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Storygirl's story


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Although I'm a new member, I've been lurking on the forums for several years, so I feel like I know many of you already. I'm always impressed by how willing you are to offer your time and wisdom to others, and now I find that our family is in need of some support from people who have traveled this road before us.  So thank you in advance!  I have a lot of things to sort through, so I will use this thread to provide some background information before plunging in with some more specific questions.

 

We have four children, age 12, 10, 9, and 8.  We formed our family through international adoption when the children were infants, so we have no information about their genetic history. We have always homeschooled. Our 10 year old son has always been....well, let's say "quirky." He had a speech delay as a toddler (had very few words and didn't put two together until age three), but at age three began to speak and pretty quickly caught up. We had early intervention help for him starting before age two, during which time he was diagnosed with SPD (sensory seeking).  We had him evaluated by the special needs program of the public school at age three. At that time, his speech had improved enough that he did not qualify on the basis of speech but did qualify for social-emotional reasons.  We decided to keep him home and not send him to preschool. 

 

Other than the speech and sensory things, his main issue as a younger child was perseveration.  He had certain toys that he was extremely attached to (most memorably his toy vacuum).  It was hard to interest him in typical toddler play, and he would play with toys in his own unusual ways (rattling them around by his ears to see how they sounded, and smelling them, for example). He would develop an overriding interest in something and would not be able to switch his attention to other things.  When he was about four, he became almost obsessed with Christmas lights and candles.  Couldn't stop talking about them.  Wanted them in his room. Couldn't think about something else instead.  After a few months, his interest would switch to something else, and he would go through the same obsessive attachment to that new thing.  I wondered about autism, but he did not meet many of the other criteria.  We always suspected ADHD inattentive type and brought it up to our pediatrician several times (he didn't see it). There is so much cross over between SPD and ADHD and the autism spectrum that we could never quite figure him out completely. Because we homeschool and were making accommodations at home, we didn't think it necessary to have a label for him.

 

Fast forward a few years to the last year or so. I was now worn out physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I was finding homeschooling a struggle. DS10 had become argumentative and angry and always loud, in addition to his other peculiarities, so our home was rarely peaceful. He is the messiest person I know and cannot manage simple tasks without constant supervision (extreme executive function problems), which is exhausting. He has been seeing a psychologist for anxiety. My other children have issues of their own: DD12 has trouble with math, writing, and reasoning skills and, although an independent worker, needs concentrated help from me to improve in these areas, which requires time. DD8 is very bright but had a tremendous difficulty in learning to read and memorizing math facts. I'm certain she has dyslexia, although she has not been diagnosed.  I'll be writing more about her in the future, I'm sure. DD9 is an average student, but he is willful and resentful of being instructed or corrected by me, and our school time is often derailed by his behavior. I was finding it very hard to accomplish our goals in school and started to wonder if they would be more successful academically if they were enrolled in school. I didn't feel I was meeting their needs or my own.  Frankly, I felt extremely stressed and spent many days in tears.

 

In January of this year, DH and I decided to enroll the younger three in a Christian school and continue to homeschool just the oldest.  After the entrance testing (Woodcock Johnson), the evaluator told me that she thought DD8 probably is dyslexic and that DS10's performance on the screening made her think he had underlying issues in addition to his attention problems and highly recommended that we have him evaluated fully. Although the school had told us again and again during the application process that they were used to dealing with children who had attention issues, they did not accept him, which was an unexpected blow.  They said if we medicated him, they might reconsider. We did not send any of the children there and continued to homeschool instead.

 

This heart-wrenching experience did push us to pursue further evaluations for DS10, so for that, we are grateful to the school. Since then, our weeks have been interrupted by one doctor's appointment after another, which has not helped us accomplish our schoolwork, but I'm managing my stress a little better.  A little. This week we met with the neuropsych  to go over  DS10's test results.  We will not have a written report for another month, but they did tell us that they are diagnosing him with multiple learning disabilities.  As we walked out of the office, I turned to DH and commented that instead of reaching the end of all of our doctor appointments, it looks like we are just at the beginning instead.

 

Now that I've given all that background info, I'll start a new post with some further details so that this one doesn't get any longer than it already is.

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Our first step after the school rejection was to seek an ADHD diagnosis.  Background: DS10's psychologist had diagnosed him last summer with anxiety and had a rule-out of ADHD. As homeschoolers, we didn't have a second teacher evaluation for the Connors testing -- we did have DS's gymnastics coach complete the form, but his answers were not conclusive, even though our parent form and DS's own reporting showed that he had the associated behaviors and issues. She said that if giving him the diagnosis would get him services, she would do it, but we mutually decided that having a label was not necessary at that time. After the school situation, we decided that perhaps we should consider pursing a diagnosis and trying medication.  Not because the school recommended it, but because we want DS to have every possible tool to enable him to reach his fullest potential. We thought it was worth a try.

