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  #1  
Old 11-26-2012, 05:24 PM
MamaInTheFuture MamaInTheFuture is offline
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Attachment Therapy/ Nap Hurdles in School?

Has anyone had experience with daycare, pre-school, or schools following a different form of discipline that sometimes seems to counteract what you have been practicing in therapy with your foster kiddos?

Some background...

Our 3yo foster daughter has been with us for 15 months, along with her 4yo brother. Our TPR trial is early next year, and my husband and I have been named as adoptive resources.

When FD first came, she was very withdrawn and sullen and didn't react well to physical touch or attention. She was the youngest of six in a blended family, born less than a year after #5, and we've theorized that by the time she came along, things at home were so bad that she didn't get much early bonding. Four teeth had rotted out by the time she came to us at 2.5yo and her leg muscles were stiff as boards. Mom admitted that FD spent a lot of time in a carrier with a bottle propped up in her mouth. Her coping mechanism to deal with human interaction was to turn her head and say "Don't talk to me."

We asked for therapy from the beginning, but the caseworker declined our request, stating that he didn't think play therapy at a young age would make a difference. We asked for additional appropriate training for dealing with possible attachment issues, but it took a new coordinator coming on board to recommend us for therapy. In that time, she made a lot of progress, but also suffered a lot of emotional setbacks with her bio Dad stopping treatment and visitation, and her bio Mom missing over 50% of her visits, including around holidays and her birthday.

We finally started therapy in the Spring, and by the end of summer, her therapist recommended someone specializing in attachment. Her behavior is unpredictable. She can go from sweet as pie to full out raging tantrum in seconds, complete with physical violence, spitting, screaming, and attempting to destroy her surroundings. In therapy, we have been working on attachment and bonding. Although she expresses her love through words and affection, during her rages she becomes angry and refuses our calming words, sometimes screaming that we don't love her.

We are totally committed to working on attachment and helping her come to a place where she feels safe and loved. Sometimes problem solving as suggested by the therapist seems counter-intuitive. Giving her some control and focusing on the bigger picture of attachment before expecting obedience seems to be the key to the progress she's made and we can see her becoming more content every day. Truly, we have tried nearly everything else. Our therapist feels that she'll continue to struggle until she has consistency in her life, and that makes total sense.

Our problem now seems to center around transitions, with a big emphasis on sleep. She is, and always has been, terrified to sleep. She has occassional night terrors, screaming and crying in her sleep. We have no way of knowing if she witnessed or experienced something terrible that she associates with sleep, if she is afraid to let down her guard, etc. At home, we can stroke her hair and stay with her until she feels safe. However, she refuses to sleep at school. She is in a pre-school class that has a mandatory nap time for around two hours. If she does not sleep, she is expected to quietly look at a book or lay in her cot. If she cannot remain quiet, she is punished in the form of taking away outside play, which she loves.

Her therapist was appalled when I told her about the situation. She feels that given the circumstances, FD should be given a chance to nap for 20-30 minutes. If she cannot fall asleep, she should have the option of going to another room. The therapist feels that it's unreasonable to expect her to sit quietly for hours when she is unable or unwilling to sleep, and that punishment for not sleeping is counteractive to the attachment therapy were working on.

Since her teachers have begun instituting the "not quiet at nap = no outside" policy, her nap time behavior has gotten worse. It's almost as if she now associates nap time with something she's failing at and is shamed by, when everything that we've been working on in therapy points to negative behavior associated with sleep being a coping mechanism.

I asked her teachers about another option, but there isn't one available. She doesn't have to sleep, but she does have to stay in the room and be quiet. Every night before bed we talk about the day we want to have tomorrow, and she always acknowledges that she needs to be quiet at nap. Every morning when we drop her off, we reiterate the need to be quiet. And yet, every day I come to pick her up only to find her sitting alone with a teacher because she's been disruptive (talking, singing) at nap. Today she was not allowed to take part in a cupcake party for a classmate's birthday. That breaks my heart.

I am so torn on what to do. For starters, I'm a teacher myself. I completely understand classroom management and the need for natural consequences. I also understand the need for her teachers to protect the other students from disruptive behavior. And, I get that if the class sees our FD being able to do something other than nap, then they'll want to do the same. Her pre-school is amazing. Everyone is understanding of her situation and accommodating for visitations. We drive out of the way to take the kids there because they're known as an outstanding school, and we waited 3 months to get them in. This has been my only semi-issue in a year of them going there.

