B.I.A.S.

B.I.A.S.

Brains In Arse Syndrome.

Who says that to a child with trauma and dyspraxia and learning difficulties?

Apparently Kelly’s foster dad.

That poor girl. Even in jest that’s a horrid thing to say to someone much less a child who has problems telling if someone is joking of not.

We reported this back to her case worker via the appropriate channels. I know they are working with him to help him understand trauma and it’s impact on children.

Kinship care is so difficult because there’s so little training and resources available for carers. Is it any wonder that 30% of the emergency placements we have personally had have been kiinship placements that have failed?

As foster carers we chose this path. We appilied to do it. We did the training and assessments, the home visits and interviews. We got into this with our eyes open, more or less, because all the training in the world sometimes can’t prepare you for this journey. But we chose to do it.

Kinship carers get a call, often out of the blue, to take in a relatives child, and sometimes it’s not a close relative. A cousin. A second cousin maybe. There is a mad scramble to get a background check done and a home safety check, but there’s no time to go through all the training. I’m sure in many cases there’s a cartain ammount of guilt that accompanies a kinship placement. It’s a relative, someone you feel obliged to help. They are innocent children. But, they are also traumatised children.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if the department recognised that just because a child is placed with family, it doesn’t mean that the family instantly know how to deal with these children and what they have been through. In David’s case, he went to an Aunt that hadn’t seen him since he was a baby. When she asked for respite because she needed a break it was unavailable. Would that placement still be going if she had been able to get respite?

Kelly has been with her carer almost 8 years now, and to try and keep the placement going the department is FINALLY doing something with her foster dad. Giving him help and support and teaching him about trauma and how it’s affected  her brain developement and why telling her she has Brains in Arse Syndrome is adding to her trauma.

But why should things get to the point where everyone is ready to throw in the towel before something is done? Wouldn’t it be far better to earlier in the placement provide help, support and training? Wouldn’t it be better to try to prevent problems in the placement early on, rather than trying to repair it?

 

 

 

 

Light Bulb

Don’t you love when you have that ‘light bulb’ moment and everything becomes clear and you feel like a genius at first, until you wonder why it took you so long to work it out and then you wonder why no one bothered to tell you?

“Kelly” has been having respite here for almost 3 years now. For over 2 of those years she has been coming here fortnightly. That’s a lot of respite.

In that time we have seen some amazing changes in “Kelly”. Seeing that progress lets you know she is healing and all the brain connections are starting to join the right way and it’s so exciting to watch.

But, the last couple of months have been a struggle. A real struggle. She’s not just made any progress, in fact, it’s almost been the  complete opposite of progress.

This morning was so frustrating. Yesterday we talked to “Kelly” about the new basket in her bathroom for her dirty laundry and that she is not to bring her laundry down and dump it on the kitchen floor anymore. This morning her towels were hanging over the balustrade, I mentioned that is not where they belong and her reply was “I’ll take them downstairs in a minute.” After 5 minutes of discussion about where the towels should go I got her to go in the bathroom and asked her to look around and tell me where she should put them. I have to give it to her, she had a lot of suggestions. Hang them on the shower. over the bath, fold them and place them on the toilet, or the hand basin. “Kelly” even suggested hanging them on the door, I don’t know how that would work, there’s no hook there. Eventually she worked out to put them in the basket, but it was one of the most frustrating experiences seeing as we talked about it less than 24 hours ago.

I dropped her at school, and called MM to debrief and it was when I hung up that I had the light bulb moment.

A few months ago “Kelly” disclosed to the police what had happened to her when she was little. Her Foster Dad let us know after talking with the police that her bed wetting had returned, proof that we were correct, it was trauma related and not a medical condition. We had never really had much of a problem with “Kelly’s” bed wetting, and since disclosing, she hasn’t had any problems here so we haven’t given much thought to her having any follow on problems since having to relive her trauma.

That was until today.

When “Kelly” first started coming for respite she couldn’t follow more than one instruction at a time. You couldn’t just tell her to get ready for bed as there were too many steps involved. It had to be broken down into singles steps, and eventually she was able to link them together as one. We seem to be back there. Telling her what needs to be done tomorrow will be forgotten by tomorrow (as shown by forgetting about the washing basket), and many reminders need to be given.

Now the light bulb has gone off it will help us remain cool under pressure, because it is a pressure situation when you have to explain the same thing…again, when it’s something we assume a much younger child could do without instructions.

Now the light bulb has gone off we just have to remember all the things we did in the early days with “Kelly” and start doing them over again and hope that by taking the step back with her we can help her make those forward steps back to where she was, much faster.

Now the light bulb has gone off I wonder does her dad know about this regression? If so, why has he not bothered to tell us? Does her social worker know? Why hasn’t she passed along the information? Are we the first to put 2 and 2 together and work out that she’s not being lazy, not being a pain in the neck teenager, but her mind is struggling to deal with her trauma all over again? Are we on the right track? Time will tell. In 2 weeks time we’ll be able to put my theory to the test and see if we have any more success.