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nwahomeschoolmom

ADHD diagnosis ...homeschool vs. private/public school

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Hello,

So my son just got a diagnosis of severe ADHD today.  I am grateful to finally have an answer for his difficult behavior.  It really helps me to know "why" he does the things he does.  The psychologist (actually a supervised PHD student) seems to imply that Phineas needed regular school.  Its a bit funny because compared to other homeschoolers,  I feel that we are much more "strict" when it comes to Kindergarten but to her it didn't sound like quite enough to compensate for his issues with ADHD and how much harder he has to work to listen, follow directions, do what other kids are doing, etc.   However, I really don't want to put him in school!  He is not super gifted, but he is still a grade or two ahead in most areas and super short (3% for height) so he couldn't skip a grade.  Plus being at home has so many benefits for him academically, with our family, for his self-esteem, spiritually.  The only things it lacks are a way to interact with friends/peers and he really need to improve his social skills.  He also need practice respecting authority.  While he is super sweet and doesn't qualify for an diagnosis regarding it, he does have a tendency to constantly argue and negotiate things and he even did it with the psychologist a lot.  She seemed to think that being in school would help this...without outright saying it.  She said he need experience more with authority other than parents and same age peers.  On the other hand, he has severe ADHD so if I send him to school it would be really hard for him regarding his behavior, he will be bored because he will know everything, he will need an IEP or 504, and he will probably have to go on medication.   He is doing fine academically without medication now being homeschooled...but it is hard.  For example, he does his spelling words while rolling around on the floor...thats fine with me if he is focused and learning.  But the psychologist felt that things like that were contributing to him not respecting authority.  I mean, I could insist on all of these little things like using a #2 pencil and sitting in a chair, but it would make our school day miserable.   Its hard to us to make friends in the homeschool community where we live because we are Orthodox Christians and everyone else where we live is Protestant, so thats one reason why social stuff isn't working out for us being homeschoolers.  (I'd love to be friends with them, but they don't really want to be friends with us...)

If you have a kid with ADHD, what have you done and what would you recommend?   Has your kid thrived being homeschooled?  Has sending them to school helped?  Anyone with a  smart, severe ADHD kid in a private school?

Thanks for any feedback....

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I let a psych intimidate me, telling me I couldn't teach my ds. Then a kind friend here on the board whacked me upside the head and told me to get the jerk out of my head and get back to problem solving.

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What they should have been telling you is structure. We've had threads on it.

You can go to SocialThinking.com and see if they're doing any workshops you could attend. It would really jump start you on a good path. Right now, you don't have words for what's happening and why and therefore don't know what to do about it.

When my ds was at this stage, I had someone at an autism school tell me straight and frankly that school would solve school but not home. I decided I wanted home FIRST and that school could come later, that if he could function at home he could function at school but getting school wouldn't help home. That's NOT precisely true. There are issues like generalizing a skill so that he gets enough use in enough situations that his brain finally goes OH, you mean it wasn't that I just obey Mom but that I obey Mom AND the SLP AND the gym teacher AND the bus driver AND all the other adults in charge... So yes, there are actual clinical reasons why school (or something else that gives enough exposure for generalization to occur) can help! But those are social thinking deficits. So not having the right words at some point leaves you with vague explanations and not something actionable.

He's barely K5 by age, maybe K4, and he's functioning multiple grades ahead. School sounds absurd. I would up your structure. Structure can be collaborative and childled. It's simply clear expectations, a plan. It means there are consequences and follow through. You could look into hiring in-home help for your little one two hours a day so you have two hours of dedicated time where you do nothing but make sure he jumps when you say jump, complies, gets follow through, and is on-plan. That would be a STRONG thing to consider doing.

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Obviously meds could be on the table. Also you could test for retained reflexes. 

We've discussed on the board studies that show parents who receive behavioral help FIRST then meds are the most satisfied with the outcome. 

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Remember, nothing says you have to use academics to work on behavior. In fact, with my ds, if we're working on behavior, we're NOT working on academics significantly. You could do a cooking time every day to work on compliance. You can increase structure at other times of day and work on compliance. Sorting laundry is a really good one. I have my ds put away his laundry, because it's a really good way for us to work on compliance, using a visual schedule, etc.

