Another Brick In The Wall



By the time my adopted daughter was eight she had been excluded from three schools for “aggressive” behaviour and left another before it came to blows yet again. I decided in the end, that as I was no longer able to work due to constant care, we would be better off learning from life, family and friends.

I wrote an article for a national newspaper about attachment difficulties in adoption, it was around the time the Labour Government were talking about adoption reform and theories around attachment and trauma were even less communicated about back then.

With the money I earned from the article we bought a shed and made our own school at the bottom of the garden. It had a table and chairs, toys, books and learning posters on the wall donated by Granny and Grandad.

My daughter loved it… we mainly played  as her attention span for sitting still was around ten minutes. Favourites were shopping, modelling dough, cooking and of course, playing out the care of babies.

It was difficult for me as I felt a level of responsibility that at the time I could have done without. Just trying to be a good enough therapeutic mother 24/7 was a challenge enough!  However, the lowering of the huge anxiety that school attendance had bought about, meant less challenging behaviour at home and we were generally much happier.

As a result of no school attendance my daughter missed out on a peer group and it made me feel sad. Knowing that she was missing out on………… well mainly birthday parties and being chosen for the school play or sports team, which I knew she would have loved. (have to say though that it still makes me laugh inside to recall the nervous faces of the teachers who did have any nativity play experiences with her. And the horror at “the poo” in the book box… her revenge for exclusion from swimming for “naughty”  behaviour!)

On a sad day I looked up “Peer” in the dictionary and it said:

“a person who is equal in social standing”

My daughter could not be equal in social standing at school as her experience of life was so very different and not one that could be easily explained nor understood by another child, let alone teachers.  Knowing the idea of peers was a tricky and elusive one for her I concentrated on enabling her to have a couple of good friends who remain loyal and loving to this day.

After home teaching for a while we made a very big and quite scary move and rented a house in a very rural spot. I felt it was the right thing though and we have been here ever since. Ironically it was whilst here that we received the most wonderful Outreach teacher from the local team. Louise was our teaching angel. She listened and understood and saw the virtues of quiet time or trampolining as much as that of spelling correctly or doing fractions.
She taught my daughter ten hours a week and being at home made it easier for her to relax and learn. It also gave me ten hours a week to recharge my batteries, call a friend, read a book. Educate myself.

My daughter is eighteen now and still needs constant support with learning in general. She is extremely emotionally intelligent, articulate, well travelled, good at art, cooking, drama, sport and makes a mean playlist which is one of her favourite ways to communicate feelings and thoughts. (she will be using them to blog soon).  I feel very proud of herand her achievements.

When I asked her this week what song makes her think of school, she said, by singing the lyrics at me with a grin on her face  “we don’t need no education”.

Well I think we do. I think the teachers who are at a loss need it. I think social workers need it and I think the Government needs it.

Children with attachment and trauma issues need more understanding and support. Teachers need the tools to make a difference.

It’s not rocket science!!… because that would be a much more complicated subject to explain……… and you would need specialist scientists…….. and its not nearly so important………..

books picIt’s not rocket science…

4 thoughts on “Another Brick In The Wall

  1. What a terrible time for your daughter to have been so distressed in the school environment and the response to be rejection. The pain must have been immense, constantly revisiting her trauma. It’s just sickening me that schools can use ignorance as an excuse for their actions and get away with it. There are some good schools out there (I have a pretty good one) but there are far to many schools that show no interest or complete reluctance in support children with trauma and attachment issues and it makes my blood boil. Our children deserve an education as all other children do and the government that is hell bent on ensuring the welfare of these children is through the care system and adoption/fostering needs to put some backbone to their plans and see these children support throughout their childhood and adolescence. Rant complete.
    The loving commitment and deep bond you share with your daughter leaped from the screen. I re-read it all because I so loved it.
    Thank you for sharing with the weekly adoption shout out and I’m so glad you wrote about the theme.
    Hope the techno lessons are going well. x

    • Dear Sarah thanks so much for your lovely comments. As its a while ago now I sometimes forget how really difficult it was. The worst thing was watching her get excited by each new uniform and putting her best foot forward just to get rejected again! The worst scenario for an attachment disordered child I used to make excuses for why she had to move as she really didn’t understand what was wrong. Horrible really and I hate to think of others going through that now. Hope we can all make a difference somehow. x

  2. I left off reading this till i had finished my post on adoption/education. How funny – SNAP!

    It would be no matter if what they did was neutral, but the damage they cause is inexcusable – both in the scars they leave on these extraordinary pupils, but also the pressure it creates back on our home lives after when they come back with cognitive fatigue and explode. Loving your blog. Mx

    • Takes one to know one and bodes well for future collaboration!
      The school situation is really unforgivable because as you say it is a double whammy…traumatised, difficult at school and then traumatised over again.
      Thank you for solidarity xxx

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