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Friday, January 22, 2010

Losing my mind

No one said that raising two special needs children would be easy. Kristina is struggling at school. Her behaviors reflect those from right after we adopted her. She hasn't been showing these poor behaviors (hitting, spitting, kicking, throwing things, etc) at home - just mainly at the school. These behaviors happen daily and have been going on for 2 months. I am frustrated. Kristina's teachers are frustrated. Kristina is...well, I'm not sure what she's thinking. I wish we could fly our therapist from OH down here to FL. I have purchased some books and have been reading them hoping to find some help for how to help Kristina. I think that we need to visit a therapist to find true help at this point. She is not doing better. Today I received a phone call that Kristina had broken her teacher's glasses (I offered to pay for the damage) and was kicking, spitting, hitting the teachers AND the students. They asked me to come pick her up. I came into her class and talked with her teachers for about 10 minutes. During this time, Kristina's behavior was not good. Even with me there and my disciplining her didn't make a difference. As soon as we left the classroom - her behavior changed back to normal. Call me crazy, but perhaps this class isn't a good fit for her? I'm not sure. I am trying to consider all options. I could use your ideas, support, and encouragement.

18 comments:

Molly said...

I'd say it has to do with the transition to a new school and moving. It has probably rocked her world so she's reverting back to the behaviors that got her through her time in the orphanage.

If you aren't working with a therapist there I'd get one. Maybe write up a behavior plan about what YOU do when she does this, or used to do this and talk to her therapist back home. You can always call her.

How long has she been in this class? The whole two months? I think it might be too early to say its not a good fit. How long did it take you to get rid of those behaviors at home?

Amy L said...

Hi Jill,
I would make arrangements to observe Christina at school for at least an hour, but make sure that Christina doesn't know you are there. Jot down everything that she is doing, and how she responds to different situations that arise. Pay close attention to what happens right before (the antecedant)the negative behavior. There has to be a reason and it could be that she is having trouble adjusting. But if she has been in school two months, that's a long enough transition period. They should start seeing improvement in behavior at this point. It may be a communication issue....but clearly there is something that is not right for Christina at school. Praying here!
Amy
RR

Saquel25 said...

I wish I could help you out with some advice but all I can say is that I sympathize and am here for you any time you need me. It's so hard when our children behave in ways that don't seem to make sense. I am left scratching my head often at things they do. I will say that if the school is supportive then keep working with them. If not then don't hesitate to pull her out and look for a better solution.

Alabama Apples said...

I don't have any advice, but I just want to say I'm sorry. It is never easy dealing with negative behavior in children (at least for me :) ) but it is SO much harder when they are behaving in a negative manner that is hard to understand. Hang in there! {{hugs}}

Karen J said...

Our four are going through the same thing. As a parent it is frustrating "I've already dealt with these behaviors!" But we have a friend who adopted. Their adopted kids are married now but he said they still have times when they revert back to doing the behaviors they did when they first got them. I say, do what you did to help her overcome them the first time. And (if you didn't do it then) simplify. Put away most of the toys. Minimize visits from people. Minimize trips out of the house. Boring for you, but ever so reassuring for the children.

jessica said...

Oh, Jill, I'm so sorry that Kristina has seemed to revert. Remember that you are the mama and entitled to inspiration, even revelation on her behalf. I'm always hesitant to give advice when it comes to school, since I homeschool my kids, but school is not always the best place for little ones. It can create so much confusion and so many conflicting authority figures that little spirits can't sort out. I know you'll be able to figure out the right thing for your family and Kristina. Heavenly Father knows just what she needs. He'll help you know too.

Diana said...

I'm betting you're right - the class and the teacher are not a good fit. If this stuff is still going on after this long, there's a reason for it. You're honestly better off pulling her out of school completely rather than letting that type of hullabaloo continue.

But, you've got to find out why it's not a good fit in order to make sure it doesn't happen again. Observe as someone else suggested, figure out what the teacher is doing that is triggering her, talk to the principal, etc. And yes, get her back into therapy as soon as you can. You're not dealing with your run of the mill special needs here (Ha ha! As if there is such a thing!) But seriously, if she had no legs and was confined to a wheel chair, people would respond to her very differently because they could SEE she's a special needs child.

But that's not what you're dealing with. You've got a bright, happy, smiley kid who everyone expects to be just like every other 4 year old. But she's not. Emotionally, she's most likely still a toddler. And, who knows what kinds of trauma she's really experienced in her short little life on top of that that is weighing on her soul??

