Saturday, October 29, 2011

Guess what!?

We got an iPad! I was lucky enough to come across a very gently used one because I certainly don't have $600+ to spend on something like that. But it's so cool, it would have been worth every penny (after saving for months and months which I had planned on eventually doing). So yeah, I got very lucky.

I'm able to use it for tons of stuff. I surf the web, play games, organize homeschool stuff (lesson plans, attendance, etc), and store pictures. Lots of fun. Adrian has a ton of games already (mostly free, although I did splurge on angry birds and a few educational apps). He's using iDiary for his writing now. I find it helps that he doesn't have to physically write everything. He struggles a lot with handwriting and it can be overwhelming. We do handwriting practice completely separate. I think it's more important to actually figure out how to get his thoughts on paper...handwriting will just naturally get better as he gets older. He has math apps, and history and geography apps. He's thrilled to be able to do some of his school work on it.

Charlie love it as well. She's always enjoyed Grandma's iPod touch, but the iPad is big enough SHE can touch it and play with it! And it's so sensitive that even the slightest touch makes it do something. See, all of her toys at home require a certain amount of pressure to make it do something. You have to actually PUSH the piano keys down to get noise out of it. The iPad she just has to barely brush the screen and she's instantly rewarded. So I'm assuming this is why she doesn't care for most of her toys but smiles and squeals as soon as I pull out the iPad. And protests when I say it's time for bed and put it away. The first night she got to play with it, she "yelled" at me for 45 minutes after I put it away before she finally let her meds get the best of her. Best toy EVER!

I highly recommend it for kids with very little control over their hands. There's so much they can do! Play instruments, watch animated storybooks, doodle, listen to animal noises, and watch light shows. That's just what she can do HERSELF. With me helping her, we can work on shapes, colors, letters and numbers. We started putting letters together to make words. I don't know how much she retrains, but she's having fun, so we may as well, right?

I've heard it can improve vision in kids with Cortical Vision Impairment, which is what Charlie has. I've talked to one person who said her daughter has shown improvement already.

I haven't gotten video of Charlie playing with it yet, but I will soon. A few people have requested a video and I know everyone is excited to see her be able to do things she wouldn't otherwise be able to do.

Here is Adrian playing "Smelly Cat":

Family Pic!:

One simple little toy made Adrian's week:

Our new way to work on spelling....move all the letters on post-it notes from one window to the other to make all 10 spelling words. Any letters left behind? You spelled something wrong! Thank goodness for Family Fun magazine.

Charlie in her new pjs that my sister and dad sent for her birthday. My sister called me from the store and said "Are you sure she needs 5T...they look huge!" Yes, she really does. She's really that big. LOL

Adrian had some appointments this past week. He had a speech evaluation and he qualifies for services. Amazingly, his stuttering almost completely disappeared about a week before the evaluation. I know he may start up again and it's not a huge deal, but for now, this is big improvement. So the therapy will mainly be for improving on his sounds. He's only a little behind so it's not too bad. I'm hoping speech therapy will be short-lived.

His other appointment was with neurology to discuss some of his odd behaviors. He has a tic disorder, but it's not bad enough to be labeled Tourette's. We're not even considering medicating just yet. It's nice to have our foot in the door though, in case he gets worse. The doctor also thinks he has an anxiety disorder and possibly ADHD. She's referring him to psychology for the anxiety and our regular pedi for the ADHD. Again, we are not considering medicating for any of it just yet. We're just trying to figure everything out. The ADHD I was kind of expecting. I didn't really notice much of a problem until we got to our more academic based curriculum this year. He can't focus to save his life. The K teacher at the daycare is about to pull her hair out. I'm struggling to understand...everything. He's so smart and he learns so why can't he write 3 sentences? Why does it take him an hour to settle down enough to do 1 math problem?

It would be nice to have some help. Some suggestions on how to manage this. On the other hand, I'm afraid of the stigma. Nearly everyone I know seems to think ADHD is a made up disorder that's really just a discipline problem. People who have kids with ADHD never say this. People who were blessed with "easy" kids always seem to think their kids' angelic behavior is somehow their doing. When really, probably 95% of how a kid acts is just the personality they were born with. I've seen the best parents have kids rage out of control and crappy parents that can't be bothered to even spend time with their kids end up with angels. I was one of those kids that was angelic. Rarely got in trouble. I didn't think up crazy schemes to annoy my parents. I came straight from school and did my homework without needing to be told. Did my mom and dad shape me to be like that? I don't think so. They were good parents, but I'm sure half the time they didn't have a clue what they were doing. Most parents don't. The ones that think they do usually have less of a clue than anyone else. My little sister was a HECK of a lot more challenging than I was and we were raised in the same house by the same parents. Did they discipline me better than her? I've been told she was challenging from day 1. Kind of like Adrian. Did I fail him somewhere or did he just come out screaming because that's how he is? He was a challenging baby, a challenging toddler, a challenging 1st grader. I expect he'll be challenging when he hits puberty, and then his teens as well.

