To Be a Mother of a Young Child with Reactive Attachment Disorder

I have sat down to write this post more times than I can count.  My hands shake as I type.  Emotions are high, and I can no longer stay silent. 

Everyone needs to understand what it’s like to be a mother of a young child with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). 

Even if you can’t fathom it, if you think it’s fake, or if it’s too much to bear, you NEED to know.

Why?  Because though you may not believe it, you most likely know a mother who has a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder. 

Or worse yet, your child has a classmate with Reactive Attachment Disorder and could become their next victim.

Whatever the case may be, this is something everyone must know.
To Be a Mother of a Young Child with Reactive Attachment Disorder

To be a mother of a young child with Reactive Attachment Disorder

Tonight was another rough night at our house.  One of my RADlings went into a rage, calmed down long enough to catch her breath and then decided to go a second round. 

I was home alone with the four kids while my husband was at work.

Everyone in the house knows the drill.  The goal is to get her safely to her room.  When not in her room, anything can be used as a weapon. 

That’s why all sharp objects are locked up, all plates, cups, and bowls are plastic, and we have adopted a minimalist lifestyle. 

If you’re upstairs when she starts to rage, you stay in your room and shut the door.  If you’re downstairs, you either go to your room or get to a safe place out of her reach until it’s over. 

This isn’t just the protocol for the children of the household.  My husband and I do it too, once she is in her room. 

We fall victim to her attacks just as often, if not more than anyone else.  But we know if anything is going to stop her and help the situation it’s that everyone has left her alone. 

She hates being alone.

Then we wait. 

I often pray.
  
Will she calm down?  Will she choose to stay safe?  Will she remain in her room?  Is there anything I can do to snap her out of this? 

Oh please God let everyone stay safe and help me know what to do!

We listen to her.

“I want to kill you!  I wish you were dead! I wish everyone in this house was dead!”

Sometimes she can calm down.  Most often not so much. 

There are times when she will choose to stay safe on her own without intervention.  But there are so many times she doesn’t. 

And staying in her room…  Oh how I thank God for the times she does decide to stay put.  Because when she doesn’t things just get worse.

Distracting her doesn’t work, she’s too determined to pick a fight. 

Mimicking her behaviors to show her how silly they are only brings about more rage. 

Giving her a hug causes her to be violent.  

Ignoring the behaviors means someone else gets hurt. 

Sometimes yelling above her blood curdling screams may get her attention, but sometimes that doesn’t work either.

At times threatening to call the cops or taking her to the hospital brings her back to reality.  But then sometimes it doesn’t, and she could care less.  We’ve almost been at the point where we needed to, but it’s always a last resort.

Because let’s be honest, what would an uneducated police officer or doctor think when you call for help regarding your young elementary school aged child with Reactive Attachment Disorder? 

It’s not until the child is eight years old that a hospital emergency mental health on call worker might consider your plea for help.  But that’s very rare.

It doesn’t matter the child’s size or strength.

And heaven forbid if your child has calmed down by the time the police arrive, or you get to the hospital, especially if she’s absolutely adorable and knows how to work the crowd. 

You must have evidence whether it’s someone or something.  There must be a victim to be believed.

What’s more common is you being criticized for your parenting skills if not in person, then behind your back. 

And if you’re really “lucky” whomever you see may call child protective services too.  Not because they’re concerned about your safety and wellbeing, but because they’re worried about the child you’re so desperately trying to help, but can’t. 

Because in the end, children will always be innocent… 

Even when they’re not. 

It’s always the parent’s fault. 

Always. 

It all comes down to discipline, right?

Discipline… 

We ran out of options years ago.  Keeping everyone safe is the only goal we have now.  This is not because we’re incompetent or are horrible parents.  It’s because we’ve tried EVERYTHING and then some, and nothing works.

We’ve talked to therapists, doctors, and specialists. 

We’ve gone to the parent training classes again and again. 

