Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Building a Bridge (Why We Home School Part 3)

While we worked with teachers, social workers and administrators to get L on the right path we couldn't get anyone to listen to our concerns about A.  Everything about L's struggles were big, loud and obvious beginning as soon as kindergarten.  Our concern's with A seemed to fall on deaf ears.   

While A struggled a bit in her first couple years in school we didn't become very concerned until 2nd grade.  She seemed to be spending most of her day off in her own little world without a care.  She didn't complete in class activities with her classmates often bringing home work that should have been done at school.  Homework would take her hours even though it was intended to take less than 20 minutes.  She was doing average work at best on tests, even though we had good reason to believe she could do better.  Often her test scores were truly bad.  She honestly seemed not to know what was going on much of the day. 

It felt odd to fight to get her tested and beg for someone to help her after having so much help foisted upon us when L was struggling in school.  But L's behavior disrupted other students and was impossible to ignore.  A sat quietly in her desk drawing pictures on the edges of her papers and often humming to herself.  Teachers would acknowledge that she was not engaged in class but would assure me that they were sure she was really trying her best as they told me in undertones that she was just so cute! They were selling my daughter short and it was so frustrating!  A did not qualify for special services but she was not learning either.

At one routine doctor's visit my desperation and A's flighty conversation pattern convinced our family doctor to go ahead with some testing in spite of the school.  A tested positive for extreme ADHD. When people hear of that diagnosis they tend to think of a little boy who can't sit still and can't behave.  A does not have the hyperactive tenancies that are viewed as hallmark in this disorder which is why the school was so hesitant to address her problem. 

Once again I had high hopes that a move to a new state, new school district, would give us a fresh start.  I was sure if I brought in the letters from doctors and expalined about our journey from the begining then everyone would work with me and wish for her to suceed.  Unfortunately my darling A is very bright and was able to coast through school in spite of her inattentiveness. She was still spending all her time in another world and I was trying to find a way to reach her there.  Her teachers felt I was over reacting and they dismissed my increasing concerns.  I wavered between feeling I was being too hard on her and feeling like I was letting her get away with laziness.

I have since learned that the way A behaves is very typical in girls with ADHD and that those girls are frequently over looked because they are not disruptive or seemingly off task. In addition to this A seems to struggle a bit with reading people and knowing how to interact with others socially.  There are no concrete examples but she frequently does exactly the opposite of what I would chose to do if I were attempting to make a good impression.  This is something I am still exploring and learning about in an effort to help her.  The reason to mention this is that in school her already stretched attention span was stretched even farther as she attempted to find ways to fit in.

As we neared the mid point of her 4th grade year I was feeling very much at the end of my rope.  Report cards came back with some disturbing marks for A and her conferences indicated her test scores were showing a backslide in her language arts and math skills.  I was working with her every evening for hours to get through what should have been half an hour of home work but she acted as if she had missed the instruction.  Still I was treated as if I was over involved and overly concerned and yet I felt as if I wasn't doing enough for her.

To be continued...

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