Friday, December 3, 2010

It's the Hard Place Calling

Thank you thank you THANK YOU THAAAAAAAAAAAANK YOOOOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So many people left fantastic, thought-provoking, intelligent and on-target comments from my last post asking for help with my daughter and a school issue. It was great to pull up my blog every few hours to find a new suggestion,  a perspective I hadn't thought of, or just a "dude, that's a rough one, good luck"! Again, THANK YOU!!!!!

Ultimately I am still weighing what frame to work from to make a decision. I have to decide if her academics should be the primary focus, or if I can accept, and if Genea can still be moderately successful if social interaction becomes a factor. Then there is the aspect of a child with Attachment Disorder being allowed to control the show, as it were, and I will get into that again in a minute, as well as the proximity to the teacher providing a safety net, which I had not even considered.

Genea is not on an IEP, and that is not by my choice! I have fully laid out Genea's delayed development, background of neglect, institutionalization, that English is not the language she used her first year of life, that she is diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder and Early Onset Bipolar Disorder, and that there has been massive trauma in her life up to and including events earlier this year. In this state, they have what they call an "Educational Diagnosis" versus a "Medical Diagnosis", essentially for example a child can be diagnosed by a neurologist with Autism Spectrum Disorder but if the school decides that the symptoms do not interfere with learning, you get no IEP. They do not have to provide the BEST possible education, just an appropriate one. So last year I banged and hollered and they finally did a bunch of testing on her to try to qualify her but she hit just above the cutoff line in a few area's, and average in others. This year the teacher went around to everyone for miles evidently to discuss how poorly Genea is doing and they will now try to qualify her under "OHI" which stands for "Other Health Impairment".

I hold not my breath.

Back to the issue of Genea's desk being bumped into the teachers desk and the effects on attachment in a child with Attachment Disorder. A few people pointed out that if Genea is misdirecting attachment with the teacher, than she will likely progress into testing the teacher out in unpleasant ways and move onto controlling and disruptive behavior.

Sigh. SIGH!!!!!! Because I vaguely thought something like that might be happening but did not have all the information. What I have is about a month ago Genea started peaing on herself like a fiend. Like she never met a toilet before and thought they were for growing tomatoes. I mean it has been bad. So bad, the school had to call me when she wet herself twice in one day. Then she decided that was not enough and pooing herself would also be a good idea. So she is peeing herself at school, which is new, and pooing herself at home which is rare. Why, why do these children express themselves out the butt, why???? This is what leads me to decide that Genea is going to have to go back to sitting at a regular desk like everyone else. I worry that it is too late and she will never recover from her dysregulated behavior. And pray tell, how would I go about requesting Genea move to a different class where she does not feel the need to test the teacher out by peeing on all her stuff????? I am currently sending her to school in diapers. I wonder if that would be considered an "OHI".

Genea does have serious problems with her ability to focus and concentrate. She is "hyper vigilant" and feels compelled to constantly check her environment for changes.  I would prefer she lay down on the floor to do work under her own desk with the other kids, if that would help her. Or whatever would work. I think I am going to tell the teacher that I want Genea moved back into a "cluster" a few days before winter break and then stay there following the break. I'll reference social development as my reasoning. Last year with a different teacher she was allowed to get up and sit at a desk in the front of the room up against the chalkboard when she was unable to concentrate. Do you know that Genea initiated moving on her own when she felt the need! Then, she went back to her regular desk when the focused work was done. I think that would be optimal again.

I have mild concerns that this teacher has a case of "poor orphan syndrome" but she definitely likes Genea and wants her to succeed. So do I.

Any other input will be appreciated again!!!


  1. Document. Document, document, document. Every time you make a request of the teacher, document it. Document every time she pees herself at school or poops herself at home. Keep a journal of it, dated. Do not express frustration in the journal, only love and concern (as if it was "Exhibit A" in a courtroom.) I think it is okay to speculate in the journal.. I am worried that Genea's increased peeing at school is an anxiety response to school. I am concerned that by being moved close to the teacher, this has triggered a fear response in Genea that she is expressing through pee and poop. I am concerned because I am not sure whether it is best to move her back to the cluster or to keep her near the teacher. That sort of thing. Document the decision to send her to school in diapers and that this is to support her while she is in trauma (I know someone that was investigated for sending her child to school in diapers after the child told the teacher her mom made her wear a diaper to school to embarrass her.) and to keep her from being embarrassed in front of the other children. Take 5-10 minutes at the end of every day to document. (Now say that back to me.)

  2. I find it interesting how different all of our RAD kids are. I have a 10 year old daughter with RAD. Last year she started out being seated near the teacher but still with other students, and later in the year her desk was also moved away from the rest of the class. It was the only way we could get her to focus and function in the classroom. She is still at the age where kids hate each other one day and love each other the next, so there was never any social repercussions for her being isolated. This year we have a horrendous teacher. She firmly believes that all students must be put in groups, which rotate monthly. So some days she is front and center, and others she is in the back of the room doing who knows what. No amount of reason has gotten through to the teacher. We finally have set up with the resource teacher that she can go to the resource room when she is feeling dysregulated. She also goes to the resource room for all testing. We have seen some improvement with this. I was worried she would take advantage of it, but really, she only uses it when she needs to.

    Good luck - school is SO much more stressful as a parent!!! :)

  3. In TN "Other Health Impaired" is frequently used to serve kids with an IEP who are ADHD or have another medical diagnosis. I am concerned that her Early Onset Bi-Polar is not considered SED....and IEP services should be provided if her issues "interefere with her learning OR the learning of others." I have been a SPED teacher for 20 years- remember you can invite ANYONE you want to to an IEP based mtg. Document all your contacts and attempts to contact folks....that will matter if you have to go to Due Process.

  4. Do you really feel she has some sort of attachment thing going with the teacher? I must say if just being separated, but NOT near the teacher, helps that is certainly the way to go, though. For her and for all the other little girls sitting there wondering why they are not the "chosen" one.

    I would suggest that if you find things that work, that you chat with the teacher at the beginning of the room before any bad thing can happen. I know I hesitate to do that, thinking maybe I'll just make things worse if I draw "weird kid" attention to my child before he/she gets a chance to just be himself. BUT, I just lost Ilya again because I didn't talk to the new science teacher, who seemed to think making him stand up and read the text out loud would be a good thing - despite his saying he didn't read English. He went home with a headache and that seems to be all of his school for this year.....

  5. From the perspective of the other kids, I know my first grader thinks that the child in the classroom who has to sit next to the teachers desk is the 'bad' kid. They all talk about 'that' kid. So even though Genea is not disruptive she will still have that stigma attached to her by the other kids (and parents). There has to be a better solution.


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