Change is about to occur (or already has). Your child can feel it. New teachers, students, classes, schoolwork, and routines. And for you, it’s registration forms, school supply shopping, IEP and safety meeting plans.
But the anxiety you and your child face is often the worst part of the new school year. When your child has reactive attachment disorder (a.k.a. RAD), his or her behaviors may escalate as this time. Kids with reactive attachment disorder often feel insecure in new situations and try to take control. And that’s where the real trouble begins.
If your child has reactive attachment disorder, here’s how to make the school transition easier:
1. Take your child to the IEP meeting—but only parts of it. Don’t involve him or her in the whole process. Ask your child to sit out of the meeting initially to discuss anything you think could upset him or her. You don’t need to upset your child unnecessarily. Bring him or her back into the room for the rest of the meeting.
2. Do not participate in back to school night. Instead, arrange a private time for your child to meet his or her teacher, drop off supplies, and see the classroom. Back to school night is chaotic and creates anxiety in the most grounded of children.
3. Talk, talk, and talk some more with your child’s teacher(s) and principal. Establish good communication very early on in the year. Email seems to be the best way to go on a regular basis.
4. If you still need school supplies, go shopping without your child. It won’t be a positive experience for either of you—the stores are too crazy and full of people and kids. It is a good idea, however, to show your child the school supply list and items you bought afterward. Let him or her see that you have provided all s/he will need for a successful year.
The return of school may seem daunting. But the structure school brings is also a welcome relief for most kids with RAD and their parents. Remember, partner with your school—it’s the best way to help your child succeed!
Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
To learn more about reactive attachment disorder, see our video page.
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