We’ve had case workers in our home. 

None of it worked. 

The only benefit to all these appointments and trainings is that we have more documentation that it’s not just us.

This brings us comfort, only because we can show this documentation to the police and to child protective services when they knock at our door.  It’s only when enough others say there’s a problem with our child, that they might believe us.

One case worker who visited our home regularly described our plight as being held hostage by our child.  Yet when she worked hard to find resources and help for our family, government red tape stopped every single bit of progress.

A trauma experienced therapist who met our RADLING, as we begged for her to be seen, said our daughter was too unformed to work with.

The developmental pediatrician told us she wasn’t an expert and couldn’t help us much past diagnosis but knew this was going to be the hardest thing we’d ever done. 

This doctor did sit with me through a few rages that occurred in her office though, complimenting on how well of a job I was doing as I had to restrain my child for safety reasons. 
   
I was calm.  I was kind. I was trying to help.

At least I wasn’t alone that time, and I had more documentation.

Believe it or not, there are some children who don’t respond to any form of parenting techniques.  Instead they provoke, harm, and hurt others.

Believe it or not there are some children who do not feel remorse or have a conscience.  Instead they get a high from causing harm to others.

Believe it or not, medications don’t fix everything, and the wrong medications make things so much worse.

Believe it or not trauma experienced in the womb and during those first years of life can cause permanent brain damage and can completely change a life.

To be a mother of a young child with Reactive Attachment Disorder means you learn these ugly truths first hand.

What does a mother do?

So, what does a mother do when she needs help but can’t get it?

What does she do when she’s being abused by her own young child? 

There are laws in place that protect a child and spouse from abuse, but none that protect a parent from the abuse of a child, even when there are bruises and documentation and worse…

What does a mother do when she’s doing all she can to teach her children never to be okay with an abusive relationship, but then must live the realities of an abusive relationship in the presence of those same children, not because she wants to, but because she’s the mother of abuser, who happens to be one of their siblings?

What does a mother do when she’s taught her children to call the police if they’re ever unsafe, yet when the police are called because a sibling with Reactive Attachment Disorder is being abusive, the police do nothing about it and instead tell the mother to control her kid?

What does a mother do when she’s taught her children that doctors are helpers and are in the business of saving people, yet the doctor the mother has gone to won’t help in the case of Reactive Attachment Disorder?

What does a mother do when she’s taught her children to speak out and ask for help, yet they watch her do that every single chance she gets, and no help comes?

What does a mother do when she’s taught her children to tell the truth, yet when they do, no one believes them or instead reports the mother to child protective services?

What does a mother do when she’s reached out for help but instead child protective services is coming to investigate and interview all her children to prove that she is the problem? 

Because once again, it’s always the parents, right?

There are so many things wrong with how our society chooses to handle Reactive Attachment Disorder. 

So many refuse to believe it exists. 

Others may know about it but choose not to consider it their problem.

Doctors and therapists lack education and experience, often misdiagnosing the condition and making things worse rather than better.  They implement treatment plans that won’t work and prescribe medications that make things worse.

It’s considered a mental health issue, which means that nobody wants to take responsibility for it. 
There are very few resources out there and insurance almost always WON’T cover it.

To be a mother of a young child with Reactive Attachment means you are alone, isolated, and without support.

Unless it’s something related to improving your parenting skills, as if you don’t have enough of a complex already.

And gosh darn it the worst part of all of this is, despite how angry and fearful and exhausted a mother of a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder feels, we still try to do the best we can. 

We try to fill our days with hope, tallying up the good moments, for when things are so bad. 

We give all our love, even when it’s never received. 

We fight for our RAD child, even when we’re the ones being hurt. 

We lie awake at night filled with worry that never seems to go away.

We implement safety plans, educate, and advocate, no matter the cost.

And then we fight for our children some more. 

Because just maybe this time someone will listen and believe us.

