Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Return to School

A mother in the email newsletter Daily Parenting Reflections (Dailyparentingreflections@yahoogroups.com) writes about speaking to her child’s new teacher about his needs. She has given me permission to reprint her post (with a little editing) here. I do so in the hope that we utilize these suggestions in our agency special education schools. Also, it makes me wonder how we could reach out more to teachers in the public education system and educate them about the special needs of children with trauma histories. I am glad that the blog example about attention was helpful to this mother.

“Well, I followed up on the advice from Heather [Forbes] and Bryan [Post]’s teleseminar [www.bryanpost.com] and decided to be proactive this year and meet early with my son's teacher. He just started third grade. I felt a little silly about it and thought about canceling but decided to go ahead. It was Day 2 and the teacher and I agreed that it was the earliest parent-teacher conference either of us ever had.

All in all, I'm glad I did it. I worried that she might think I was making excuses upfront for my child's behavior, but I don't think it came across that way. She was very receptive to some of my suggestions (i.e. if he's doing something disruptive in class, rather than calling him on it publicly, simply go over and place a hand on his shoulder as a private kind of signal). I also asked her not to seat him near any child who gets in trouble a lot. I've found that if a lot of negative attention is focused even in the area in which my son is (even if not directed at him), that it's stressful for him. I also told her that if he was doing something wrong, time in would be better than time out and not correcting in the moment but rather later would be more effective at getting the message across. This teacher seems very calm and nurturing so I think the year will be a good one.

Pat, I used an example I got from your blog to illustrate how he can be hyper-alert and on the lookout for danger. It's the description of how you can walk down a street in New York City at 2:00 p.m. and what the experience is like (you're observant, enjoying it, etc.) and how different the experience is at 2:00 a.m. and that in my son’s world, it's often 2:00 a.m. in NYC. I thank you for that. She "got" it.”

Good luck to this mother and her son in the new year!

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