We Thinkers 1 (previously Incredible Flexible You) might be a really good fit for him right now. Might make some things click for both of you on what's missing and why he's struggling. What meds do is make it easier for him to APPLY the good teaching. But as far as just getting the concepts, the Social Thinking materials are great.

Have you tried visual schedules? Do you have any routines that *are* working successfully? Is it only academics time where you have behaviors, or are they occurring throughout the day? I assume I know the answer, but still I was asking. Are there situations where you're *not* having behaviors? That can be really informative. To what do *you* attribute his behaviors? I don't mean ADHD, but more specifically. LIke, he needs to move or he doesn't understand that he's not equal with the parents or he doesn't realize when he needs a break, etc.

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I'm not saying that you *should*, but just as an observation, you could put him in now, just for the rest of this school year. Around here, the last month is pretty fun, with field trips, a bounce house, just fun stuff. It might be a really different experience while you sort things out. He's not behind academically, so you really have some flexibility. And the behavioral supports are pretty high in a K4 or K5 classroom anyway. It's not like you're saying put him in a 5th grade classroom, kwim? But it would let you see what happens, how he follows along with the group, whether he gets stressed, whether behaviors (autism stuff honestly) becomes apparent there that wasn't apparent at home. He's not in noise at home. He's not stressed at home. He's not having to be ON for 4-6 or even 8 hours a day at home. 

If your ps is ok it would be something to consider, more as a social experiment than anything. 

On the arguing thing, I don't know. I'm trying to think if what my ds does is called arguing. My ds out and out refuses to do things, lol. He'll just say no and walk away, lol. So the arguing definitely reflects his social thinking and language skills. Obviously not being in a situation where he can't argue, he hasn't had that experience. Our mantra is firm, quiet insistence. It really takes two to argue. You repeat the expectation, you give a consequence. Consequence doesn't mean punishment. It could mean you turn your back and go do something else interesting while you wait for him to pick up the clue phone that he needs to comply.

If you aren't working in a defined space, if he doesn't have a clear sense of the plan, then it's really hard to reign things in, kwim? The challenge though, when you think oh professionals can solve my dc's compliance problem, is really they can't. Because he's so bright, he's going to out-think the workers. His IQ may be higher than the teachers, and not everyone can keep up with that. He may comply while it's novel and suits his purpose. If he has social thinking deficits, he may actually WORSEN in behavior, because those people (workers at a school, whatever) don't really actually have a lot of tools. What, they're going to restrain him? Take away ipad time? Really? 

With my ds, bringing in workers made it worse, because they didn't REALLY have any absolutes. You're looking for things that motivate him to build compliance if he doesn't understand on a more abstract level why he should obey. Like if he gets Mommy wants you to obey, God says in the Bible that children should obey, etc., if he UNDERSTANDS that, then he has a level of social thinking where he can be told you made Mommy sad, that made God sad, blah blah. But if he is like water off a duck's back with that, not getting the social thinking there, not CARING about Mom's perspective or God's perspective, then we're at an earlier stage, the I do something because I'm motivated to stage. And that motivation can be food, toys, high 5s and praise, game time or other positive interactions, etc. 

So for my ds, when motivators are novel, he's good. When the motivators lose their novelty, the power wears off. So school, a new worker, anything could be novel and motivating for a while. I found I had to back off all that. I'm not gonna be hyper-entertaining, I'm not gonna use 40 tokens and tons of rewards. You have what you want and I have what I need done and if you do what I need then you get what you wanted for the day, end of discussion. Sorta like dealing with a small Hitler. My ds is more Hitler than child I guess, sigh. And lots of really basic natural consequences. I don't care when you do your work, but you won't get what you wanted to accomplish for the day till you do what I need done, end of discussion. Walk away. Oops sorry, gotta go, baby needs me. Oops sorry, when you're talking to me respectfully I can hear you. I want to hear you and I want to hear what you have to say, but when you talk disrespectfully I can't hear you, and you walk away. 

Maybe if you get some social thinking materials you can see where to use silence as a consequence (no attention given to the behavior so you don't fee the behavior) and where it's better to respond with your social thinking tools, explaining how it made you feel, etc. There's a time for both types. There are probably more types, lol. 