Has anyone had a similar experience? We are admittedly new at dealing with attachment. Is this a case of me assuming that school behavior is a result of some internal struggle she has inside, when it's actually a simple discipline problem that should be dealt with accordingly?

I don't want to make excuses for FD's behavior. At the same time, I want to make sure that the deeper issues surrounding some of these problems is being properly addressed. Any insight or suggestions are welcome!
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  #2  
Old 11-26-2012, 05:56 PM
PinkStar412 PinkStar412 is offline
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A few things about this really bother me. I run a home daycare, and while i do understand the desire for quiet nap times, i have had parents make special naptime requests that i have always adhered to. I currently watch a little boy who is 4 and severely adhd. He does not nap. So when i put the other kids to sleep, he has two options. He can either quietly watch a movie or he can come sit in another room with me to look at books/play with toys etc. They might seem like an awesome center, but im very surprised they arent willing to work with you. Is hiring a nanny or moving her to a very small group home daycare possible? She might do better in a home like environment. The 4 year old i mentioned was kicked out of 3 daycares before coming to me and he is a joy here!
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:06 PM
MamaInTheFuture MamaInTheFuture is offline
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We would really love to keep her in pre-school versus a nanny or daycare environment, but we are willing to consider other options if it's the best thing for her. We want to make sure that we're not jumping the gun!

We were surprised as well that there are no other options, although we understand the reasoning behind it. We were also told that it was an issue with staffing, as the teachers rotate their lunch breaks around nap times.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:21 PM
rogueflwrchld rogueflwrchld is offline
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Hmm, this situation is a tough one. On one hand it's completely understandable that different children have different needs, however I also understand that the preschool may not have the resources to deal with everyone's differing needs so they are forced to develop and adhere to a 'one size fits all' sort of schedule. My son broke his arm early during the school year and his preschool class had outside playground play worked into the schedule. The teacher told me that, since he wasn't allowed to run and play he would have to sit quietly against the wall and watch the others play. I asked if there was another place he could go for that hour and they, quite sympathetically, told me no. He HATED that hour for the first four or so weeks of school because he'd have to play quietly with his cars instead of running and jumping like the other kids.

Ordinarily, I'd be completely okay with a child having the option of reading a book or doing a puzzle quietly for a couple hours - after all, they have to learn that rules are rules, even if the rules are stupid and not fair -but in this case she is THREE and that is awfully young to be sitting quietly for two hours. Also, children NEED to run and play so the punishment of taking away outside playtime isn't going to be beneficial for her or teach her anything.

Sorry, I have no good advice to give, but I do sympathize. :-/
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:57 PM
MamaInTheFuture MamaInTheFuture is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogueflwrchld
Hmm, this situation is a tough one. On one hand it's completely understandable that different children have different needs, however I also understand that the preschool may not have the resources to deal with everyone's differing needs so they are forced to develop and adhere to a 'one size fits all' sort of schedule. My son broke his arm early during the school year and his preschool class had outside playground play worked into the schedule. The teacher told me that, since he wasn't allowed to run and play he would have to sit quietly against the wall and watch the others play. I asked if there was another place he could go for that hour and they, quite sympathetically, told me no. He HATED that hour for the first four or so weeks of school because he'd have to play quietly with his cars instead of running and jumping like the other kids.

Ordinarily, I'd be completely okay with a child having the option of reading a book or doing a puzzle quietly for a couple hours - after all, they have to learn that rules are rules, even if the rules are stupid and not fair -but in this case she is THREE and that is awfully young to be sitting quietly for two hours. Also, children NEED to run and play so the punishment of taking away outside playtime isn't going to be beneficial for her or teach her anything.

Sorry, I have no good advice to give, but I do sympathize. :-/
Thanks for the sympathy, it's appreciated

I feel the same way as you, and being a teacher I see both sides. I can only imagine having to explain to 12 other 3 year old kids why FD gets to do something special while they have to sleep. I also feel terrible that her behavior is disrupting other kids who need to nap. FD doesn't go to school until around 9, so she wakes up when she's ready in the morning, but there are kids who are already at school at 6:45 in the morning and are exhausted by noon.