Maybe someone can actually help before things get worse and it’s too late.

Because there is a time when it will be too late. 

Victims won’t just be family members. 

Our worst fears will become a reality.

Everyone will have failed. 

This is what it’s like to be a mother of a young child with Reactive Attachment Disorder.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below.
From the Mother of a Bully Day to Day Life Parenting A Child with Reactive Attachment Disorder A Safety Plan for Mental Health 4 Steps to Managing Aggressive Behaviors Reactive Attachment Disorder Support and Resources Holidays and PTSD: A Parent's Guide to Survival
To Be a Mother of a Young Child with Reactive Attachment Disorder

Read More »

Alternative Montessori Counting and Number Materials and Resources for Children with Special Needs

Montessori materials and lessons used to teach numbers and counting are fabulous and work for most children.  But at times you run into a child who may be an exception to this rule.  In most cases this child has special needs.

And let's be clear, it's not that Montessori doesn't work.  The child may just need extra supports and/or resources to be successful.

Or, the child is not developmentally ready for the material and lesson, but shows a desire to learn it.

Here are our alternative Montessori counting and number materials and resources for children with special needs.
Alternative Montessori Counting and Number Materials and Resources for Children with Special Needs

Consider the following situations where the traditional Montessori numbers and counting materials may pose a challenge to a child with special needs.

  • Sensory issues
  • Motor issues
  • Coordination issues
  • Low muscle tone
  • Physical limitations
  • Visual impairment
  • Auditory impairment
  • Speech impairment
  • Emotional Outbursts or Meltdowns
  • Aggression
  • Stimming
  • Inability to focus
  • Executive functioning issues
Here is a list of the alternatives we have used in our classroom and also some that still remain on my wish list!  They have been life savers for us, until our kids were ready for the traditional materials, and in some cases instead of the traditional materials.

Numerical Rod Alternatives

Alternative to large Montessori numerical rods: Small numerical rods

In place of the numerical rods, why not try the Montessori Small Numerical Rods?  They are a fabulous choice for those who can not physically handle work with the numerical rods, and for those who struggle with safety awareness, emotional outbursts, meltdowns and/or aggression.  Sunshine and Princess use ours on a regular basis.
Math abacus for learning to count to 10

There are some children who may suffer from vision impairment and are unable to distinguish the difference between red and blue on the number rods.  In this instance consider the Math Abacus Number Learning and Counting Stacker.  The child can feel the numbers separately and when they go together, building them in a sequence.

If the child can see but needs the abacus for another reason, you could even paint the rings Montessori colors!


Sandpaper Number Alternatives

Alternative to Montessori Sandpaper Numbers for those who are hearing impaired.

The Plan Toys Hand Sign Numbers 1-10 are perfect for a child with a hearing impairment and/or one who lacks the ability to communicate verbally.  Teaching sign language can be so helpful.  We have these at home and my children love them.  They're not as great as the sandpaper numbers, but they certainly work.
Alternative to Montessori Sandpaper Numbers for those who are vision impaired

The Plan Toys Braille Numbers 1-10 are fabulous for a child with a vision impairment.  Numbers on these cards are indented, so the child can feel and trace them as well.
Alternative to Montessori Sandpaper Numbers for children with special needs

For the child who can't handle the feel of sandpaper numbers or who struggles with fine motor skills, the Motor Numbers are a perfect addition to the classroom.  Just think of all of the pincer grasp practice! I can not wait to get these for Sunshine has she HATES the feel of the sandpaper letters.

Spindle Box Alternatives

Though the Spindle Box and Spindles may not be the heaviest Montessori material, they still are pretty bulky. For a child with low muscle tone, physical limitations, and motor issues, the materials can still pose a problem.  You may want to consider a DIY version of this material if there are issues.


