Showing posts with label figuring it out 101. Show all posts
Showing posts with label figuring it out 101. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Why Our Son's ADHD Diagnosis Didn't Surprise Us




My beautiful baby boy was born just like any other baby. He was healthy and just the most beautiful baby you'd ever seen with a full head of hair like Elvis. He behaved like any other child and my husband and I were doing our best to raise him to be an awesome little individual.



When he was almost three years old, I went back to work full time. Before then, I had been working part time, but between that job and my husband's full time job, we weren't making enough for us to buy groceries without some kind of assistance, so I wanted to get a full time job to help out.

That meant that my son and daughter would have to go to day care for the day. We chose one close to where we worked so they would only be there eight hours a day versus the ten they would be in if we had them somewhere close to home.

Things Began to Change

When my son turned three, he was kicked out of day care because he was still biting and at three, they expected all kids to stop at that moment. We were baffled that they expected him to change overnight, but we had him evaluated for preschool and my gracious grandma who had just retired said she would watch him for us and get him to and from preschool every day.



Guys- not all grandmas are the best, but mine really is. I don't know why she never went into teaching because she's always been good with us and my children. However, I suppose it's different when the children belong to you.  My grandma always encouraged my son to use his imagination. We'd come and pick him up and they'd be strapping on their "scuba gear" ready to do a deep sea dive in the kitchen or unrolling a treasure map and counting their paces to reach the buried treasure. She really kept his mind fueled all day with imagination and learning.


My son is so smart and we got compliments about his vocabulary, but we started to notice differences between him and other kids.

As a parent who went to church, I was wrangled into watching the preschool aged children. Most of the kids were just the sweetest and then there were the terrors and my son was right in the middle. He misbehaved the worst with me, probably because I'm mom, but when it was someone else's week to watch the kids, it was always my child that created the drama. He didn't want to sit still during story time or work on crafts with the other kids and when he didn't get his way, he'd bite or hit- things that he didn't do at home.

We'd tell the worker that we were sorry and that we'd work on his social skills with the other kids and we would, but it was always the same each week.

He began having problems in preschool. He didn't know how to judge personal space. He had no concept of it at all and kept getting in trouble with the other kids because he would be in their space and he also spoke loudly.

We Took Action


It really became an issue and we ended up having to have an in home meeting with his preschool teacher, one that we didn't want to schedule, but she had insisted. She watched my son interact with his sister and with us.

After the meeting, she suggested that we start him with speech and occupational therapy. While he was incredibly smart and had an amazing vocabulary, there were social cues that he was ignoring and most of it, she said, could be linked back to not being able to completely communicate his meanings because there were some speech barriers that we thought were age appropriate holding him back.

So, we agreed to get him into speech and occupational therapy, which they did at school. Things began to improve.

Triggered

Then we moved and then had another baby. Things that we thought were going well like him using the potty and his acknowledgement of personal space went right out the window.

My son had met another classmate, we'll call him Klaus, and meltdowns started to ensue and things were crazy. We learned that Klaus had a ton of social behavior issues. He was a bully. If Klaus wanted a toy and didn't get it, he'd hit my son. If Klaus was told not to do something, he'd start to throw chairs.

Unfortunately for us, my son picked up some of those behaviors and my husband and I had to learn a whole different way to approach parenting because things weren't going well the way they had before.

We were glad when my son began Kindergarten and Klaus and he were in different schools. Unfortunately, some of those behaviors that he had picked up the year before transferred over to the new school and it was so frustrating because my son didn't behave the same way at home as he did in school. It's not easy to correct a behavior when the behavior isn't always displayed.

By the grace of God, I got a phone call, one day from the social worker at the school. My son had been suspended on his very first day of Kindergarten because he stuck his tongue out at the principal in front of the other kids during lunch and there was the possibility of another one for him for disrupting the lunch room again and once again, embarrassing the principal. I was already angry, frustrated, and feeling a plethora of emotions, so the phone call wasn't welcomed and I know I was snarky, but the social worker was calm and understanding, the whole time.

Putting Together a Behavior Plan

For the first time, I felt like there was someone who was on my son's side. This social worker wanted to create a behavior plan and put it on file, so if some of my son's naughty behaviors emerged, he wouldn't be suspended or in as much trouble because different protocols would be in place.

