I also posted this in the gifted child forum. I used to be really active on mothering, but life kicked my butt and I haven't participated in quite a while.
We had a visit to the Eide Neurolearning Clinic in January and finally got confirmation of what we suspected about my 9.5 year old ds (grade 4). But that doesn't help us deal with the challenges we are having in educating our son - educationally and otherwise.
He is dealing with a lot. His situation in a nutshell:
- highly gifted with outstanding nonverbal and verbal strengths
- dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and attention and working memory limitations
- ADHD, sensory processing issues
- relatively minor speech issues that seem due to mixed motor-auditory processing challenges
- probably visual and audiotory processing issues
- chronic lower back pain, caused unknown
- separation/divorce starting Jan 2010
- shared custody with father that is not consistent on a weekly basis, he now spends 60% of his time with me, which is less than before (not my choice)
- new partners in both households within the last year - he gets along with them, but it's still a transition
- educated in a part-time program (9 hours per week of classes and physed/art) but mostly at home by both parents
- frequent expressions of anger and counterwill
I'm writing because ds seems to be "on strike". Due to his attention issues, we only do about 2 hours a day or less of structured learning activities but we deal with constant counterwill with that. He is "on strike" and has little to no motivation to "produce" anything that he could share with others. He will not dictate even three sentences to me to practice beginner writing, for example. He will not explain his LEGO setup to me. If we do a science kit, he refuses to summarize his observations and results. I read a chapter in "A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children" on motivation and underachievement, and so many of the underlying issues seem to be present. A lot of it is taking the path of least resistance and engaging in a power struggle with me.
At heart, I am an unschooler, but I've had to bend on this due to bullying from his father and the educational program. And frankly I am not confident that ds can overcome his reading struggles, etc. without some help and pushing from his parents. Stuff that came easily to me and to his 7 year old sister is really hard for him. He can read, but with difficulty. His visual tracking issues are probably making it really hard.
I am deeply frustrated at this point. I feel angry that there do not seem to be services available for him. I'm in Canada and the school district that we are formally part of cannot offer us speech therapy, gifted programs, or specialized learning disability support. In order to get speech therapy, OT, ADHD coaching, visual processing therapy, etc. we'd have to pay full price out of pocket, which I can't afford since I can rarely fit my consulting contracts into the custody schedule.
I feel like I'm failing ds. Although I do not have any faith in the public school's ability to help him, I'm tempted to dump him there so I don't have to torture myself with failing at educating him. It's not that I expect him to be performing at grade level in his challenge areas. It's that I don't see him putting effort into anything other than LEGO and his social life. We are still dealing with a lot of basic life issues. My whole day is being a drill sergeant - brush your teeth, eat your breakfast, etc. Nothing - educational, self-care, chores, etc. - is done without repeated nagging.
We are also dealing with a lot of disrespectful attitude. He can be very charming when he wants something, but nasty when he doesn't get his way. This article describes some of the stuff we are dealing with:
You Owe Me! Children of Entitlement
He chose to stop art therapy recently - he had been doing that twice a month for years. He's never done any other kind of therapy for emotional stuff.
There are soooo many issues to deal with here. I am just tired of failure. I have tried a lot of things, but things are constantly shifting and I never get any sense that things are on the right track. I have my own issues - with undiagnosed probably ADHD, being the consistent, organized parent is really, really hard for me.
I'm really hoping that someone here might have some insight that would help me get a grip on the big picture here. Sorry for such a long post.