Thursday, February 7, 2008

Here We Go Again

Today after school I've got a meeting with Mitchell's teacher. Mitchell will also be in attendance at the meeting. Our goal is to work through some issues Mitchell is having in the classroom, which have infiltrated their way into home life as well.

I would really appreciate your prayers as we try to work through all of this. For my regular readers, you may recall my past concerns regarding my son. He likes to chat. A lot. And this is causing some serious frustrations for the teacher and I'm beginning to wonder if there's something more going on with him than just his love for words. Yesterday his teacher told me she's never, in all of her years of teaching (She's been teaching for a while . . . I'd say around 15 - 20 years), she's never had a student that was so verbally and socially-inclined as Mitchell is.

When I suggested to her that we've been entertaining the thought (ever-so-lightly) of home-schooling him, while she acknowledged where I was coming from with the possibility of teaching him at home, she expressed her concern for him regarding the lack of daily social activity a home-school setting would produce, causing him to potentially "shut down". I was, at least, relieved to know she wasn't trying to push the possibility of him exiting her classroom, simply because she doesn't want to teach my son for the next year-and-a-half (she'll be his teacher next year in grade 4 as well). She actually really likes him.

For those of you who've read my private blog about my experience as the stepmother to a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), you may recall that our life while my stepson lived with us was pretty much in a constant state of chaos and stress. Unfortunately, Mitchell and his younger brother also experienced this chaos and stress. As much as Wayne and I tried to "keep them out of it", in all reality, that's not possible when you share the same roof. While I'm not trying to blame our RADical experience for Mitchell's current challenges, part of me wonders if some of the side-effects of our stressful years are taking their toll on him in more ways than we realize. We've requested that Mitchell meet with the school counselor on a regular basis, in the hopes that she may be able to "expose" some of Mitchell's feelings regarding our RADical life.

I won't bore you with all the details of the conversation I had with Mitchell's teacher yesterday after school, but some of his behaviors are concerning, and as a result, his school experience is not reaching its full potential. He's beginning to develop a bit of a "reputation", you might say, which he really doesn't need. Labels given to kids are never a good thing. Living in a small community is hard enough without your child being labelled by people who don't even really know him (or us).

And in Mitchell's defense about his gift of gab . . . he got this from not only one, but both of his parents. Wayne and I both enjoy talking. A lot. So I'm thinking genetics may have something to do with this, although another part of the genetics could also be some attentional problems, which Wayne and my RAD child both experience. I've been doing some more research on ADD/ADHD and I won't be surprised if, after the meeting with the teacher, she suggests to have him tested. I'm okay with that. But it scares me. I've already lived one life with an ADHD child and I was hoping to live my next without.

But . . . this is all in God's hands and He loves Mitchell more than I do. One day at a time.


stacey said...

To be social is not the worse thing, thank goodness! The counselor should really try to help Mitchell understand that they don't want to squelch his enthusiasm, but they do want him to learn strategies and cues for when and how to manage his talking, etc. Nonverbal cues from adults/teachers, situations/role play to understand what he is doing, conversation cards (i just made that up! maybe he gets 5 extra opportunities to talk during the day-other than normal classroom participation-and has to turn in a card for every time he wants to share.)

I know he is social but does he read and understand body language, facial expressions, etc? If not, that may be impeding his ability to know when he is talking too much.

I sit on the fence when giving advice about medication. While I believe it is truly needed by some individuals and that it can really help, I have also come to a place in my life where I support trying alternative strategies as well. Nutrition, biofeedback, Interactive Metronome, etc. Mitchell's brain may just be wired for that extra dose of talking more, increased activity, and distraction. The frontal lobe is also still developing for our little guys which has some to do with it as well! True ADHD kids can try and learn all they want, but until some things change chemically, many days what they learn just doesn't stick. It is also the age-old problem of "Ready Fire Aim" when it comes to these enthusiastic kids!!

Adding the right dose and form of medication would not be to inhibit Mitchell, just help him be able to be the best Mitchell he can be!!!

Holy cow, did I just write all that!!

The Walker Family said...

I'll be praying for you and Wayne...and Mitchell.

Kim said...

I've had my son tested for ADD/ADHD and I have been very glad I did. The experience was very interesting and has given me a much greater insight on how to deal with him, teach him and interact in a more positive way. If you want, call me sometime, I'd be glad to chat with you about the experience and the results.

{Karla} said...

praying for you and your family.


Kimmie said...

Hi Kimmy;

Praying that you will seek God on it, He has all the answers for you and knows the BEST path for your dear son.

As a homeschooling mama, I'd have to say God is in the details ;-)(this is our 12th year home schooling!)

mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted