This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bear's parent/teacher conference tomorrow!

This is the document I readied for myself of things I want to address at the P/T conference tomorrow. I also have a detailed record of all of his tardies, what class they are in, and referrals and detentions. The actual document also includes suggested study skills from the FIE to find out if they are being implemented.

Topics for discussion:

--- Attendance - Bear is tardy or absent to at least one class at least 3 days a week or more, and has walked out. He has been known to wander halls, but this appears to have diminished with teacher awareness.
--- Referrals – mostly for being tardy or skipping class. But recently got one for teasing a boy for whom English is a second language and calling him "retard."
--- Grades - Bear has decided that academics don't matter and is now failing several of his classes (even though allowed to turn in work late). He has mentioned that it doesn’t matter if he turns work in because he’ll still pass.
---Missing Work - Bear has repeatedly lied about turning in school projects and documents (he claimed he turned in this English SSR project and teacher lost it, he claims he did it again and set it down somewhere, he claims he couldn’t do it because his computer broke, he lost his jumpdrive….

“I did make Bear work on his SSR project during Study Skills. He wasn't thrilled about it at first bc he said he didn't have the supplies. I told him forget about it not being on poster board, I showed him how to do the word splash and had another student work with him, I think she did most of the project but, it's done. I felt it was important that he turn something in, I will have to double check but I do think he is passing now or close to it. He can also pass study skills if he turns in his pink rubric to me Monday morning. {He did not turn this in}

--- Behavior, particularly behavior changes since Christmas Break, possible reasons for, and where to go from here:

  • Bear was finally told by Hubby that he wouldn’t be able to go in the marines or join the police force because of his mental illness and meds. We told him because he wasn’t motivated to see the need for another back up plan. His new “plan” is to become a bull riding cowboy and then go work on his great uncle’s (by marriage) farm – which of course doesn’t require a high school diploma.

  • Possible taking or selling drugs and hanging out with kids who do.

  • After being caught in the halls frequently, issues with excessive tardies, leaving class frequently and skipping class, BEHAVIOR PROGRAM has begun keeping better track of his attendance, including escorting him whenever he requests to leave the classroom.

  • Bear feels persecuted by BEHAVIOR PROGRAM and has accused the staff of spying on him. Is no longer easy for him to wander and go to counselors.

  • Bear told Ms. S he didn’t feel safe going to resource room. Appears to be caused by a general feeling of being unsafe.

  • Is no longer attending SPECIAL SCHOOL so has lost that structure and support.

  • Thinks/thought that he could move out at age 17 and appears to be pushing everyone away in emotional preparation for this.

  • Bear has discovered the school will not let him fail. He can wait weeks to turn in something he threw together and he still passes.

  • Monthly psychiatrist visit -refused to talk about anything but some of his sleeping issues because he doesn’t want his meds to change. He says he feels like a guinea pig. I try to explain that no one’s chemistry is the same and it changes with time, but to no avail.

  • Bear is feeling aggressive has stated he wants someone to hit him so he can beat them up. Has stated he wants to go to the OFF CAMPUS SUSPENSION.

  • Bear feels that because he is not allowed to do PT team (not being where he was supposed to be, trust issues and poor grades) he is not getting enough exercise so that is why he’s depressed.
--- Mr. P (BEHAVIOR PROGRAM staff)- Bear is now attempting to pursue criminal sexual harassment charges against Mr. P for recently following Bear into the restroom where he stood behind Bear while Bear was at the urinal. Bear mentioned he also fears Mr. P because he carries a knife. Bear claims to have discussed this with the SRO (School Resource Officer) and, I think, The Assistant Principal, and plans to speak to Dr. C (school district superintendent)?)
--- Bear's Future - Bear discovering that he would not be able to join the military after graduation appears to have he greatly diminished his motivation and direction.
--- Study skills class – what is he accomplishing? Can we add tutors for other classes he’s failing?

MAIN CONCERN: Bear appears to be deteriorating quickly, but because he was doing so well last semester (As and Bs) I fear that nothing will be done this school year because it all "averages out."

Ms. S, “He did mention he was "over everything" and "didn't care anymore." He also told me he wanted to go to the OFF CAMPUS SUSPENSION and that he has no one to go to at school, no teachers he can talk to. I just thought I'd mention that to you. “

Other points of concern:

  • Unmedicated ADD (due to inability to take any meds without serious side-effects),
  • Inability to increase any meds despite Bear’s apparent increase in instability and other mood issues, and increase in aggressive thoughts and behaviors.
  • Bear‘s obvious depression and “giving up,”
  • Adaptive behavior skills seem overwhelmed by the reduction in structure. As stated in his FIE, he has great difficulty adapting and working quickly and efficiently when under pressure
  • As subjects increase in difficulty and complexity, Bear’s abilities and confidence decrease.
  • Bear’s vocabulary and ability to understand concepts is often much less than he is willing to let on.

Criteria for Emotional Disturbance: (The part I plan to emphasize to try to get him back in the SPECIAL SCHOOL)

  1. An inability to learn which cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors. At the time of the FIE this criteria was not met because Bear was passing all of his classes. This is obviously no longer the case.
  2. An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers. Bear and teachers have expressed concerns in Bear’s decline in this area.
  3. Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances. Due to his past history of trauma, Bear tends to misperceive social situations which results in maladaptive behavioral reactions that do not appear premeditative. This has always been the case at home, but regarding school situations, the FIE stated that they were basing this more on Bear’s history at school than overall current behaviors and mentioned the ability to control this with medications. As he is maxed out on medications and the behaviors appear to be increasing, I believe Bear now fully meets this criteria based on current behaviors at school, not just history.
  4. A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression. Bear’s unhappiness appears to have increased this semester to be more general and pervasive than it was at the time of the FIE.
  5. A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears with personal or school problems. Bear responds to stress with physical symptoms that are habitual and persistent. While there is a slight increase in these at school, they do not appear to be pervasive there. His increasing and persistent inability to sleep however is greatly affecting him.


Attendance issues per month (tardies or unexcused absences - there's an extreme likelihood that no one reported these during the first two months of school as they are mentioned in e-mails, but are not on the school attendance website).

  • October -8 ,

  • November -8,

  • December -1,

  • January-2,

  • February -5,

  • March-17!, remember they were out of school for a week for Spring Break!

  • April -2 out of 2!

Tardy 1st semester -16, 2nd semester -20 Total -36
Unexcused 1st semester -2, 2nd semester -3 Total –5

Attendance per period - 26 out of the 36 were the last period of the day

Tardies and unexcused absences may seem equal until you realize we still have 2 months of school left.

Grades (APPL - stands for Applied which is the latest PC term for special ed).

Class Grades for 9th grade and 10th grade per semester

APPL Math 9th grade 1st -87 9th 2nd -93 10th grade 1st -79 10th Current -74
APPL English 9th 1st -90 9th 2nd -89 10th 1st -83 10th Current -64 (last 6wk was 54)
APPL Science 9th 1st - 90 9th 2nd -91 10th 1st -80 10th Current -61
APPL Social Studi 9th 1st -97 9th 2nd -96 10th 1st -96 10th Current -82

Bear is also failing APPL Study Skills with a 63. Social Studies (aka History) is his favorite class so a B in there is saying a LOT!


GB's Mom said...

You look prepared. I hope you get him in Special School. I'll keep you and Bear on my prayers tonight and tomorrow.

Jennie said...

wow. you put my preparedness for meetings to shame!