Numbers and Counters Alternatives

Alternative to Montessori Numbers and Counters for children with special needs

As a special accommodation consider the Peg Number Board.  The child can pick up where he left off, if he does get distracted.  The peg holes are an extra control when counting.  Putting the pegs in the holes is extra motor practice.  Using this material may not teach odd versus even numbers, but that can be taught at a later date if necessary when the child is ready.

Montessori Bead Stair Alternatives

Montessori Math Bead Bar Printable Pack Bundle

For a child who struggles to use the Montessori Bead Stair, consider the Montessori Math Bead Bar Printable Pack Bundle in Print or Cursive.  It has everything you could possibly need to teach numbers and counting the Montessori way.  They also work great as an extra control when working with the math bead bars, teens and tens boards.

Be sure to check out the Montessori Math Bead Bar Printable Pack in Action to see just how amazing this bundle is!  We use it on a daily basis in our classroom.

Teens and Tens Boards Alternatives and Resources

Alternative to Montessori Teens Board for children with special needs.

If you have a child who struggles with the Montessori Teens Boards due to physical limitations and motor skills consider the Montessori Teen Bead Bar Hanger (Does not come with bead bars).  It may be easier to use.

Once again consider the Montessori Math Bead Bar Printable Pack Bundle in Print or Cursive.  You can use the printables alone or with Montessori beads.  There is a book about teen numbers that can be used as an extra control when working with the traditional Montessori material as well.

And when learning tens and numbers to a hundred, the Montessori Math Bead Bar Printable Pack Bundle in Print or Cursive is an amazing resource!

Introduction to Gold Bead Material and Decimal System Alternatives & Resources

Resource for introduction of the Montessori gold bead material.

For the child who struggles to focus, struggles with executive functioning, or becomes distracted easily the Montessori Place Value Mat is an amazing resource.  It provides so much extra support along with one more control when working with the decimal system.  We have one at home and LOVE it!

For the child who struggles with physical challenges and cannot handle the golden bead material, you may need to skip over it and work with the Stamp Game.  This isn't ideal, but if it's necessary, then do it.

If the golden material and the stamp game do not work for various reasons, consider the Montessori Small Bead Frame.  It is the last of these three materials to introduce and is quite abstract, but if you are able to present the correlation in lessons, and reinforce it as you work together with the child, something is always better than nothing.

Hundred Board

For the child who struggles with the hundred board consider taking a different approach.  If the child can write, have them write the numbers in order with a printable version of the board. Consider using stamps.

Most children struggle with this material due to lack of focus, executive functioning struggles, stimming etc.  Though a child may not be able to use the traditional material now, over time, he may.

As a Montessori teacher at home or at school, the goal is to always use the traditional Montessori materials and present lessons in the prescribed manner. But in scenarios where that isn't possible with a child who has special needs, alternatives and extra resources are necessary.

The alternatives, resources, and ideas in this post have helped my children immensely.  Over time we've been able to progress to the traditional materials without the supports in many cases.  And in those areas where we can't yet, we're using resources that are as close to the original materials as possible.

The materials and resources in this post allow those who otherwise wouldn't be able to learn in a Montessori environment, do so in a way that is supportive of the method and all that Dr. Montessori stands for.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below.
The ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs The Three Period Lesson Visual Prompts Special Needs Support and Resources

Alternative Montessori Counting and Number Materials and Resources for Children with Special Needs

Read More »

Native American Indian Activities with Free Printables

This year the kids literally begged to study American History.  Obviously we complied with their request and have been having a blast learning everything we can.  I've found it fascinating to watch how all four kiddos have gravitated towards learning about Native American Indians.  They just can't get enough!

As part of our studies we presented these four Native American Indian Activities with Free Printables.  I love how each one teaches a different aspect of Indian life.
Montessori-inspired Native American Indian Activities with Free Printables

Here's what's on our shelves!

Native American Indian Nomenclature Cards
FREE Native American Indian Nomenclature Cards
Sunshine thoroughly enjoyed working with these cards. She has such an interest in developing her vocabulary right now.  I love the images used for these cards.