 

DS10's pediatrician gave him a Quotient computer test. Has anyone else done one of these (it's fairly new)? The test results were fascinating and measure many things. Overall, it give the test taker a score of 0 to 1.0 on probability of having ADHD, 0 being not probable, and 1.0 being highly probable.  DS10 scored a 1.0. He was able to pay attention 0% of the time during the test. 0%!!! And it shows that he was able to sit still for only 59 microseconds (a microsecond is one millionth of a second). The ped started him on Ritalin, and it has made a difference for him. We are still in the phase of figuring out the correct dosage, but we now can see that medication is a good and helpful choice. Not a cure all, but definitely the way to go.

 

Second step was the full evaluation by the neuropsych, which took place over the last few weeks.  DS had two three hour sessions, and then they called him in for more tests, which took a little more than another hour.  We're waiting for the written report, but we had the follow up meeting, in which they told us his diagnoses.  It's a lot to take in.  Much surprised us.  I'm a little sad and a little overwhelmed and a little bit relieved that we have more answers. I can see why school has taken such an effort from both of us. He has a lot of things getting in the way of his learning process.

 

So here is a list of his issues (not just from the neuropsych eval, but in total):

*Sensory processing disorder (low registration/sensory seeking)

*severe ADHD combined type

*anxiety

*low processing speed with pencil and paper

*perceptual reasoning skills borderline impaired

*Learning disability in math/dyscalcula

      --average for operational

      --impaired for problem solving and visual something (perception?).  She said this will be problem in higher math like geometry even 

         though we haven't seen math issues yet in his schoolwork.

*Learning disability in reading comprehension and fluency and some phonics

*Dysgraphia (lacks fluency in writing)

*Poor visual perception skills

*Dyspraxia/ motor coordination disorder

*Poor executive function

 

And the big one (the one they called him back in for tests to figure out): Nonverbal learning disability. Not a DSM diagnosis, but they are confident that it is correct.

 

Strangely enough, the day before we went to hear the results, someone on this forum mentioned that her child had NVL disorder.  I had never heard of it, so I had looked it up to see it was.  When I returned from the meeting, that article was still up on my screen.

 

I don't know everything they will say in the report, but in the meeting they are recommending that he receive speech therapy (for R's), OT for the dysgraphia and dyspraxia, continued visits with his psych for anxiety, and getting and IEP for him through the school.  The IEP will evidently qualify him for some state scholarship funds to help pay for the private therapy. Many more appointments in our future, I can see.

 

Although it does not directly apply to the learning challenges, I'll throw a bit of other information in the mix, because it speaks to my level of stress. DD12 is a talented dancer, and DS10 is a competitive gymnast, so we are out of the house every evening.  In the fall, if the schedule works out the way that I think it will, between the two of them, we will be running to their activities after school all five weekdays and usually both weekend days as well.  I hate it, frankly.  I'd rather all be home for supper and an evening together. But DD is truly gifted, and gymnastics is good for DS on so many levels, that we just can't consider those things optional.  So I'll have to find a way to fit in all our of schoolwork, including intensive time with each of them on their individual learning issues, plus all of the therapy appointments into a regular school day.  Evenings are already booked.  Not to mention anything that my younger children want to pursue.  For some families, this running around might be a piece of cake, but I am an extreme introvert, and I need downtime or I fall apart. So it spells stress for me.  On top of all of this, I need to figure out what to do to care for myself.

 

Sigh. It's going to take us awhile to process this.  Thanks for listening so far!

 

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Oh, I said he haven't seen math issues in his schoolwork yet. I should  clarify, because that is not exactly true.  He had always underperformed due to his inability to pay attention and apply himself to his work and not overlook things he is supposed to be doing. And he was anxious about math and could sometimes not get started because it was overwhelming to him. Medication has helped this, and now he is completely his work easily and fairly quickly.  It has been a drastic turnaround.  But he has always been good in math, memorizing things easily and grasping concepts without trouble.  So the math LD was a big surprise.

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One more thing:  They said his scores had such disparity that they could not give us an accurate IQ, but that it was in the low average range.  My heart sunk. I knew DS was working below grade level, but I guess I attributed it to him not being able to pay attention.  He is so quick witted and funny.  I think knowing his IQ is lower will help me give him more grace.  Some of the things we've been expecting of him and have been frustrated because he has not been accomplishing just might not be within his reach at this given time. So more grace from me.  And also hope.  Hope that with the right help, he will be able to achieve all that he wants in life. From what I've read (only a bit so far), people with NVL disorder are often underemployed.  They are very verbal and so seem very smart upfront, but then they run into difficulties performing up to expectations. Grace and hope.  I'll cling to that.

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Welcome--or at least welcome to actually posting rather than reading!

 

The first big thing that jumped out at me is that you need to take care of yourself first, so that you will be able to take care of the rest.

 

Keep in mind the image of what the stewardess on a plane says--Parents should put on their own oxygen masks first, then help their children!

 

Might your dancer be able to go to dancing with another parent some evenings (maybe a trade so that you take her and another child, and the other parent takes her alternating) so as to free up more of your energies? Might ds 10 also be able to do dance so that you are not trying to juggle 2 different major activities?  Also, if he turned out to be talented at dance, boys can often go farther more easily than girls, since fewer boys are involved in it.  Conceivable it could even lead to some career.

