27 November 2012


Curious Girl is 10 now, and one of the reasons I've been blogging lightly of late is that I'm not always sure what's her story to tell, and what's mine.  I'm working that out, still, but will try to focus on my part of her story......

School is a bit of a struggle for her, and we've been working for the past three years to understand just why things are hard and how to best support her.  She's a bit of a perfectionist, it turns out, and she has some extraordinarily talented friends, so when she looks around and then looks at herself, she often finds herself wanting.  She's not always an accurate observer, I hasten to add, but she does look about and conclude that she's just not fast enough, not accurate enough, not smart enough.  This breaks my heart.

We pursued an independent educational evaluation, which turned up an ADHD diagnosis, and otherwise generally confirmed that she struggles in math.  (Not so helpful to take your child in for an evaluation because she struggles in math, to get a report that says she struggles in math.  Rightio, then.) We hadn't talked with her about the particulars of the report (in part because we're still in the talk to the teachers, follow up with the evaluator, make sense of it all mode.)

Tonight, though, Politica was on the phone with someone, seeking some advice about how to handle part of our plan to support Curious Girl.  And CG, who'd earlier run upstairs in anger, had crept down the stairs to eavesdrop.  I found her on the stairs.  "Mommy thinks I have ADHD!" she said indignantly.  "I don't!!!!!"

Oh, dear. Can I borrow jo(e)'s language and talk about my beautiful smart wonderful daughter? She is just an amazing little person, and it breaks my heart to see how broken she feels inside.  And overhearing talk about ADHD probably isn't going to help her feel any less broken inside.  She's not broken.  Although perhaps she is broken.  But not in the way she thinks. I feel so, so sad for the burden she carries, and for the ways she resists help because she fears admitting a problem.

We're still coming to terms with it all, Politica and I. One thing the report suggests is that this isn't an issue of just "catching up" in math.  Curious Girl has been saying that math is hard since Grade 1, and those complaints coincided with two years of rather poor math instruction.  We were hoping that some catch up, once she got teachers who were more comfortable with math, would ease her way.  But it looks like she's facing a longer-term project where we'll need to find our way to help her face work that is challenging.  She can do it, I know.  But on a different timetable than the school curriculum has progressed.

I feel a bit like I've gone down the rabbit hole, ending up in a world where I need to be a guide to my wonderful girl, helping her figure out what kinds of practice and work-arounds will help her have the wherewithal to persist in the face of challenge.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I hear you. I wish I had something helpful to say other than it's hard, and I'll be watching carefully, and then I'll just do everything you do...a few years later!

elswhere said...

Ohhhh, I hear you too. We've got similar stuff going on (only the problem is more with writing than math), and have a psychoeducational evaluation scheduled for January. I only wish we'd done it when our kid was 10 rather than 12, but it's not going to get any earlier, right?

So hard to figure out how and when labels are helpful vs. the hurtful ways kids can apply them to themselves. What people keep telling me is that a diagnosis can help in getting accommodations at the school. I hope that turns out to be the case. And that all our kids can get the support we need.

I need an emoticon for "hugs across the ether."

Unknown said...

I'm sorry for your struggle. Know that there are lots of parents out there like you, and get the support you can. Remember cg can live a great life without being a math whiz. Perhaps one thing you can do is to focus on her strengths. Reassurance about those might ease anxiety about her other issues.

Belle said...

There was a very cool show on PBS here last night about origami, and how it made math more accessible and fun for kids - they start with the folding, and it can lead them to math, physics, etc.. Not to mention some amazing things - but the physical act might help make math less about numbers and functions and more about making things tangible.

Good luck. She's not broken, just wired differently.

Magpie said...

i wish i had the right magic wand to make it all work.

thinking of you.

Unknown said...

If I've learned anything from teaching, it's that kids are all wired differently, and the more we all learn about each kid's quirks and capabilities, the better! Trying to see your kid clearly and embracing them is the biggest step--I can't tell you how hard it is to encourage a kid whose parents refuse to do these things. Wishing you luck and love as you figure it all out.