I've worked very hard to have a real relationship with my ds, really communicate, build trust, and still have firm, clear expectations. There are lots of types of relationships, and he's gonna give the most flack to the person he feels most comfortable with. It's not like you can win that, lol. In essence, being close to him is opening yourself up as the punching bag. But I've found with my ds that I'm more and more able to draw limits on that. In my ds' case, he had neither the social thinking nor the language. It's a really sweet thing to see someone transform as they begin to understand. Some things take a lot of time to nurture. Sometimes it's kind of wishful thinking to assume professionals could make it all go away. Sometimes they can, but it's temporary and at a cost. Maybe academics, but also increasing stress, causing him to pull inward with frustration, etc. It's just stuff you watch for. No one could say how it would go if you enrolled him. At this age, it really might just be a fun, novel experience for him, who knows. It would be informative to see how he responded. My ds visited the ps for an hour, and when he left he was so stressed. He could hold it there for a brief time, all day would have been very hard for him. It would tell you a lot and might be just an adventure, not much harm.

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PeterPan has some really great suggestions. There is no reason that you can't provide the structure that he needs- except if you can't due to your own possible behavior limits (many kids with ADHD have parents with ADHD) or limits due to having to divide your focus between siblings.

There are probably other opportunities in your community to put him in situations where he has to deal with outher adults in authority- sports, marshal arts, gymnastics, even Cub Scouts.

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Self-discovery is a really good thing. Often one of the parents gets diagnosed along with the dc. So as you do Zones, read about EF, etc., there's sort of this transparency where the parent says I get it, I have to use this strategy too.

My ds was even confused on basic things, like whether he, as the Only Begotten Son, should have to use a LIST. LOL My dh took him aside and showed him HIS lists and how he used them and pointed out that EVERYONE has lists. 

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He's two to three grade levels ahead despite the possible ADHD...he's probably highly gifted. Public school right now cannot accomodate that combo unless you live in a wealthy district.  Do yourself a favor and get him in swim club and scouts as soon as he ages in...he'll get the social, the structure, the movement and the intellectual. In the meantime, bike, run, trampoline and music group (handbells, violin, piano,drums, whatever he's interested in that is available locally).  

Negotiating and presenting his case (arguing) are part and parcel of gifted kids.  Teach him  how to do it well.  What I did was make a time and place, with a few rules for my sanity.  Use logic, just as he is doing. Talk about group vs individual and running a household as well as safety.  

#2 pencil and sitting on a chair are old for kinders. My district dropped that before this century.  The kids have beanbags, rugs, couches, all sorts of things aside from a chair at a table..very little time is sitting. standing is also available as is lying on the floor.   Some teachers lead movement breaks since they dont have midmorning recess anymore. ADHD kids have a pass to the gym where they run a few laps and come back.   Pencils in kindy are usually fat barrels...and several of the teachers here went to markers since we have early December cutoff and a lot of 4 year olds in kindy...its just not considered developmentally appropriate.  Oral responses are done in lieu of written workbook responses thru 2nd grade here...there's a time limit on handwriting with a pencil daily to what works without frustrating everyone. 

Here's the SENG info on midiagnosis of gifted kids:  http://sengifted.org/misdiagnosis-and-dual-diagnosis-of-gifted-children/.

By the way are both of you parents gifted?  

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In the social skills groups we go to, parents are bringing in ADHD kids. The instruction is so good these days, and one round of 6-8 weeks can be enough to make things click for a straight ADHD dc. We made friends with someone who was like that, where one round and done. And the social skills groups aren't terribly expensive as things go, like $300 for a round of 8 weeks. Even if you have to drive, it could be worth the effort for that brief amount of time.

You can tour the ps even if you don't plan to enroll. 

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On 4/17/2018 at 12:07 AM, nwahomeschoolmom said:

