wonderingmom asks:

Failing 9th grader and trauma

I am at a loss as to what to do. My daughter was a social butterfly and very successful in school. Toward the end of her 8th grade year she was sexually assaulted (raped), it has been downhill from there, the case goes to trial in a week. My question however, is what to do with her schooling, she is failing everything in high school and it is a struggle to even get her to go, most times I dont fight because I can see she is going thru so much pain. We have her in therapy, but I am looking for suggestions as to where to begin and help her start to recover academically. I appreciate all answers, thank you.
In Topics: Self esteem and identity, Teen issues
> 60 days ago



Dec 10, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Dear WonderingMom,

My heart goes out to you and your daughter. I am so very sorry to hear that your daughter was the victim of a sexual assault. I imagine this is a very difficult time that has tested everyone in the family.

I'm relieved to hear that your daughter's assailant has been brought to trial. I think that it will be a difficult, but important experience to actively participate in the prosecution of this individual. As you likely know, in many instances like this, the victim is left feeling vulnerable and weak. It can be very empowering to engage in the trial in a very active way.

And, I'm pleased to hear that your daughter is in therapy. She will likely need quite a bit of therapeutic support and time to heal from this trauma.

Ok, now you asked about her academics. Are the folks at her school aware of the assault? The principal, teachers, special education coordinator? I ask because the most appropriate avenue is probably to work with the school to explore accommodations and support services for her. Mainly, I believe that she would benefit from special education services. Special education services are appropriate for a wide variety of students and cover challenges that extend way beyond traditional learning differences.

Thus, if she is not already involved in special education, I recommend that you contact the school special education administrator (you should be able to get their contact information from the school website or front desk). Call and request a meeting to discuss a plan for supporting your daughter during this very difficult time for her. Hopefully, the administrator will be easy to work with and you can proceed quickly to an evaluation and eventually, a 504 Plan or Individualized Education Plan (IEP). I think that your daughter will most likely qualify for a 504 Plan, and she may be eligible for an IEP (more legal "teeth" to this kind of document).

If you need additional help and information on navigating special education, you can search for the Parent Information Center in your state at the following URL: http://www.nichcy.org/Pages/StateSpecificInfo.aspx

Some accommodations may involve a "pass" for her to leave the class and go to the nurse's office or library for "quiet time" if she is feeling stressed and overwhelmed in the classroom. Alternatively, she may need extra time on tests or leniency on absences. There are a large number of possible supports in place. The team will be able to come up with a great strategy.

I wish you strength and serenity and good luck on a quick and smooth trial.

Warm regards,

Laura Kauffman, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist
Education.com JustAsk Expert

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Additional Answers (1)

hummingbird26 writes:
I was raped when I was 14 he stole my v something I can never get back or give the man I love. I quit school and started using drugs and had alot of sex partners I lost myself worth and I still haven't fully recovered but I didn't tell until 3 years after I meet my husband when I was 18 and we have 2 beautiful girls we have been together for 9 years after I had our first daughter I received my GED and I and Im a stay at home mom because of the fear to let someone else watch my children but I have had alot more happen to me when I was a child that with every year I become a little stronger what ever you do don't push her to hard and never stop fighting for her because she will over come this as long as she not alone and don't talk about it if she wants to talk about it she will just always be there when she needs to talk I promise it will get better each and every day but for now but only after the trial is gone and over remember this IT'S ALWAYS DARKEST BEFORE THE DAWN there is a light that she will have to find on her own my heart goes out to your family
> 60 days ago

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