Dear High School Teachers and Staff,
My name is Mary Themom. I am the parent of 9th grade student, Kitty. Kitty is served by the district as a student with an Emotional Disturbance (RAD, bipolar, C-PTSD), Other Health Impaired (medicated ADHD), and Learning Disabilities (cerebral dysrhythmia). If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of these diagnoses or the others that she has, please feel free to e-mail me at _______@_______.com or call me at (###) ###-####.
It is my hope that Kitty will have a successful school year. To help ensure this I would like to share some information with you.
Kitty is a former foster child, who was discarded into foster care at age 9, because she was “out of control.” This was due to the lack of proper parenting provided by her mentally ill mother, abusive male caregivers, and Kitty’s untreated mental health issues. It is rarely seen in her behavior at school now. I bring this up to help you understand Kitty’s reactions, anxiety and issues, so you can better support her and help her learn. Kitty responds best to caring structure. If she doesn’t believe the person cares about her she will attribute all sorts of negative motives to them (especially males).
Due to trust issues, Kitty’s reactions are often subtle at school, but believe me she is frequently under major emotional distress at which point she “shuts down” (not learning or remembering!) and is extremely emotionally fragile and at risk. Some things to watch for:
- Gentle teasing, constructive criticism, or even just the feeling of disapproval, is often perceived as yelling, accusing, and hateful. Kitty has difficulty with teasing, (both peers and adults). She “dishes it” (we are working on this), but she can’t “take it.” Kitty’s usual response to this at school is to dissociate (freeze, change the subject, or tattle – based on her interpretation of events).
- If Kitty’s speech or laughter sounds loud and pressured, she appears agitated, is overly sensitive, or she is popping her knuckles – she is very distressed.
- Although fairly stable now, Kitty has been both suicidal and aggressive. Due to her attachment issues, the child you see at school is not the same one that lives with us.
- Kitty’s distress frequently exhibits as physical illness (nausea, stomach aches, tiredness, ear aches, headaches…). This feels very real to her, and occasionally it is real. We suggest asking her to rate the pain on a scale of 1 to 10. I believe this is in her BIP. If this is not done she will be in the nurse’s office frequently - days with substitutes almost guarantee this. Calling me as needed is fine.
- FYI, she has some bladder issues and may not be able to “hold it.” I strongly recommend letting her use the restroom if she requests it. We can keep a spare change of clothes at school if needed.
Kitty has many gaps in her education – some of these are due to her:
- Cerebral dysrhythmia (brain damage) and learning disabilities.
- Constant moving and changing schools throughout her traumatic childhood.
- Severe Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – which even now can cause her to react as though she is in a highly stressful environment. It’s difficult to learn math and spelling when you’re in the middle of a war zone.
Please contact me for any and all issues with Kitty. I need to be kept abreast of all situations, and I will do the same for you. I am available 95% of the day. I do work, but have flexibility on my job and can be reached by phone at almost any time. I will return your call as quickly as possible if I am in a meeting, or you can reach my husband, Hubby, at ###-####.
Yours in Partnership,