If you don't know what a behavior plan is, it is a plan that is put together to help your child behave better. If something were to set him off, then the teacher or staff member who was with him at the time would follow the steps put in place for an easy transition. They were also protocols that needed to be followed before getting him in trouble or suspended.

For my son, this entailed seating him somewhere where there wasn't a window or a door to look through. It also meant that instead of calling him out for something, there would be visual cues.

Ex: When he was speaking loudly, the teacher would hold up two fingers so he knew to lower his voice. Another is when he's doing something he shouldn't, he'd have a stop sign taped to his desk and the teacher would discreetly walk over and point to it. His behavior wouldn't be brought forth to the whole class and he could easily correct it without being embarrassed for being called out.

When it was time to switch from one activity to another, he would get a five minute warning, then two, and then time's up.

If he were to begin to feel anxious or argumentative, he was also allowed to leave the classroom to visit the social worker or put himself in a timeout somewhere that was designated for that reason.

Things Got Better, Again

Things got so much better and when it came time for Kindergarten graduation, cheers from the staff members rang out when they called his name. It was very emotional.

After the graduation, the social worker wanted a picture with my son. He was getting married and was moving away and wanted something to remember him by.  He told me that of all of the students he's ever worked with, my son was his favorite. He also said that normally, the staff wouldn't all show up, but they wanted to cheer for my son when it was his turn.

It was a very emotional day. We were stopped by the janitorial staff who told us that my son is the sweetest boy they'd ever met who helps them when he sees paper on the floor and lets them know if someone makes a mess. On our short walk home, a lunch lady who was retiring, pulled over her truck and started crying. She told us that my son was her favorite part of her mornings because he would sit with her and tell her stories. She said she would miss him.

It was amazing to see the transformation; to know that others were seeing my sweet baby for who he is and not for what he had done.


First grade went well and it was almost smooth sailing until he entered the second grade.

Chaos 

It was like a light switch had flipped at school and at home. It was becoming harder and harder to get my son to listen. He'd get in trouble at school, and then even more trouble at home. 

We had been giving my son time outs when he was in trouble. It usually worked when we would set a timer that he'd get to see, but those time outs wouldn't work. It was a very difficult time. 

I had tried to send him to his room when he'd get into trouble, but he'd scream that he had to go to the bathroom and then one time, he looked at me through his door (our bedroom doors all have windows covered by curtains) and wet himself... on purpose... I cried.

The homework that he had would take him up to two hours to do each night, mostly because he didn't want to start it or work on it. 

I made a time out chart and hung it up on the wall. That began to work better because I included his brother in sister on it and put an x next to their names every time one of them had a time out and he soon realized that those xs would show whenever grandma came over for dinner. 

I tried to enforce a positivity chart where after they did so many good, positive things, I would reward them with a piece of candy or something else that they liked at the time. Movie rentals on the weekend were a huge hit.

Getting the Diagnosis

As things got better at home, they were sill getting worse at school. My son was getting sent home almost every other day for disruptive and dangerous behavior. The last time it happened, I was fed up.

I had gotten my son to behave better at home, why wasn't the school able to do it, too? I marched into that office and demanded a meeting. With only 15 minutes of the school day left, the awesome librarian that my daughter thought was a fairy princess was kind enough to take all three of my kids to the library to hang out while I hashed things out.

The principal was just like Professor Umbridge in Harry Potter. Sickly sweet and passive aggressive with nothing worth while to pitch in. When she left the meeting, I looked right at the newer social worker and asked, "Do you think it's possible that my son has ADHD?" and he basically said, "yeah".

Right away, he got things put in order for us. He gave me the name and number of a doctor who specialized in ADHD, convened a panel with the school psychologist, school nurse, first grade teacher, second grade teacher, the case worker from the year before and the case worker from that year, and together, we all filled out a questionaire and after the psychologist tallied it all up, the results, although staggering in some places, all agreed that he had ADHD with anxiety and aggressive behaviors. 

Treatment

There are many different ways that we could have used to treat him, but we started off with medication. I will post something a different day about why we chose it. 

After a few trials and errors, we came up with a dosage that worked best for him.

In just a few short weeks, that loving, caring, creative boy came back.

I never knew how far behind he was in his academics until I saw that my daughter was expected to do the same things and more than what my son was doing at home. 

