It’s been a challenging month for us with K, as her behavior continued to deteriorate. After she was sent home for locking a classroom with kids and a teacher inside, we realized that in spite of everything we were doing, things weren’t getting better. While I assumed it was social, I never guessed it might be due to the social problems in her class, not directly her own.
After she was sent home, she didn’t want to return to school, and I let her stay home for two days. She felt really ashamed, since apparently she didn’t lock the door out of spite, but because she was planning a candy party during recess break and she didn’t want the kids to come out and discover what she was setting up in the next room. Poor short term planning on her part. As soon as the teacher realized they were locked in, she apparently got hysterical, and the kids joined in. While I wasn’t there, we later heard from one of the boys who knew what Karen was up to for the break. He told his mom that it was the teacher who got hysterical, leading to pandemonium in the class. This is all third hand reporting, so grain of salt.
We immediately requested a meeting with the school counselor, principal and homeroom teacher. While they said her behavior has been terrible lately, it turns out that there has been a much wider social problem in the class, and apparently several parents had complained about their children being excluded and about certain disturbing games the kids were playing. To talk to some of the parents, the overall social problems in the class were very bad, with many unhappy children who felt rejected by the “in” group. The game that was so upsetting to many parents was a master/servant game where one girl would use candy to “buy” the services of another girl who was then her slave for the day. I was incredibly relieved when the school staff told me Karen was absolutely not involved in the game or most of the social problems. The principal posited that my daughter is the “thermometer” of the class, and when the class is badly out of balance, it’s reflected in her behavior, even if she’s not directly involved. Funnily enough (bad English, I know, but in general use on Facebook, so I’m allowed) is that what kept K from even knowing anything about this game was that it was limited to the girls, and she had spent the last month socializing almost exclusively with the boys in her class. During break, she’d go play football with them, while the other girls apparently got into the whole master/slave game.
Both DH and I decided it was time to get her back into real therapy, not just the animal therapy covered by our insurance. Again, funnily enough, none of the public health insurers in Israel cover more than 20 visits to a psychologist…..in a LIFETIME! One of the downsides to public health.
Luckily I was able to schedule an immediate appointment with the therapist who helped us leave the last therapist, who became so difficult for us to deal with, we had to devise a strategy for leaving her. The woman who helped us leave her also had a chance to do a complete intake from the old therapist so that she was updated as to K’s general situation since the beginning of first grade. We’re now in third.
Our meeting went well, and even though more than a year had elapsed, she remembered everything about our situation and was eager to meet K. K was a bit more circumspect, but after their first meeting, K said she was ok seeing her on a regular basis. I also had a good one-on-one meeting with her and while she may not be an expert on adoption issues, she’s has good insight into K’s needs and specific sensitivities, and she specialized in child psychology, she even teaches occasional courses at University of Tel Aviv.
Long post, but in short, she’s back in therapy, and back on the proverbial horse. We’ve tweeked her meds and she’s rebuilding her friendships and participating in group activities like the tennis tournament she was in last weekend. She came in first of all the girls, and was able to beat all the boys except one. Pretty good showing and she’s very proud of herself. It was also a good opportunity to spend positive time with some of the kids in her class who are also in her tennis league.
I think (and hope) that she’s back on track now that social issues at school have calmed somewhat and she’s back in therapy. The school also agreed to put her in a social skills workshop with her former homeroom teacher from first and second grade, whom K adores. Check back here for more good news going forward, I hope….Gotta stay positive. She’s amazing when she’s balanced, a good friend, family member, student and athlete. Even with all the problems she’s caused at school, the principal and some of the teachers really adore her and go the extra mile for her on occasion.