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Agree with Pen.  Also, do you have an active homeschooling community?  I was wondering if there might be some reliable homeschooling teens that would be able to come over and play some games with the kids while you have a quiet moment to yourself each week.  If you didn't feel comfortable leaving the house at least you could maybe go take a nap or do something else that would benefit you.

 

You were saying that your youngest is probably dyslexic.  If she has no other issues or mild other issues, then getting her started in a really good OG based system with a tutor once or twice a week with you scaffolding the rest of the week (if you haven't already) might get her functioning more independently more quickly so you could focus on your children that need a lot more extra attention and assistance.  Or you could do something like Barton Reading and Spelling since it includes the discs to teach you how to teach her, along with a very clearly laid out teachers manual and a lot of on-line support.  And it can actually be used with anyone, you would just want to move faster with a child that was not dyslexic.  But remediating dyslexia is very teacher intense and right now you may be better off outsourcing this.

 

Your normal functioning one that has a bit of an attitude issue might work better with an outside instructor at this stage of the game.  Perhaps he would welcome being put into a school setting?  Some kids really do prefer that environment and since you had already considered it before, it appears there is a school in your area that might work.  I realize that since they rejected the other child you may not have very fond feelings towards them right now.  Still, DS9 might be less resistant if it was an outside instructor and that would possibly free you up to focus on the other three, at least for the next year?

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Much of what you have said about your ds is similar to my ds9.  Interesting that your son is in gymnastics.  It always fascinates me how these kids seek out things that are definitely a challenge for them but that are so well suited to what they need.  As you already know the gymnastics is fabulous activity for his motor coordination, sensory processing and of course that high level of activity is also needed for his ADHD.  More then that it though it sounds like he is doing quite well with it and having an area that he excels in is so necessary for him.  Of course, none of that makes your need for some quiet and the ability to find balance any easier.   

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The book Simplicity Parenting might be helpful.

 

I understand the reasons for each thing you want to do, and each seems important, but when all added up it seems like too much.

 

Could you send your middle 2 to public school so as to be able to work with youngest and eldest? Or even send all to public school so as to be able to focus on the special activities on weekends and evenings without so much burn out? 

 

Or have one parent go to dance along with one extra child who gets tutoring from that parent while dd12 dances, and the other goes to gymnastics with dd10 and tutors the other child at that time?

 

I do think having at least an evening at home as a family night is very important, and it sounds to me like you have too much on your plates...

 

I would be crying.

 

 

ETA: and if you have to take ds10 to OT, etc. that will be yet more to do....   meanwhile, I would think that some of the other members of the family may be feeling a bit left out.   Maybe.  It could even be a part of the problems with dd9 is much special attention goes to the gymnast and dancer and those with learning problems.  Just a supposition...could be totally irrelevant.

 

Also, possibly the doing and going is adding to problems. When my ds was fencing which kept us out on the evenings we went, the next day was a total disaster. He simply needed more regularity and more sleep.  That said, it was definitely an extracurricular activity, and I was not thinking toward the Olympics or anything like that with him.

 

With your children, it is possible that the dance and gymnastics will be more important in their lives than academics if they are truly gifted and can do that to a level that makes for a career. I know the statistical chances are small, but I have no way to judge if they are amongst the one in a whatever it is, million, hundred thousand???

 

also ETA:

 

intelligence is not fixed in stone... and tests are not always accurate in any case.

 

 

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Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to respond!

 

DS10 does take ballet as well.  This was his third year (although he took last year off). He dislikes it.  He only goes because his siblings are all in dance class at that time, and I knew it would be good for him. He is actually struggles a lot with dance, which surprised me at first since he has skills in gymnastics.  His ballet teacher has spoken with me several times about his difficulties in class -- she has her own opinions, which have no basis in medical knowledge but were interesting to me anyway.  I think there are just too many things for him to process simultaneously.  The music, the feet, the hands.  He looks very awkward. I'm not surprised he dislikes it, because it is so hard for him. In contrast, he has some good gymnastics skills, although his ADHD and learning challenges have definitely hindered him.  He does not perform well at the meets.  But he loves gymnastics, continues to improve, has made some social connections (he calls them friends, but I wouldn't go that far), and must really work on focusing and following directions while in class.  All good things. He doesn't have any other area of life that does all of these things for him.  Plus the exercise is great for filling his sensory and hyperactivity needs.

 

DD12 does carpool with a nearby friend, and that helps tremendously.  We still make many trips to the studio over a week, but our neighbor really helps us out. Definitely part of my stress is due to our hours on the road. We live 30-40 minutes away from the dance studio, the gym, and our church -- all in different directions from each other.  Plus, DH has a one hour each way commute for work.  We have a plan to move within the next year, which will help our driving problem so much!  But it also means getting our house ready to put on the market, and keeping it clean in the midst of all of this other stuff. Even the thought of this is a huge source of stress for me (our house is huge and keeping it clean just on a regular basis is a struggle).  So to reduce our stress, we need to increase it first. Ugh.

