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I am reaching out to the smartest community on the internet—the only community I know—to help me find the right resources for my son.  My very gifted, inspiring, and deserving child.  I know this is a long diary—so let me summarize—if you know anyone who deals with twice exceptional or learning disabled children, please read this.

My son is a quiet 15 year old.  He is reserved, thoughtful, and intellectual.  He is respectful and obedient (for an adolescent male), only showing occasional teenage angst or passive resistance, which can be quickly stifled by an interaction of sarcasm and/or humor, as he welcomes the appeal to his amazingly keen wit. He is neither impulsive nor hyperactive.  He is not motivated by reward or punishment, as he appears to adapt to almost any situation without emotion.  

My son is socially awkward.  Nerdy to the core, tall and lanky, with glasses and wispy blonde hair—he is the poster child for all of us non-jocks and non-cheerleaders who just don’t belong on the cover of seventeen magazine.  Aside from that making him my hero, it makes him a target for bullies, as he most sadly found out in our public middle school.  Having no idea yet that what makes him nerdy at age 15 will make him bloody brilliant after high school, he lacks confidence.  

My son has ADHD-1, inattentive type.  For those of you who don’t know, it means that he lacks focus but is not hyperactive.  He is also learning disabled (LD) with an extra bonus diagnosis of severe dysgraphia.  His verbal reasoning abilities and advanced cognition are off the charts.  He is really very brilliant.  Unfortunately his working memory and processing speed are also off the charts—in the opposite direction.  What that means specifically to us is that he has severe executive functioning deficiencies.  He cannot organize tasks, process multi-step directions, has no concept of the passing of time or time management, loses homework, forgets assignments, cannot break down complex tasks into steps, and struggles to translate his thoughts into words (verbally at times, but especially on paper).

My son was always slightly different.  He was slow to develop language (around 3) and slow to read (he received remediation in first grade—but has exceled since).
But it was at the start of sixth grade when things began falling apart for my son.  Our lives shattered and we have not been able to put the pieces back together yet.  As teachers began to shift responsibility for communicating and keeping up with assignments away from me and onto him—we suffered.  And sixth grade was the major shift.  There had been problems before, but this was truly the point of no return.  It took from September until May for us to get the diagnosis, which we had to seek out and identify on our own without the help of the school system.  During that time we tried several behavior modification techniques.  He had a homework planner that needed to be signed by his teachers.  We had a website with homework that was supposed to be updated by the teachers (but often was not).  We had a dedicated place and time for him to do his study.  We had a reward system and chart showing his progress.  We had it all.

At the time, I was adamant that he maintain honor roll.  I look back on those expectations and cringe.  I am such a bloody fool.  

It was a horrific year of conferences with teachers who didn’t care about my child.  (teachers who btw put my child in the back of the room with the other D students because sitting your students based on grades with the A students up front is a stellar teaching technique she learned at some conference—  Obviously I still harbor serious resentment  about that one.)

But at the end of the year, I had a diagnosis.  A diagnosis!!!!  My problems were solved.  Now we know what this is, I thought.  And we can fix it.  So let’s get to work.  I read and read about our new diagnosis.  What did my child need?  What accommodations would he have to have?  What’s an IEP?  I called the school during the summer and they assured me we wouldn’t have to go through the IEP process.  That my son could get the attention he needed without that.  Let’s just call this the first of many mistakes.

We went through half a school year of teacher conferences without the protection of an IEP and then the prospect of all the red tape of creating one.  Then, an amazing thing happened.  A private counselor where we were taking my son mentioned a school especially for families like us.  Could it be?

Yes.  Yes it could.  So off we went.  Small class sizes (no larger than 8), individual instruction, teaching strategies specifically for LD kids, AND an IEP with no hassle.  We ran, not walked straight into their arms.  Tuition $$$ ?  Who cares—we’ll make it work.  Does he even have to finish the rest of the week where he is now?

A year and a half later, my son has the grades we want him to have, but never has homework.  He is disengaged in learning.  When we ask what he is studying in history and ask him what he thinks—he says things that are very frightening.  Like—you’re not allowed to talk about what you think.  It might offend someone.  We begin to pay closer attention to the curriculum and lessons and realize that he’s, indeed, not learning much.  Multiple choice and matching are the order of the day.  Which I suppose is great if you have dysgraphia (no writing), but not so helpful in preparing you to write term papers in college—assuming you want to go.
We had conferences there with the teachers and administration and are again, not satisfied.  The school really is great in compensating for the weaknesses of LD students.  But we had grave concerns that he was not being prepared for life after high school.

So we look again for alternatives.  This time we end up at another small private school.  Here we are absolutely sure he will be challenged to think intellectually, but are concerned that he will not receive the support in organization and executive function he needs.  Our concerns turn out to be well-founded.

This is his second year at the school.  Socially he is doing very well.  Intellectually he is doing very well.  Academically he is doing very poorly.  How can you be doing very well intellectually and failing academically?  Well that’s the beauty of twice exceptional children.  He understands the content of his classes.  He is reading his material.  He is learning.  He is listening to the teachers and he gets it.  But he doesn’t turn in completed assignments.  He doesn’t write down assignments to complete.  He sits for hours staring at a blank page, unable to write down his thoughts.  

We really like his teachers at his current school, but we are not getting the support for his LD  that we need.  The administration and counseling staff agree to accommodations even though they have no formal IEP process, but they cannot follow through on them—because the staff has no skills in dealing with exceptional children.  Many of the staff have organizational issues themselves.  And of course, that’s pot calling the kettle black—and you’d have to know me to know that, but then that’s the point.  I’m the one looking for help; I’m not proposing to be the solution.

Some things we have tried…

He has an iPad with a homework app and reminders and scans all of his work so it “can’t be lost” anymore.  But it can still be lost…

He has study hall first period so that he can be sure to catch any last minute assignments before they’re due.  The school is supposed to help him.  But it doesn’t work.

He has mindmapping tools to help him brainstorm and organize his thoughts.  It hasn’t helped.

I can’t begin to tell you all I’ve tried.  He has gone to a few LD specialists and psychologists, but none of them are reaching him.  He won’t TALK to people.  He’s so introverted.  They can’t tell me what to do, because they don’t know.

I need a specialist.  Someone who will take the time to dig into his mind.  Not someone who wants to make an appointment for every other week.  We are insured—GREAT INSURANCE.  And even if we weren’t—I’d pay anything.  Someone tell me what to do.

And I’m not so traditional that I need him to be an A student.  I don’t need him to go to college.  I don’t need him to take a narrow path.  I’m ok with an alternative road.  But today we pay $20k year in tuition and tutors for D’s and F’s and a low self-esteem.   We can’t afford more $$$ , so I need another answer.  Surely there’s a better way.  Just because I don’t know what it is, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

This is the most resourceful community I know.  Please—someone read this and tell me you know someone who can help me.

We live in NC, but I’d travel to the moon to help my son.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Can I suggest a title change? (17+ / 0-)

    You might want to do something like "Need help finding education alternatives for my son" or "Trying to find education alternatives for son with ADHD-1".

    The reason I suggest this is because the current title could be interpreted as a plea for money (which you're not doing) and people might not click because they're feeling tapped out.  A more specific plea lets them know it's not about money, and may bring in some people who know about the issue.

    Good luck.  I wish I could offer some advice for you/him.

  •  no advice, but do you like thom hartmann? (11+ / 0-)

    i love that guy.

    he has message boards at his site, and he writes about add, adhd, and education. maybe there's something at his site that could help?

    thomhartmann.com

    "...i also also want a legally binding apology." -George Rockwell

    by thankgodforairamerica on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 02:52:10 PM PST

    •  i haven't (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, weck, Satya1

      but thanks for the link.  i will check it out. i like to read anything that might be helpful.  

      •  That was also one of my first (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quixotic

        two thoughts.  He may have some unique ideas.

        I also have a gifted child and will write a longer comment as soon as I can get her to sleep.  LOL.

        I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

        by Satya1 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:14:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Agree about thom hartmann (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quixotic, DianeNYS

        Read his books, or at least the ones on ADHD.

        The one I liked the most: The Edison Gene and the Gift of the Hunter Child.

        People who are ADD don't think the same way that non-ADD people think. It is different, not right or wrong (for either side). But it does mean that just as it would be hard for a non-ADD person to think and act like an ADD person, it is hard for an ADD person to think like a non-ADD person.

        Hartmann's perspective on ADD is worth thinking about. You and your son might find his theories interesting to discuss after you've read the books.

  •  Tough (11+ / 0-)

    My son falls into a similar difficult category. His therapist says she has started seeing a lot of kids who don't diagnose solidly into one category but overlap with Aspberger's, ADHD and rage syndrome. My son is definitely what she is talking about. we are having a hugely tough time figuring out how to get the school to work with him. His teachers and school are excellent. But they still have a hard time with him and the way the system works, his poor behavior grades will make it hard for him to get into a good middle school despite being way off the scale by any measure of IQ or academic ability. Basically 99+ percentile by almost every measure except the social, where he falls 50th or sometimes way below. Large discrepancy between his ability to reason and his ability to behave appropriately.

    We are still working through it. He has a good therapist and we were able to get him in a study at NYU to help get a diagnosis/evaluation.

    I also do know one of the top disability lawyers in the country. Not sure I can give out her name but could maybe pass your info along if it comes to that. Landmark Supreme Court case and all kind of person. She has offered help with our son but we so far have not taken her up on it just because we all are so busy. But she is kind of our ace in the hole. If nothing else she may know people to talk to for better info.

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

    by mole333 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 03:00:08 PM PST

    •  thanks. i hope we won't need a lawyer. (8+ / 0-)

      at this point, as my son is a sophomore, i can't imagine there's enough time left for a lawsuit. :)

      we have made so many mistakes and done so much trial and error that we'll probably just be happy to survive the system until graduation.

      i'm not entirely sure what i'm looking for except that i haven't found it.  i hope you get good support for yourself and your son.  it's extremely difficult balancing the needs of twice exceptional children.

      on one hand they seem so capable and you want to treat them as they are in that capacity and on the other hand they need real intervention and advocacy.  good luck with middle school  i hope you find the right balance.

  •  I wish I was teaching (14+ / 0-)

    (I'm not only because schools here haven't the budget to hire)
    I would welcome the challenge of students like your son. I don't think I have a solution, but some questions came to mind when I thought "What if this was a student of mine?"

    1- Strengths and weakness? Which strengths does he have that I can use to build on? (Aural learner- use verbal quizzing and conversation to assess ability.) What weakness are going to be a problem to work on? (Writing is going to be necessary and frustrating to bring to an acceptable level. Processing speed? Eh, not really as much a concern to me as a teacher. So it takes longer. He can get there. I'm patient)
    The goal would be to use strengths to guarantee success while finding motivations to work on necessary weakness. And prioritizing.

    2- Can I make him my assistant, to help prepare for class (I teach science)? The process of doing and explaining what is being done is likely to line up with his strengths and provide an avenue to conversation. I sub often at a local school (really want to work there!) and I have grown to know several students. I have these working conversations often and I'm learning to steer them around their current classes along with the personal grousing that usually starts it.

    3- What does he want for himself? I know he's introverted, but #2 lays some groundwork to get by that. Maybe college isn't going to be the right direction for him. Perhaps he has specific talents where trade-school or narrow focused college (art, music come to mind)? He will be much more motivated to overcome his specific challenges to get to what he wants to be than trying to overcome all his challenges. And even if he's not sure, he should have a good idea of what he does like to do.

    I don't know if you've thought of all those things, but probably some of it. He sounds like someone needing a teacher-mentor, which is hard to do with the constraints and limited time of teachers. Sometimes the cookie-cutter expectations of society drive me nuts.

