Friday, January 16, 2009

Schooling the RADilicious child

After thinking about school for a couple of days I think I'll just give some basic tips on how we have handled different problems that have come up with our kids. If I don't hit on a topic that you need info on please let me know. If I don't know I bet another mom who reads here does and will be glad to help. That's how you all are. : ) I will also continue to sneak in photos of our anniversary trip!!
Triangulation: Over the years our boys have chosen a teacher or para to "befriend". They really play up to this one person and are sweet and very manipulative. They make sure to discuss how mean we are, we will not help them with their homework, we ignore them, have no paper or pencils in our house....yada yada yada. This unsuspecting teacher or para totally falls for it. The sad thing is that sooner or later our child will turn on them and they will be shocked to find the child is not attached to them at all but has been using them. If you see your child using another adult "against" you I think it is important to be kind, but informative about RAD. Give them information on RAD in a short paragraph explaining about triangulation. I also let the person know we are working very hard at building an attachment with our child. When he believes the child's words about us and tries to build a "special" bond with them it weakens the attachment at home. They need to keep a professional but friendly relationship with the child.
Discipline: Traditional discipline does not work. Contracts, rewards systems and sticker charts are generally ineffective for a child who does not have cause and effect thinking and places no value on material things. There are some very helpful tips about school at and
Homework: Is our child's job. We have a desk, a cupboard full of supplies and a time set for homework. They sit there for the specific amount of time. You need to decide what is appropriate for your child's age and development level. I do not believe in making a grade school child sit for an entire evening until it is done. I give a specific amount of time for the assignment and when the time is up they get up done or not. They can deal with the consequences at school. It eliminates power struggles and gives the child some time to unwind and do other things.
Pretending not to know: This is a tricky one. Kids with RAD love this game. "I don't know how to do it" means the adults will jump through the hoops to help and they sometimes don't have to do a thing but sit there and look sad. The trick is that sometimes they really don't know, but most often they do. I will explain a topic carefully for one or two problems and then it is up to them. If they still say they don't know they have to sit for the allotted time and then they can ask the teacher the next day. This one is a tough call.
Peer relationships: Our kids often seek out the trouble kids to "play with" at recess. It was only when our kids started healing they had a desire to change this. Now the problem is learning to make friends with emotionally healthy kids. This is discouraging to them and needs lots of role playing of different situations such as standing in line, taking turns, etc.
IEP: If your child is not in special ed I believe requesting an IEP (Individual Education Plan) is important. Our children were tested and are in special ed as Other Health Impaired due to ADHD. This gives them a resource room to go to when they fall apart emotionally. They sometimes go there when there is a test and they can't focus or get help when they can't get their brains to slow down enough to do the work.
All other ideas and comments are welcome! Have a healing weekend!


Christine said...

"I don't know!" is Mar Mar's favorite past time!

I feel for her, sometimes, because I'm her teacher and I know what she has already learned and already knows. It makes the attempt futile (but she does it anyway!!). Several months ago her math started reviewing time to the quarter hour. "I NEVER LEARNED THAT BEFOOOOOORE!" So, I pulled up the website from her former school district, and bookmarked it - explaining to her what a "scope and sequence" was, and that I could easily find everything she was taught.

And that took care of that.

She still goes there, though. So, I just ask her to go "jump it out" (100 jumps on the mini-tramp, to wake up her brain a bit and find the information). We've just started with some tapping, and that can also be effective also. I think a mini-tramp in the resource room would be FABULOUS. I'd probably buy one for the school, if my kids were at PS.

If she absolutely refuses, then she can always spend her "work time" in her bed or sitting quietly out of the flow of traffic, until she's ready to work. Until school is done, chores cannot be done. Until chores are done, play time cannot begin. Mom doesn't do grading and schoolwork past a certain time during the day. If she chooses to lose playtime, so be it. No skin off my back. And spending the day reading and doing quiet activities is also very good for a child. :)

Getting behind in school builds like a snowball, and can eventually lead to falling behind a grade. I have to be willing to allow my kids the consequences of their actions.

Sooooo much easier said than done. :)

Christine said...

"that can also be effective also"

Yes, I realize that I need to get MY butt on the mini-tramp! ugh

waldenbunch said...

We've talked before about my 2 radishes. We have always homeschooled. This is my 15th year, having already graduated my oldest biological child. Kids with RAD and school are a nightmare. They use all their manipulation skills and poor me attitudes to make school miserable. I often think of putting them in public school but they have so many special needs due to parents' drug use and premature births that I feel like at least one would drown in public school. I just spent an hour teaching them their address, state, country, continent, which they've learned before and don't remember now! But the most frustrating thing is how alone I feel. Even my good homeschooilng friends cannot possibly understand the impossible task God has placed before us. They are only in 4th grade and I wonder if we will be able to complete this task. I'm exhausted. I cling to my faith because that's the only way I will survive.

Thanks for listening.

Lorraine said...

