Winter Break is over. The decorations have all been packed up and stored away until next year (unless you live at my house). The relatives have all gone home and the leftovers have all been eaten. So it’s time to go back to school. Nothing puts fear into the heart of a RAD kiddo more. Well maybe there is something but this one is high on the list. And this can be full of problems so understanding back to school issues is essential to make this re-entry as smooth as possible.
When August was in third grade, his re-entry after winter break was gruesome. There was no other way to put it. He was confrontational and distracted and he didn’t do any work. He was agitated all the time and he got into trouble daily it seemed. After about three weeks of daily disasters, we scheduled a meeting with his teacher. I’d already become disillusioned with his teacher. She didn’t seem willing to be at all flexible. Some of her methods were down right absurd. Like posting the students scores for reading tests in order like a competition. Like using a cardboard display board around August’s desk to block him from other students so he couldn’t be distracted or distract them (no, not singling him out at all).
So we go into the meeting and we are prepared to hear what has been going on the first few weeks of school. She talks about how disruptive he’s been. How unwilling to do his work. Nothing we didn’t know. Being more informed now about reactive attachment disorder, I am able to talk through some of what I now know about lack of impulse control and what we are working on with adjusting his medications and how we are still learning about what works with him and what doesn’t.
Then it happens. The thing that brings out the mama bear in me and almost makes me jump across the tiny library table. She asks if we’d ever considered home-schooling August. I say we’ve considered a variety of options, that this is all relatively new and we’re going to maybe be making a change for next year. Her reply still rings in my ears. “You don’t have to wait until next year.” This woman who is charged with caring for and teaching my sweet, adorable, damaged boy wants him gone. I was furious.
And yes, I did have a conversation with the principal.
If this story sounds at all familiar, it will pass. But now, while it’s still early, you might want to have the conversation with your kiddo’s teacher about re-entry. Let them know what they’re seeing and why. And also talk with your kiddo. They may not understand why they’re having so much trouble. Talk with your child’s therapist about ideas for handling the re-entry issues. Maybe a short-term bump in medication would help. While I’m not an advocate for over-medicating, I am an advocate for making sure our kiddos don’t have to endure any more hardships than absolutely necessary. You can always back off when things settle down. Because there are other kiddos in school that are hyped up too. Sharing stories of what they all did over break; all the new clothes and toys and video games. There may be new classes to adjust to as well.
Here is a good article about helping to adjust after the holidays. It’s not much different than getting back in gear after summer! Hopefully you all had a great Holiday and the kiddos are well settled back into school. Comment with any tips or tricks that have worked for you!
Until next time,