I also want her to be able to follow rules. She is expected to follow them at home and school. I understand that her teachers are trying to give her an incentive to be quit during nap time, but I worry that it's making her feel like she's losing something she loves because of something she has so little control over - her fear of sleep.

Hopefully we can keep working on this and find a solution...
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:22 PM
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Could your therapist talk to the teachers? Maybe they could work out a solution together.
Incentives often don't work for kids with attachment disorders. Maybe they could find a different consequence. Maybe she could sit quiet with one of teachers that is not on break or get rewarded for being quiet for 20 minutes and keep increasing the interval until she reaches the 2 hr mark.

I have a 4 yo and even at 3 was not a napper. A two hour quiet time would be really hard for him.
I also had a ffs that was not napper. When I first got him he was in an all day preschool program that had a nap time. He was very resistant. The teachers tried to force a nap on him and fought back loudly. One of teachers ended up sitting with him during the nap time. Before I moved him to another program (half day), I picked him up at the beginning to nap time to avoid problems.

Good luck. I hope you find a solution soon.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:35 PM
annamc15 annamc15 is offline
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I worked at a daycare through college and (at least in my state) it is LAW that children need to lay and rest quietly for one hour. On top of that, like you said, that's lunch break for teachers and the ratios really don't allow them to alter that break. I think taking away outdoor play is akin to shooting themselves in the foot though.

I'd think a positive behavioral chart (where she earns rather than loses) may work. Something concrete and tangible with short time frames at first (1 sticker for every 2 quite minutes, after 10 stickers she earns X). I'm not a big fan of this kind of system ("bribing kids") but sometimes use it just to set up the expectation and so that the child knows that I KNOW they can actually do it.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:42 PM
Hopefullivin Hopefullivin is offline
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I had similar problems with my AD when she was in daycare/preschool. She wasn't a napper plain and simple. She was also expected to sit quietly and read or color. The other problem was she was super hyper and had behavior issues so it wasn't even possible to expect this from her. The daycare had the same lunchtime staff rotation going on at the time. I just laid it out for them and told them she wasn't going to sleep and she'll just have to do the best she can being quiet. Whenever they were able they would find another place for her to go.

Maybe try these things with the school:
- Is everyone else sleeping at this time. Is it only one age group. If another age group isn't sleeping maybe she could go there sometimes.
- How about music through headphones. Would she like this. Maybe music and coloring when she has to sit somewhere and be quiet. There must be a teacher in there supervising. Ask if she can sit near the this person.
- I had special interventionists my FD saw come and see her during naptime. We even have a program that will go to daycares and work with them.

A few things to think about. Preschool was hard for us but we made it through and my AD is now a well behaved, smart and socially engaged 2nd grader
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:52 PM
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You mentioned that she doesn't get to school til 9 - would it be possible to wake her up earlier so that maybe she is more tired at nap time?

I know first-hand how valuable nap time is, not only for the children, but also for the teachers. I was thinking, maybe she could go to an older classroom (do the 4's have a required nap time?) during nap, but maybe with her attachment issues that would do more harm than good. I know our 3 y/o classroom required the kids to lie down for 45 minutes quietly, but after that they had an activity table in the back of the room, away from the rest of the nappers. By that time, kids who are going to sleep, will - and the kids who aren't asleep most likely won't be anytime soon. This gives the teachers the peace they need to get some work done, and it gives the kids a little more manageable expecatations.

I absolutely empathize with your predicament - we have a 2 y/o FS who has delayed separation anxiety and attachment issues, and while we love his school, there are certain things that they simply cannot adjust to better serve his needs. It's frustrating, but I just remind myself, this will not last forever, and he will overcome. In the meantime, his school is a safe place, even if it's not perfect.

I am very surprised that your CW didn't think play therapy would help her. Our FS has been in play therapy since he entered care at around 18 months, and he's made huge improvements.

I hope you're able to come to some sort of compromise with the school. Good luck!
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:04 PM
bigmomma5 bigmomma5 is offline
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I understand classroom management also, and i also understand that every kid needs something different. is there any route to getting an IEP? any medical diagnoses? Her therapist needs to meet with the school and explain how they are undoing all her therapy and train them. you can request training. you can request she not lose recess.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:12 PM
annamc15 annamc15 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmomma5
I understand classroom management also, and i also understand that every kid needs something different. is there any route to getting an IEP? any medical diagnoses? Her therapist needs to meet with the school and explain how they are undoing all her therapy and train them. you can request training. you can request she not lose recess.