My Radlet is in public school. It was easy to get him an IEP because he also has pysical deformeties. (born witout legs and only one arm) However, I have found the most important thing to be communication. It helps that I have other children in the school system and it's a small system. He is actually very well behaved in school. Right now he is conning the aid on the bus to help him with homework, but I am ignoring it, since it means I don't have to fight with it and we have enough to deal with at home. He tries a lot of triangulation. Again it helps that this is a small school. Everyone has heard how he lied about a teacher and tried to get her fired. (luckily his attempt was very clumsy, and not even slightly believable) That teacher has been in the school for more than 20 years and has known me for 16 years, was at my wedding and knew my bio boys as babies. She did not beleive for a second that we were abusing him like he said. (He also entangled his lies a bit and gave himself away so that helped too)
This year for second grade a friend sent a letter from an Attacment website explaining RAD to teachers. I copied and pasted it into Word and then using a different colored ink wrote in my own notes between paragraphes. In my notes I explained how M has exibited the trait discussed in the previous paragraph, or has not desplayed it. I also gave concrete examples of things that worked for those issues. I made many references to the specialists we had seen so the teacher would know this was not just me. I gave a copy to the teacher and the aid before school began. The teacher asked my permission to share it with another teacher who would have him for part of the day.
The teachers and I also e-mail each other often and let him know this. He also knows that we all have each others phone and cell phone numbers. (for some reason, just the knowledge that I have the phone numbers to call the teachers at any time makes a big difference).
He knows the teacher he has now, also had his sister and that she got to know me. He still gets away with a lot at school. The combination of the charm, the cuteness and the wheelchair is hard to resist if you don't know him well. It also helps that last years teacher was careful to put every little thing in her paperwork to help the other teacher. He has triangular crayons and grips for his pencils written into his IEP because he would "accidentally" roll them off the table, so he "couldn't" do his work. (even though he is very, very mobile and out of his chair more than he is in it, and his chair is equipped to lower him all the way to floor) The triangular crayons put a halt to this. It might seem like a little thing, but it was giving him a big feeling of power over the teacher and the aid who were constantly picking up his crayons and pencils.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon your blog and have a question for you. All of my children are adopted. My son showed some clear attachment issues the first year he was home. I threw myself into attachment therapies etc..... I am currently working on my Ph. D. in psychology, but attachment is not my niche. The only symptom that remains that I am concerned with is my son's destructive behavior. He no longer triangulates, pushes my buttons, rejects me etc... However, he breaks absolutely everything. I have implemented consequences consistently (and I do mean consistently). I have tried rewards and punishments. He takes the doors of the hinges, cuts his bedding, breaks all of his toys, takes knobs off his drawers, and breaks phone jacks. What do you suggest for this. When looking at this behavior in isolation it sounds intense. However, in every other area of his life he responds well to discipline and with appropriate empathy, compassion and guilt. He has been diagnosed with ADHD, but is doing really great with his medicine. Do you believe that this behavior is most likely due to residual attachment effects or a manifestation of his ADHD?

Anonymous said...

I don't have a valid URL according to this site. My email is and my name is Melody. Sorry I didn't mean to leave an Anonymous note previously.

Brenda said...


I haven't been to good about using the tramp. I need too. Thanks for reminding me.


Being a stay at home mom can be lonely. Having a child with behavior problems can be lonely.Make sure to take time to rejuvenate yourself and spend time with friends. Take care of the mom so she can take care of others ((((hugs0)) I'll pray for you. It is hard.


I want to say first that I am not qualified to diagnose. I am not a therapist. Just a mom. If that is the only trait my child was displaying because of the seriousness of it I would want a full neurlogical evaluation by either a pediatric neurologist/ a neuropsychologist or both. I'm not qualified to say for sure but I'm wondering if something other than RAD is going on here.

ParentAdvocate said...

I really enjoy reading your posts, thank you for sharing with everyone you have so much to offer parents. I am glad to hear you had a wonderful vacation, child-free!! How did the kids do once you returned, that is usually the hard part, right?

Nelly said...

Hi Brenda, Thanks for the info on PS The problem I'm having is she has made it to 3 grade and now the teachers are saying she has ADD just cause she has some trouble focasing thats it. I don't beleave she is ADD. She is a slow learner and has anxiety. If she can't get it she just sits there. I asked for testing for special ed and they did a time on task.

Brenda said...


Thank you so much for your kind words. I appreciate any input you would like to throw in. As for the boy's behavior. That is a whole additional post - Monday.


Teacher's cannot diagnose. I believe if you ask for special ed testing in writing and turn it in they have to answer you. I would also get a professional diagnosis on his behavior to see if it is ADD or something else. I would then ask the professional to contact the school district and make recommendations for the school. So does he have an IEP at this point? I'm thinking probably not from what you are saying.

Nelly said...

No she does not have an IEP. They told me her grades are not low to qualify for testing but her reading and math are of a 2nd grader She's in 3rd and they'll be asking her to take summer school. I feel like I'm getting the run around.

Brenda said...


What state do you live in?

Brenda said...


I just looked at your blog and you are my fellow Nebraskan. I forgot you lived in the same state. I'm sorry. I am going to post some links later today after church for you.

Brenda said...


Start off with this.

Suzie said...

Thank you very much for this post.

It is very interesting to read your blog from the start, because it shows how your skills & techniques develop over time.

What I find particularly fascinating is how you emphasise that one has to vary approaches, because what works once might not work the next day.

Keep up your great work.

I have the impression that your way of dealing with your RAD-children has greatly improved thanks to your training as a therapist. It gets very clear when comparing the posts at the beginning of your blog to those from the present. Congratulations! I am sure your example, your blog and your councelling will provide valuable resources for parents facing similar problems.