Special Needs question, asked by Ronelle (South Africa)
My 2 sons are adopted and suffer from Reactive Attachment Disorder. This means simply, they have serious relationship issues and the rivalry between them is intense. The eldest son has ADD and hates schooling, wishes he was ‘big so he can go and live in Russia’. This is a huge obsession for him. Totally unrealistic as he cannot separate from me even for a night. I am homeschooling them because neither could function in a school environment and I realised that the only chance I have of turning this downward spiral around is bring them home. The lifestyle approach is key to their rehabilitation. But the war zone in my house is so intense and so constant that I get discouraged and lose focus. Reading how ‘normal’ families function is often discouraging because what applies to regular kids does not apply to us. I also understand that unless you have experienced RAD kids, it is difficult to not pass judgment. So I guess my question would be if anyone has any advice on surviving the battle?
My reply: Surviving the Battle
Ronelle, My heart feels for you and your family – you have a unique journey ahead.
We also have learning difficulty issues in our family but they are not expressed in such intense heart issues as you are talking about.
Though I lack the personal experience I agree with you that a lifestyle approach will be the key for your family. Not because of a particular lifestyle as such but because when you live your life together you have the opportunity to build relationships – though oh so slow; you have the opportunity to work on their hearts, one little step at a time.
I would like to keep this post open – if you have some help for Ronelle, please post a comment. I have a few people that I would like to be in touch with to see if they can offer some encouragement to you.
Special kids, Special Hearts
by Maggie McCormick
Oh man, Ronelle. First off, you are an amazing woman! (((Ronnelle)))
Good for you that you are homeschooling them. I believe you are completely correct – that they can not and will not be able to handle a “regular” school.
The downward spiral you speak of is, unfortunately, a natural occurrence. Please, please get into a Support Group. You need true, POSITIVE input into your life right now. There are a lot of great books out there, but personally, I need that interpersonal communication with other adults that actually have a clue of what I’m going through.
Nothing can take the wind out of my sails faster than reading about someone’s “perfect little angel”!
Here are a few things to think about: People LOVE to exaggerate! They love to make their little one sound SO much better than they really are. So, with that in mind, when I start to read about someone’s “perfect little angel” I stop reading it. I don’t have to answer, and in truth – they wouldn’t want to hear it anyway! For those others who are not exaggerating, but just communicating how life is for them, well, that’s fine. Still, I don’t have to read it. I too, get down reading about those who have a “normal” life. And it’s really frustrating when they whine about that life. It is amazingly difficult to not pass judgment! But, that’s what they made the delete button for!
Surviving the Battle?
- Get involved with a Support Group – see if there is a specific group for RAD. If not, get involved with a positive, supportive group for homeschooling Special Needs kids.
- Phyllis Wheeler wrote a wonderful book called, “Nurturing Your Aspergers Child” in which she has a chapter on Attachment Issues. One of her sons has RAD and she’s walked the path you are on right now. Phyllis recommends a book by Sally Fallon called, “Nourishing Traditions”. I have not personally read that book – but I have read Phyllis’s book. In fact, it’s one of those books that you need to pull out and read every six months or so. It’s full of encouragement and practical advice – and EVERY Homeschooling Special Needs Mom needs to have lots of encouragement!
- Phyllis recommends to “Work on the bond. Touch is key”
You will always be welcome in our Yahoo Support Group. We are a Christian group and all have High Functioning Special Needs Kids whom we homeschool. Join Special Hearts
We also have a web site specifically for Encouraging Special Needs Moms and Dads.
Support for Special Needs Families
Note from Belinda editor, Lifestyle Homeschool, I would encourage you to visit Maggie’s website and support group. Maggie has always been an encouragement and support, real and yet with a hopeful outlook.