    I am much too liberal to be a Democrat.

    by WiseFerret on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 03:05:12 PM PST

    •  he has amazing strengths (5+ / 0-)

      and he has amazing teachers too.

      he plays the guitar and is very musically inclined.  his guitar teacher provides him private lessons and her enthusiasm for him is contagious.  he's really stepped up in that area.  it's been a real thing of beauty to watch my child get up and perform in front of people.

      and he has tutoring with another teacher, who i think is a wonderful influence as it pertains to love of history and politics.  but his teacher, god love him, isn't the poster-child for organization himself.

      so there are some very good things happening for him, like what you said.  they're just not translating into grades.  

      and i have to question how important that is? and i've lowered my expectations from a and b's.  that's not the problem.  but now that the prospect is passing or failing, repeating a grade or a life of summer school....then aren't grades kindof important?

      do we really invest $20k/year to do it again next year and not get into college?  i don't know.

      •  What about the GED test? (4+ / 0-)

        That may be a lot easier than the work he's doing for school, especially if he understands the material. Most community colleges will take people with GEDs.

        I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

        by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 03:49:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  MUSIC. (10+ / 0-)

        Double down on the music.

        I felt some identification with your son as you described him.  

        Find what he likes and bury him in it.  If that's music, then music it is.  You can learn US History later in life.  Music is best nurtured early.  And music is an ideal subject for a kid with ADHD (like I was, but not as a teenager).  When they become sufficiently proficient that they're not just doing scales, they can go nuts with it.  Plus, he's at an age where girls are going to become increasingly important, and as teenage boys often figure out early on, music can get you attention from girls, which gives the learning process extra pizazz.

        He's probably not going to be an outstanding student anytime soon.  Try to emphasize his gifts and get him through.  After he graduates and grows up, he might find it easier to go back and learn things he missed when he is ready.

        •  he has noticed the girls (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM, bluestatedem84, weck, Dumbo

          and they have noticed his musical abilities.  he has gotten past the scales and is playing pretty much anything he wants.  he can sight read notes and play tab.  

          he gets classical instruction at school and then he practices what he wants to rock out to 1:1 with his music lessons.

          he has performed (played and sang) at his school's musical performances several times now since spring.  and the girls LOVE it.

          so yeah, he's noticed.

          this is the a numero uno top of the list reason that i would pay for a fifth year of high school if i had to at this school....

          but i'd like to think that's not necessary.

          •  Encourage him to find the music scene (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            quixotic, FloridaSNMOM, jplanner

            In your area. Music doesn't have to be attached to school.  When he finishes school, let him work a crap job for money, and make music his life. He'll either make a life for himself that way, or come around and go to college when he's ready.

            Don't encourage him to go to college straight out highschool, unless he really wants to go, but tell him you'll be ready to ready to help him with college when he wants to go. As an atypical highschool student you don't notice all the things in the world that are amazing and beautiful until you get away from the stress of school for a while.

            I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

            by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:29:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  as an out-of-toucher... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Futuristic Dreamer, FloridaSNMOM

              i'll try to connect him to "the music scene" ;)

              and we've often encouraged him to take some time off after high school and travel.  although we've never had him express much interest in the idea of trekking across the globe, it's not unusual for him to internalize his thoughts.  he may be much more open than we think and hasn't expressed it (very typical)

              •  As he gets older, drive him to the hip parts (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                quixotic, FloridaSNMOM

                of town, to shows, etc. The music scene is often all the things parents want their kids to stay away from, but it's also full of beautiful loving and accepting people.

                I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

                by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:57:08 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  sorry for you difficulties, and also (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                quixotic

                I am so glad you have money to even begin to broach your son's needs.
                You should be proud as a parent that you do that (proud of yourselves)

                Can't help thinking how many beautiful amazing kids who go to public school might be like your son and never get anywhere.

                Doesn't detract from your situation or you son's deservingness. You've illuminated though how much money is required to even attempt to give this child the support he deserves (private music lessons private school etc). It makes me think of the majority of parents (upper middle class parents forget sometimes they are not the majority and I also think many people on Kos might fit that though not all) not being able to provide this.

                Friends child with a bit different profile but also a teen boy (he's 14) who's intellectually brilliant but has a specific LD and also ADD. He spent most of his life in  private Montessory school and they have to scramble. Unlike your son, this boy's behavior in  the  last two  years  has deteriorated to sullenness on a good day and anger and disrespect on most other days. Yup he has a private therapist. He's acting out because he did not get enough of what he needs...think it comes from low self esteem

                So comparative to this one anecdote your son is doing well. You are doing well as you obviously strive to meet and help  him meet his needs.

                Like your son my friend's son (who I am very close to and cared for him and hiis brother since he was four) is an introvert. He thinks he's not supposed to share with adults. His parents explained to him (with poke from me) that no one his age is supposed to go through life emotionally alone no matter what they think society says to them about it. I think it's socialization because even introverted girls will talk to eachother and very often a therapist, if not their parents. Boy seem to think it's 'unmanly" and "immature" on top of the introversion. It's a terrible shame how we socialize young men very often in our society. Anyway, you son, like my young friend, only right now is a square peg trying to fit into a round hole and MOST people need support emotionally when they are going through that especially at the uncertain newly minted age of 15 when self opinion is developing. You can tell him this if he doesn't get it. You said that he doesn't get that he'd fit better into life as an adult...I wish someone explained that to me when I was an awkward "different" teenage (and I did not have a LD or ADHD). You can keep telling him It gets better.

                Not sure if he's in therapy. Maybe he feels labeled as 'crazy" if he doesnn't talk to them. My friends son went through three expensive therapist (all male, which seems to be very helpful for teen boys) before he got someone who he'd talk to. We think the guy explained to him WHY talking is useful. It will help your son learn how to share himself emotionally. Heck, tell him women like that and need that in relationships and that many men have to learn it anyway!

                based on what you shared about your son I think the focus on what he is good at (music etc) is right. I don't know/didn't catch if he's on  meds..this is hugely obvious but I'll say it anyway...if his lifes current work (which is largely school) is so negatively effected by his lack of executive functioning has EVER SINGLE possible medication been tried? Just to get him thru school with maximum utility...he will only be this age once. My friend with exective functioning skills issues and diagnosed with the same kind of ADHD your child has, as an adult, went on a drug and said it was like veil was lifted. She can juggle work and family  much better on the drug. Organizational demands of modern life...school, family or work...are too much for these people. If you think about it life wasn't like that in agrarian societies 200 or more years ago.

                I hope you don't mind me mentioning all the kids who would not have the hope of getting what they needed if born into families without the financial means...most kids. IT feels bad not to mention them, millions of lives being wasted as you search for what is best for the one life you are in charge of. Seems mentioning the others at least in passing is good form though I understand it's not in front of your face or the purpose of your post.

                •  i don't mind at all (0+ / 0-)

                  as a matter of fact, i think of that myself all the time--particularly as someone who comes from very poor means. in our stupid tax debate, i have said multiple times that i would much prefer to invest the money i spend on private education and services for my son into the public school system so that it works for everyone.

                  it is a tax in itself really for those who can afford it and for a system that refuses to take it from us systematically.  we have to pay for the services that we want--and that others cannot afford for themselves.

                  it's the worst kindof inequality and i don't like it.  but then i cannot pay to fix the failing system by myself.  we really need a government willing to ask all of us to do more.  i am certainly willing to.

                  that said...we are not infinitely wealthy--just (upper) middle class and it does put a strain on us to do what we do. so perhaps that's why we still have a deep vested interest in progressive ideas like investing in public education.

                  in regards to meds, we have not tried all, but just a few different types.  as mentioned below, we will most likely try again with a stimulant we have had on hand but haven't tried yet due to complications with the last one.

                  i have to say, finding therapy is probably one of the most challenging areas.  

                  i hope your friends find what they need for their son.  i am investigating a magnet school in our public school system which may give us an interesting option next year.  but i need an advocate in the school system who can help keep us from getting lost in the bureacracy.  without that, i am too afraid to go back.

                  •  glad you take it personally, it was worth saying (0+ / 0-)

                    (how expensive it was/thinking of scores of people who's kids would just FAIL for life because they lacked the money) since it was not mentioned in the diary.
                    There are good private schools that might be a fit for my friend's son, and money to pay for it from a grandmother.  At this point the are looking at prep school type residential settings...some are for bright kids with LD.  The parents are not firm and consistant enough, IMO for this child's needs and never were...he has a bit of cluelessness (like NVLD) so needs social things repeatedly explained and spelled out till he learned them, but he never got that. So he comes across as selfish and entitled (more than most teens). Myself, I worry that if he doesn't change no woman will (or should) ever want to be with him. So living away from home would give him the feedback he needs to change who he is being or at least get how it impacts people. Once he gets stuff (if he can call it up in the moment-ADD) he is usually fine.

                    I have spent time with kids through young adults watched them grow up...often can see trajectory (from experience, I work with families in there homes). This boy I worry that he'd have interpersonal trouble on the job and not be able to keep a relationship (he's straight) with a woman....if something isn't done. I see him every couple of weeks and we have a good relationship but I am/was not in his life to give him consistent interaction and feedback to learn the things he needed to learn more overtly.

                    His mother thinks she's consistent and firm, she's way to permissive for him. He needs a wall of firm consistency. She's in denial that she provideds that (these are friends of mine now) so it's best he is sent away. she went to prep school and lived a way for high school so it's not a big deal to her, and the kid wants to be rid of his parents because he had that teen thing thinking he knows everything and is disrespectful of them.

                    But I think...if they did not have the money this kids life might well be ruined given the direction it's going. He does not know what he needs to know (not school wise). Now, he might be flunking out of school as well if he'd not been in Montessori (they were too easy and indirect when he stopped doing his work they did not spell it out IF you do this you WILL be kicked out). He stopped doing his work and they kicked him out. He practically needs to be hit over the head  spoken to very directly in order to get something. His parents protect his feelings/self esteem but then he never learns.

                    Thanks for letting me vent. I was the nanny for the younger son over a decade ago these are now friends but their denial of how they parent...they are both very gentle indirect people ill matched for this child's needs even at the best...has gotten in the way. Yes, I warned them as directly as possible but "heck I don't have kids" so got that thrown at me a few times (even though my 'friend' knows I really wanted children ad that I've know hers well, and love them for a decade) what I saw.

                    What I saw might happen happened, I watched the kid implode last year. He's better now just hope he can go away to school at a school that has lots of kids like him.

                    There is this thing called ADD Coaching. want to be sure you know about it. Adults get it too. IT feels more acceptable probably than therapy. The anology is that ADHD ers have differences in brain function that make it harder to cope in modern society...just like, say, peopple who are blind or have problems with their lges. People who have these problems go to coaches like a physical therapist to help them, given who they are, deal with life better. Same for ADHD coach.

                    I am not clear that you son has had a STAR person, very gifted, in helping him learn to manage himself organizationally. I hear you you and ?school system tried a lot of things. But it "didn't work". It might be possible...you would know...that you did not find the RIGHT PERSON who is an ADD (I work to add the H, but I get your son is NOT H....neither are the ADD adults I know who struggle with organization and focus) EXPERT.

                    Have you found and tried ADD coaching in your community? There are people...just in case you don't know...who work Only with ADD people (it really does sound like the exective functioning is hardest for your son).  This IS a timely thing.

                    Human nature is to protect selves emotionally so that they don't have to face what hurts them. SO Adders often avoid dealing with therapists coaches etc because it makes them face that they are different (because of our modern society those differences have been largely but not all...failures in school etc which is painful because school is the "main job" of childhood). I hope you son can be or has been emplored to understand ADD/executive functioning deficits and how it's often a mal-adaption to current demands (school) but also has gifts. Music and creativity being one. But since the skills are often required in wor and life it's REALLY REALLY GOOD to learn them as young as possible. Like his age.