Source:  Jason and I created the free printable for this activity as part of the Native American Indian Printable Pack 1.   This is a subscriber's only freebie.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to subscribe to our weekly newsletter and receive your free copy.

Native American Indian Home 3-Part Cards
Native American Indian Homes Activity for Kids
Not all Native American Indians lived in Tepees.  This is a great activity that introduces just how many different types of homes there were.

Source:  The free printable for this activity can be found at Montessori for Everyone.

Native American Indian Geographic Areas Activity
Native American Indian Geographic Areas Activity with Free Printables
It's so easy to assume that all Native American Indians lived the same type of life, but that's far from true.  In this activity the kiddos learned about all of the different geographic areas where various tribes lived.

The kiddos placed the corresponding colored beads on the map as they matched up pictures and information cards about each geographic area.

Source: Jason and I created the free printable for this activity as part of our Native American Indian Printable Pack 1.  This is a subscriber's only freebie. For your free copy, click on the link to subscriber to our FREE weekly newsletter at the bottom of this post.

Famous Native American Indians in History
FREE Famous Native American Indians in History Match Up Cards
Everyone loves to learn about heroes in history!  These cards give information about famous Native American Indians.  They are known for so many different things.

Source:  Jason and I created the free printable for this activity.  This is a subscriber's only freebie. For your free copy, click on the link to subscribe to our FREE weekly newsletter at the bottom of this post.

It has been so wonderful to watch the kiddos learn about the Native American Indians and develop such a love and appreciation for them.  I love that our American History studies have started here!

For those interested in the free printables click the link below.  Once you have subscribed you will receive a thank you message with a link to the subscriber's only freebies page along with the password you need to access them.

Subscribe to our FREE Weekly Newsletter

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below.
The First Thanksgiving: Native American Indians Free Printables Holiday Activities & Free Printables

http://www.everystarisdifferent.com/p/subscriber-only-freebies.html


Read More »

FREE ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs Pilot Course

Are you new to Montessori? Perhaps you’re new to special needs? No matter which of the two is foreign and which is familiar, the FREE ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs Pilot Course is for you! Heck, it’s designed for everyone no matter how experienced or skilled you are.

But wait? How in the world will you fit this in to your busy schedule? We all know Montessori teachers and parents of children with special needs are BUSY! This course is specifically designed for those who are stressed, exhausted, and constantly trying to keep up with crazy adventures in life


FREE ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs Pilot Course

The ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs Pilot Course is accessible when it’s convenient for you. If you fall behind, you can catch up, or just jump in when life settles. Those who may feel confident in one area but not in another can choose when and how often they participate.

How about those who feel completely overwhelmed and are starting from the beginning? This course works through each letter of the Montessori and Special Needs Alphabet one week at a time. That means 28 weeks of discussions and support. You will have time to process information, put it into action, and ask as many questions as you want.

On top of working through The ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs, each week of the course will have a Montessori focus, whether it’s teaching multiplication or understanding the Sensorial materials and curriculum.

Yes, you read that right! Be prepared for weekly discussions about Montessori materials, resources, and accommodations that meet the needs of your child. I am so excited to have input from both parents and certified Montessori teachers participating.

The main goal of this course is to help you feel capable and confident when teaching your child with special needs using the Montessori Method at home or school.

By now you’re probably thinking this is too good to be true. How can a course this long and detailed be free? What’s the catch?


Recommended Materials


There is no catch. The ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs Pilot Course is 100% FREE. The only thing you may want to spend money on is a copy of my book, The ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs.

This book will be our syllabus. Each chapter will be the focus of one week of the course. By reading along you will be fully prepared to participate in discussions and ask questions.

And if you’re already starting to panic about finding time to read a book. I promise you, chapters are no more than a few pages at most.

But wait? How much does the book cost?

