Hiya All! I am again relying on the wonderful Medhelp community. I have both sought help, and gave it here....and I honestly wouldn't go anywhere else.
My dgtr is 10 years old, will be 11 in June. She is currently in 4th grade. Throughout her entire school career thus far....she has struggled pretty significantly, especially in math. The idea of "ADD" has always sort of loomed in our minds, and a few teachers in the past have mentioned it in passing, but when we would ask if we should have her evaluated, the answer was always, "not necessarily yet"....and she would always improve with a LOT of hard work and some extra help at school...so we wouldn't think about it again for a while.
Well, this year, her grades have PLUMMETTED. I mean F's. Straight F's in Math this term, and pretty lousy grades in Spelling and Reading as well. ONE of the issues I have is that this teacher puts 100% of the grading evals into TESTS only. Therefore, she is not evaluated in any other way, homework, projects, reports (which there are none, btw). I think this is one of the main reasons we have seen such a drop this year in her marks. Not related to the issues with my DD, but I don't agree with that. She scores about average or slightly below on standardized testing (ie PSSA's). Her reading is very fluent, and her reading ability is above her targeted level, but she struggles with the comprehension aspect of reading a bit.
However, after numerous meetings with the teacher and guidance counselor, we finally decided to rule out or in any kind of learning disability, most specifically ADD, as she does exhibit quite a few characteristics. We filled out the Conner's forms, as did the teacher, and she had a psychological eval thru the county at school on Thurs. I spoke with this woman in length on Friday(who, btw, was fabulous). She recommended continuing on, having her officially tested for ADD by a "board certified child/adolescent psychiatrist". The school also has her set up for testing within the school in the fall. Great. We're on our way....and I'm anxious to get an answer, b/c I want to do right by her, and NOT see her struggle all thru school. The woman from the county of course couldn't tell me anything "officially", but said she strongly feels that there is an issue there...and she would guess ADD, not ADHD, and possibly a Math LD as well.
As we go thru this process, I will hope to remain active in this forum ,and hope you all can share your experiences and guide me along. For now...a few things I would LOVE some insight on. First, I'm assuming the obvious difference between ADD and ADHD is the hyperactivity component? My dgtr does NOT exhibit any signs of that whatsoever, and so far, everyone who has evaluated her agrees. I'm slightly familiar with some of those characteristics, and I haven't seen that in her too much. It's almost opposite...like she is detatched, doesn't care.
My BIGGEST struggle right now is with grade retention. Of course, the school has to recommend that, as her grades ARE lousy, and they have a responsibility. My biggest concern with that is...she is already a whole year ahead of her classmates. We waited a full year to start her in K, as she wasn't ready the 1st time around. It would essentially be like retaining her twice. The girl would be eligible to DRIVE in the 8th grade, for goodness sakes! I just cannot see how that isn't a HUGE factor for her developmentally? I can't see that there wouldn't be some pretty big impacts on her for that reason. Developmentally...socially and physically, she is ahead of the game. That is also the teacher's and the woman from the County's opinion as well. Heck, she is only 10 and already is menstruating! (Ouch).
Now, I want to be open minded and flexible and do what is right for her. It is really looking like there is going to be some kind of learning disability. Do children with a learning disability truly benefit from retention? Especially BEFORE a lot of adaptations and strategies have been put into place? What we have done thus far (as far as school strategies) has been minimal. I would love some feedback on that.
Second....ADD vs. ADHD. If someone could give me a brief comparison? I'm also curious to know if the recommended medication regimen is different for these two diagnoses? That's a whole other topic in itself...this is going to be a rough road for us with decisions..I'm SO fearful of putting my child on any kind of medication. I'm VERY familiar with these meds, but of course from an adult perspective. We give Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta to patients at work all the time, but that doesn't help because I know that they work totally opposite for children vs adults. It will be a challenge for me to put some of these conceptions I have about certain meds aside.
The other thing I would like to do is to just share a bit about my dgtr to hear your opinions. Now, I KNOW none of you can truly evaluate her by reading online, and that's okay...I'm not going to the bank with your insight...I'd just LOVE to have it as a personal resource. NO one knows ANY topic better than someone who lives it in some capacity.
She was ALWAYS very very "clingy" and timid as a young child. Where my 3 yr old son cannot WAIT to go to daycare every morning...she NEVER EVER got used to it and quit fussing in some way in the 2-3 years we had her in it (part time). She was always afraid to be away from us...even sleepovers at Grandma's, or other very familiar things. Almost like a severe and prolonged form of separation anxiety (which is interesting, b/c I've lived with anxiety ALL of my life). She also exhibited very anxious tendencies as a young girl. Now, in the past few years, she has really BLOSSOMED in that sense. She will go anywhere with anyone, whether we are there or not. She only seems to get anxious in anxiously-appropriate situations (flying, etc). We've been very pleased with her progress with those kinds of things.
Doing homework with her....sigh. Let's put it this way...I'd rather stick a hot poker in my eye...TWICE. It's a batle, WW3. NO ability to focus and HORRID attention span, which she has had forever. Even fun activities like a board game...she cannot retain her concentration long enough.
(Continued.....lol, I'm soooo long winded)