 

We're not a part of a homeschooling group.  I know there are some around here, but joining one just seems like adding MORE onto our schedule. Twice we have joined a weekly Bible study at our church in the fall -- I go to the ladies group, and the children go to the homeschool group at the same time -- and it was wonderful to be there, but stressful to fit it in our schedule and also get our academics done with taking time for that plus all of our various appointments.  Stress would build each fall; I couldn't keep up with completing the Bible study homework -- both mine and the kids' (yes, they give homework); and I would drop out. It disappoints the kids, because they enjoy it.

 

The friends of mine who homeschooled in younger years have taken other paths now.  So to have homeschooling friends IRL, I have to make new ones.  I admit that as an introvert, I have isolated myself somewhat. Being with my family is as much social time as I've been able to handle -- when I take time for myself, I want to be alone.  My DH is great, and I usually get out of the house by myself one evening a week. I should probably rejoin the church Bible study in the fall, because I could use the spiritual fellowship myself. But if it hasn't worked over the past two years, I think it won't work this year, either.

 

I've thought about sending DS9 to school, because I think he might learn better from someone else (dagger to my heart), but I'm hesitant to enroll him and then take him out if we move before the school year ends.  I also worry that having to homeschool the others in the day and then help him with homework in the evening will create stress instead of relieve it. 

 

The Christian school actually seems to have an excellent special reading teacher who would work with DD8.  This year there were only two other kids being pulled out for that class, so it would be a small group. That is appealing. But it's still a small group, so the teacher would not be able to directly address DD8's needs 100% of the time. I haven't looked into tutoring, although it did occur to me to ask this teacher if she does any private tutoring.  Getting her to tutoring might create another transportation issue.  I think DD8 might enjoy the school, as she is our extrovert.  But I'm just not sure. It's hard to know what to do. Right now we are using Dancing Bears as our remediation curriculum.  She has phonological issues, although she might seem to read on grade level. She's making progress. It's slow going. I do want to figure out what is best for her.  Our neuropsych suggested starting with an evaluation through the school (since it is free). Haven't started that process yet.

 

DH's parents live 30 minutes away but then go to Florida every winter.  When they are in town, they are willing to babysit every so often when they can fit it into their busy social and golfing schedules, but are not the type to step up and help with regular transportation or childcare relief for me. No other family nearby. My mother has Alzheimer's and lives in a nursing home three hours away. The rest of my family lives near her, but I get to see her only a few times a year. I feel guilty about that.  There's a story there for another time.

 

What I need to do for myself that I do not do or don't do often enough: have daily quiet time, lose weight, exercise, get more sleep. I'm a night owl, so I have a hard time getting to bed on time.  Honestly, I know what I should be doing. I'm just so overwhelmed that I can't figure out where to start, so I don't start anything.  I can't figure out how to get my whole house clean, so I let it all slide, and it gets worse instead of better.  I have trouble keeping my own clutter under control, so managing mine plus the kids' is a huge task.  Yes, the kids could do more to help.  But that requires my time to train them. And my son is so so messy -- a tornado of mess follows him all through the house.  I think I should stop school for the summer and just work on these other issues, but we missed so much time this year that I feel we have to keep going (we usually school year round, though much much lighter in the summer). I do take the time to do some things for myself. I've always been an avid reader, so I do manage to read every evening which I really need, but when I'm reading, of course I'm not doing laundry, etc.

 

Interestingly, as we've been going through this evaluation process for my son, I've recognized some of my own issues.  I'm a highly sensitive person (both emotionally and physically --I like things quiet and orderly (ha ha)), so I think I probably have some SPD. Definitely anxiety.  Social anxiety, so the idea of making new friends or even having a house cleaner  or teen helper or tutor come into my home to help out makes me feel more stressed.  I'm a perfectionist, so the fact that I feel like I'm failing in all of these areas is a constant burden.  I'm a mess, I guess.

 

Okay, since I'm venting, I'll add that I have a time-consuming volunteer position with the ballet studio (something I can do at home but that takes up to 200 hours every school year).  I told the director that I'm quitting that position.  She's begging me to continue, saying she doesn't have anyone that can replace me.  I said no one is irreplaceable.  She says in twenty years, she's only had a handful of people who can do what I do (which does require some special skills not everyone has).  So there's pressure there.  Pressure all around, I'm afraid.

 

DH and I go over and over all of this all the time, trying to find solutions.  There are options, to be sure. But they all have a downside.

 

To everyone except my husband, I come across as someone who has it all together.  I've been told this numerous times.  It's not at all true. Thanks for listening! I didn't know I was going to go into all of this, but it is probably an important part of the picture of our situation.

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Hi Story, it's nice to see you out of lurking, even if it is a challenging situation that brings you out.   :grouphug: 

 

If you have a chance, could you fill in your sig?  I got lost in all your children and couldn't tell if the dc with the NVLD/dyspraxia label is also the dc doing gymnastics competitively (which would seem slightly unlikely to me??), etc.  