To make my book more affordable for everyone wanting to take the course, I have decided to have a 50% off sale on all digital copies of The ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs through Thursday, February 1, 2018.

 At no other time will you ever be able to purchase this book at such an incredible price.  There is no need for a special code.  The discount is already reflected in the price.

For those who prefer the paperback version of the book, you are more than welcome to make a purchase on Amazon, however the book will not be on sale there.

How Do I Sign Up?


The ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs Pilot Course will take place on The ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs Facebook Community Page. There is no limit to those taking the course. All you need to do is join the group and get ready!


When Does It Start?


The ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs Pilot Course starts on Thursday, February 1, 2018. Check the community page regularly for discussions, resources, periodic Facebook live sessions, and so much more.  The course will end Thursday, August 9, 2018.

In the meantime, don’t forget to order your own copy of The ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs!

I can’t wait to get started! This pilot course has been a dream of mine for almost a year now. And in case you’re wondering, this will be the ONLY time this course is available for free. 

Don’t miss out on a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a community of support while taking advantage of amazing course material!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.
Montessori Inspired Homeschooling Support and Resources Free Printables Special Needs

Read More »

Montessori-inspired Volcano Activities with Free Printables

Bulldozer loves geology and has shown a particular interest in volcanoes lately.  I couldn't resist the opportunity to review some basic concepts and then expand to others based on questions he's had.

These Montessori-inspired volcano activities with free printables have been a huge it in our classroom.  So much that when I rotated them out the first time, the kids begged for them to come back.
Montessori-inspired Volcano Activities with Free Printables
Here's what we've been up to!

Parts of a Volcano
Parts of a Volcano Free Printable
Using the cards provided the kids, especially Princess and Sunshine, enjoyed creating their own Parts of a Volcano books.  They colored the specific parts mentioned on each card, and then depending on abilities either traced or wrote the words of each part.

Source:  The free printable for this activity can be found at The Helpful Garden.

Parts of a Volcano with LEGO
Parts of a Volcano with LEGO
Bulldozer and his brother are very much into everything LEGO, but we've never used the blocks in the classroom until this project.  I challenged to the boys to build the layers of a volcano with LEGO bricks.  It proved to be much more challenging than they thought, but they stuck with it.  If you look closely you can see all parts of the volcano mentioned on the cards in the activity above.

Types of Volcano Eruption Match Up
Types of Volcano Eruption Match Up Free Printable
As Bulldozer was enjoying multiple volcano books we checked out from our local library he discovered that there are different types of eruptions.  This was fascinating to him and he asked for more information .We responded with this match up activity.

Source:  Jason created this free printable as part of our Volcano Printable Pack 1.  This is a subscriber's only freebie. For your free copy, click on the subscriber's link at the bottom of this post.  Once you have subscribed to our free newsletter, you will receive a thank you message with the link to the subscriber's freebie page and the password you need to access it.

Type of Volcanoes Sort
Type of Volcanoes Sort Free Printable
Not only are their multiple types of eruptions, but there are also several different types of volcanoes. In this activity the kids match up the type of volcano with it's definition and then sort the famous volcanoes by type.

Source:  Jason created this free printable as part of our Volcano Printable Pack 1.  This is a subscriber's only freebie. For your free copy, click on the subscriber's link at the bottom of this post.  Once you have subscribed to our free newsletter, you will receive a thank you message with the link to the subscriber's freebie page and the password you need to access it.

Studying volcanoes with the kids has been so much fun.  I, like Bulldozer love any chance to study aspects of geology.

If you are interested in our free printables, please click the link below.

Subscriber Only Freebies


If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below.
Earth Unit Rocks & Minerals Earth Science Activities and Free Printables

Volcano Activities for kids with free printables.

Read More »

Get Access to Exclusive Special Needs Parenting Printables by Subscribing Below




HERE'S WHAT'S POPULAR ON EVERY STAR IS DIFFERENT