It seems like the more that I *need* to blog, the less that I do.
There are a million things going on with us right now. The other day I e-mailed my mom and on my second page or so I realized that it was too much stuff for just an e-mail and warranted a chat on the phone. Wish I could call some of you to bounce all of this stuff off of, too.
One of the reasons that I haven’t blogged is because this feels more personal somehow. I have shared so much of myself and my family on here already that I cannot imagine it being more personal. But, I think it’s my “mama bear” instinct.
D has been having issues in school. Now, that’s not new. If you’ve ever met him, you know that he is full of energy. From about the first month that he was with us, we knew that there was something going on. But, it’s been a puzzle for us to solve. When he started preschool, he wasn’t well behaved enough to attend the preschool near our home. They suggested he be screened for special needs. Well, just like we knew, there wasn’t anything going on as far as his motor skills and he was right on course academically.
In preschool, we met with the teachers and the mental health side. He’s such a wonderful, caring little boy, but so full of energy. We tried some play therapy at the end of preschool and kept on just tyring to teach him how to manage his own behaviors.
As he entered elementary school, he was up against the same challenge. It’s so obvious to everyone that he wants to do the right thing, but sometimes those impulses are just too much for him.
So, in first grade, we again pursued some behavioral health help and he was formally diagnosed with ADHD. And we were paired with an amazing behavior coach. His coach met with him and with us. He thrived with the extra attention and worked hard to impress his coach. And we learned more tools to work with him, too.
Throughout our parenting journey, we’ve read tons of books and attended classes and have really worked at learning how to be our best.
But, there doesn’t seem to be an easy answer.
D did so well with the behavior coach that the services were closed out after only six months. Throughout this time D has done o.k. in school. He’s always very close with his teachers, he loves school, and is a fun kid. But, homework is a struggle. Sometimes it’s a battle. On a few nights, I have felt like I was in the middle of a war. Both of us have ended up in tears on more than one occasion. So, even though things have been o.k., there’s always been some room for improvement.
As concepts became more difficult, so did the issues with homework. In third grade, D started slipping behind his classmates.
So, back for help we went again. This time we made the difficult choice to medicate him. I am a believer in better living through chemistry, but it’s hard when it’s your kid. I will say it has been a really good choice for him. He’s done better at managing his behaviors and school work is much easier when you’re able to sit still to get through it. We actually were incredibily lucky because we’ve seen no ill side-effects on him. We’ve read and heard stories of kids and adults having to try medication after medication and dose after dose, but we were able to get something that worked right away and have pretty much stuck with it.
Then we threw another wrench in the plan. We moved.
Our new school has some huge positives for a kiddo with ADHD. They have school uniforms, there’s a ton of structure, and there’s modified year round schooling–all of these are really great for kids with ADD/ADHD. However, they’re also about a year ahead of the typical school academically, not so great for a kiddo who was already struggling. On top of that, last year we started to see some alarming things with D’s school work. He was still flipping around some numbers and letters, he couldn’t seem to lock his basic addition and subtraction facts into his memory despite hours and hours of practice.
So, we all ended up seeking more answers. And it has been a very slow process.
Thankfully, we feel like there was a bit of a breakthrough last week! The school district came in and screened him for learning disabilities, issues with his motor skills and speech issues. And the findings were just what we were seeing and feeling at home. He’s doing well in almost every area… but, across the board he had some problems with his short term memory. The school has also told us that these issues are common for kids with ADHD. And the best part in this is that he qualifies for an IEP (Individualized Education Program). Basically, the school will work with him and us to help him be successful in school. We’ve been very fortunate to have teachers since he started school that have been willing to work with us and him. Now, they’ll all have to in the future, too. And, hopefully, with the added help, he’ll continue to learn the skills that he needs to have to cope with ADHD. Because, like it or not, he will have to learn how to manage this.
The next step for us will be learning what else we can do to work with him and the school.
We know that this was just the next little piece to the puzzle. And there’s still hard work ahead for all of us. But, we left the meeting last week, for the first time in awhile, with hope for him to do well at the school he’s currently attending.
Wow! Long post! But, it’s been a lot of little steps to get here. And that’s only one small area of what all has been happening at our home… more to follow soon!