 

 I wanted to tell you a story about a very positive outcome in a dc I know of with similar labels, but then you said you're struggling with IQ.  Thing is, there's discrepancy, not absolute.  I mean literally, the dc I'm thinking of has a lot of the same labels and just scored a PERFECT SAT MATH SCORE.   :svengo:  Don't conclude based on where he is now what he'll be forever.  On some things he's probably going to bloom later, much later. 

 

So your worst problem right now is logistics and realizing how much care one of the dc needs while another needs to go in a different direction?  That's rough.  OT and maybe even some VT would be really helpful.  It's going to be therapy city for you for a while.  Maybe a church member could pitch in driving the others to their sports?  Obviously people will feel sympathetic.  If you can pay them for their gas, that can help.  You really need to be the one taking him to therapy, because you need to know about homework and followup and just optimizing care.  Therapies like that can seem really intense for a while, but they usually are maybe a year and then you move on to something else.  So it's not like this will be indefinite, if that's any encouragement.

 

Did they offer you meds or CBT for the anxiety?  (You probably said and I missed it.)

 

I'm sorry it's hard.  

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Absolutely you can vent here!   :)

 

I don't know if anybody else said this, but to me all those sports things are optional.  If multiple kids are doing one sport, one set of driving, that's awesome.  But two different directions when the drives are that long?  Axe something and just say it's for a year, kwim?  Just be ruthless and get your peace back.  You must live way out in the country not to be able to find a church closer.  Even if it's not your stripe/preference/variety, I'd suggest to the dh that a really close, not quite as perfect church might be a really sane choice.  It would make your Sundays a day of REST for a while.  

 

Can you move, rent out your house instead of selling, and then sell at your leisure?  Don't know, just ideas.  

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Pen, thank you.  Yes, I think that dance is more important than academics for DD12.  If in school, she would probably be an average student, but she is gifted in dance.  She has potential to pursue a career in classical ballet, so her training is important even at this age.  No one can say whether she will actually make it as a pro, but if she doesn't try, she definitely won't! Our potential move will put us in the same city as a professional ballet company with an excellent training academy, so although that is not the primary reason for our move, it is a plus. At the same time, we want her to go as far as she can with her studies in case dance doesn't work out as a career. I'm not sure if she just hasn't developed into the logic stage yet or if she never will. She just doesn't seem to be able to make her brain think through certain things.  I'm wondering now if she actually has some learning disabilities as well.  She is so sweet, and she works so hard. I want the best things for her.

 

DD10 is not good enough as a gymnast to get very far in competitions, so I don't see a career (which would really just be coaching) in gymnastics for him.  But the skills that he learns there may be just as important for him as what he learns in math and reading. I think he'd make a good chef if he can learn to be safe and responsible in the kitchen (too scattered right now); he's always loved food.  Or maybe something like a sound engineer, because he loves music and actually likes to play piano by ear (not in any advanced way -- he's not a musician, though he used to take lessons, but just for fun).

 

Although DH and I were both very academic, we don't feel that our kids must go to traditional college if it is not the right choice for them. It might not be.  But we want to keep all doors open.

 

I do cry a lot. Thank you for the sympathy.

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I know someone whose dd was an extremely good dancer who thought about going pro and ended up going a totally different way when she realized what it really meant (the toll on your body, etc.).  Now she's an exceptional photographer.  I'm just saying we can lock ourselves into these stressful paradigms.  It's ok to regain your peace and sanity.  Just a thought.

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Thanks, OhElizabeth!  Yes, the NVL son is the one who does gymnastics.  Seems unusual, yes?  We talked with the psychs about his progress in sports.  He has certain things that he is really good at (in fact, he had a gym record in circles on the mushroom, which is a training tool for the pommel horse -- he can do over 100 circles).  But he came in completely last in his age group at the state meet this spring (didn't tell him that).  He can't pull it all together.  And he sometimes seems jerky and awkward in his movements even as he completes the routines.  Not sure if this is anxiety or maybe the NVL, which usually has clumsiness.  So he's athletic yet also awkward and clumsy. Which is why we like gymnastics for him.  It works on his strengths and weaknesses.

 

Our church is pretty far.  We've been there for about sixteen years, and we have an excellent teaching pastor and very good children's programming.  Our group of friends (such as it is for fairly unsocial people) is there. So it's hard to leave.  When/if we move, we will have to go to a new church of course, so we don't want to switch now.  Even though it would make things easier, we don't want the kids to have to transition twice.  We actually live in the suburbs, but we are between two large urban centers.

 

I'd consider sports extras, too. Except in our case, for these kids, I do not. I would totally have them give them up otherwise. I never thought I'd be one of those moms who let the children's activities take over the family life. But here I am. It's stressful for me but good for them.

