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As far as structure goes, we were pretty structured during our homeschooling. But as far as the family situation going on around our attempts to homeschool – that’s something of an ongoing struggle, which I think is at the root of the behavior issues than any inborn characteristics in my son.
For instance, my husband agreed to wake up at 9 to watch baby so I could start lessons with the boy. He works till 8:30 pm, eats, reads, sometimes has insomnia – and has ADHD pretty bad, plus other dysfunctional stuff. It is/was severe but he’s been working on himself for a while, so there’s been improvement. Anyway, so 9 o’clock happened about twice a week and our lessons were not progressing at an adequate pace. Long story short – I did not want my son to see his dad mozy out of his room at any d*mn time, and experience frazzled, freaking out, on the edge mom every single day forever, so I put him in school. Now I am happy in the morning when I take him and when he comes home. And his dad is more aware of time when he can see us, so he takes advantage of that in a good way. Also, we were Waldorf homeschooling, so it was a harmonious fit that way.
My husband has had a difficult time understanding my son’s issues and my attempts to get on top of them because he sees my attempts as not accepting my son as he is, which is always his complaint about me toward himself. Or that I’m too stern, perfectionist, which I am in a certain context, BUT I do keep this under control when it comes to accepting and helping my son!
I noticed a few months ago that my son was surpassing my husband in his ability and willingness to self-regulate, organize, plan and help me at home. That’s when it really clicked that there are some things that I am going to have to change in order to get my son what he needs to continue to develop his skills and keep his life open to possibilities. I needed to involve other men in his life – not to replace dad at all. He is loving and has some really winning qualities. But his self-esteem is so low and he is explosive sometimes. [I recently checked out the ADHDnews discussion boards, and yikes!!! That is a lot of what I’ve dealt with over the years with my husband.] I want my son, whether or not he was gifted, to have a broad and healthy understanding of manhood – not stereotyped crap like “husband doesn’t help wife and is resentful of her nagging.”
[By the way, in the syndrome mix book, the author stated that if someone is able to organize, they pretty much can not be properly diagnosed as ADHD.]
One huge aspect to all this is that I have to keep my rage at my husband separate from my concept of my son. My son’s “ADHD” is something different than my husband’s. It’s hard because having to see my son acting certain ways, having to research and look inside for reasons why, having to plan, strategize and WORK to balance and heal these behaviors in my son – ugh! I get post traumatic because of everything I’ve had to deal with with my husband. And on top of that, I have to try to not add more hatred toward my husband for contributing so much toward inconsistency and discord. It will be a triumph for me if I am able to keep these things from completely melting my brain.
Regarding internal/external motivation, yes, that is one reason I never considered a rewards system before. The author of the hard to handle book stated that certain kids are NOT doing stuff for the right reasons ANYWAY, so might as well get them doing the right things first, then gradually increase the time that passes between the action and the reward, to help with internalization. And with rewards, I am trying to keep them logical and natural. It's like the points he earns are currency. He does *this*, he gets *this* which goes toward *this*.
I won’t use the reward system any longer than I need to. It’s funny because I have been experiencing this dilemma for a while of wondering, “if our lives are filled with books, arts, cuddles, healthyandyummy foods, and not artificial stuff and tv, etc., privilege removal is kind of weird” – “No reading for the rest of the day!” Don’t worry, I’ve never said or done anything like that! So, having the reward system is like creating a bunch of extra, harmless rewards for doing things that make himself and other people happy. He is very aware of the fact that he is just caring for himself and others. He is just all smiles and manners. He’s his old self and real self again. I am still concerned about the sensory issues that lead to the physical smooshing and stuff, but I do have a hunch that the sensory integration practices are going to help. I’m starting more of that today.
My understanding is that Waldorf education is quite structured. Even the arts aspects are structured. It doesn’t emphasize conventional-looking academics in the lower grades, but is still structured. My son’s gifted characteristics vary from academics to arts – awesome creativity, deep analysis, he can hold super logical ideas and then blow logic to smithereens, mentally very active, physically active, graceful, emotional ... I think Waldorf education is great for him because it’s eternally spiraling, building, going deeper, rising beyond, incorporating, weaving, balancing ...
Sorry for the totally long post again. I have been dealing with all this pretty much by myself for a long time. I’m just now connecting with some warm, helpful ladies – his teacher, his counselor, and you all … so thanks a million. I really appreciate your input and presence.
I think I was too cynical about the counselor’s input and position because, after all, I AM asking her to help with his hitting and impulse control. I don’t weep because he’s completely brilliant! I’m not waking up in the middle of the night dreading his genius qualities! I don’t need her to tell me he’s gifted – or even for her to care. I need her to help him obey at home and be gentle at school, no matter what his characteristics are.
My child, age 7, shows characteristics that indicate ADHD, OD, SI and giftedness. The most consistent diagnosis is giftedness as he has almost all characteristics at all times. This is my "diagnosis" as I have never had him tested. The symptoms of ADHD, OD and SI vary.
I went with him to an intake appointment for counseling/therapy and the counselor decided on a diagnosis of OD and ADHD. Although I brought up gifted and SI, she didn't respond to these points. I can understand her wanting to focus on the immediate concern of getting his behavior under control - it's also my priority - but I don't consider her diagnosis the final say and full story. I think it's an informed diagnosis in some ways, yet uninformed in other ways. I consider it more of an opinion. She also indicated that medication was on the horizon if there wasn't increased compliance, saying, "of course" twice and indicating that all the parents say it's like night and day. I am already familiar with the whole Ritalin issue. I am only interested in natural treatments, behavioral therapy and physical therapies. I would only agree to medication if the problem turned dangerous.
My main concern is his impulse control. He will push and hit or otherwise physically smoosh or hurt someone if he is overwhelmed by his drive for something to be as he wants it to be or thinks it should be. I think (and his (Waldorf) teacher and a mother of a gifted, SI child) think it's an impulse control problem stemming from a feeling of injustice, frustration or anger - not really that he wants to hurt the other person.
I need advice on how to help my son with this impulse control or intolerance when something isn't as he wants and what you think is causing it - ADHA, OD, SI, giftedness, etc.
I am beginning to give him flax oil for Omega. I am also going to get a food allergy test for him. I don't know how much they cost - I have Medicaid and I don't know if they cover that kind of thing. After doing some cursory research online, I am frustrated that the counselor wouldn't suggest gifted evaluation/testing, and an in-depth physical evaluation. My child did recently have a physical, but it was a 5 minute school physical. The doctor wasn't really looking for anything. I am also going to talk to the doctor again.
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