Hello,

So my son just got a diagnosis of severe ADHD today.  I am grateful to finally have an answer for his difficult behavior.  It really helps me to know "why" he does the things he does.  The psychologist (actually a supervised PHD student) seems to imply that Phineas needed regular school.  Its a bit funny because compared to other homeschoolers,  I feel that we are much more "strict" when it comes to Kindergarten but to her it didn't sound like quite enough to compensate for his issues with ADHD and how much harder he has to work to listen, follow directions, do what other kids are doing, etc.   However, I really don't want to put him in school!  He is not super gifted, but he is still a grade or two ahead in most areas and super short (3% for height) so he couldn't skip a grade.  Plus being at home has so many benefits for him academically, with our family, for his self-esteem, spiritually.  The only things it lacks are a way to interact with friends/peers and he really need to improve his social skills.  He also need practice respecting authority.  While he is super sweet and doesn't qualify for an diagnosis regarding it, he does have a tendency to constantly argue and negotiate things and he even did it with the psychologist a lot.  She seemed to think that being in school would help this...without outright saying it.  She said he need experience more with authority other than parents and same age peers.  On the other hand, he has severe ADHD so if I send him to school it would be really hard for him regarding his behavior, he will be bored because he will know everything, he will need an IEP or 504, and he will probably have to go on medication.   He is doing fine academically without medication now being homeschooled...but it is hard.  For example, he does his spelling words while rolling around on the floor...thats fine with me if he is focused and learning.  But the psychologist felt that things like that were contributing to him not respecting authority.  I mean, I could insist on all of these little things like using a #2 pencil and sitting in a chair, but it would make our school day miserable.   Its hard to us to make friends in the homeschool community where we live because we are Orthodox Christians and everyone else where we live is Protestant, so thats one reason why social stuff isn't working out for us being homeschoolers.  (I'd love to be friends with them, but they don't really want to be friends with us...)

If you have a kid with ADHD, what have you done and what would you recommend?   Has your kid thrived being homeschooled?  Has sending them to school helped?  Anyone with a  smart, severe ADHD kid in a private school?

Thanks for any feedback....

8

I have 2e kids with ADHD. It's difficult at home at times. We chose to try meds, and it's been life-changing in a very good way. 

School can help with some things like showing a child that they are not The.Only.One that has to adhere to other people's plans. You can get that through other activities, though my older child really needed school to learn that (he attended private school K-2). He would have been nearly impossible to homeschool without some education outside of the home first. At that time, we knew he was different, but we didn't have all the information we needed to create a good environment for him either (he also has ASD that was not really apparent until almost age 9). To have a good experience, you might clue the leaders in that you are wanting a nurturing place for your child to learn that--you want them to feel free to be firm but to do so in a welcoming way. Volunteer leaders (at least around here) sometimes don't want to offend, so they are too loose with structure. We have a family counselor that works with gifted and 2e families, and she does believe that a certain amount of social pressure is necessary for some kids to get a clue about their behavior--some kids won't stop until they are totally shut down by people who they want to impress. She doesn't feel that has to mean school all the time or even most of the time nor that learning that lesson won't be traumatic--she'd prefer the child get a clue through typical means.

I don't think that all of the sit down and work things are awful either--we have a son with connective tissue problems, and unconventional postures are not good for him. My other son needed a clear, uncluttered, and undistracting work area (distractions are often different for each person--anything from pictures on the wall to cars driving by to any and every sound). My kids both need (to some extent) to perceive certain times and places as "school" to do well.

It's about what you need and about what you think he needs as that information unfolds. You don't have to get it all right immediately, though most kids will have a couple of things that are kind of lynchpin issues that help the other problems get sorted out more easily. All kids need structure. Kids with ADHD need more. Giftedness brings other needs (and we know from attending a large enrichment program that the "obnoxious/argumentative gifted kid" presentation is a common enough problem that parents seek out information, so you are not alone!). Kids need to be able to follow a group plan as well as devise their own. Eventually they need to conform enough for a boss that the boss will give them the freedom to be successful and be able to trust that they'll do good work. It's really not one way or another--you just have to have some idea what you are shooting for in the long-term and find a way to get your child there that is respectful and helps them grow. Don't feel like you can't place demands for certain things, but don't feel like you "have to" place demands that feel wrong for you or your child's needs.

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If you're on FB, the guy "Autism Discussion Page" has been posting threads on the importance of flexibility when you hit rigidity. I'm just following up what Kbutton is saying, because when the dc is rigid or balking the temptation is for the parent to become more rigid too. We can be more flexible and still be getting the situation under control and getting compliance.

The social pressure thing is interesting. My ds is *just* starting to notice sometimes that the other kids aren't doing what he's doing or acting the way he's acting. But if he's maxed out, it won't matter. That's a peer monitoring thing, where you're looking at whether they look to their peers around they to know the plan and the expected behavior. If he doesn't have that or is at a place where his body where he's so maxed out that he can't do that consistently, then he's not going to be using his peers to pick up the clue phone and needs more explicit instruction and more support from adults. 