 

I would give myself the exact same advice about simplifying things!  We go over and over it, to see what we can change.  The move is the thing.  We think it is the best solution.  DH will work for his same company but in a different city.  We can live 10-15 minutes of his office, 10 minutes from a gym for my son, and 15 minutes from a (better) ballet studio for my daughter.  DH will be able to be home so much more. I think I calculated that the move will save us 700 hours of driving per year. That is a month's worth of time that we can reclaim each year! But executing the move in the midst of everything else will be a nightmare.

 

I'll work on my signature. Thanks for the reminder!

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Replying to your comments as I read through them!  :)

 

-gym record--Well that's because he can hyper focus and get it done.

 

-awkwardness--That's probably the dyspraxia, my guess.  Praxis is motor control, and you're seeing it come out there.  The gymnastics is really brilliant for him in that sense, because you've given him toning (he may actually be low tone), strength, and developed the coordination he can have.  I've been told NVLD will usually have finger agnosia, and the gymnastics has probably helped with that too, preventing problems you would have had without it.  That's really cool btw to hear your success.  I'm trying to sign my ds up this week for RAT Pack (gymnastics through games for boys) at the Y.  I'm excited about it as a way to work on core strength, tone, etc.

 

That sounds very encouraging with the changes your move will bring!  I hope he can work it out soon!   :thumbup: 

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Hi Story, it's nice to see you out of lurking, even if it is a challenging situation that brings you out.   :grouphug: 

 

If you have a chance, could you fill in your sig?  I got lost in all your children and couldn't tell if the dc with the NVLD/dyspraxia label is also the dc doing gymnastics competitively (which would seem slightly unlikely to me??), etc.

 

 I wanted to tell you a story about a very positive outcome in a dc I know of with similar labels, but then you said you're struggling with IQ.  Thing is, there's discrepancy, not absolute.  I mean literally, the dc I'm thinking of has a lot of the same labels and just scored a PERFECT SAT MATH SCORE.   :svengo:  Don't conclude based on where he is now what he'll be forever.  On some things he's probably going to bloom later, much later. 

 

So your worst problem right now is logistics and realizing how much care one of the dc needs while another needs to go in a different direction?  That's rough.  OT and maybe even some VT would be really helpful.  It's going to be therapy city for you for a while.  Maybe a church member could pitch in driving the others to their sports?  Obviously people will feel sympathetic.  If you can pay them for their gas, that can help.  You really need to be the one taking him to therapy, because you need to know about homework and followup and just optimizing care.  Therapies like that can seem really intense for a while, but they usually are maybe a year and then you move on to something else.  So it's not like this will be indefinite, if that's any encouragement.

 

Did they offer you meds or CBT for the anxiety?  (You probably said and I missed it.)

 

I'm sorry it's hard.  

We have a follow up with the ped about the Ritalin dosage this week.  DS10 is not on anxiety meds now, but the ped has mentioned it as a possibility. I'm hesitant.  His Ritalin dosage went up during the last two weeks, and his anxious behaviors have as well. I don't want to over medicate. I'm going to ask the ped about whether we should try a different ADHD med before adding something else on to what we're doing now.

 

He's been seeing a psychologist for awhile for his anxiety, and she has worked with him on relaxation techniques. Not sure if that would qualify as CBT?? We've been so busy with the other appointments that we haven't seen her for awhile. I'll see if we can see her this week and get working with her again. She'll be interested in all of the new info and may have some new ideas.

 

About the logistics problems. I hate asking for help. That's so silly, I know. But most of my friends are in the same stage of life and are also running around like crazy with their own kids and their own problems.  My in laws will be willing to help when their schedule allows, since they are not in Florida right now.  The only problem is that they only have one car, so if FIL is using it, and MIL is babysitting, I have to take the kids to their house (30 min away) before driving in the opposite direction for our appointments (they are ALL in the opposite direction).  And then I have to go back to get them. So it adds an hour at least each way, sometimes more, to have them babysit. And if they (or anyone else) come to my house, I feel very anxious about the house not being clean enough. Do they care? I'm sure not. But do they notice? Absolutely. This beautiful house is so messy (I know I've mentioned this before.)  I've got to get a handle on this housekeeping stuff because I think it will relieve a lot of stress. This is not a matter of me being a clean freak who wants everything polished and perfect, and it's not like we are hoarders, either.  But the housework just doesn't get done.  And it shows in obvious and embarrassing ways. And it bothers me.

 

Back to doctors' visits: The other three can sit in the waiting room together without trouble if the therapists' office will allow.  We've done a lot of that lately. But it means they are not at home, doing school. Maybe they would be better served if I enrolled them somewhere this fall?  Their days would not be interrupted by DS10's appointments that way.

 

I need another me. And I need to go to sleep. Typical night owl behavior to stay up late peck peck pecking at the keyboard.

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I don't have any answers but after reading more, I think that the gymnastics and dance will probably the best therapy you will ever find. That doesn't mean you shouldn't pursue other therapy, but I'd be more inclined to drop the volunteer stuff at the ballet school and pare down the school work to the most essential, directly working on the weak areas. I'd also consider school for the ones it would work for, as long as you have a good option. 

