Rejection and Attachment Disorder

I’ve written previously on the subject of attachment disorder as it’s a subject close to my heart. To give this post some context I have a 6 year old grandson who has been adopted into our family. For reasons that I won’t go into he has attachment disorder and some other challenges that he faces on a daily basis. At school he has a spikey profile, he is the best reader in his class yet struggles with basic numbers. He has an absolute obsession with football and knows all the players and clubs in the top flight and the next 3 divisions. Autism? Very likely, but for now attachment is the thing that holds him back.

Little is known about attachment disorder and I’m learning as I go. Despite many years in SEND education I haven’t come across this and I haven’t seen how much it can affect a child until recently.

Yesterday my grandson came out of school in near hysterics I’m told. He was heartbroken. It had been World Book Day and for the 26 children in his class there were 6 prizes on offer. He hadn’t won one. Now I know that many people will be thinking that this is a life lesson and he has to learn that he can’t win all the time. I agree with this in principle but the school and his teacher have been told about his attachment disorder. They have had some training and they know that for a child like this not winning means rejection. By consistently not winning a prize he believes his teacher is rejecting him and that she doesn’t like him. I’m not suggesting he must win a prize every time, not at all. That wouldn’t be fair or inclusive. I’m asking if his teacher can take the time to talk to him and explain that he hasn’t won but that she loves the effort he’s put in. Can she make him feel special for just one minute. It’s not a huge challenge for his teacher to deal with, but the consequences of him not winning or being spoken to are enormous for this little boy.

If you want to know more about attachment and rejection there is much research out there. For me, seeing this little boy in tears because he hasn’t won a prize or been forewarned tells me everything I need to know. My hope for the next time is that his teacher refers to the training she has had and gently tells him that he hasn’t won this time but she loves his work.