My son was having difficulties in school because he didn't know how to read like he should. I didn't know that. I thought he was just being difficult.

If you could see how much his learning has skyrocketed, you'd be floored.

Today

Today, you wouldn't know that he has ADHD or that he was so far behind. He is reading where he should and he's amazing at math. He can add and subtract faster in his mind than I can. 

The frustrations and behavior issues that he had was because he couldn't comprehend what he was supposed to do. His mind was moving too fast to remember sight words or to remember how to do a certain problem. It caused him to become embarrassed and act out. Now he's not. 

Getting him to do his homework has never been easier. In fact, he sits down and does all of his homework for the whole week on Monday and then just does the corrections for the rest of the week. 

About the only thing he struggles with is social cues when he's off of his medicine. Since it's a time release and we only give it to him once a day, it's practically worn off by the time we get home. 

When we don't give it to him over the weekends or on break, he likes to go overboard on wrestling with his brother and sister and doesn't know when too much is too much, but that is something that he'll learn to do one day. 

Did the Diagnosis Surprise Us?

No! Absolutely not. There were warning signs the whole time he was growing up. In fact, his diagnosis was a relief because if he didn't get it, I would have believed that I was just a bad parent. If it weren't for my very well behaved daughter, I would have believed that all the bad was because I didn't know how to discipline my son. After all, I sometimes had temper tantrums when I got anxious. All of the bad behaviors my son had were similar to the ones that I had as a kid. 

Now I know that it wasn't my fault. Things are so much easier now. (Knock on wood)

Fortunately and unfortunately, ADHD is hereditary. If you know that you or someone in your family has ADHD, it's easier to get the diagnosis and to start early prevention whether it be medication or some other way like oils or healthy diet.

Unfortunately, more than one child can have it and one child may display it differently from another one. My youngest leans towards ADHD, too, but he's only four. We are on watch for him, since he can't be officially diagnosed until he's older because kids do change. 

It's just once you know about ADHD, you see ADHD everywhere. Try not to become too paranoid.

For more information, read this related post- Signs Your Child Might Have ADHD

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Spiderman's a Poopin'


When you're a mommy, sometimes you do things that you'd never thought you'd do.

One of those things for me was making up song parodies for my children.

With two younger boys, bathroom humor is hilarious, so should I be surprised that I rewrote Winter Wonderland to Spiderman's a Poopin'? No, not really. After all, they love Jingle Bells, Batman Smells.

For those who are interested, here is the song. I hope it doesn't get stuck in your head like it did for my kids and I.


If you like this song, please feel free to share it and sing it to all your friends!



Wednesday, September 26, 2018

A New Way To Teach Your Child Multiplication



   Learning new things doesn't always come natural to everyone, especially when it isn't something that you like. For me, that thing was multiplication. I didn't see the need to learn it and I had a really difficult time memorizing it. Eventually, it kicked in, but I really wished I had a different way to learn.

      I was delighted to learn that there is a different way to learn from my son's third grade teacher. This is the year that they are really going to focus on multiplication. I'm so grateful that this teacher makes learning fun. Everything in her classroom is designed to help the student think for themselves and learn. So when we went to curriculum night, she gave us a few pointers and my favorite was this one. No longer do you have to figure out how to use a numbers graph to get your answer.


     Now you can print out numbers with all of the answers on 
them and I made it easy for you by creating a printable

     In this picture, you see the number three. In order to find out what 3x3 is, you start at the number three and count to three to get the number 9. This works for every number that's in the printable. The video below shows you how to use each number to find your answer. Pardon all of the noise. I sent my children upstairs, thinking it would be quieter, but it was actually louder.





                                       

      In the printout that you can download for free, all of the numbers are plain. I used construction paper when printing to make the numbers more colorful and laminated them for shine and durability. 

I hope that you will can use this tool with ease and enjoy it! 

What ways have you taught your kids multiplication?

Click here for the free printout. 



About Me

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Hello! My name is Brittany and I'm a writer, obviously. As a stay-at-home mom, there are many things that I have to figure out in order to run a house that appears to be more sane than insane. It's not easy to be a parent and I hope that this blog is able to encourage other moms out there to live life happily and to understand that there can be mishaps along the way, but those mishaps don't define you and anything can be overcome with perseverance and will.

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