                    I hope you can find someone and that he's willing to try. I can't recall if he likes to read (sorry) but if he does be sure he reads the literature (or find artlicles) about the positive aspects of ADD. there is a lot about how it doesn't match current societies time and organzational demands but really, those things are NEW. I tell my ADD "kids" that 200 years ago most people didn't even have watches! time was vague...you didn't have paperwork...many people were illiterate. You with your smarts and creativity would be a star...it's just the world has changed. I put it a bit spectulatively but it seems to give them great comfort. Also, given this, what do we do to help you excercise your relatively weak muscle in these areas? to train it. "cause EVERYONE has things they are not good in.

                    Myself, I learn physical skills very slowly. Its not a dx learning disability and it didn't effect me in school. But I took me 3x as long as my twin (fraternal) sister to learn to ride my bike etc. It always was harder for me and I always felt deficient. IT took a lot of effort to learn to drive, but I finally got my licence at 19. It effects me on the job because in the first days there's a lot of little things to learn ..office procedures...that make me anxious because I look stupid in new job. So I work at that knowing that about myself. I tell kids with ADD?LD how KNOWING what is different about me and how it effects adult life ...which I learned WAY too late by the way, I didn't get it...has been important.

                    sorry this is so long, wanted to offer all that I had for your son just in case it might be something helpful.

          •  Expose him to more than rock, too. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            quixotic, FloridaSNMOM

            If he can't get into college because of grades, get him a private tutor in music theory so he can learn that there are more than just three chords.  When I was teaching my daughter guitar, I just taught her the three chords and let her go, because that's all you really need to know to fake most music.  But if he's got talent, he needs to be exposed to a lot more, and while he's young enough to really absorb it.

            Like this kid.  He's my hero.

      •  I don't know the answer (5+ / 0-)

        I wish grades were not so important- they don't really reflect if a student has learned or just parroted out answers. But learning portfolios are not something our society is willing to make time for.

        While I love learning and would be a permanent college student if I could, I know college isn't everything. It isn't for everyone. Our society makes it difficult to follow other avenues, but not impossible. If music is his future, it is possible a music college will overlook grades to a point, if he has demonstrable talent. Many very talented artists struggled with grades because the art was so much more important to them, so schools for art are more likely to recognize the issue with talent and grades.

        I have to laugh about his teacher not being too organized. I am not good at staying organized (the world is too interesting and distracting) but I have, after much harsh learning, managed to focus on keeping certain priorities organized (like, paying bills, substitute teaching gigs, car maintenance). Sometimes a person that struggles with organization can be an excellent teacher to another who struggles with it- If they acknowledge that they must do better and find ways to cope successfully.

        I am much too liberal to be a Democrat.

        by WiseFerret on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:27:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  i also would love to be a professional student (4+ / 0-)

          but was myself a mediocre student as a young person...oh the irony.

          i think his (disorganized) teacher is a WONDERFUL role model and mentor.  he is a great teacher and my son adores him.

          it's just...my poor son...is there anyone in his life who isn't a disorganized mess?  i think no.   :)

  •  I'm on bus and can't type much but (16+ / 0-)

    this sounds a lot like me and my children. We all have ADHD and autism spectrum disorders. We are all exceptionally intelligent according to the standard measuring tools. We all hate writing with a pen/pencil and have poor penmanship. I'm probably the only one who technically meets the definition of dysgraphia. Finding motivation to do homework is a struggle (or other normal tasks like cleaning and making appointments and replying to emails or sending cards). I was better at socializing and had no speech delays; my youngest had delayed comprehensible speech. Two of us excel at writing and grammar; the other two excel at math. None of us excel at sports or foreign languages. We all have poor organization and executive skills and live with "piles" on our floor, desks, and in our wake.

    Get an IEP. They have to consider your request. If he is not on ADHD medication, consider it. It really works for some people. Reassure yourself that depression is not part of the problem. Find ways to organize, and ultimately accep that the only way your son may accomplish some things is if you or someone else devotes a lot of time to playing personal secretary or enforcer. It is all that works sometimes. I have to do it for my youngest.

    And finally, don't give up. I have a high IQ but always had poor motivation. I didn't learn to drive until age 26 or start college until age 28. At some point, things just clicked for me. Today, I work hard, excel at my job, and get promoted often. I'm not a common lunch invite at the office, but I can pass for friendly and pleasant. It is much harder without a degree, as I learned in my precollege years, so that is a must.

    My oldest is 21. He barely made it through high school with many of the behaviors you described. He scored 720 on math and on writing for the SAT and 680 in English. He ended up in community college the first 2 years after high school and did fantastic. He is now applying for regular colleges, although getting him to complete the applications is a constant battle, which is why he has been out of school for a year.

    Sorry I'm not more help.

    We Won't Let Republicans Replace Medicare with GOP Vouchercare!

    by CatM on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 03:07:16 PM PST

    •  PS I guess I was wrong about typing speed *nt* (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lineatus, Avila, weck

      We Won't Let Republicans Replace Medicare with GOP Vouchercare!

      by CatM on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 03:08:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  thanks for that (5+ / 0-)

      we did try meds a couple of times.  the side effects of the stimulant drugs weren't worth the benefit.  we may try again.  we actually have a new prescription on standby when we're feeling up to the task.

      it's good to hear stories like yours.  i know he has all the right things.  we just can't prove it on paper.  i question every day how important that is.

      it's the battle that defines my motherhood.

      but i do try to relax and realize that even late bloomers bloom.
      :)

      •  Stimulants (7+ / 0-)

        Strattera had terrible mood altering effects on my middle son. My oldest and I do fine with adderall xr. My youngest takes Focalin xr. He had a few days of headaches but has done well on the same dose for four years. I have him go off it in the summer, but he is 13 now and prefers to take it. He says he can't read or sit through a movie without it and he is disruptive when he doesnt take it -- he can't even sit through dinner. My middle one has been on vyvanse for 2 years now and never had any side effects. It is a prodrug of adderall but causes less gastrointestinal upset. He went from struggling to do homework to getting it done almost every day and is in 3 AP classes at age 15. If I skip mine, I spend my whole work day surfing the Internet. If he had ADHD, he may not be able to make himself do routine things like homework. I know I can't and my oldest son started adderall his senior year and it helped. I won't lie and say he became an ace student, but he went from f's to c's.

        We Won't Let Republicans Replace Medicare with GOP Vouchercare!

        by CatM on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 03:28:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  we have vyvanse in the cabinet (4+ / 0-)

          but have, as i said, been afraid to try it.  maybe we'll give it another go.

          my son said the stimulants helped him focus, but of course it was difficult to see the impact on homework by the end of the day.  

          maybe it's time to try again....

          •  Vyvanse (5+ / 0-)

            My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD in 2nd grade (she's a junior this year).  She has responded well to various meds, but the best has been Vyvanse.  It isn't a more powerful stimulant, it just works a little differently.  It becomes a stimulant as it's metabolized so her body plays a role in regulating it throughout the day.  

            That said, your son's situation is very complex and the ADD might not be the main problem.  But I don't believe it would hurt to try the Vyvanse.  We made the choice of private schools for our daughter, so we lost the benefits of an IEP and dedicated special education services.  For us I think it was the right choice, but if the public school in your area is decent you might do better with them.  At least there you have clearly defined legal rights to services that are lacking if you stay with private schools.

            •  it's definitely something to consider (0+ / 0-)

              i am more experienced now than i was when i left the public schools 4 years ago.  we have an IEP, but it needs to be modified.  we have the specialists that can do that.  so, in that sense, we are ready to return.

              we may have identified a program to return to--so it's a thought.

              i think we will try the vyvanse we have on hand.  when we had his physical in sep he and the doctor discussed it and he said he was ready, but i was the hold out.

              i wanted more time to work on his nutrition...but the dr said it may not affect his appetite like the last one...so really.  i'm the problem here.

              we could probably start monday.

          •  Straterra (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FloridaSNMOM

            seems to be helping my twice exceptional with executive function.  Very bright, not hyper, hyperfocus on thingsof interest but poor executive function. Since S much less I forgot ... I didn 't know...It is not a stimulant.

            If you want something other than the obvious to happen; you've got to do something other than the obvious. Douglas Adams

            by trillian on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 03:30:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  CatM you're always a help (6+ / 0-)

      I've enjoyed reading your entries about navigating the system and what it's like to have ADHD or Aspberger's or...something on the autism spectrum because as you may remember, I have a kiddo like that too.

      We never got a diagnosis of dysgraphia; my son was tagged with ADHD and sensory processing dysfunction, although the dysgraphia description fits him to a T.

      To the quixotic, my son is now 18 and graduated HS in May.  I don't have a lot of advice for you because our path was so different.  His difficulties showed up when he was four and he was in the system the entire way with an IEP and I chose to keep him in public schools, because any move to a private school with his IEP would still put us into the hands of the public school system to provide services.

      What I take away from CatM's posts is that I've had to somewhat lower expectations.  My kiddo is not going to be one of those who packed off to college in the fall; he's probably on a slower track.  He is schooled out, so he's going to get a job.  He's 18 and still not driving because I couldn't see how he could learn to drive when he can't tell left from right and some days can't even get his shoes on the correct feet.  We plan to attempt it though.

      I also feel like he's not done learning.  He only just got up to reading at grade level in the tenth grade.  He never learned to write cursive -- because his motor function was poor -- but he can read it, and he told me he'd like to learn how to write it now.  He wants to go to college and if anything, in the right college environment, these folks LOVE college.  And in some instances, from what I understand, a college professor can be way more accommodating than a high school teacher is.

      I, too, question just how much or how little Ben learned while in school.  I don't know if he was taught some of the stuff and he just didn't retain it, or it's in there somewhere or what.  It seems like there are times when it's in that brain of his.  I wish I could be more help.  I hope I've been encouraging.

      •  it is encouraging (6+ / 0-)

        sometimes it's just nice to know you're not the only one.  and also not to be so hard on yourself.  maybe that's all i need to know.

        there is a middle college program here that i have asked my son to look at.  perhaps, if as you said, they do better in a college setting, this could help.

        it's a program by the public schools esp for kids who are bright but do not do well in the traditional classroom.  that does describe my son.

        but they do look for independence, and for a child that struggles with executive functioning, independence does not stand out to me as a strength.  what i did consider was that we could afford to supplement the program with tutoring and 1:1 attention, with the tuition savings since its a public school.

        but that would make his 4th school in 6 years.  that makes me feel terrible about  myself.

        i had never considered that a child could have focus issues so severe that driving would be an issue.  my son got his learner's permit a few weeks ago and is doing a very responsible job of driving (with me in the car of course) so far....

        i can see despite my frustration, we have a lot to be thankful for.

  •  i don't have much help (5+ / 0-)

    but this site always helped me (i hope it's ok to link to it)
    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/...

    My older son has ADHD. We were hesitant about medication so from 1st grade through 10th we tried every sort of behavior modification you can think of and he still regularly lost his binder, coat, gym clothes, lunch, home work...He's very bright, outgoing and extremely unorganized. In 10th grade he started on meds and things improved, not perfect, but a big improvement. He somehow got 2200 on the SAT and ended up in a selective LAC, which was chosen for it's small size and relaxed gen ed requirements - no foreign language requirement (the bane of his existence) he managed to graduate in 3.5 years - I never would have thought this was possible during those bleak days of 10th grade - don't give up hope.