What I find funny is that everyone always praises my parenting. I'm constantly told "I could never do what you do". I'm told that I go "above and beyond" for my kids. But if I mention ADHD, it's like a light switch is flipped. I just don't beat his ass hard enough.

Yup, THAT'S the problem. *sigh*

I'll get through this, just like I get through everything else. It would be nice to have support though. When Charlie was very young, I knew what her prognosis was before any doctor actually came out and said it. And because no doctor had said it, it wasn't real to anyone else but me. If I brought it up to anyone it was "she just needs time to'll see!" and "babies are resilient, she'll be fine". "If you get the right therapy, she may be able to walk one day!" That one still burns me up. For months I had to live with own little secret. I couldn't bring it up or I was poo-pooed and told I was being negative. I had to just let it stew in my head until everyone else came to terms with it as well. Obviously what Adrian is dealing with is not *anything* close to that, but it's still hard. We all just want what's best for our kids and I hate that I can't just sit him down and teach him and go about our day. It's never that simple. At least once a week he ends up in tears over some simple lesson. He's not being lazy. It's just that we both get so frustrated we don't know what to do. He can't focus. I can't understand why he can't focus. He doesn't understand why I can't goes on and on.

He's a GOOD kid. He's not aggressive or mean or a bully. He doesn't do things out of spite. He doesn't makes huge messes just because he feels like it. He doesn't run into traffic or run away from me in the store. He doesn't tantrum. He wears his helmet even though no one else in our neighborhood does and takes safety as seriously as I do. He's the world's best big brother in a situation a lot of kids wouldn't handle it with the finesse he does. 95% of the time he's an angel. So please, before anyone lectures me on how I discipline, take a look at ALL of him. He's a GOOD kid. He can't focus for shit, but he's a GOOD kid.


sarah said...

I feel your pain...I really do. As the parent of a teen on the autism spectrum, I take a LOT of flack. I can remember the looks on people's faces when he wigged out at the pumpkin patch a few years ago and his dad had to take him down (for everyone's safety).

to be 100% honest, if Adrian's ADHD is interfering with his schooling THAT much, you might want to see about medicating him. Think of it like glasses for his brain.Since you said he does have a mild tic issue, ask the doctor about Tenex ( guanfacine). it is a small dose, and would both help him focus AND possibly help reduce the tics. I think helping him to focus is going to reduce the frustration for both of you.

I know you feel strongly about not wanting to medicate him, my son is on a bunch of meds just to make him functional. Most people shudder when I tell them what he is on (prozac, abilify AND tenex), yet he is doing better this year than he has in ALL the years he has been in school ( he's in 10th now)

Shauna said...

I'm not really against medicating him, I just want to try other stuff first. I don't really even know how to compare him to what he should be capable of at this age. He's my first, he's not in school where he's among 25 peers. He's not getting notes home from a teacher who has worked with thousands of other 6 year olds over the years. For all I know, it's really mild and I'm just a wimp. LOL So we'll see what the "professionals" think. His tics have actually been mild lately. I noticed an improvement right when I noticed and improvement with the stuttering.

sarah said...

one thing to do is observe. When my oldest was being evaluated for his MFE, the school psychologist sat in his classroom several times so she could compare him to his peers. She took observations like every 30 seconds. When reading her observations, it was clear that my son could not sit still and had major trouble attending to the task at hand~ and he was 11 at the time! But when he was Adrian's age, he was frustrated to tears DAILY in kindergarten! and over simple stuff like handwriting!My 6 year old is not a fan of writing, I have seen him cry over work book pages, but sometimes he gets excited about new ways of doing things. I bought a dry erase board ( on clearance for $1.50) and he practices his writing on that!

Rebecca said...

Have you considered getting him "wiggle" cushion? It's like a balance ball, but a flat disc that will let him get some stimulation while he's "sitting still." It's helped my dd a lot. Also look into Pycnogenol and omega 3!

Jessica said...

I was just wondering what was going on with you guys when I noticed your blog links in your siggy! You know I'm an OT. I had a lot of ADD/ADHD kids when I was working, but one stands out. He was a kindergartener when I started with him. He was smart, but was completely incapable of focusing on ANYTHING for more than 2 seconds, and that is not an exaggeration. I asked him to look at my face. He could not. I asked him to look at a picture of something. I counted. 2 seconds before he moved on. This kid got in trouble all the time, but it really, honestly wasn't his fault. So, yeah, ADHD is totally real. I just hate the people who over-diagnosed it and made people think that every kid with that diagnosis was just a discipline problem.

I agree with the suggestion for the wiggle cushion, or even just an exercise ball. Give him fidget toys when he works. Make him do "heavy work" (carrying heavy boxes, jumping up and down really hard, bear crawling, etc) right before he has to sit down to write or read. Those things help organize the sensory system and may give him enough input to focus for a few minutes.
(jess71903 from CSO)