She puts the AD in ADHD

As I said before my #2 had her diagnosis yesterday for what exactly this thing is that we are dealing with with her. We walked away having many of those Ah-ha moments that Oprah talks about. And with more questions. Before I go on I would like to take the opportunity to point out some of this may come off as a brag and I fully don’t intend it to be that way. However, to deny that I am not 100% proud of my daughter would be wrong. I am and will continue to be. I won’t downplay her issues or the causes of those issues to make myself seem more proper.

So # 2 went through approximately 3 months of testing. Testing that is boring and repetitive. However, they all bring us to the end result of how can we make things better for her.

We sat in the chair and were asked to backtrack and tell him the issues we saw with her behavior and the issues the school sees with her behavior. They were confirmation of much of her diagnosis for him. We had this conversation that met in the  middle. We would say she does this and he would say here is why.

The why is that she has attention deficit disorder. He does not believe at this point she has the hyperactivity part. And here is the reason. She took the two standard IQ tests that are used on children and she scored at 117 on the graph I have included. Which puts her well above average. The IQ scored three different areas which were verbal, non-verbal and reasoning. Her verbal and reasoning were in 116’s and her non-verbal was at 122. This is described as crystallized intelligence. That means she was born with it and it will remain with her. Their are some diseases of the brain like Alzheimer’s that might cause some degeneration but it will remain with her for life otherwise. A typical ADHD child will not score this high. They will score in the average to below average especially in non-verbal and reasoning.

What that means for her though is she is easily distracted if she is not interested in what is going on. It also means she doesn’t easily relate to most around her. Her “vigilance” (which is the psychological term he used to describe her ability to stay focused) is at almost 30%. Most elementary children her age have the attention span of 9-10 minutes. She gives her full attention to whatever for exactly 3 minutes and if she feels bored, angry and tired she retreats.

The second diagnosis was anti-social disorder (social anxiety disorder) which comes with high intelligence. She struggles relating to those around her because her brain is wired differently. Therefore, she reacts initially to all things with her first instinct and a lot of time that first instinct is without thought or regard to those around her because they don’t see the world as she does. So she comes off socially awkward. Therein lies the social anxiety. The social anxiety has created it’s own compulsions to deal with like eating her hair, inappropriate talk and behavior in order to create humor and take attention away from her social skills, yelling, manipulating those around her to exert control over the situation.

There were some autistic red flags but it is typically diagnosed later and he needs more time with her to determine that.

The goal moving forward is trying some versions of therapy to see if we can curb some of the compulsions which are more the issue at school and home. They are unhealthy to family and friends and they do not force her to deal with reality. So at home, at school and in her therapy we are going to force her to face some of these issues. His words, “we need to create a pressure cooker out of her and make her face her anxiety”.
Goal 1: point out inappropriate compulsions and ask her to stop. Goal 2: if she chooses to continue force her to stop however necessary. Goal 3: Talk to her about why she wants to do said thing. Goal 4: Ignore any reaction and not allow her to respond with other compulsions. This forces her to deal with her anxiety.

It goes against every parenting instinct I have and I cried numerous times because even replaces bad compulsions (eating hair) with positive ones (drawing or coloring) are wrong because it does not force her to deal with the actual fear. I know I don’t want her to be like his patients that are much older dealing with similar issues. A few haven’t been to school in a year.

The only way to do that is force her to deal with these anxieties and creating an acceptance of who she is. Meds will work for her and the AD but she is still very young for that in our opinions and his. So we will try this method first and see the outcomes.

For her future outlook. It won’t go away. It will likely spike as she heads into puberty. But with the tools we will give her in the next few months she should be better able to communicate, “I am having a hard time” and get the help she needs. After therapy, we will have biannual check ups and added therapy when needed.

I am pleased to get answers and to have a plan moving forward. I am so glad we addressed this issue now versus later. At her next session he will kid down her own diagnosis for her and begin the real work.

Promises, Promises

So this weekend is jam packed. We have #2’s diagnosis, and then all of us are heading to Indy to spend time with my family. The girls are going on the boat with my dad and his girlfriend. Kyle is headed to a football clinic an hour away and Anna and I are headed to see family. It will be a super awesome weekend that I so need. Going “home” always grounds me in ways I cannot even communicate. It just calms my innards. And I am certainly in need of some innard calming. With the news last night I have found it hard to think about anything but.

I just cannot imagine…and find myself speechless. Can I tell you how many times I checked her blog just to be sure I read it right? I did. I even went and looked for a newspaper article to prove it existed because I didn’t want it to be true. Well it is true. It does exist. I won’t share for privacy purposes. All I can say is I am blessed. I could just kick myself for taking that for granted.