    •  got hope? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, Ginger1, weck, meralda

      :)

      thank you for that.  i will check it out.  also, we tried meds, but my son who is already underweight, became gaunt looking.  he wouldn't eat and lost additional pounds off his already thin frame.

      the benefits didn't seem worth it at the time.  but we may try again.  perhaps with some nutrition counseling and if his teenage boy eating genes ever kick in....

      we've been waiting for him to eat us out of house and home for forever.

      •  I've got a skinny kid too (5+ / 0-)

        and he was running xc (which I think is a great way to meet kids and running helps clear the mind - and they don't cut kids - everyone is welcome!) it took 5 or 6 tries to get the right medication and the right dose - so things got worse instead of better at the beginning but then we hit on Focalin which seemed to help and not have any of the bad side affects.  I think everyone is different though and what worked for him may not work for your son. Good luck and please check out that link - there are a lot of knowledgable parents there. BTW the only kid with dysgraphia from our high school, just graduated from Oxford a couple of years ago. He always carried around some little notetaking thingy - before tablets were invented!

  •  Have you thought about augmenting his learning (4+ / 0-)

    at home, or pulling him out and straight home schooling him? What he needs is to start small and build up (and build up his self confidence at the same time), which the school isn't doing. And yes, you definitely need an IEP.

    Question: Does his dysgraphia extend to typing or only hand writing? Could he dictate to you as you write his thoughts on the paper? Or would a program like Dragon Naturally speaking help him? You could put writing all assignments on the computer or emailing them into his IEP if those things help.

    Have you had Occupational Therapy services for him, especially outside the school system? An OT, especially one who specializes in ADD could help with the organization and self-motivation techniques. In school OT is great, but they're more limited in what they can do, everything has to be within certain 'educational parameters'.

    Does he have a good friend at school who's in most of the same classes who could be relied upon to write down homework assignments, or even call you with them?

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 03:25:11 PM PST

    •  omgoodness (4+ / 0-)

      i would be the worst homeschooling parent on the planet.  but its nice that you thought i could do it. ;)

      i have actually thought about homeschooling in the sense that i have looked into homeschool co-ops, where people with more patience, sensitivity, and expertise could do the heavy-lifting.  but i didn't find anything that i felt we could manage.

      his dysgraphia seems to apply across the board.  keyboarding is better than writing.  but typing is still difficult.  because he has overlapping diagnoses it's hard to say where one stops and another begins.  but what i can say is that he struggles to even verbalize ideas.  so dictation, which we've considered, is also problematic.

      i have not looked into occupational therapy.  i haven't even heard that proposed as a solution.

      we have a computer system where teachers post homework (most of the time now) and that has been pretty effective.  the problem then becomes him turning in his work.  (he does a lot of work that he then does not hand in--it's bizarre)

      so we have worked out that he will email his homework the night before.  but the whole process is a bit overwhelming for me as well--because where do you think he got it?
      :)

      •  Look into OT (4+ / 0-)

        I'm a bit biased because I'm a certified OTA, but I was trained in ways to help kids like my son and your son. I have friends who currently work in pediatrics in Florida with ADHD and ADD kids.

        Post reminders for yourself to check if he's emailed his work, somewhere you will see it like on your computer, in the bathroom, in the kitchen. Do the same for him. You may have to teach yourself to read the notes and not just look past them, but they DO help. Make them bright, use highlighters, whatever you need to draw your attention. For my son I hang them over the toilet bowl for example, for me I would put them on the cabinet drawers in front of the toilet.

        Visitors may think it's odd, but who cares LOL. It helps.

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 03:44:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  this will drive my OCD husband crazy (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM, weck, bluestatedem84

          having bits of paper all over the house...but it sounds like fun.  although i imagine the novelty wears off after a day... :)

          my biggest problem as a parent is consistency.  staying with him to enforce routines and checking behind every step of the way.

          i get tired.  this is a real challenge for me b/c i struggle in the same areas he does.  i just have the gift of hyper-focus for things that i choose to do right (work for example).

          but i will try that (again).  we did reminders before, but not for me.  just for him.

          •  Don't worry, it's not just you. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            quixotic, weck

            It's easy for any parent with even a 'typical' child to get overwhelmed and forgetful. Add everything else in and it's almost impossible not to. I'm not ADHD.. as far as I know anyway. I have files on my computer to remind me of doctor's appointments, DKos Diaries I've agreed to write, and important numbers including my own cell number. I also keep tabs of bills due, assignments due, etc.. as well as all of my kids' school work assignments (i.e. my lesson plans) in separate folders on my desktop.

            I've never been so organized as I am now. But if I let that system go, forget it... I've lost track of so many things I need to get done.

            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

            by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:49:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  you definitely don't SOUND add (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FloridaSNMOM

              with an organization system like that.  i'd be jealous but my inner add resists.

              i can only be organized like that at work.  by the time i get home, i can't even be bothered to open my mail.  

              apple....tree.

              •  It's taken me a lot of work. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                quixotic

                I'm not a naturally organized person by any means. But I also have fibromyalgia which causes brain fog, and without some form of organization I miss important things.
                As far as the school work goes, I do my lesson plans for the next week on Sunday, plan it out in detail, with web links, etc. Sometimes I add to it if something pertinent pops up on my radar (for example, one of the topics we covered this week was the Triangle ShirtWaist Factory.. what got added in was the garment factory fire in Bangledesh and comparisons between the two).  I research it, read all the sites and watch the videos, decide what to put into his school work, make up study questions for him (some are hand written some are on the computer, I'm trying to work on his dysgraphia) and I have files of this stuff. At the end of the month I email the previous month's work to myself.

                "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:06:22 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Well, too, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FloridaSNMOM, quixotic

            ADHD tends to run in families.  That hyper-focus on some things and lack of consistency/focus on many others?

            Sounds incredibly familiar to me!

            If a trait has a genetic basis we would expect the rate of occurrence to be higher with the biological family members (e.g., brown-eyed people tend to have family members with brown eyes). Dr. Joseph Biederman (1990) and his colleagues at the Massachusetts General Hospital have studied families of children with ADHD. They have learned that ADHD runs in families. They found that over 25% of the first-degree relatives of the families of ADHD children also had ADHD, whereas this rate was only about 5% in each of the control groups. Therefore, if a child has ADHD there is a five-fold increase in the risk to other family members.
            http://www.myadhd.com/...

            © grover


            So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

            by grover on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:18:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Typing works because computers get things right (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quixotic, FloridaSNMOM, weck

        even when you get them wrong. If you make a mistake on paper, and can't see it, there's no way to fix it. if you make a mistake with a computer the computer tells you, and fixes it for you. MS Office is a Dysgraphis best friend.

        I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

        by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 03:55:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  only on auto-correct (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM, weck

          i don't know if it's related to dysgraphia or if it's just my son....but what i notice is that if word highlights a misspelled word instead of just auto-correcting it, he'll never go back and fix it.

          he doesn't see that squiggly red line.

          :)

          •  Then run spell check the old way (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            quixotic, weck, FloridaSNMOM

            With the spell checker box. It will prompt you about every misspelled word. You just need to remember to do that. A good word processor is really important though.

            I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

            by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:00:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  You'd have to work with him on editing skills (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            weck, Futuristic Dreamer, quixotic

            going back and rereading for those red squiggly lines (does he actually not see them? I.e. is he red/green color blind? Dad doesn't see them for that reason) as well as for errors it doesn't catch. My other half tends to listen to it being read back to him on the computer and he catches a lot of errors that way.

            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

            by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:03:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  he can physically see them (0+ / 0-)

              it's just one of those things he doesn't notice.  and i feel him because my husband tells me how oblivious i am all the time.

              so he has to be reminded to spell check and his editing/proof-reading skills are not so great.  and even when we red-line/edit his writing, that process can take several prints.  

              he literally will miss the suggested edit multiple times, even after being told verbally he missed it, before it gets corrected.  that's most often true with long writing assignments when corrections are on page 2, 3, etc.....

  •  You may already have these: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quixotic, weck, cassandracarolina

    But this list of specialists trained in ADHD in North Carolina may be helpful if you don't.

    Triangle Area CHADD

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 03:29:06 PM PST

  •  I'm a teacher and parent of two boys with ADHD (7+ / 0-)

    (one also is on the spectrum).

    First, I know you're not seeking this, but I want to apologize for those teachers who put your child in the back. Believe me when I say that  preferential seating is one of the most important accommodations for students with ADD/ADHD. I flinched when I read that this teacher put all "disruptive" kids in the back. That sounds like the teacher tolerates disruption and not learning. Bad.

    Second, I wonder  about the programming at your son's school. I find that students with ADHD often require activities that are most hands on/project based, especially if it involves technology; is there a school in your area that provides that, maybe a STEM school or a school with mentorship programs? Again, a shot in the dark, but I wondered.

    Finally, I know you have tried behavior modification with your son in the past, but I wonder if it could be tried again to incentivize the lack of homework communication from your child? I know you probably have, but for us, incentives didn't work a few years ago but they work now.

    My thoughts are with you--I know this is tough!

    •  thank you maple jenny (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      weck, bluestatedem84

      and you're right, i would never want anyone to apologize for that teacher, who unfortunately will probably never realize she needs to apologize for herself.

      and i wish i could say that was my only similar experience...but i'm not writing to attack the education system, because i've had failings of my own trying to help my son.  it really does take a village and i truly believe in everyone's best intentions.  for the most part--that incident aside--i believe the educators i've worked with, even when i felt we were being underserved were doing the best they could.  just as i was--even if their efforts didn't seem to measure up at the time.

      behavior modification is a funny thing, particularly with children who don't respond well to rewards.  but it IS getting easier.  teenagers, even introverts like my son, do love technology.   and while we never could get him to care about losing or gaining anything else....the potential loss of a cell phone is pretty powerful.

      ;)

      i'm hoping other influences will emerge to help us as well.

  •  Another thought (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quixotic, weck

    My son has High Functioning Autism, ADHD, and ODD. We use a lot of notes hung around the house. This includes reminders (like flush the toilet, turn off the stove, make sure the water is off) and step by step directions like how to do dishes in 24 steps. I write up the step by steps, we review them, I demonstrate them, and then have  him practice. He's been doing dishes for example for two years on his own, but that list still hangs there, so if he draws a blank or needs reassurance it's there for him.

    I've gone through an adult friend with ADHD who had come off meds because the dr. refused to prescribe them to an adult (not because he doesn't need them) and posted all kinds of reminders all over his house. Things to remember to take to work, like his name badge, a stop sign with a reminder to check the stove (he melted a frying pan once), etc. I also put up a schedule on the fridge for basic house work tasks. He had never been taught any ways of managing his condition as a child, had never been taught organization, only given meds and pushed through.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 03:37:51 PM PST

    •  wow (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, weck

      thanks for this.

      this is one of the things i think we find it difficult to remember.  when you have children that are so bright and well-functioning, who then also need this type of assistance.

      we haven't broken down things at our house to this level, but we give verbal reminders every day for the tasks that we want achieved.

      and i had not considered that we needed to post instructions for things like doing dishes.  (my son never does the dishes)  but i asked him to wash them at my dad's house over the weekend and he started drying before rinsing.  i found it odd, but didn't think anything else about it.

      he also does his own laundry, but never remembers to check the lint filter, etc.  my husband complains that he never remembers and i just roll my eyes at him.  he doesn't get it.  and when i read your post...i think maybe i don't get it sometimes either.

  •  I don't have any particular (6+ / 0-)

    educational expertise, but I did raise three kids, one with autism and two who were not diagnosed with ADD until they were in college, so I do understand your frustration with the educational system.

    I also have a grandson with dyslexia and a granddaughter on the very high-functioning side of the autism spectrum.   I can only tell you what my daughter has decided for her kids, and that is to find the most genuinely, passionately progressive school in your area.  So many problems arise from a system that tries to fit kids who are not typical into an educational approach geared to typical kids. They think that offering modifications and accommodations is the solution, but often it is not.

