drop off ‘this place isn’t safe mummy, take me home please…’
I sometimes wonder if this is the effect school will always have upon my child
achieving above and beyond at school but socially he doesn’t have a clue, school say no issues at all but at home is a total different story.
so the teachers need to know they are working at least twice as hard as their classmatess.
one week in and we have homework woes already
teacher was unaware of issues of adopted children
These are real comments, I’ve merely copied and pasted them and worse still they’re all from within the last 14 days. Its sad isn’t it. Does it anger you as much as it does me?
How is this happening, why is this happening. Something needs to be done. Adopters cant MAKE schools listen alone, They need to be supported. These poor children need better understanding in schools! I’m not the only adopter forced to move their children from a school that didn’t ‘get it’, and I wont be the last. In fact, in the world of adoption, its very common. But why, when continuity and stability is what our children need, not a lottery of suitable schools/teachers, it shouldn’t be about ‘getting lucky’ with the right school, or struggling to find the right school, ALL schools should be the right school.
If your a teacher and you want to understand, buy and read a copy of this, read some adoption related books Louise Bomber has written some good ones, ask BAAF or Adoption UK about training, Your local authority post adoption team can probably offer you some support and training too, but talk to your adopted pupil’s parents, and most of all listen to them. Their idea’s might seem outrageous or bizarre, but they know their child’s needs better than you.
When we switch to focusing on the process instead of the outcome, the level and intensity of suffering decreases dramatically – Heather Talbert Forbes