So off for some summer fun to ease the sadness I feel for a friend, the aggravation I feel at stupid politicians making careless thoughtless decisions and the nervousness I feel as another teaching semester begins and I have to contemplate childcare. I just honestly need a brain break to sit back and enjoy.

A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.
— St. Francis of Assisi

On with my promises: I promise to try and post when/if I can. My dad has internet access but in my memory it is slow as molasses at best and at worst makes me want to bang my head. And while I love typing away on my blackberry, blackberry posts are sore on the thumbs. And no pics can happen. And we know how I love to post pics of my food.

A snacking favorite of mine for your eyes…Pickles and Peanut Butter. Much loved long before pregnancy and long after. So no I am not pregnant (nor will I ever be again).

And someone officially learned how to ride her bike. And someone else put aside her new “tween” attitude and dislike for her “sister” and taught her

And how do you think she will do in “Project Runway?” She was quite proud of this get up if you can’t tell.

So I am leaving with this promise. I promise to have fun, enjoy my family and enjoy the peace that is right now.

Early in my marriage…

My guy and I decided we wanted to have kids. We weren’t ready but we were willing to think about it. I wondered if there were others out there who understood that. I “yahooed” the term “thinking of conceiving” because google didn’t exist as we know it today. I was pretty instantly connected with a site called The Labor of Love. On this site there were journalers who were various stages of child rearing from thinking about becoming pregnant to having your 10th kid and everything in between. These journals were blogs before their was even such a term. There was also the standard message board that housed many of the same categories. Both were extremely popular and had a magic about how close their members became. I loved reading the journals and forums but it was intimidating to an onlooker.

So I created a journal and just  started talking about how we were trying to decide the right time and so on. I blog there from 1999-2004. I created so many friendships and got to know these women better than I knew my friends in real life. This was at the point in time when internet usage was just skyrocketing. I would go to work and come home to 20 emails or 6 chats sent to me on AOL instant messenger with warm encouraging thoughts on my latest entries. Eventually, I had #1 and the site and its members just became my home away from home. I talked on the phone with these girls and met up with them if they lived close enough. I loved their kids and seeing them grow up.

Then 9/11 happened and one of our friend’s husband was in the Twin Towers. He worked for Cantor Fitzgerald. She posted that day, “Oh my god, my husband was in the Twin tower that collapsed”. Throughout the night and the next I sat by the computer eagerly awaiting word of his whereabouts. However, I watched the news coverage and I knew that Cantor was one of the hardest hit areas. Eventually, she came back with the sad news that she had given up hope. They couldn’t find him and assumed the worst. I cried for a day about poor Sapir growing up without a father. Liat is still a facebook friend and she was living proof that life does go on and she did manage to find some happiness.

Then there is Julie. Julie and I were a part of the same group. August 2001 Babies. Soon my interest was peaked because I saw she lived in Indiana. So imagine my surprise about 6 months later when Kyle and I decide to move 25 minutes from Julie. She became an active part of my social life and keeping me sane in a new area I wasn’t exposed to. When #1 was diagnosed with dog allergies and it was recommended we try and rid ourselves of at least one dog. It wasn’t even a day later and Julie raised her hand and said I will. Now our daughter “facetime” pretty regularly. Although, Julie lives across the country now (her husband is military) we still speak regularly and she is always sharing pics with us of sweet Daphne.

Do you know how many more of these stories I have?  A lot. These are women who have woven themselves, their families throughout my life in unimaginable ways.

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.
C. S. Lewis

Eventually, the site got too big to run and had to be shut down. The owner felt horrible but she had to do it. It still exists in some form but for the most part most of fled to other sites trying to stick together as best we could. This was before facebook and myspace. You know what though? We did. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t speak with another TLOL’er friend. These women are real to me. They may just be in my computer but I know them. I know who they are and they are real. I also know if they come this way they will walk right into my house and I will love them just as I do my close proximity friends and vice versa for them. In fact, I have. I have traveled to meet these ladies. I have been through deaths, miscarriages, divorces, job losses and remarriages. When I was trying to get pregnant with #2 and thinking I was pregnant with # 3 I bought pregnancy tests from The Labor of Love, which operates as a site dedicated to conception, and the owner sent me the sweetest email and hand written note along with a tiny bag full of confetti which is called sending “baby dust”. Amazing really.

You know Meredith? The post from last night? She was an TLOL’er too. And looking at her guestbook is like a reunion of  a TLOL’er family. I ask myself what was that magic? What made it work for all of us? I don’t know what it was. I do know that immediately I emailed the previous owner and her “right hand man” and said, “You should be proud. Look at this community you created. Thank you for that. Thank you for these beautiful, strong women in my life.”