    It's more about attitude than it is about curriculum. If you can find- and afford- a school that will meet your son where he is, honor his interests and his learning style, and be genuinely enthusiastic about the value he brings to the school community, you and your son might find that education does not have to be a struggle.  

    •  well to be honest, that's what we found (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gramofsam1, FloridaSNMOM, weck

      and it does translate into a wonderful education, but not on paper.  he's surrounded by teachers who are passionate about social justice.  he is surrounded by faculty who cherish him just as he is.

      he has a curriculum that caters to his musical interests....

      it's all of those things.

      but he can't pass his classes.  we pay for extra tutoring for some of his classes but not all.  we've asked for support in study hall, but he doesn't get it.

      we're out of extra money to spend and he will most likely need summer school for math and could potentially fail another class as well.

      how important is it that he makes good grades if he is spiritually and intellectually nurtured?  that is the question i'm battling right now.

      •  That is a tough question- (4+ / 0-)

        and it sounds like the school, for all of their virtues, is not doing enough to help.  Why isn't he getting the study hall support you've asked for?  Does the school have a system online where they post daily and long-term assignments that can be viewed by both students and parents, and if not, why not?  You might have to get on their case a bit. Or a lot.

        As for the weighing of the value of learning vs. grades- if he can get good enough grades to make it to graduation (which the school should help him with), and if he's learning, that's not a bad outcome.  But I know none of this is easy, and I hope things improve for all of you.

        •  they do have an online system (3+ / 0-)

          but as he and i discussed this evening, apparently it's "glitchy" and the teachers struggle with it from a technical support perspective.  so it's not as reliable as it needs to be.

          it also, from an end-user perspective, often does not have enough description on the assignments--particularly the long term ones.

          of course, let's be fair--the assignments they enter are almost often more detailed than what my son writes down for himself.  but it could be better.

          as for why no help in study hall?  i don't know. i'm certain to get around to asking, but i try to pace myself. it's hard to be that parent who is constantly harrassing the teachers and administration.  they already dread me enough.  

          •  Oh boy do I know that feeling- (3+ / 0-)

            it is a balancing act, but the one thing I've learned is that the squeaky wheel really does get the oil. I just made peace with being a pain in the ass, but I do try to be a relatively pleasant pain in the ass.

            It does make it a bit easier if you set up a meeting and discuss all of your major concerns at once.  I used to try one thing at a time, but I think they hate that more.  And make it clear that you're taking notes and expect answers- if not at the meeting, then soon after. Suggest that they follow up with email responses so that you have documentation.

            Remember that you're a consumer, and they want your tuition money. I'm sure they want to help your son too, but don't forget that you have power in this situation.  And good luck.

  •  Your son sounds a lot like me... (7+ / 0-)

    Luckily my mother has PhD in child psychology, and helped me through every step of the way.

    Using a computer, with a good word processor, for everything, has helped me a lot.  An iPad is not a computer, it doesn't have a fully featured word processor or a good keyboard, and both are needed.

    Now that I'm older I realize a great deal of the misery I experienced in my high school years was the result of trying to force myself to be something I wasn't to fit expectations I didn't even want to fit.

    I went to a fancy private school for joiner high and  high school and never did that well. Expectations were high for everyone, particularity with writing. The other kids in the school have gotten a lot of training in writing your son probably hasn't gotten as well as his existing disability.  See if you can set him up working with a tutor on paper writing skills over break.

    For me ADD drugs are really important to keep the focus required writing papers. If the last time you tried them was a while ago, or when he was in a different school, it might be worth trying them again and seeing if they offer benefits you didn't really need before.

    I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

    by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 03:47:26 PM PST

    •  This is a fascinating statement: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Futuristic Dreamer, FloridaSNMOM
      Using a computer, with a good word processor, for everything, has helped me a lot.  An iPad is not a computer, it doesn't have a fully featured word processor or a good keyboard, and both are needed.
      I'm an ADD person. While my manual skills, and general motor coordination, are apparently in the normal range, I'd swear some of my challenges have in fact been kinesthetic. Or the integration of cognitive and kinesthetic skills has been especially problematic for me. In the age of typewriters, I was really held back by atrocious typing (and worse proofreading). I've experienced the age of computer word processing as a huge boon to my writing. It has indeed made professional writing possible for me.

      It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

      by karmsy on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:40:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If I'd gone to highschool 10 years before I did (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        karmsy, quixotic, FloridaSNMOM

        I'd never have graduated without a lot of special ed services. My laptop was attached in high school, and it still is. No one even know that's an adaptation anymore, because attached laptops are the norm in the adult world.

        I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

        by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:53:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  You know what? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quixotic, FloridaSNMOM, weck

    FUCK grades. There, I said it. I am so sick of hearing school performance equated with "brilliance" or "mastery." If you need certain grades to accomplish your objectives, e.g., medical school or whatever, then pursue them. But, please don't anybody equate "gpa" with "potential" one more time in my earshot, or I will lose it completely. At most, grades are a specialized by-product of specialized kinds of learning, nothing more.

    I probably have similar issues to your son. I also had out-of-it, dysfunctional parents who harped on my report cards, and who insisted I be this little trouper who "liked" middle school. These wounds haven't healed for me to this day.

    Good for you for advocating for your son, and for refraining from insisting on things that don't matter.

    The best to you.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:42:23 PM PST

  •  Familiar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weck, quixotic

    In my experience (and I think the clinical data bear this out), nothing really works except for stimulant meds. The Methylphenidate (Ritalin) drug family works differently for some people than the Amphetamine (Adderall, Dexedrine) family.

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:46:56 PM PST

    •  Stimulant meds made my son worse. (0+ / 0-)

      It really depends on the kid. and you don't want meds alone you want meds and therapy to learn ways to deal with it without meds. A lot of doctors won't prescribe them to adults.

      Strattera worked for my son, combined with Abilify for his manic outbursts. But now he's been functioning med free for the past five years, and quite well.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:08:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Obviously, different people will react differently (3+ / 0-)

        Abilify is not indicated for ADHD (though, to be fair, many stimulants are only indicated on the label for children and adolescents).

        I'm not saying that drugs alone are the answer, but on the whole, only drugs are clinically proven to improve ADHD symptoms, so far as I am aware. And only drugs from the stimulant class seem to work well.  

        And the doctors who won't prescribe stimulants to adults are being cautious, but they are also consigning a lot of adults to permanent sub-functionality.

        Probably the best analogy I've read is that treating ADHD without stimulants is like treating nearsightedness without glasses (or other optical solutions that achieve basically the same result).

        Ok, so I read the polls.

        by andgarden on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:29:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Strattera is a non stimulant that works for many (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quixotic

          ADHD kids. When ADHD is coupled with something like Autism things change however. As we went through sensory integration therapy and altered interactive metronome therapy his ADHD symptoms and his manic outbursts and impulsiveness reduced. Therapy can help. Meds can help. Sometimes meds can give enough stability for the therapy to work. But meds aren't the only thing that works. And Stimulants are definitely not the only thing that works. Every kid is different.

          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

          by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:58:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  How close to Chapel Hill? (0+ / 0-)

    There is a school started by a woman previously associated with The Augustine Project (I don't have the link...google it everyone!) called the Just Right Academy.
    If you're not close, contact her. I will try to get links.

  •  My child had a similar combination of learning (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quixotic, FloridaSNMOM

    issues.  

    What worked for us was a combination of ritalin and catapres balanced with lots of milkshakes.

    An educational lawyer who made sure the school provided a quiet room for study hall (Resource Room) and a laptop so that nothing would have to be written in longhand or printed to accommodate the dysgraphia.

    Making sure that there was as much music and theater as we could squeeze in to every school year.  These activities allow for thrills without drugs or danger.

    A fabulous doctor, a pediatric neurologist,  who coordinated care.

    Parents who would not let the school off the hook.  We tried XCountry as well but there will never be an interest in sports, except, interestingly, jujitsu.  An IEP that was carefully assembled and followed.

    Time...recognizing that this combination results in an approximate three year social delay, (think: my son will respond as a 12 or 13 year old would respond.)

    A later doctor who reminded both of us that there would be peers in college.

    Gaming:  the AD&D role playing games, not the games where the levels cause added anger.  The adventures are ok, the frustration of "Dying" is not.  "Shopping" games where things can be accumulated, not road rash! Also the card games like Magic the gathering.

    A backpack system with every subject a different color folder and textbooks always available.  We encouraged staying after school to do homework so the backpack didn't even get opened at home, but that parents could check for things getting disorganized and help, especially before the end of marking periods and big exams.

    Attendance every day.  So much will be covered in class in high school (unlike college) that with even a small increase in attention, the material will be in the brain when needed.  

    If typing is an issue, get amanuensis in the IEP, and make someone else write his verbal responses to essay questions.  Teach outline the paragraph skills to make working with the writer more efficient.

    If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. & http://www.dailykos.com/blog/Okiciyap

    by weck on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:34:52 PM PST

    •  These are excellent ideas, especially a quiet room (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      weck, FloridaSNMOM, quixotic

      for study and attendance every day.

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:39:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  thank you so much weck (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      weck

      all of these are great recommendations.  we have done many of the things you mentioned above.

      my greatest challenge as i have commented elsewhere is consistency.  doing the things you mention and to keep doing them even when they seem not to work.

      i find myself
      1. trying something
      2. realizing it's not the miracle cure i was looking for
      3. falling to pieces
      4. collecting myself and then trying something else.

      i think for me, it's just realizing that it's the combination of all the things build on each other and get you through this and hopefully make things fall into place.

      i think over the years we keep pieces of things, but overall, many things get lost.  you give up.

      but your words and the words of many others here, are a great reminder to go back and re-kindle the things you were doing that seemed really stupendous for about a month :)  things that you lost energy for when you didn't get the miracle cure you wanted, but things that are nonetheless valuable, and relevant and can still be part of the solution.

      thanks for this.

      •  It cannot be a cure, it is only a way of coping. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quixotic

        The child is approaching 30, and had some very rough patches, even with a sure foundation.  There are parts of living we all go through.  

        I would have to say that having now proven the ability to hold a job, pay the bills and keep a car, apartment and partner, although there was a delay from my timeline, the child had a different timeline and seems to have successfully navigated the first stages of the process of living in America.

        It continues to be seen if there will be a wedding, children,  a home purchase, college diploma, or car loan.  I will need to wait for these things on that different timeline.  Safe and happy come first.

        If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. & http://www.dailykos.com/blog/Okiciyap

        by weck on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 11:18:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This all sounds so familiar -- Thank you for this! (3+ / 0-)

    Our son in 16 and has always tested off the charts intellectually -- savant-like in some ways, and he's a gifted jazz pianist in a performing arts school. But he also struggles with Asperger traits, he has severe social and general anxiety disorders, and amazingly (though it hasn't been diagnosed previously) the description of dysphasia in this diary fits him like a glove.  

    The school challenges can indeed be overwhelming, no matter how helpful and caring the teachers.  

    I'm afraid I have no helpful advice, but I can say congratulations for your brilliance in reaching out to this community.  I've been on a similar quest as yours for eight years now (his symptoms emerged at 8 and he's now 16).

    I'm looking forward to going back over the comments with a fine tooth comb, and learning what I can.  My only regret is that I didn't think of writing a diary like this first.

    Thank you for this!!!

    Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. --Margaret Mead

    by The Knute on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:37:23 PM PST

  •  Neuropsychologist (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quixotic, Expat Okie, bluestatedem84

    You didn't say how your son was evaluated.

