As I reflect more and more on group child­care I make con­nec­tions that appar­ent­ly no one else is making.

I recent­ly googled ‘seizures’ again since a child in our facil­i­ty had fre­quent ‘febrile seizures’ a year or so ago and seemed to be mak­ing progress in many regards. Yet while I was away for 3 weeks a cou­ple of months ago he had anoth­er series of febrile seizures.

Giv­ing the sit­u­a­tion some thought I was inter­est­ed to note in my research that ‘absence seizures’ are not uncom­mon. Now I know what that ‘spacey, blank stare’ look is in the same child. I believe he also fre­quent­ly had ‘absence seizures’ but his moth­er had nev­er drawn our atten­tion to those (not observed by her­self or her child’s pedi­a­tri­cian?) – I assume that nei­ther of them was aware his blank looks could be anoth­er form of seizure. I am cer­tain no staff mem­bers rec­og­nize such a look as a pos­si­ble seizure.

I’ve seen it in oth­er chil­dren and feel it is a response to ‘trau­ma’. Trau­ma to us maybe a car acci­dent or a fam­i­ly mem­ber dying; trau­ma to a young child could sim­ply be being left in their day­care with­out a famil­iar, lov­ing, adult face around them. I believe trau­ma in this child’s case was his moth­er remov­ing her­self from the teach­ing envi­ron­ment and anoth­er teacher tak­ing her place — in fact the moth­er removed the sta­bil­i­ty from the child’s life, not for the first time.

Even though the child ‘sort of’ knew the oth­er teacher and she is a very warm per­son, I’m cer­tain he did­n’t get warn­ing of the changes.

This has been the hall­mark of his time at school — since he was 4 months old there has been lit­tle sta­bil­i­ty or pre­dictabil­i­ty in his child­care world. There have been ‘res­cu­ing teach­ers’ — those who per­ceive them­selves as the sav­iour of the child, the per­son who can ‘con’ the child out of his dis­tress. But such ‘con­ning’ isn’t a per­ma­nent fix for any child because it doesn’t work in the long term.

The thing that works, at least for this child, is TRUST. It’s what works for all chil­dren, no mat­ter if they are in the care of a par­ent, fam­i­ly mem­ber or mul­ti­ple, unpre­dictable, non-fam­i­ly caregivers.

I saw TRUST devel­op in the child with seizures the moment one oth­er teacher left. I could­n’t quite put my fin­ger on what it was about that teacher that did­n’t work in the facil­i­ty. She pre­sent­ed quite the facade and seemed to have all the pieces as a ‘trained’, albeit very young, teacher, and yet I now real­ize ‘the chil­dren did­n’t trust her’.

It is so hard to doc­u­ment these sit­u­a­tions now that I work in a dif­fer­ent room with anoth­er age group. But there is no doubt in my mind that some­one needs to start doc­u­ment­ing what hap­pened to any child right before a seizure and cer­tain­ly what has hap­pened in the pre­ced­ing days and weeks.

As with every anom­aly that occurs in a child’s behav­iour, we have to do a ‘back­ground check’ on the cir­cum­stances lead­ing up to the behav­iour­al change. It’s the only way to make a gen­uine dif­fer­ence in a child’s world.