Saturday, February 4, 2012
And the Light Bulb Comes Out of the Box
If you know my daughter, you know she's bright.
We had her tested for the Gifted program at school; not because we needed a sheet of paper to prove she was a smart cookie; but because this year we've run into fairly significant issues with her behavior in the classroom.
I can hear you, you know - I can feel the vibrations of your murmurings: "SHE'S BORED!!!"
While I don't disagree with you, we've been confronted with a different truth: although not qualified for a Gifted designation, Audrey DOES fit neatly into an ADHD profile.
See, I can still hear you ... stop shaking your head!! Bear with me, ok?
A year ago, or less, perhaps, I would have scoffed at any suggestion of the sort. I "KNEW" ADHD when I saw it ... the boy with ants in his pants who certainly wouldn't sit down to read a book (as she does -- often), is in need of medication (this concept directly in opposition to my opinion about the over-medication of children - I'm a hypocrite, and I'm willing to admit it), and/or a stronger means of discipline.
But after speaking to her teachers, the school psychologist, and an independent psychologist who did a THOROUGH investigation and interview, Ian and I are comfortable with this diagnosis.
In fact, I'm relieved.
It's amazing how filling out those forms with the little check boxes and rating scales gave me immediate grace for -- and understanding of -- my daughter. Being smart doesn't make her able to organize her thoughts, her tasks, her BODY ... anything. Being mature doesn't cover the inability to control outbursts in the classroom and saying things which inadvertantly hurt others. Being 7 doesn't mean she's finally self-aware enough to keep her hair out of her food ... there's simply a missing piece, a brain misfire, an issue in the frontal lobe.
Lord knows the Maizes know enough about the brain to give it due respect.
And so, dear reader, I throw this out to cyberspace for a number of reasons:
1. if you've seen me do what you believe is going overboard in my dealing with Audrey ... shouting, becoming insanely frustrated, making a big deal out of her responses to me, insisting she obey me immediately, getting in her FACE out stuff ... know that these have all become part of my coping mechanism for something invisible which has now come to light.
2. if you have experienced the joy of my daughter (and truly, she is a joy - a lover of people, a charming, funny kid, quirky and crazy and wonderful), you can look for the things I describe and nod in agreement with me ... and perhaps try a different tac if you need to get her to ingest some pertenent information.
3. if you've heard me grumble or roll my eyes about ADHD in general, I'm sorry; it's not that I denied its existence, or even dismissed the need for medication to be given ... just that without a full understanding of the syndrome itself, I was prone to oversimplification and suspicion. For this academic laziness, I apologize.
4. if you've been down this road: we are about to begin our journey of special school accomodations, therapy/counseling and parental education. You may hear about some of it. If you have comments, especially of a constructive, experienced nature, I'd love to receive them. (FYI: we are not yet on a medication plan. This may come later, if the above provisions do not suffice).