I am so grateful for them and their friendships.  So the lesson I take from this. Make sure you tell your friends how important they are. No matter how far apart you are.

Sometimes all you can do is cry.

God is amazing…I know I have had my own spiritual struggles on God and the like but sitting here angry all night at the injustices in the world and fretting about what may happen seems so freaking stupid after what I just read.

I can’t sleep, I am aggravated and worried what “may” happen to my family. I want to lash out and have a few times at my husband. He knows I know I love him and I take that for granted. He knows I don’t blame him and I sometimes take that for granted.

Then I read this.

This blogger and I have interacted for almost 10 years. I have read her blogs/journal religiously. This was the reminder I needed tonight to get out of my own freaking head and get over my own freaking self.

I keep reading it over to make sure it really says what I think it does. The words remain the same.

Sometimes all you can do is cry.

Politics and Education

So my guy went to his latest teacher’s union meeting and to say that the politician’s have royally !)/?#* education is the understatement of the century. The way in which unions have been attacked by politicians and the way it will not only affect my husband but my children make me literally ill.

It is so hard to sit here on my couch and act like I have some sort of power in these decisions but I don’t. However, 3 pages in I see Mr. Tony Bennett’s john hancock and I begin thinking: “Okay, he is elected”. To me that means that I do have some power, right?

To most I would be considered a staunch conservative. I usually vote republican. However, I pride myself on voting person versus political affiliate. For instance, have loved, met, followed and supported Former Senator Evan Bayh. I did much the same for the Governor Mitch Daniels. However, I should have followed my 19 year old Evan Bayh loving instincts when I met him.

Mitch, is out! 4 seats are needed to reverse the absolute and complete attack on educators in the state of Indiana. The attack  that has turned colleagues into competitors and teachers into kiss ups.

The new contracts will be one raging popularity contest laced with innuendo and greed and I can tell you who won’t win. Children. They aren’t a product that is produced at the end of a shift. They can’t have business models and methods applied to them. A test doesn’t tell you what they dealt with that day just as it won’t guarantee a good teacher. A good teacher will now be defined as an ass kisser who allows his/her students some kind of edge up in testing. I will allow you to determine what that edge up is. I know what I think it is.

Those four seats need to be taken back by democrats or a republican who can see no dollar signs in education and take the goddamn business model that is currently being applied to education and shove it. I am all about making school systems solvent. We all should be, right? But now we have to ask if the cost to education (and in return children) when we place money and political ideology ahead of learning is a higher price than we are willing to pay. Again I know my answer. What is yours?

I vow now that I am going to do whatever I can to ensure someone who puts education first and proves that they have always felt that way will garner my attention. I will support, campaign and vote for that person.

So while Mitch and Tony B. sleep well in there bed I am going to bed again tonight worried for my children’s future and our family’s livelihood and hoping that we somehow fit into their model cause if we don’t…I am scared of the outcome!

Wanna giggle?

Go to You Tube type in “Jack Vale Films”

This gentleman has brought my family and I to absolute tears with laughter. Of course, I am setting him up but I am quite sure he will not disappoint. He just has a unique way to make you laugh. As well, when does fart humor never work?

This is a great montage. He has gotten the attention of several famous comedians (George Lopez and others) and has a few deals in the works. I can honestly say I watched him when because undoubtedly he will be famous! What is even better is how he feels about his family.

I am not now nor will I ever be embarrassed…

I treat #2’s anxiety/syndrome/whatever name the docs decide to give it just as I would my own OCD. It is an illness no different than diabetes or heart disease. It requires medical treatment and maybe medicine one day. The part I struggle with is the stigma that is related to mental illness. I know I have talked about this before but I will say again. Having anxiety and admitting it openly and receiving treatment for it is not something to be ashamed of. The people who should be ashamed in my opinion are the ones who talk in hushed whispers about the testing my daughter is going through or those that house their own anxiety issues but never receive treatments.

Life is too short to sit back and let anxiety ruin her life. I want to teach her to be proud of who she is and who cares if it doesn’t look like the cookie cutter version of other kids her age. That tells me she is and will always be the type of person who will “Dance like no one is watching” and isn’t that the way we should always live life? It is most certainly the way I want my children to live their lives.

I don’t care the name anyone places on her and her anxiety because she is always my # 2.  What I care about is being her advocate until she can step up and do it herself. I need help doing that. I need the help of her therapist. Her doctor. Her teachers. So I swallowed my pride about what society says and we got her help. Starting the next school  year she will have all the provisions made that accommodate her anxiety and they will be legally bound. That isn’t an embarrassment and I don’t believe it should be.

