When our son was born, other than having jaundice,
he was a very healthy baby.
He had periods of time where he would scream terribly for hours those first few
weeks. We tried everything we knew; Is he hungry?, Is he wet?, etc. We went to
the hospital and later to the Dr's office -- but there was nothing they could find
wrong. What seemed to help better than anything was wrapping him tightly in
his blanket and rocking him. After this period of time I have to say that he became
the easiest baby to deal with I've ever seen, with the exception of times when he
had ear infections. By 6 months old he began to have these constantly.
There were a lot of key signs early on had I been aware.
He could entertain him-
self for what seemed hours on end and a lot of the time didn't seem to notice or
care if anyone was around. Just so you don't misunderstand I'm not saying he didn't enjoy being around people. But one thing I did begin to notice at about the age of
one and half was that he seemed to play around other children and not with them.
Then there was the problem he seemed to have with some adults. If he were in
hearing distance of anyone who had a deep voice he would cry terribly and cling to
me like he was terrified. It took me a long time to figure this one out.
As a toddler he loved playing with cars. He would sit and stare at the wheels
spun them. As he got older he would line them up by what seemed like hundreds.
If one was moved even slightly he would know it. At two he now had a little sister.
He thought she was great but didn't quite understand why we couldn't just put
her away like a little doll. He would say she cries too much or just put her down
and come play. As time went on he adjusted. By three to our amazement he was
reading a lot of things. He was fascinated with the alphabet and seemed to have
an almost photographic memory. He could work puzzles faster than anyone I'd
ever seen. He loved to draw but would never color. Most adults were fascinated
with him as he could carry on a conversation with them quite well.
I've always been a very strong believer in treating my children as individuals
not one to compare them to each other. But with the experience of having a
second child things became clearer. My son had a very hard time relating to other children his own age. I enrolled both children in preschool at 4 and 2. By age 5 my
son was having very noticeable difficulties with social interactions. We decided it
would be best to keep him in preschool for 1 more yr. By the middle of that yr we
sought help from another Dr. After some months and evaluation here was the Dr.'s answer. My son was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and thought to be
gifted. But he went on to say he would never be able to reach his potential because
of the hyperactivity. After much debate with the Dr. I finally agreed to let him do a medication trial of Ritalin. It was a nightmare. I asked repeatedly if anything else
would work because this didn't. I had been totally against giving a 5 yr old any
medicine at all and now I would for years to come not trust anyone who ever
dared mention medication to me.
We ditched the whole thing...the ritalin and the Dr.
Did we give up? No but we had by this time consulted with several Dr's, teachers,
and the like. We still had no clue what we were dealing with exactly, and I had
begun to lose faith in the medical profession as a whole. All of this time we had
worked faithfully on teaching appropriate social skills. This effort would intensify
as well as my search for creative solutions.
Kindergarten was not an extremely easy time either but in
the best of all of the elementary school yrs my son would ever have. Two things
stand out in my mind that he told me over that yr. The first was that he thought
coloring was really a stupid idea and thought people should be drawing instead
of just coloring someone else's drawings. The second was when they were doing beginning reading skills in phonics (he didn't associate the fact that he really was
already reading believe it or not). He said "You have to teach me how to read right
now, tonight or I'll never be able to learn anything!" Pretty good observation
coming from a 6 year old don't you think?
By first grade it was beginning to be a real headache for everyone but most of
for my son. Now he was in a constant state of defense and fast beginning to hate
school. The only thing he enjoyed was learning about science. No one could
understand why he could be so intelligent and yet still not understand how to
interact socially. By this time my daughter was in the same school in kindergarten.
She had the same kindergarten teacher as my son had had. This is the statement
made to me "I was so surprised at how different she is from your son. I thought
that we were going to have to go through this all over again." Hmmmm.....sounds
like I've just been told they think I'm not a good parent (that's what I was thinking)
By the end of that year the county decided that they would restructure the school
system. This meant that all of our children would be going to an entirely different
school with a new administration. I was nervous about the idea but hopeful that it
would be a good beginning. Second grade came and it was worse than you could
ever imagine. Now we had to worry about fighting on top of everything else. I requested that they do an evaluation to determine how to help my son in school.
He had what I now know are problems with written expression to top off everything else. We were called to school almost every day. The evaluation still hadn't taken
place but by October we had a meeting with the principal and teachers. They had
pulled all of his records and seen the high scores from achievement tests and the
like. Would I consider letting him try third grade? I did agree to do so though I did
have doubts about doing this. By the end of that month he was on 1/2 days and
by Jan 1st I pulled him completely out of school and began homeschooling.
By this time he had had a private evaluation yet again. The outcome none other
than Attention Deficit Disorder and they recommended ritalin. The school had
done a very brief eval and decided that between this report and talking with my
son that he was depressed. (What 8 yr old wouldn't have been after going through
this?) Now that we had pulled him out they decided they wanted to talk with me.
Well guess what they interrogated me like I was an abusive parent. They did come
to the conclusion that I wasn't but the damage was there and would remain.
Homeschooling was one the best things that ever happened to my son.
enjoyed learning and now he was not only able to learn things that he needed to
know but he was able to regain his self esteem. He began to feel good about himself again. To me this was the single most important thing that could ever have happened. His sister reaped the benefits as well. They began to get along better than they ever
had before. I considered keeping them both at home. But she was very happy going
to school and didn't want to do this full time. I didn't want to make a difference in
them so I felt it important that she have the choice and not feel left out.
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