 

Is it possible for you to hide in your car alone while the kids do their activities inside? The thing that saves me during the years I have a lot of activities and driving is the opportunity to sit in the car alone for an hour and close my eyes or read a fun book. There was one year that was particularly hard. I had a couple of younger ones with me who had to wait but they thankfully had friends there. Since I knew the other moms very well, I could tell them that I really needed to have some downtime in the car. Meanwhile, the younger kids could play safely but without me and there was enough going on that I could return the favor.

 

When I'm in big groups for too long, I really need to shut down when I get home. Waiting in waiting rooms of dance or gymnastics classes wears on me. 

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Can you hire someone (a homeschooled teen, a retired woman in the church, whatever) to sit with your others at home while they do their school work?  I agree that's disruptive to have to haul all your kids while you take one to therapy.  It would be fine if their work was done and they were just getting in their reading in the car, kwim?  But to lose 3 hours a day various days to go along with your bro to OT, that's a lot.  You might need a sitter who can make sure they do the work on their lists.

 

Fortunately summer is coming!  Maybe you can bang out therapy now and be done with some of it by fall?  That would be nice!  

 

 

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Thanks, Tiramisu and OhElizabeth! It's really helping me to write this all out.  I think things through best by writing.

 

I think the stress of running around is a key issue for me. And I need to outsource something, because I can't do all of this without having a meltdown.  One of my favorite times of the week is actually the day that all four are in ballet class at the same time.  I drop them off and head to the library a few blocks up the street until their class is done.  Except for the times that DH is home, this is the only time of the week that I can be totally by myself. 

 

This morning I'm thinking that it might be best to put DS9 and DD8 in the Christian school in the fall.  I do think it is a good place for them; I only hesitate because it complicates our plan for moving (we will move 2 1/2 hours away), since I would want them to be able to complete the year.  But DH can switch to the new office anytime he wants; there is no time deadline for that other than those that we set for ourselves.  (We almost moved this summer, but we decided we should sell our house before buying.  Of course that means selling while we are living in it.)

 

With the two youngest in school, DD8 would get reading intervention from an O-G specialist at no cost other than the regular tuition fees, and it would get done during the school day, so no running around for tutoring. DD9 would do better learning from a different teacher.  They both would be able to try out extracurricular activities and sports directly after school, so no extra running around to practices for me.  They both take ballet now, but I'm not sure it is really the right "thing" for either of them. They need some time to explore their individual interests and not just do what their older siblings like. All good things.  But there are cons, too, so we have to weigh those in.

 

With the two youngest in school, I can focus on the needs of the others.  When DS10 is in therapy appointments, DD12 can do independent schoolwork while waiting, so her time could still be productive (the younger two do some things independently, but it's too much to expect them to focus on schoolwork in waiting rooms, and they usually play with their ipods, which I hate but accept, because that they are safe and not getting into trouble).

 

This plan actually solves quite a few of our problems.  At the same time, it complicates a few other things. Without his siblings around, it will be hard to keep DS10 occupied while I am working with DD12, and I'll still have to have the house for sale while I'm homeschooling AND having kids in school AND handling all the therapy things. I talked it over with DH this morning. He's pondering while he mows.

 

I think I need to get the house in order and then hire a housecleaners and then just leave the house whenever they come, so that I don't have to deal with the stress of having strangers in my home.

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It looks like you are starting to focus in on what you have to do!!!

 

 Could DD12 also go to the school with DS9 and DD8?

 

Could a most of what you do at home for a while be teaching the children how to manage life skills like cleaning and getting the house ready to sell? That is as important (probably more so) to life as dance or math.

 

Can anything be cut down for a while prior to move where it will be easier (like only twice a week going out to extracurriculars).  

 

And, wow, for sure, give up that volunteer activity for the dance place. You have more than you can do even without it. What would Miss Manners say?  "I would really like to be able to continue to do it, and I am extremely sorry, but I just can't."  If you end up in the hospital or dead, they will find someone else, and if you don't take care of yourself, that might just be what happens.

 

::hugs::

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PS There might not be so many moves as you think, if they can all, or most, be put in school long enough to manage to get moved, then maybe they can all, or most, return to homeschooling, not have to change to yet another school.

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Pen, Yes, DD12 could go to school with the others.  BUT she would have to do their math, and we've worked so hard to find something that is just right for her.  And her writing would be subpar compared with her classmates'.  And she wants to continue homeschooling.  She is so easy, really. She is a joy to teach because of her sweet personality and eagerness to please and willingness to work hard.  I think I could really help her with her issues at home better than the school could if I had more time to devote to her. She did go to a part-time classical school for homeschoolers in third and fourth grade, so she's had a school experience and knows what it is like. For the others, school would be new.

 

I agree about giving up the volunteering (actually I'm required to do some volunteer hours but not nearly as many as I do). I'm working on it.  Isn't that sad, that I have to work on saying no? I just have a feeling that they won't find someone else, and that I will be talked into doing it anyway. I'm nice that way, unfortunately.  But I do have to say that I've managed to refuse to take on several additional things that they have asked me to do (once they find someone willing to do free work for them, they tend to milk them dry!). Saying no is quite an accomplishment for me!