    What you really need to know about him and his capabilities can only be learned by a neuropsychological evaluation.  That is not a sit down for a chat with a psychologist, but a battery of tests that evaluate, for example, how fast his brain works, whether his brain effectively communicates with his hands (dysgraphia), cognative function (dyslexia), and much more.

    What you've written about your son describes, in some part, Asperger's Syndrome, but there's not enough information in your post to say more than it indicates a possibility (which would be possibly confirmed or set aside by the neuropsych evaluation.

    Given NC (in spite of voting Repug) has two fine Universities you should be able to find a very knowledgeable neuropsychologist.

    This link points to a site with resources for Asperger's, resources that would also be of some help even if that specific diagnosis is ruled out.

    http://www.aspergersyndrome.org/

    •  he had a psycho-educational eval (4+ / 0-)

      which provided the initial diagnosis.  then he had a neurological evaluation that confirmed the diagnosis and ruled out other conditions.

      the psycho-educational eval i understood pretty well.  it had pretty relatable tests--IQ, aptitude, etc.  but the neurological eval was pretty greek to me.  it didn't seem to say anything.  but that's why i'm not a doctor.

      the adhd-clinic at uncg has always seemed like a real oasis...literally.  i'm always deterred by their administrative process--it's quite a hassle just to get started and seen by a real doctor.  $1000 just to walk through the door after you fill out a mountain of paper work.

      the cynical, jaded person in me who has been through so many ineffective processes, doctors who haven't helped, etc. is really hesitant to enter again into a new (very expensive and lengthy) evaluation process to just be disappointed again.

      it was actually looking at their program today and remembering the last time i requested information that made me break down crying, and write this diary.

      •  Get the neuro eval translated (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quixotic, bluestatedem84

        I know this can be terribly frustrating and expensive.

        Since you have a neurological evaluation, see if you can find someone who will translate it into "layman."

        Neurological deficits can not be cured.  In computer terms, think of them as hardware.

        That said, it is POSSIBLE for a human being who tries to develop alternative ways forward.  Blind?  Learn braille.  Deaf?  Sign language, lip reading.  Superficial, but real examples how adaptable we can be in overcoming deficits.

        The git-go for you, though, is to know exactly what your son's deficits are, in terms you understand.  Only then can you help him, and find alternatives that may work for him.

        Best of luck.  He's lucky to have such a caring parent.

      •  I want to confirm, the experts did NOT (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FloridaSNMOM

        diagnosis anything along the autism spectrum, right?

        © grover


        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:42:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  no. did not. n/t (3+ / 0-)

          it is time for a re-evaluation though and i want to find a really good specialist this time.  not disparaging his last evaluation--just that it would be good if he was seeing the testing physician on a regular basis.  as opposed to last time, a random psychiatrist that he met for the purposes of evaluation.

          you would think three years later we would have this person as part of the process already...but we do not.

          •  Yes and no. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            quixotic

            A physician he sees all the time certainly has a more in-depth perspective.

            But a testing physician brings objectivity.

            Think of it this way: if you are asked to evaluate a piece of real estate, it will be much easier to walk into a house you've never seen before and evaluate it than walk into your friend's lovely home filled with photos and treasured things, where you've been hundreds of times, and notice everything.

            It's why we suggest getting a second opinion on most significant medical matters. A new set of eyes often brings a fresh perspective.

            Ideally, we want BOTH kinds of evaluations.

            I was diagnosed ADHD as an adult by a doctor who met with me for about 20 minutes. He wondered how other treating doctors could have missed it all those long years; he said I was just a classic case. Yes, I could sit still, but I can barely keep myself from interrupting, finishing other people's sentences, thinking ahead two conversations, and am always late,  just for starters.... He put me on adderall and I finally felt like I had a whole intact brain. I am bright, very social and have lots of tricks to help myself manage, but never understood how other people functioned so smoothly, until I got the diagnosis and the Rx.

            So I like a fresh set of eyes.

            I also like to stick with actual diagnoses. There are perfectly good reasons why a teen who is struggling in school (and who might feel that he is letting his parents down) would be withdrawn, especially if he ever wanted to attend college -- which I don't think is out of the question, by the way. A smaller college with a good support system could be exactly where your son might thrive. Community colleges are often large and crowded. Smaller schools are more protective of their students.

            I certainly wouldn't want him to GED or test out of high school and head into college without a strong support system I had a family member who did this. I strongly advised against it. His parents thought he was just "bored" because he's very smart. He is smart. But he also has ADD.  He got to community college and he just got lost without interim deadlines, quizzes that lead up big tests, etc.  High school provides a lot of structure. Most colleges provide very little structure.  Plus, teens who struggle in school often aren't ready emotionally for college either.  Heck, honor student kids who go to college early aren't emotionally ready for college a lot of times either.

            If your son were mine, I would keep him in school. If not that school, than another that's better for him. But I'd keep him in school. One thing I would consider doing is looking into tutoring -- either an education (or psychology) upperclassman or grad student at the local university or a group like Sylan Learning Center who often hires credentialed teachers.  I'd definitely want someone who fully understands learning disorders, ADHD, AND is capable of tutoring on a variety of subjects.

            This way, a couple of times a week, he can meet with the tutor, review what he's struggling with in a low-stress safe environment.

            At the same time, I'd request that he be allowed to record all lectures and class sessions. I found that if I took notes, I lost a lot of what was said (and in fact, research has proven this is the case for most people, not just us with distracted brains). While it's hard for me to concentrate on what's being said, I tend to be able to absorb and learn most of what I hear. If he needs to consult notes, he can re-listen again, or borrow a classmate's notes.  

            Finally,  I found that studying with a classmate or two was very helpful (since you can't have him study with the paid tutor daily).  Having study dates with friends sets intermediate due dates. If a paper is due next Monday, a study date on Wednesday to work on the rough draft and on Sunday night to proofread each others' final drafts ensures that he (and they) won't wait to start the paper Sunday night at 9pm. They'll rely on each other for strengths. Your son may understand the intricate rules of grammar better (because they're like a puzzle). His friend may be excellent at understanding texts that they have to understand. And the third may be good at writing -- forming lucid sentences and putting those together to create logical paragraphs and essays.  Plus, it's more fun to work together on papers, particularly when Mom is making tacos or ordering pizza or whatever their favorite foods are...

            Small work groups is how I got through high school and college with good grades. Your son is bright, so he'll be able to hold his own and help out his friends in groups. In return, his friends will help shore up his weaknesses.

            One final thought: My personal feeling is that he doesn't need any additional diagnosis that isn't supported by the team that has actually seen/met with/talked to/evaluated with him. Medicine by internet makes me very nervous.

            But as you know, helpful advice based on what we know about your son can be extremely helpful.

            Armchair/internet diagnosing worries me. So until one of his doctors says the words aspergers, autism spectrum or the like, I  (as a former high school teacher/college lecturer, as someone who worked with autistic kids, and as someone who feels like she has a lot in common with your son) would just disregard that stuff and take the other good suggestions that are here, which I definitely saw a few...

            Good luck to him. And you...

            © grover


            So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

            by grover on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:01:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  If you have the paper work from last time (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quixotic

        your family doctor can prescribe the medication, and that would be a great person to ask to translate the neurological evaluation as well.

        I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

        by Futuristic Dreamer on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:38:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  that's who we've been working with on meds (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Futuristic Dreamer

          since right now he is seeing a LD specialist who is a social worker (MS) and not a psychiatrist who can prescribe meds (or even a psychologist for that matter.  this was after seeing a psychologist after seeing a psychiatrist.

          we're still learning.

          so far i haven't been satisfied with any of our counseling choices, but i think that's my fault for not connecting with a parents support group and getting first hand recommendations.

          the psychiatrist we got from referral from the school.  the psychologist i got from a referral from a friend who had absolutely no non-related issues (brilliant that--i know).  the current situation i researched on my own and that is turning out to be a fail as well.

          did i mention we're still learning? i'm betting that my son's wish for me was that my learning curve was shorter.  :) :)

  •  Finding the correct medical treatment (7+ / 0-)

    I feel your pain.  Although my now 22 year old daughter did not have any learning disabilities, she was severely ADHD from the time she was a baby.  The doctors had never seen anything like it.  Before she could roll over, crawl, etc. she would "flutter" her hands and feet nonstop.  I alwys knew when she fell asleep because it was the only time she was still.

    I was opposed to medication initially and managed through grade school by working with her and the school system and her individual teachers.  I would meet with them at the beginning of the year and served as a room parent every year to be in close touch with the things going on in her classroom.  She tested for the gifted and talented programs and made it through them with lots of help.  

    Then we hit middle school and it all fell apart when I could no longer provide the same level of support in her school and she had numerous teachers and classrooms.  I understand exactly how assignments get missed, lost, etc and all the systems in the world don't work if they don't get the initial assignment to begin with, in my daughter's case often because she was wandering around the classroom, in the bathroom, etc.  

    We began years of appointments with counselors, social workers, neurologists and on and on.  She started on Adderall XR which worked to some extent but not entirely.  By the time she hit high school, she was in trouble.  Through a family counselor we ended up with a psychiatrist who specialized in two areas: adolescents and in various medications.  He was the first to explain to me that there is no one diagnosis, rather all of these things are progressions from ADHD to bipolar, etc.  But he came up with a chemical cocktail of three different drugs including the Adderall but also an antidepressant and another which escapes me at the moment.  He worked with her in making minute adjustments to each until he found the balance that worked very well for her.  This included one drug in the evening to get her through her homework.  I cannot emphasize strongly enough how much it matters to find the correct balance and a psychiatrist who wants to work with your child.  When she became pregnant her senior year in high school this wonderful man contacted Danish researchers to track down studies to determine which meds she could still take without harm to her baby.   There aren't many who will go to such lengths but when you find him or her, it is worth the search.  

    As you have gathered by now, all did not turn out the way I expected her life to progress but she is now married with two children and doing reasonably well.  She is off her ADHD meds and is functioning well.  BTW, one of neurologists explained to me that for many of the ADHD children it is simply a function of a portion of their brain not developing as quickly as the remainder which is why so many grow out of the ADHD symptoms when they are in their 20's which turned out to be the case with my daughter.  She still has a long way to get her life back on track but she is happy and I am optimistic.  

    So my best advice is just to keep searching until you find help with the people who will truly help.  When you find those folks, it is well worth the search.

    Gandhi: "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. "

    by FoxfireTX on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:05:17 PM PST

    •  thanks for sharing this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Futuristic Dreamer

      it's interesting to understand all of the related symptoms.  (not that i do)

      there does seem to be some anxiety present or at least historically present.  although there's no formal diagnosis of that.  but i haven't had a lot of success in picking doctors/psychologists.

      of all the things i've been thrown into that i'm totally unqualified to do--that has to be the single biggest weakness i've had.  choosing a good psychologist.  i'd love to find a good partner/doctor for us.

      •  need a psychiatrist not psychologist (4+ / 0-)

        Psychologists are not medical doctors and do not deal with the medications.  There are truly wonder drugs out there these days (I have a young niece who is severely bipolar) and even fewer doctors who work to mix and match the correct drugs into the correct dosages to get the right "cocktail".  The neurologist we saw for quite a number of years also specialized in ADHD and initially prescribed the Adderall but it wasn't until we found this particular psychiatrist years later that I discovered how the various meds needed to be mixed and matched for my daughter's symptoms.  For awhile, until some of of the other things caught up with her,  I felt he gave me my daughter back.  I also liked the fact that the antidepressant he used with her simulated a naturally occurring hormone so had far fewer side effects.  Again, knowing what I know now, I'd look for a psychiatrist who specifically specializes in adolescents and then interview him/her about their theories, use of meds, etc.  Best of luck to you.  I know how heartbreaking it is to see your child suffer.  