Our therapist likes to describe hurt kids as "highly distracted." They have so much chaos going on in their heads and so much they're trying to learn and figure out that it's really quite unreasonable to expect them to hold it together all the time. They live in a constant state of "Flight, Fight, or Freeze" - and when they can't do any of the above, they flop. They just completely shut down. That's where my Joseph is. Matthew prefers the flight option, and it sounds like Kristina is in fight mode.

(((HUGS!))) Not that I even pretend to have all the answers, but you're welcome to pick my brain any time you feel the need.

Karin said...

Jill, I love you. My only other thought to share is a book called Sensational Kids (I'm sure you could google it or try your library). It keeps coming to mind as I have read your comments & as I was reading your post. You are in my thoughts. Hugs!!!!

Maria said...

just a big <<>> for you

mom of 2 said...

I've never adopted- but we moved a few times with our two sons. When my youngest was 3 - we moved half way across the country. He was totally toilet trained at the time. After the move he regressed to wearing pull-ups 24 hrs a day. He had no idea he was peeing- his world had competely changed and using the bathroom was not a priority. After about a month- I could tell he was aware of the need to use the bathroom- so he went back to underwear and never had an accident. So long story to say your daughter has regressed. Very normal. I would take her out of school for now. She has had so many changed in her life and needs a few months to understand her new world. She probably has no control of her feelings.

Landlocked Shores said...

Hi Jill...

Miss you! I didn't read all the comments but as I read your post I kept thinking "Kristina's world was just rocked pretty severely by the move". I did read the firs comment from Molly and agree with her 100%. Maybe you should think back to what you had to do when you first brought her home. I know I am not a mother but do have quite a bit of experience with kids... they are very resilient but need consistency. You can figure this out! Love you!
Nicki

Anonymous said...

You might consider home-schooling her the rest of this school year so she has a chance to adjust to the move. Try school again in the Fall.

Kay said...

If you will go back and look at the comment I left on your blog dated Sun, Jan 10, (last 2 comments)I would say that advice is even more critical now. Many of your friends have suggested a similar type of help, but it needs to be complete because the behaviour will continue on a drastic downward spiral until you do. Also DO NOT EVER let someone other than Mom or Dad work with her on potty training, THAT ALONE increased her anger at school. BUT no finger-pointing will help now.

Kristina MUST be glued to your side at home for at least 3 weeks. There is nothing else that will help. She needs YOU. She will need a new teacher when she does go back. Not because of the teacher, but because of her inner-struggle right now. She feels abandoned by you, and returning to the same teacher will only cause those feelings to return.

After the minimum 3 weeks at home, follow the plan on my Jan 10 comment. If you are not ready to spend the time at school with her in 3 weeks, keep her home longer, until you are ready. I promise it WILL HELP, and your life will be mostly "Kristina stress-free" in 3 months. Isn't she worth the sacrifice?

Bogaranty├║ said...

How is she doing in other structured educational settings? Like Primary? I lean to agree with you on she and her teacher/class not being a perfect match.

shannon said...

Hey Jill,
I feel for you! I t's never fun to hear when your kids are acting out...and to such a degree! The poor dear! Our kids also took a while for "moving detox" to restore peace and happiness within our home. I would definitely put her into a program that gives therapy and/or counselling or support for you and Tyler. You've gone through all this before when you brought her home for the first time, but it's always helpful to have extra guidance and reassurance from an expert third party.
Also---pray! The Lord knows us each individually and He will help you and Tyler to see what it is that she needs to be happier and feeling more secure.
Good luck!! xo

Anne said...

Sounds just like how my daughter used to act...She was diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder. I would look into attachment disorders and read online, very common in kids from orphanages, foster care, and FAS kids. Good luck and feel free to email me if you need support, I'v been there! Anne

James and Cari said...

Hey Jill! You sound like you're being very smart about the situation. I agree with switching classrooms when you decide she returns. May I suggest requesting a full-time aid for her as well until she is able to handle the new surroundings? Perhaps having one person who is consistently with her, keeping her on task, etc. would help her as she transitions to her new classroom. Because she receives special services, this is something the school should provide for her should her 'team' deem it necessary. Best of luck!!! You're doing GREAT!

MoonDog said...

i missed this post but I definitely think she is telling you something! if this is not going on at home that says a lot. and people act differently when they are being watched. I mean teachers might act differently when being directly observed than when they think they are on their own.how is she disciplined at school? I know locally a child with SN was having a terrible time and acting out at home ABOUT school and it was because of the discipline they used there, putting her in a dark seperation room to calm herself. I would definitely look into changing something beccause this is obviously not working for her.