The best advice I got, I got from my family doctor when I was being diagnosed. It is probably the one reason I will continue to be treated by him. I melted down in his office and told him the God’s honest truth of what was going on in my head that made me feel like a freak. I just was sure he would throw my chart at me and declare me insane. He laughed and hugged me and said, “Is that all?” As in that is what has you so worked up? Then he went on to tell me that most of what I was scared of is what society says about OCD and not getting treatment. He equated it to having any run of the mill day to day illness and told me to quit over thinking it.

Anyway those words of wisdom have helped me as I have been dealing with while # 2 is going through her stuff. My testing was not near as intense as hers has been. Mostly because I was 28 when I got treatment and no one (besides maybe my guy?) had to be involved. #2 is 7 and this will have an impact on her education. So it has to be by the book.

Friday is D day. As in diagnosis day.  Maybe they will determine she is just nervous. Maybe they will say she is completely normal. Maybe they will throw some term at us we haven’t talked about it possibly being. Whatever is thrown at us I am not now nor will I ever be embarrassed for my daughter. Imagine being taught this early in life that you are different and how to deal with it. A skill I know I would have liked to have when I was her age.

__________

8:26 pm update-Admittedly, halfway through the the post above I lost my posting mojo. I am honestly tired of talking about this until this has a name. It is easier to tackle a beast when you can look it square in the eye. So sorry if I left you feel all dry and dulled out.

Mad World

Mad World-Gary Jules

All around me are familiar faces
worn out places

Pulled from here

Worn out faces
bright and early for the daily races
going no where
going no where

Pulled from here

Their tears are filling up their glasses
no expression
no expression
hide my head i wanna drown my sorrow
no tomorrow
no tomorrow

Pulled from here

And I find I kind of funny
  I find it kind of sad
the dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had
  I find it hard to tell you
  I find it hard to take
when people run in circles its a very very
mad world
mad world

(Warning-Graphic)

Pulled from here

Pulled from here

Pulled from here

___________________________

What the hell do you say to a vicious thing like this? I find myself entranced by figuring out why. Maybe it is the researcher in me. I am trained to get to root of what makes people who they are (writers/readers/students) and to be true to that in an academic world that eat them alive. So when people commit these horrible things I find myself borderline obsessed in research figuring out who they were. I am anxious to read their writing and evaluate parts of it that might say where this happened and why. Of course I know the manifesto exists for this guy. However, I don’t want to give it any extra clicks because he obviously wanted to cause the most harm. He pissed on the very idea we teach our children every day. To trust police officers and law enforcement. He used this norm that is widely accepted throughout the international world and killed these kids at their weakest.

I am sure in the days and weeks to come we will hear sketches of who this monster is. Everyone will take a stab at “figuring him out”. The reality is though in Norway (a highly anti-death penalty government who often finger wags countries who participate in death penalty) this man as the law currently stands to possibly serve 21 years for this and if I understand the law correct could be out on parole as early as 16 years. Now politicians in Norway are scrambling to find loops and ways around this law. They never imagined in their nation known for “peace” that a monster was among them that hated multiculturalism and the integrating of differing cultures into his own.

What I find extremely interesting though is the role social media played in this tragedy. If this isn’t exploration of digital literacies and their impact on the world I am not sure what is. It is becoming increasingly normal for social media to be on the scene first versus first responders. What do people think of that?  For 90 minutes these kids (quite a few my students ages) twittered and facebook’ed what they believed might have been their last words. In real time, they text with their loved ones saying, “I am going to die.” When this happened during 9/11 which regular ol’ landlines and answering machines we were mesmerized. I am not sure how I would feel about those kind of chilling life ending moments.

Then even worse overhead while he is on this malicious rampage what is flying over head? Media (that is who shot the photo above and this video that is so horribly graphic) and they are shooting bodies and carnage every where and taking the chance the killer may spot them and shoot at them. What is the cost though for these families? Now their child is plastered over the net seen begging for life? Or worse, bleeding and taking their last breaths.

I am a huge advocate for social media and its advantages but I struggle with how it is used sometimes. It is exploiting people at their absolute worsts? And do we have that right? And then there are good times. I receive almost hourly tweets, blogs and so on from people searching for Lauren Spierer. The college girl from IU that went missing. I applaud these people for keeping her name out there. They can in a matter of seconds tweet to news stations and people like John Walsh. That is amazing.

I don’t it leaves me feeling kind of funny.