Friday, November 9, 2012

Foster Parent Questions: How Do You Talk to Teachers about RAD?

by John and Diane.
The following is a question sent to us by a foster parent.
Q:  How do you explain to teachers about RAD, and get them to understand as they do not want to "label a child.”
The first thing that jumped out at me about your question is that you mentioned the teacher “does not believe in labels.”   This will make it hard, because you have to wonder why she “doesn’t believe in them?”
Sometimes teachers might feel that labels are being thrown on children too often, like ADD or ADHD for example. Teachers may experience kids they have been told are ADD as well-behaved in class (because of the structure and rules, which ADD kids respond well too) so they think they are normal. When parents complain about the ADD symptoms to the teachers, teachers dismiss the diagnosis, and therefore may generalize their dismissal of all behavioral diagnosis.
So, the trick to talking to a teacher who doesn’t like “labels”  about your RAD child,to get her to understand and be able to work effectively with his behaviors, is not to use the term “RAD” when talking with the teacher. Discuss your child in term of his behaviors, not his diagnosis.
So, think of it this way:
What is a *RAD child and how do they get what they want or need?
· He or she does not feel safe or they can’t trust anyone
· They need to control everything
· They insist on getting everything they want and will fight, yell,  and may steal or lie to get it. (Note: we are not saying that all RAD kids steal…)
So, basically, you have a child with anger and control issues. Talk to the teacher and tell him or her that your child has anger issues and tell them what your child’s triggers are. (Read some of our other RAD articles about triggers) so that they can be prepared. Anger issues are something schools are used to hearing about and dealing with, while attachment disorders are still relatively new for them and complex… hard for everyone to deal with.
Remember, teachers are overworked and have heard every story out there. Chances are, when you are talking to them, they may not always be listening. Make it easier on them by speaking in a language the teacher can relate to, by discussing your child in terms of his behavior and in corrective actions that work.
Good luck with this and remember, prayer always gets me started and through my meetings with teachers, so ask God to guide you and I am sure you’ll do great!

* RAD: Reactive Attachment Disorder 

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