 

And after the move, maybe we would go back to homeschooling.  I'm a homeschooler at heart.  I don't want to give it up.  But I don't want to be miserable and overburdened, either -- that's good for no one and probably cancels out the benefits of homeschooling for my kids, because they end up with a grouchy, unhappy mom.

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Ok, screwy question.  Have you started researching what school the 8 and 9 yo would go to if you moved?  I think that's rather unusual to find a cs with OG tutors...

I think it probably is unusual.  This teacher not only used to work for the private school for kids with dyslexia and attention issues that is across town, but she also developed the curriculum that they use there. She can't use the actual curriculum now that she is at a different school, but she has all that knowledge to draw on. The school is very proud to have her.  They kept mentioning her as an asset. Maybe we would be silly not to take advantage? The Christian school is less than 1/3 the tuition of the special needs school, so it's a bargain there.

 

As a side note, we took DD8 to this dyslexia school one day because they offer a free reading evaluation.  Yeah. They said she was doing fine, because she was not in the bottom 25% for her grade level.  It was a fifteen minute test, so I think it didn't dig down to the level of her problems.  Umm, she can't remember what the vowels sound like, even after four years of phonics-based reading lessons? Are you so very very sure she doesn't have a problem?  On the other hand, the Christian school caught it at their screening. The lady giving the test at the Christian school was not even the reading specialist.

 

There are two neighboring school districts that we might end up in when we move.  One is very hoity-toity (wealthy area) and prides itself on student success and test scores and awesome extracurricular things and all the rest.  Very good school, from all I've heard about it. Beautiful campus. The other also gets excellent ratings (not quite as high) but has a more diverse mix of students. We adopted internationally, so our children are not white.  We're leaning toward the second school for that reason, but we've been looking at houses in both areas. I went to a hoity-toity, mainly white school myself growing up, and got an excellent education, so I'm not disparaging that. Just that it is a difference between the two choices. Now that we know we have issues greater than ADHD, we should talk to the special education departments of both schools before we buy a house.

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Hi Storygirl, I have a child with NLD. She is eight. I feel overwhelmed by her needs and I only have two kids. So hugs to you. You have a LOT on your plate. I would just echo all the wonderful thoughts/advice of previous posters as far as finding as much help/support as you can find/afford.

 

I am going to put my dd in yoga next month and am hoping it might also help with the anxiety that, as you know, goes with the dx. Her motor skills are not severely affected. She can ride a bike and skate... but frequently stubs her toes or catches a door jam with her should or hand. And I have read, as far as anxiety, that stimulants can make that worse. So I guess that would just be something to monitor. I have read that NLD is often misdiagnosed as ADHD, so I am curious about that part, that your son could have both.

 

We are in a state where dual enrollment, hs and ps, is allowed. I don't know where you are or where you are going, but if that is an option it might be something to consider.

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Oh, I said he haven't seen math issues in his schoolwork yet. I should clarify, because that is not exactly true. He had always underperformed due to his inability to pay attention and apply himself to his work and not overlook things he is supposed to be doing. And he was anxious about math and could sometimes not get started because it was overwhelming to him. Medication has helped this, and now he is completely his work easily and fairly quickly. It has been a drastic turnaround. But he has always been good in math, memorizing things easily and grasping concepts without trouble. So the math LD was a big surprise.

A lot of kids with NLD are good at math in elementary school because they tend to have good rote memorization skills. But when it becomes more abstract (algebra and geometry) they have problems. We are using LOF as a supplement because it is math in a story. It works with dd's verbal strengths.

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Thanks, SadieMarie!

 

I never even heard about NVLD before last week, so this is all new to me!! Now that DS10 is on meds for ADHD, his ability to do his math is so much better. Before that, he would just be so overwhelmed.  On other hand, he did not have to work at all to learn his addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts.  He just seemed to get it.  Introduce the idea, and bam, he could do all the facts easily and correctly (though he is slow at timed drills).  So I thought math would be a strength for him. The dyscalculia diagnosis was a surprise, but they did say that it would show up later, especially in geometry.

 

It's funny.  I've never thought of him as memorizing things easily (despite the math fact thing, which seemed more like an inherent conceptual understanding rather than memorization). In fact, I would have said that he was poor at memorization.  He's always found it hard to remember and recite poetry and Bible verses, for example.  I often have all four kids recite as a group, and he lags behind, mumbling and bumbling. But then if I have him recite by himself, he can do it, no problem. He often seems to zone out when I am talking or reading aloud, so I didn't think he was an auditory learner at all. 

 

I think he has had so many other things blocking his brain's ability to process that it's a wonder anything ever got in there!

 

His meds have definitely increased his anxiety, and the pediatrician is monitoring that. We had an interesting appointment with the ped yesterday. He wants us to work on using some relaxation techniques (he gave us a couple that were different than those taught by the psychologist, so we have a little arsenal of tricks now) but thinks that anti-anxiety meds may be on the horizon.

 

 

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