From the perspective of S. Denise Kullman
There was a time when I jumped every time the phone rang. Was it THEM?!? Them—the school principal, counselor or security officer. John and I often had to leave wherever we were, including work, to go to Tyler’s school.
School for Us
For a child with attachment disorder—and, in Tyler’s case, mood disorder too—public school is a tidal wave of triggers and distractions. With 1,000 kids in just three grades and 30+ students in every class, who wouldn’t be overwhelmed?
In light of national headlines, I fully understand the need for “No Tolerance policies”. However, did they really need to call the police when my goofy son popped another student with a rubber band and left a mark?
The Teacher’s Reality
Middle school kids in general aren’t easy. Every one of those 1,000 kids are in the midst of some phase of hormonal development. No matter what middle school teachers are paid, it’s not enough.
Teachers are professionals. They work hard. They wouldn’t undertake such a job without a calling to teach our children.
Each year, more kids are diagnosed with attachment disorder. However, I don’t know how much education teachers receive about how to work with kids with this disorder. This puts teachers in a tough situation.
Our Role as Parents
That’s where you come in.
Communicate with school staff often. And I mean face-to-face conversations—not emails, texts, or phone calls. When you meet with teachers in person, you create relationships. You can better understand and support one another’s efforts.
What We Did
We requested a meeting with all our son’s teachers at the beginning of the school year. We wanted to offer them some insight into how Tyler’s mind works. We offered suggestions to them for when they encountered challenges with our son. They were very responsive and seemed to appreciate the teacher/parent/student partnership.
Tyler did have problems in one class. That class was with the one teacher who didn’t attend the meeting. Because she missed that initial conversation, she just didn’t ever understand Tyler— no matter how we tried to support her.
My new motto is “Advocate and Educate”. If we don’t, who will?
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
How do you support your child’s school staff and teachers? Please share below.