        Gandhi: "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. "

        by FoxfireTX on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:33:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  My daughter has also been diagnosed with ADD. (3+ / 0-)

    During the early primary grades, report cards frequently said that she was "disruptive" (talking) and "failed to stay on task." One teacher suggested that she should be tested for ADHD and our response was that we weren't going to put her on medication. In 8th grade her grades began to drop and another teacher suggested that she be tested for ADHD. My response was that she wasn't hyperactive, in fact she could stay focused on something she liked for hours. After 9th grade, I had to relocate or lose my job, so she and I moved from Texas to Illinois (talk about culture shock!). Dad stayed behind until he could get a job here. During sophomore year, during each grading cycle, grades would start out bad but improve just enough. There was a lot of anger at being separated from her friends. During her junior year, I read about the difference between ADHD and ADHD-Inattentive, a/k/a ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). There was that OMG moment! I was able to get her evaluated during the middle of her junior year. As one of the psychologists told me, "the grades might not show it but she is learning."  For my daughter, medication was essential. Luckily, we acted in time for her to do very well on the SAT and ACT.

    By the way, I could tell by her mood whether she had taken her medication, very argumentative about everything when she hadn't. Also, teens with ADD have a much higher rate for automobile accidents and she had several before diagnosis. After that, she wasn't allowed to take the car unless she had had her meds.

    One last comment, ADD is a "disorder" because we expect all students to learn in the current, but archaic, educational model - sitting in a classroom with lots of other students, canned lectures and multiple choice testing.  I once read an article about ADHD/ADD that discussed the need for both hunter/gatherers and explorers - we need an educational system that supports both.

    "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's the thing you know for sure that just ain't so." Mark Twain

    by Expat Okie on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:19:31 PM PST

    •  inattentive type is an eye opener (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM

      and those kids often get over looked because they aren't causing any trouble.

      you're one of several people who have commented on driving (delayed driving or not driving or increased accidents) on this thread.

      i find that interesting because my son recently got his permit, which means he can drive with me in the car.  and the other day he was driving and almost ran a red light.  he has been doing really well driving.  he is a very cautious, responsible driver and i haven't thought too much about this incident.

      but the more i hear this discussed in this thread, the more concerned i am.  had i not been in the car--would he have just run right through?  how often might this happen?

      now i'm truly worried.

      •  With new drivers, distraction is always an issue. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quixotic

        With ADD teens, that is amplified. One of the problems of ADD with medication is duration. One of the medications prescribed for my daughter was a patch (don't remember the name); the effects stopped 30 minutes after removal. So she could be involved in an evening event at school, come home, take off the patch and still go to bed.

        "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's the thing you know for sure that just ain't so." Mark Twain

        by Expat Okie on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:22:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  we tried the patch (0+ / 0-)

          i think it was the first thing we tried.  i'm not sure we ever got the dosage right, but that was during our dreaded "public middle school" years.  with the hideous teacher and the worse administration.  and i only found out later that he was getting bullied, which is i assume also a reason he didn't want to continue wearing it...(gym class?)  

          i don't know...not a good time for us.  but perhaps a different stimulant medication is in order now.

  •  As someone who has some related tendencies (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quixotic, FloridaSNMOM

    and a son who also has these I would suggest a couple of things - but they are dependent upon whether he can communicate his ideas verbally.  From what you said I have the impression that he is finally learning and when engaged in the conversation actually can relate ideas, so, I'm going to suggest that you invest in something like Dragon Dictate (software) that will basically take voice dictation and do the necessary transcription.  Instead of him trying to both express the concepts and translate the concepts into the structure and form of writing, let him focus on getting the words out (however unstructured) and then gradually, working with someone, learn to put the structure in.

    Hope this helps,

    Good Sense is Seldom Common

    •  I second this proposal (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quixotic, ET3117

      Dragon is a great program that would help in several ways, including letting him see himself getting his thoughts on paper. You can edit with him after, showing him how to focus and structure his thoughts onto paper properly. Or if it works better, his father can.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 04:38:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Your son a lot like mine (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quixotic

    quiet, respectful, socially awkward. slow processing speed. Are you sure your son isn't Asperger's with ADD (inattentive)?

    I know people believe that there are too many children who are being diagnosed with ASD, Asperger's, but your son's history screams Asperger's: slow language, 'different', dysgraphia, slow processing speed.

    If you haven't done so, you should spring for a psychoeducational testing again. My guess is that he will need extended time on tests as well as having his task (as in projects, papers) broken down into smaller tasks with a longer prep time.

    I will tell you that we put my son in private school for middle and high school. These weren't specialized high schools, but high quality ones. We supported him academically and got tutors as needed. The small setting was good both academically but socially as well. He went to a single sex high school which I think took the coed social pressure off.

    My son is also on stimulant medication for the ADD and that has helped quite a bit. He still has organizational problems, but I have remind myself what I was like at his age.

    My son is now a senior at a highly selective college. He spent a semester abroad. These are things I never dreamed 10 years ago would happen for him.

    If he is Asperger's, insight is not their strong suit and it can be very difficult for them to open up: they know too well that they are different, but they don't know why. Also they are self centered (unable to predict the thoughts of others: Theory of the Mind).

    Depression is a frequent comorbidity, especially with ADD, and should be considered.

    If your son is doing well socially at this school, then he's probably in the right place. He may need more academic support (as in homework, which allows these kiddos to rehearse data and plays better to their learning style). He also might do better mentally with stimulants, if only it  allows him to concentrate more on the small things he is missing.

    Best of Luck.

    "I feel like I'm still waiting to meet my true self. I'm assuming it's gonna be in a dark alley and there's gonna be a fight." ---Rachel Maddow

    by never forget 2000 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:58:54 PM PST

    •  all boys high school is interesting (0+ / 0-)

      the social aspect of his school life is starting to infringe more heavily on his academics.  take that with a grain of salt, as "his academics" have been in a consistent state of chaos with or without social distraction.

      this has started to weigh on us quite a bit.  it's really a dilemma since we've waited so long for him to develop a social life.  now that he has one, i am loathed to interfere.

      last night he was working concessions at the basketball game instead of at home working on homework.  this would not have been a big deal, but that was also his priority the night before.  and he really shouldn't be anywhere but home breathing air and working on his assignments with his current grade situation--but then...as bad as  his very low F (below 30), 2 very low D's and low C's are...it's an improvement over where we were a few weeks ago.

      do i have the answer....absolutely not.  where is the FREAKIN HANDBOOK already?

      :)  

      thanks for you post.

      •  Helicopter parents (0+ / 0-)

        We were on our son's back quite a bit. Not talking, but actually checking homework, tutoring. We knew his syllabus and when assignments were due. Heavy handed--perhaps, but we had to deal with where and who he was and accept that he needed more structure than a neurotypical teen.

        I'm happy he worked the concession stand as that is socially demanding.

        As he is still in high school, he should be coached to discuss with his teachers whether there is any extra credit he can do to bring up his grades. You never know if given a single assignment to concentrate upon may just jump start him.

        "I feel like I'm still waiting to meet my true self. I'm assuming it's gonna be in a dark alley and there's gonna be a fight." ---Rachel Maddow

        by never forget 2000 on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 08:59:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  My now 24 yr old son (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, quixotic

    Was diagnosed with ADHD inattentive his freshman yr in High school about 10 years ago.  He is quite bright like your son however does not have a learning disability nor did he have an IEP, so I can't understand 100%.  I can just share what I know.  I was reluctant to try meds at first but I can honestly tell you it made a world of difference for my son.  His grades and his confidence immediately improved. It became more important as he got older.  

    After he was properly medicated, (it wasn't difficult the meds work or they don't right off the bat) however adjustments are made.  My son got a 3.6 his freshman year then flunked out of college halfway through his sophomore year into his first half of his junior yr when he took himself off meds.  He is back on meds seeing a Dr. and back at the same university by his own choice at the age of 24 and is apparently getting a 3.8 his first semester back.  20 mg of adderall make a huge difference in the quality of my (now grown) son's life.

    You can only do so much there is not one simple answer.  It was super expensive for him (and us) emotionally and financially  I hope the best for your son.

    •  Correction (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quixotic

      After he was properly medicated his freshman year in H.S. he flourished.  He graduated with great grades & was a member of national honor society, however the most important thing I saw was his confidence rise.

      I left out a big chunk of time in my initial post.  I have ADHD too!

      •  that is the major consensus in the thread (0+ / 0-)

        get the child on medication.

        and i have read that before over and over and we have tried meds and we haven't found the right combination yet.  and it just breaks your heart to go through the side effects and not get the right answer.

        but this community has renewed my resolve to try again and keep trying until we find the right drug/combination.  because i know deep down that has to be part of the solution, i just get tired and he gets tired and we give up.  and i just have to stay focused myself and not let my frustration keep me from doing what needs to be done.

  •  I used to be on a listserv for twice exceptional (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, quixotic

    kids. I can't find it, but I did find this website:

    www.hoagiesgifted.org/twice_exceptional.htm

    There is a huge amount of information there. I hope you can find something there of use to you.

  •  So much of what you say reminds me of my child (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quixotic

    Although mine hasn't had the extent of struggles yours has.  We knew something was up after some strange problems with her first grade experience.  Even though our adopted daughter did not speak English until she was 3, we knew she was bright.  She hated first grade though and the timed math tests drove her crazy.

    We consulted with a testing psychologist who administered the Wechsler test.  Our daughter was 1-2 years ahead on math concepts and other elements but her working memory was straight average.  She also had slightly above average score in coding (which is related to dysgraphia).  The psychologist said we should get her in one of the private schools for gifted kids.

    [aside:  I actually prefer the term asynchronously developed to gifted but readability, etc...]

    Even though my child's public school had a program for gifted kids, it didn't provide much and the first grade teacher never seemed to take the time to understand our child.  We came to the conclusion (fair or unfair) that most public school teachers aren't trained for the minds of children who exist outside the Bell curve.  There were "specialists" at the school to handle it but they had little impact because even gifted kids spent 95% of their time with the same homeroom, music and art teachers.

    [aside: I proudly support public schools but they haven't done much for my daughter.  As currently funded and with existing admin direction, even in a good school district in suburban Chicago, we can't get the needs of my daughter met.  I prefer my daughter's teachers to have had significant training as well as experience in gifted and special ed.]

    We were happy to hear that the new private school had financial assistance and it cut our tuition nearly in half even though we didn't think we would qualify.  I think some of it may come from the Davidson Institute and that is another resource you should investigate.  There are articles on line and you can browse twice exceptional topics also.  I think that is the site where I learned about some of the conferences and support groups for parents.  Those could be very helpful.

    We knew within a month that the teachers at the new school understood how this child thinks.  There are plenty of problems with how the place is run, but in the end, the teachers she has are doing an excellent job.

    A great deal of my child's most stressful times came when part of her mind is way ahead on concepts but she is struggling to put words to paper because her coding skills are slowing her down or because she can't remember the multiplication table.  Now that she is in fifth grade though she has learned to accept where her weaknesses are and is over much of that.

    By the way, I think dysgraphia may describe a difficulty but it doesn't describe the source for why your son is having it.  It doesn't sound like a fine motor issue since he is playing guitar so well.  Could it be a coding issue?

    One of the main things I first thought about reading your diary was if you had your son take a neuropsych exam.  We hear about one in DC who comes highly recommended.  (if you want I will be happy to try to find the name for you, but it will take some calls to hunt it down).

    In my view, it is pointless to have your son take any tests that do not also provide generous interpretation notes, written in layman's English, for you.  As a matter of fact I would be dubious about any testers or neuropsych testers that didn't do that.  You should have a clear idea of strengths and weaknesses for how your child's mind works and you should have some suggestions for how to work on weaknesses and nurture the strengths.

