In an earlier post I mentioned the trinity of our post adoption support. I wanted to expand a bit on this.
Both our kids have a cocktail of special needs- learning disabilities, ADHD, suspected SPD, and some other things rattling around. It was soon pretty apparent that neither could manage in mainstream. D, just out of nursery- which had been touch and go in itself- found his peers leaving him behind cognitively and emotionally, and he did not have the social skills to make friends. He became so frightened and alone that he would resort to wrecking the classroom, stripping off, and hooting from under the table. I would drop him off at school, and barely half a mile home the school would call for me to collect him.
One kick off was memorable. He had freaked out in the school computer lab. I had a fractured SOS from the school receptionist, like one from the last army outpost in Day of the Dead.
I walked into the school – as I recall eerily deserted- like a character in a zombie apocalypse film. I imagine the entire school were hiding in a games cupboard, sweating and praying.
The computer room looked as if there had been a frantic last stand between an armed dinner lady and the undead. Keyboards on the floor, monitors toppled over, school displays ripped and flapping in a strange breeze. The charge of body chemicals lingering in the air. Following the breeze down the hall, I saw a manhole cover (who throws a manhole cover?) that had been hurled through the bottom of a glass door. Cubes of safety glass were everywhere.
In the school field, three teachers had cornered D in a gazebo. He was growling.
It seemed to take forever to reach him, gently scoop him up in my arms and over my shoulder. I carried him back- without speaking- to the car. He got expelled at 5 years old.
At this point the Local Authority agreed to start assessing our sons educational needs.
He was appointed a very clued up and brave Ed Psych who said that for D to get the education he needed, we should consider a therapeutic residential school.
I was poleaxed.
This had not been on our radar at all, and it was one of the first massive realisations in our journey. Until this point we were holding out that our children were simply traumatised, and they would level out. The realisation that they had significant learning difficulties, that massive issues were emerging, was not only sobering, but now also suggested that there may not be college and University graduations, first cars and jobs, grandchildren. So many rites of passage seemed denied.
You have to start grieving.
Thankfully events overtook us so we couldn’t (and still cant) dwell long there.
In fact we recommend that you don’t stay in that place of counting your losses.
Our family journey has to be “glass half full” every time. It’s a hard choice. We are not advocating denial, but by the same token putting into words on a daily basis the struggle and the horror grows legs on problems.
And most importantly our kids are just as delightful in other ways, and their difficulties add charming blessings into our life- things that would not have been there if they were “normal” (whatever that is) We always say, adoption was the hardest and the best thing that happened to us. As we swig on vodka.
We really did have to sort out D’s school quickly. We had to look at the future and whether we could continue with his violence and traumatised behavior. We soon found that facilities for children like D are few and far between. There are scant options.
Education put D temporarilry in a PRU after he was expelled. He spent his “education” (more accurately caretaking) with children who had a different range of needs to D.
As ever, D spent many afternoons under a table. Thankfully the head teacher had the minerals to state that D’s needs were therapeutic, and he shouldn’t be there. She added her voice to the Ed Psych and eventually he went to the residential therapeutic school (we will blog on our views on all that in depth later)
M’s education story is next.