When your adopted teen has a sudden change of staff.

We have a great deal of parents of traumatised adopted teens who struggle at school.


when your adopted teen has a sudden change of staff

Their troubles are often to do with the ways school run and how tricky things can be to negotiate when you have had a lot of early traumas, prior to adoption.


One of our adoptive parents has written a really helpful, insightful piece on how it is for our adoptive young people facing staff changes in school.


It can be a HUGE problem. This short piece from the adopted young persons point of view,  covers many of the reasons why: -


"I am a traumatised young person with attachment issues and sensory modulation problems. My world is a very scary place.


In my early years my life was unpredictable and unsafe and my physical and emotional needs were not met. To survive I adopted strategies which, although they are now no longer needed, have become so much a part of me that I cannot abandon them. At times of stress they can be triggered automatically and often produce a response way out of proportion to the actual situation. This is because my body spent so long living with danger that it can respond to everyday circumstances as major threats.


My internal working model is that all adults are unsafe and are likely to let me down, cause me harm or, if I let them get too close, disappear without warning. It is very hard for me to develop a trusting relationship and can take a seemingly impossible length of time.


However, when I have no access to a "safe" person I am likely to be permanently on the alert for danger. This sends me into "survival mode" and it is not possible for me to do anything other than survive in this mode. I cannot access my thinking brain, I cannot learn anything, and my responses are largely outside of my own control. It is very frightening for me.


When someone I have considered to be a "safe" person seems to have let me down this reinforces my belief that all adults are unsafe and cannot be trusted, hence making it even harder for me to make other relationships. It also shakes my confidence in my own ability to make and sustain relationships and my ability to discern who is an appropriate person to develop a relationship with. It can also make me feel that I am not worthy of anyone having a relationship with me.


Because I have a long history of loss, rejection and being let down, when this seems to have happened to me again it can reactivate grief from previous losses. It can also lead me to question other relationships in my life. Therefore, I need as much support as possible with changes in key people around me.


My sensory modulation problems make me prone to cumulative overload. Because it is a cumulative process, which is also impacted, amongst other things, by my emotional state (including how safe I feel), I never know when it is going to happen. It is very frightening, and I rely on adults around me who know me well enough to read the sometimes very subtle signs and to take the appropriate action for me. If this doesn't happen then I take my overload home and it comes out in an explosion.


It takes me more than 1 day to recover from a big overload, so they can get progressively worse over a term since each successive day starts with me being already partially overloaded. Because of my trauma history, the fear and anxiety about being in overload can also trigger me into a survival state, which again means that I cannot learn anything or access my thinking brain.


It is a major challenge for me making it through every day and I rely heavily on the help and support of trusted "safe" people. Therefore, I need very high levels of support in relation to staff changes."


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