RAD and the IEP for School
I have a great letter for teachers on my website that has helped many parents. These 7 areas should be written up in the IEP (Individual Education Plan) along with any specific needs the individual student has. The IEP for a child with RAD should include:
- Communication is essential! Daily short contact from the school with a behavior update should be sent before the child gets home. For example; “Good, rude, defiant, bullying, stole a lunch” etc. Not a full “blow by blow” account. Parent should also commit to a daily short email such as: “Sweetums had a rough morning, refused to get dressed. She is headed your way. Hang in there! I will be thinking of you today.”
Teachers should not assume the parents are doing their job poorly. For example; a student sleeping in school may very well have been put to bed on time by loving parents and decided to keep the whole family awake until the wee hours! Ask, don’t assume! Likewise, Parents should check out the tall tales the child brings home about the teacher before getting upset.
- No Chaos! Chaos activates the fight or flight part of the brain because our children do not feel safe and zero learning can take place when it is active. Most of our kids take an hour or two to calm down and be able to learn anything after being put in that environment. No recess time where there is chaos. They cannot control children going this way and that and the screaming and running sets off their fear factor. A mini tramp in the gym or office where they can get some exercise to increase circulation and work off some stress has been used in many schools with our kiddos to replace recess.
Chaos in the class will also trigger a child into moving out of the logic part of the brain and into survival mode where they cannot learn. Children must raise a hand to speak and be called on and not be calling out or wandering. Our trauma effected children absolutely cannot handle a chaotic classroom (or home)! Yes, they create chaos when they can, so it is up to the adults to keep calm and carry on!
- Bonding comes from home! All hugs and nurturing must be increased much more than a non-traumatized child needs and it must come from parents. A teacher cannot bond to a student and then leave them at the end of the year without further severe damage and repercussions. It will damage their relationship with each future teacher after the child feels betrayed and abandoned by one they bonded with. If the teacher needs to hug someone it should be the mother of the child who is giving and giving until she can’t see straight! This mom signed up for a lifetime!
- Food comes from home! Many of our children have strong reactions to dye, artificial flavors, sugars, gluten etc. Feeding a child is nurturing. All food should come from the parents. NO food, snacks, candy, etc should ever be given to a child with RAD without direct permission from the parents before it is given to the student. We had a boy rage 2 1/2 hours from a reaction to red sprinkles on a cupcake his teacher gave him!
- Homework is the child’s responsibility. It is not the parent’s job! If the parents get involved there is usually a war at home for hours with much sobbing and stress from the child. This seriously impacts the child’s relationship with the parents and teaches them to hate learning. I recommend that parents have a desk with proper lighting and set a timer for “desk time” 6 days a week according to the time recommended by the teacher. When the timer goes off the child is instructed to return items to the school bag and move to another activity such as dinner, bath etc. The parents should not be looking over papers, signing anything about homework or taking any of the student’s responsibility from the child in any way. If the child asks for help with homework the student should ask their teacher for clarification, not the parents. The parents should direct them to do so. Parents should convey the importance of education by modeling it. Reading at home, using math to cook or create etc. are vital to show a child the value of investing their time in learning.
- Correction should be appropriate for the disorder the child has. Behavior Modification (including any reward system) is not effective with children with RAD because the development of the “cause and effect” part of the brain is interfered with by early trauma. This part of the brain is essential for behavior mod techniques (such as rewards ie. smiley face charts, stickers, red-yellow-green light etc.) to work. Brain Based Behavior Interventions (3BI) are very effective with trauma effected children and has been used in classrooms and entire schools around the world successfully.
- Correcting quickly is essential for a child with RAD. The first time they speak without raising their hand, the first time they get out of their chair without permission there must be action taken by the teacher. No reminders.
I highly recommend meeting with the new teacher and discussing the child’s special needs BEFORE school starts so they are set up for success.
Best wishes on your new school year! Nancy Thomas
P.S. Have a teacher that could use guidance on how to help your challenging child? I have put my teacher specific informational DVD Terrific Tools for Teachers on sale in honor of our amazing teachers starting a new year! Just use code Teacher at checkout for $10 off!