That's really interesting about the volunteer teachers in co-ops, etc. being too loose on structure. I think that's what my gut was thinking with my ds, and I hadn't really put it into words like that. When I put him in with professionals, paid people, experienced people, they know how to handle behaviors and up structure immediately. People with less experience (wizened parents, cs teachers who handle less kids and never get the range of exquisitely challenging behaviors a ps is going to deal with, etc.) THINK they know how to ramp it up and don't. But oh they think they do, lol.

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On 4/17/2018 at 12:08 AM, PeterPan said:

Have you tried visual schedules? Do you have any routines that *are* working successfully? Is it only academics time where you have behaviors, or are they occurring throughout the day? I assume I know the answer, but still I was asking. Are there situations where you're *not* having behaviors? That can be really informative. To what do *you* attribute his behaviors? I don't mean ADHD, but more specifically. LIke, he needs to move or he doesn't understand that he's not equal with the parents or he doesn't realize when he needs a break, etc.

 

Yes, his behaviors are occurring all the time.  He is a very sweet loving boy...I'm grateful for that...but just so impulsive and constantly on, its exhausting.  (Unless he is fixated on a book). I think severe ADHD could explain many of his behaviors, but there are some that do seem spectrum ...but it helps so much to have this diagnosis at least.  I really just needed to know for myself...why is he just so much work!  It has already helped me be more patient...like a moment today when I realized he is not being rude, he just can't help himself by spacing out, staring somewhere else and not responding to what I'm saying sometimes.  Personally, I think his constant arguing is related to impulsivity and perseveration, not being able to drop an idea and continuing asking about it.  I think it is so hard for him have an idea or something he wants to do, and have to move on from it. That could be ADHD I'm not sure.   I have a form of OCD and some ADHD inattentive probably so I can recognize things in him...but with him so far its annoying, not clinical. (The psych used the phrase "not clinical..")  Today, at the school table, my son started staring out the window and I realized "oh dear, I have taken this as a break to stare off too instead of redirect him!"  That doesn't happen too often though...I hope. 

16 hours ago, HeighHo said:

By the way are both of you parents gifted?  

 

I was in the gifted programs growing up and went to a top school where I think everyone must have been gifted, but technically my IQ score is 2 points below the cutoff.  I didn't find out what my score was until I was a young adult...I thought I was the "smarter one" but it turns out my sister, who got worse grades than I did and also has ADHD, was the "smarter one" and truly gifted.  So she is twice exceptional, I am nearly twice exceptional and my dad is twice exceptional.  I do not fit the profile of a typical gifted person, more of a bright, high achiever....I was mellow and quiet, not a challenging, argumentative kid (like my sister.) I probably have ADHD inattentive, but I compensate well. Sometimes I really struggle in social conversations because I space out so mu ch, its embarrassing, but I try really hard and try to hide it.  Like repeating the last few words of what they said. My husband doesn't know his IQ and was not an exceptional student.  He got tested for a gifted program and did poorly on purpose to stay with his friends.  However, I think he is a genius in some areas, but not all, and probably twice exceptional.  All that to say, personally I think some people will slip through the cracks with the new ASD classification and getting rid of Aspergers, but maybe that was the point of the new classification.  BTW, is anyone gifted and NOT twice exceptional?  If so, thats amazing. 

 

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I have three 2e kids with adhd, one severe combined and one severe inattentive.  They both had some time in public (k and 1st-3rd respectively) before Dx. It wasn’t all bad but overall the school failed to meet their needs and they were having trouble.  We homeschooled straight up until they were in middle school where they took electives at the school. The high schooler goes half days now.  Other child with adhd (hyperactive type, moderate) did all homeschool until 4th grade.  We are contemplating pulling her out for 6th next year.  School has benefited her an many ways, but at the cost of academics (School is not horrible but not great) and social distractions. Homeschool allowed me to shore up executive skills without sacrificing academics, and I was able to encourage and focus on ways of being successful/their strengths and interests.

What ever you choose, structure with choices is key.  Routines are hard to establish but that are incredibly helpful in freeing up the mind for other executive tasks.  Play to their strengths and teach adhd as a positive but different way of seeing the world.  Don’t be bullied or scared by anyone - ask for support/proof of claims (eg how do you know School will be a better environment? What aspects will it be better for?).