She's 3... . And only 'real schools' not daycares are required to care about any special needs a child might have. I work in special Ed and we get kids into our special Ed preschool because they got kicked out of every daycare within a 50 mile radius all the time.
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:05 PM
dizzilee dizzilee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annamc15
She's 3... . And only 'real schools' not daycares are required to care about any special needs a child might have. I work in special Ed and we get kids into our special Ed preschool because they got kicked out of every daycare within a 50 mile radius all the time.

As someone who works in an NAEYC accredited day care, I have to jump in and say that a developmentally appropriate day care is definitely supposed to take individual needs into consideration when implementing daily routines and activities.

Our state requires that children "rest" for at least 40 minutes each day, but they do not have to sleep. Beyond that 40 minutes, other options are available for children such as quiet activities in a separate area of the room or in another room if necessary. I agree that consequences such as not being able to go outside are pretty unreasonable.

I think you explained the situation very well in your post. Perhaps using the same explanation in a meeting with the director of the day care, the teachers and, if at all possible, your child's therapist would be a good way to come up with some strategies that work for everyone.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:01 PM
bigmomma5 bigmomma5 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annamc15
She's 3... . And only 'real schools' not daycares are required to care about any special needs a child might have. I work in special Ed and we get kids into our special Ed preschool because they got kicked out of every daycare within a 50 mile radius all the time.


well, here i sit, mom of 5 kids, 4 with special needs. and at three, yes THREE, two had IEPs. one for autism and one for FAS. my fas baby is 3, she goes to a private christian school and has NOT been kicked out. She qualifies for special education, they come to the church and serve her needs, work with her private school teachers on how to meet her needs, and everyone loves her! at the tender age of THREE schools are indeed required to start special education for a child that meets qualifications. A good quality private preschool certainly WILL work with special needs children! ours has several downs kids, autistic kids, etc.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:42 PM
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Hrmnnnn...this sounds pretty familiar.

I also have a three year old foster son. When he first came to me at 2 1/2, they told me he was no longer napping. By 4 or 5pm, he was a complete monster. He also has attachment and behavioral issues. We start play therapy this week.

I knew he needed naps because when he did fall asleep in the car around what would be nap time, he slept for two plus hours. He was a joy after he had a nap.

So I started making him take naps by laying down with him and holding him in place. It first took 45 min to get him to fall asleep...over about a two month period it decreased, he now falls asleep in about 10min. He used to fight it, yelling at me, head butting me, kicking, crying and screaming. The child has to know that you will not give in. Its very hard in the beginning.

When he started daycare/preschool they have naptime as well. At first they couldnt get him to lay down. Finally they discovered his weakness...playing with cars. I asked him what happens if he doesnt nap at school, he says "No nap, I get no cars"

He naps every day now Everyone is happy.

Also, my previous foster son had night terrors. I noticed when he got a good nap during the day, he had no terrors at night. I think he was just overtired.

Best of luck to you!
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:13 AM
annamc15 annamc15 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmomma5
well, here i sit, mom of 5 kids, 4 with special needs. and at three, yes THREE, two had IEPs. one for autism and one for FAS. my fas baby is 3, she goes to a private christian school and has NOT been kicked out. She qualifies for special education, they come to the church and serve her needs, work with her private school teachers on how to meet her needs, and everyone loves her! at the tender age of THREE schools are indeed required to start special education for a child that meets qualifications. A good quality private preschool certainly WILL work with special needs children! ours has several downs kids, autistic kids, etc.

I'm not sure why you are angry. I am simply saying there is no law (in my state at least) that dictates what privates daycares need to do. They do not need to follow or even care about IEPs. If they choose to, that's awesome. But it sounds the the OP's daycare is not jumping right up to get this kiddo on an IEP. In my state she would qualify for special Ed, with the placement location being our public elementary school. Our district would NOT go to a private preschool to meet her needs as that's not the law. If parents choose not to bring their kids to the elementary school, we do not need to carry out their IEP. Again, not sure why you are so angry. I didn't say the public education system SHOULDN'T help just that in my state they wouldn't and the daycare wouldn't have to either.
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