    [I'm no expert, but my dad taught special ed at a college to future teachers and my spouse is a forensic psychologist.  So, I'm steeped in some of this stuff anyway.]

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 08:09:59 AM PST

    •  I just did a quick look at the material (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quixotic

      under the dysgraphia/dyslexia link at Davidson and found these other links there.  This may be an overwhelming amount of material and I'm betting you've seen some of it. but here goes:

      Printed Materials: Books

      Dysgraphia: Why Johnny Can't Write

      Written by Diane Walton Cavey, this book is about dysgraphia, a term applied to the symptom of writing difficulty. It is estimated that there is at least one student with dysgraphia in every classroom in the United States. Unfortunately, many of these students are misdiagnosed, or, simply overlooked. In a society in which reading and writing skills are necessities, this is devastating for thousands of youngsters and their families.

      Eli, The Boy Who Hated to Write: Understanding Dysgraphia

      Students (particularly elementary and middle school ages) will enjoy reading this story. Eli describes his feelings about writing and the reactions of his teachers and classmates. Parents and professionals will gain insight into some of the issues, particularly feelings, students may have related to having a writing problem. An appendices includes a list of specific strategies for students that are coping with dysgraphia.

      In the Mind's Eye: Visual Thinkers, Gifted People With
      Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties, Computer Images and the Ironies of Creativity

      Written by Thomas G. West, this book is a hopeful, fascinating study of gifted and profoundly gifted people with learning disabilities and visual-spatial strengths. West's premise is that the things that seem like disabilities to us now at this time in history, may, in the future, be strengths in an increasingly visual world. West also discusses the influence of computers as both creative and compensatory tools for twice-exceptional gifted people.

      Overcoming Dyslexia

      This book is about the roots of dyslexia and offers parents and educators hope that children with reading problems can be helped. For the one in every five children who has dyslexia and the millions of others who struggle to read at their own grade levels—and for their parents, teachers, and tutors—this book can make a difference.

      The Gift of Dyslexia: Why Some of the Brightest People Can't Read and How They Can Learn

      First published in 1995, and written from personal experience, the author offers unique insights into the learning problems and stigmas faced by dyslexics and gives his own tried and tested techniques for overcoming and correcting it demonstrating that sufferers have special talents of perception and imagination.

      The Official Parent's Sourcebook on Dysgraphia

      This sourcebook has been created for parents who have decided to make education and Internet-based research an integral part of the treatment process. It tells parents where and how to look for information covering virtually all topics related to dysgraphia, from the essentials to the most advanced areas of research.

      The Source for Dyslexia and Dysgraphia

      From diagnosis to developmental strategies to how-to techniques, this book by Regina Richards is the definitive source on students who have difficulty with reading and writing. Offers detailed information on both dyslexia and dysgraphia plus hands-on strategies for decoding and encoding, sound/symbol correspondence, spelling, written expression, teaching cursive writing, and much more.

      The Writing Dilemma: Understanding Dysgraphia

      Written by Regina Richards, this book acknowledges and describes the multiple possible breakdown points that must be considered in a child who is not developing writing skills. The Writing Dilemma offers the education world insight into dysgraphia, acknowledging and describing the multiple possible breakdown points that must be considered for a child who is not developing writing skills.

      Printed Materials: Online Documents

      Diagnosis and Intervention Strategies for Disorders of Written Language

      Written by Margaret J. Kay, Ed.D. and hosted on the Online Asperger Syndrome Information & Support (O.A.S.I.S.) website, this article provides information on the brain functions that are involved with written language problems. The author suggests a combination of accurate diagnosis, remediation using direct instruction techniques and the use of bypass strategies and assistive technology can be useful in supporting the needs of writing disabilities.
      Printed Materials: Periodicals/Reports & Studies

      2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

      This website is home to a bi-monthly publication about twice-exceptional children -- those who are gifted and have learning or attention difficulties. Readers will find book reviews, products and profiles of experts, service providers, websites, and email discussion lists. Additional features include news from the 2e field, such as conference coverage, new research findings, information on new medications and a survey that 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter conducted about the needs of gifted kids who also have learning difficulties such as AD/HD, Asperger’s, dyslexia, etc.

      Websites & Other Media: Commercial

      Don Johnston Equipment

      This site has software for dyslexic kids that helps compensate for difficulties with written language.

      Websites & Other Media: Informational
      1-800 Wheelchair.ca

      This web page provides links to articles and resources about learning disabilities.

      2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter Blog

      This blog, maintained by the publishers of the 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter, shares news, events, and resources found by researchers in the area of twice-exceptionality. The 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter is a bi-monthly electronic publication for those who raise, educate, and counsel high-ability children with learning issues such as AD/HD, dyslexia, Asperger's, and so forth.

      A Dyslexic Child in the Classroom: A guide for teachers and parents

      Hosted by the Davis Dyslexia Association International website, this article offers information that may help to inform the misunderstanding of what can appear as a student's carelessness or lack of effort.
      Accommodations and Modifications for Students with

      Handwriting Problems and/or Dysgraphia

      Written by Susan Jones, M.Ed. and hosted on the Resource Room website, this article provides a list of the signs of dysgraphia and ways of accomodating expectations in order to deal with a student's problematic writing.

      Dysgraphia

      This webpage, hosted by West Virginia University, provides information on Dysgraphia; a condition where students experience difficulty with handwriting.

      Dysgraphia - National Center for Learning Disabilities, Inc. (NCLD)

      This web page published on the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) website, provides a quick reference to characteristics of dysgraphia and lists helpful strategies for handling the disability.

      Dysgraphia: Handwriting Help for Children

      Hosted by Audiblox, this webpage presents an article explaining the symptoms and causes of dysgraphia and how to overcome this disability.

      Dyslexia Online

      This website offers information on the symptoms and signs of dyslexia including directional confusion, sequencing difficulties, difficulties with little words, reading and spelling, late talking or immature speech, difficulties with handwriting, difficulties with math and more.

      Dyslexia the Gift

      This website explores positive talents that give rise to dyslexia and provides insight into the best ways for dyslexic people to learn. It offers information and training in methods for overcoming learning problems, listings of Davis Dyslexia Correction providers, a forum for networking and sharing information and articles and reports exploring different learning styles and educational approaches.

      Dyslexic Advantage

      This website is a place where successes, personal triumphs, and challenges can be shared. It is a place where people can learn from each other and be encouraged.

      Graphomotor Skills: Why Some Kids Hate to Write

      Written by Glenda Thorne, Ph.D. and hosted on the Center for Development and Learning's website, this article provides some deeper explainations on the complex components of handwriting and the breakdowns that can sometimes be experienced.

      Smart Kids Who Hate To Write (DVD)

      Does your child seem lazy, sloppy, and unmotivated? He or she could be suffering from a writing glitch called Dysgraphia, which is easily corrected. Some children have to use so much energy for the writing process that they are reluctant to put pencil to paper for anything!

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 08:24:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  thank you. this is very helpful (0+ / 0-)

      his neuro and psycho-educational evals did come with summaries (laymens interpretations), but it was the neuro that didn't seem to say anything that provided much insight.

      the psycho-educational eval gave me some real understanding of his strengths and weaknesses.  things that i could understand.  high verbal reasoning. check.  slow processing speed. check.

      the neuro was more biological--like--all systems go.  it never really identified anything that we could say--OH! that's why we're having problems.

      so it's not that they didn't provide a summary--i just never felt the summary said anything.  not anything my mother's eyes could pick up handily.

      his weschler's was an eye opener.  he was 95th percentile in verbal reasoning but dropped down to 9th percentile in working memory.  and yet it was the over compensation from the verbal reasoning that keeps him within the 10 point dispersion in the Woodcock Johnson subsets, which in the public school system renders him unable to qualify for a true disability classification.

      that was three years ago.  it's hard to say if he is still over-compensating sufficiently to be "on age level" in those same areas.  

      i definitely don't think his dysgraphia diagnosis has much to do with motor skills.  it seems to have much more to do with accessing the information in his head and getting it out.  it seems to get stuck, and i would agree that much more of a coding issue.

      •  Wechsler was also really helpful for us (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gmats

        and the psychologist labelled our detailed report "Psycho-Educational Report".  Our  child only scored low on two of the subtests "digit span" (part of working memory) and coding (part of processing speed) and the report included good tips for helping our child.  But it has been a challenge never the less.

        The mind is an amazing complex thing.  I find it disappointing that even good schools find so few limiting ways to examine how it is functioning.  In math alone there must be tens of separate skills that are called for yet only one grade will be used.  

        Our daughter's second year at the new school wasn't so hot.  So now every year I take a copy of the Wechsler test to talk to her most important 1 or 2 teachers.  I describe personality and general Wechsler results and hand over a copy of all 6 pages.  I tell them it is only if they are interested and it turns out they often do read it.  I've been fortunate perhaps but I've found at least one teacher that is interested and wants to stay in touch about it.

        I'm not sure what you mean by "neuro", are you talking about tests from a neurologist?  That would not be the same as neuropsychological testing.  I'm a bit fuzzy on it myself but we've thought about it for our child.  Based on description I've heard it sounds like Wechsler with broader testing and more drill down into specific details.  For  dysgraphia for example there could be 5-7 variations of that based on underlying "causes".  I'm thinking that various appropriate neuropsych testing tools would help to uncover the mechanics of what is going on.

        There is probably something better on it, but here is an article from a neuropsychologist that has some interesting observations:

        http://www.davidsongifted.org/...

        Neuropsychologists tend to see a wider range of issues, and the profession is less perplexed by the idea the great ability and inability can sit side-by-side. It is routine, and very few neuropsychologists doubt the idea of twice exceptionality. We see physicians, artists, judges, and professors who have suffered small strokes or brain injuries from low impact automobile accidents. We see brilliance and deficits in combination as our profession. A gifted child with an attention deficit, dyslexia or an auditory processing problem is another variant. Not only do we find it plausible that a child can be twice exceptional, we find it logical. This is not a common perspective; despite thirty-plus years of documentation that gifted children can be learning disabled or otherwise neurologically compromised (Baum and Owen, 1988; Fox, Brody, and Tobin, 1983; Whitmore, 1980). One of the greatest difficulties in working with twice-exceptional children is helping school personnel move beyond the “One Label per Customer” model. Because of this mode of thinking, children tend to be defined by their gifts or their deficits, but not both. Once one label has been applied to a child, the quest for answers ends. The child identified as gifted receives little support even when learning disabilities are identified. The child identified as learning disabled is given remedial services, but rarely challenged or offered acceleration. In fact, teachers’ usually lower standards for children identified as learning disabled, even when they are intellectually advanced (Richey & Ysseldyke, 1983).

        I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

        by Satya1 on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 10:50:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  i don't have it with me here at work to refresh (0+ / 0-)

          my memory.  but it seemed the neuro eval dove into gross and fine motor skills and more sensory evaluations and....

          i don't remember everything.

          it did of course confirm some of the same things the psycho-educational eval found...but it was not the same sorta battery of tests.  

          i can't really say.  but it's the psycho-eval report with the weschler, woodcock johnson, etc. that we go back to over and over again to explain his learning differences and discuss his learning style with others.

          it's the one that adds most value.  

          we too, take it with us to conferences and give copies to teachers and administrators, but we've had mixed results in getting their interest and understanding.  

          their interest is a lot easier to get...empathy or sympathy is also pretty easy.  understanding is difficult and then solutions.....that's the most elusive part.

          •  I think like another commenter suggests (0+ / 0-)

            You should reexamine the other tests.  If they were from a neurology exam, make sure to get neuropsychology tests from a really good neuropsychologist.

            I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

            by Satya1 on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 02:33:17 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

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