"Beacon House has the multidisciplinary composition, and specialist Attachment Disorder expertise, to offer a comprehensive therapeutic needs assessment and recommendations for intervention, and the team to deliver it. The systemic intervention through school is vital – mainstream schools, that I have come into contact with, do not have any expertise in Attachment Disorder or recognition that they do not have this vital understanding, and so continue increasingly angrily to try to force anxious and insecure children to conform by trying to make them fit the round-hole, using behavioural principles, perceiving them to be wilfully disobedient/oppositional, and their parents to be pandering and neurotic.
Having Beacon House professionals corroborate our views, gives the school the confidence to broaden their perspective, and consider the need to approach our children in a different way if they are going to be able to settle to learn. Those children with parents who do get it, and have resources like Beacon House to support them, are able to fight for things to be different through the EHCP process, but there are lots of very insecure and anxious children in the mainstream school system who are just being blamed at school - if an audit were done I am sure that many of the children receiving school sanctions would have a history of disrupted attachments, some of whom would be adopted children.
Schools can be amazingly blaming and bullying, and parents who feel frustrated and stressed and unable to figure it out either can easily hand down the blame to the children if they do not feel confident in their views about their child’s presentation. If all newly placed adoptive children and their families were automatically seen within the first few months of placement, by an organisation like Beacon House, to normalise the traumatic, stressful, overwhelming event that this episode in all of their lives necessarily is, it would make an amazing difference.
If it was routine then people wouldn’t feel fearful that they specifically were failing - just that this is amazingly hard, impossible to anticipate until you are going through it, and difficult to describe/admit to anyone else, and also impossible for birth families to comprehend – therefore all of your existing friends and family think you are stressing, embellishing, just not into parenting yet – which means you feel all at sea without support, unless you have other adoptive families to refer to.
Maybe Beacon House could offer a link-up service to families who don’t have any other adoptive-family contacts? Initially (last October) my Post Adoption allocated worker was able to get quick approval from the ASF for my son’s assessment, and I was sent timely appointments from Beacon House. It did however then take about 6 weeks from the time of our last assessment appointment to our feedback appointment, and it was then that our Therapeutic Needs assessment and recommendations for intervention were forwarded to the ASF for consideration, and it then took another 2 months for a decision, which was ultimately approval, to come through.
Within 2 weeks I have been offered appointments to begin, but due to the summer holidays and busy diaries we cannot really get going for another 6 weeks. Whilst this isn’t crisis intervention, waiting for intervention to begin is very difficult when your child still has to go into school everyday and as a parent I have to support, and defend, and explain, and try to get people to adjust their thinking and approach almost daily. We have benefitted hugely by the ASF, I am quite certain my son would not have been offered the specialist services that he has if it were not for this funding.
He would almost certainly not still be in mainstream education. I hope that this is helpful in planning the ongoing implementation of the ASF, both locally and nationally. Our children really do have a lot of ground to make up, and access to specialist therapeutic services, that facilitate them being able to settle to learn at school, and remediate their attachment styles it vital.