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8 hours ago, nwahomeschoolmom said:

 

Yes, his behaviors are occurring all the time.  He is a very sweet loving boy...I'm grateful for that...but just so impulsive and constantly on, its exhausting.  (Unless he is fixated on a book). I think severe ADHD could explain many of his behaviors, but there are some that do seem spectrum ...but it helps so much to have this diagnosis at least.  I really just needed to know for myself...why is he just so much work!  It has already helped me be more patient...like a moment today when I realized he is not being rude, he just can't help himself by spacing out, staring somewhere else and not responding to what I'm saying sometimes.  Personally, I think his constant arguing is related to impulsivity and perseveration, not being able to drop an idea and continuing asking about it.  I think it is so hard for him have an idea or something he wants to do, and have to move on from it. That could be ADHD I'm not sure.   I have a form of OCD and some ADHD inattentive probably so I can recognize things in him...but with him so far its annoying, not clinical. (The psych used the phrase "not clinical..")  Today, at the school table, my son started staring out the window and I realized "oh dear, I have taken this as a break to stare off too instead of redirect him!"  That doesn't happen too often though...I hope. 

 

I was in the gifted programs growing up and went to a top school where I think everyone must have been gifted, but technically my IQ score is 2 points below the cutoff.  I didn't find out what my score was until I was a young adult...I thought I was the "smarter one" but it turns out my sister, who got worse grades than I did and also has ADHD, was the "smarter one" and truly gifted.  So she is twice exceptional, I am nearly twice exceptional and my dad is twice exceptional.  I do not fit the profile of a typical gifted person, more of a bright, high achiever....I was mellow and quiet, not a challenging, argumentative kid (like my sister.) I probably have ADHD inattentive, but I compensate well. Sometimes I really struggle in social conversations because I space out so mu ch, its embarrassing, but I try really hard and try to hide it.  Like repeating the last few words of what they said. My husband doesn't know his IQ and was not an exceptional student.  He got tested for a gifted program and did poorly on purpose to stay with his friends.  However, I think he is a genius in some areas, but not all, and probably twice exceptional.  All that to say, personally I think some people will slip through the cracks with the new ASD classification and getting rid of Aspergers, but maybe that was the point of the new classification.  BTW, is anyone gifted and NOT twice exceptional?  If so, thats amazing. 

 

 

Yes, there are people that are G but not 2E.  there are also a lot of people who are misdiagnosed...my dc have two friends who everyone swore were ADHD or ADD., one was put on meds.  They were so bored with the verbal, slow public school instruction that they nearly went insane until sports started. The military had more intellectually stimulating, nonverbal instruction so they are both doing quite well (pilot and linguist), no meds needed. 

The staring..probably processing.  My dc did that for auditory to verbal, or to extend the concept; the teachers who had gifted training allow a lot of time in the classroom for it.  The ones that don't gave detention, until the school pysch gave them suggestions on how to work with gifted boys or we gave up on the teacher and afterschooled the subject. You might ask him what he was thinking about when he was staring out the window.

why is he so much work?  You are his intellectual stimulation right now, as well as help in interpreting his world. You need to shift him to doing the thinking and reasoning out why things are the way they are.  He's also intense because that is the age and stage, he has a lot to figure out about the world.  Once he can use other material (library, internet, household items), your 1:1 time will decrease a bit, but your conversation will always be appreciated. 

  I space out in conversations too...I will never have the capability to sustain interest in certain topics or at certain thinking levels...I'm just not going to stay focused on preschool level things when its an adult talking, even if I remind myself that the person is unable to use more sophisticated thinking skills. I also appear to space out when I am processing...my mother actually had my hearing tested because of it when I was 4.  She never could understand that little kids who are literate do think deeply and figure things out for themselves.  Do you have time for your intellectual needs to be satisfied?  Once you figure out the math progression and methods, you'll need to keep yourself happy. 

Don't get hung up on measurements; lot of those people have no training in gifted.  Live life. 

 

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12 hours ago, nwahomeschoolmom said:

Today, at the school table, my son started staring out the window and I realized "oh dear, I have taken this as a break to stare off too instead of redirect him!"  That doesn't happen too often though...I hope. 

It really doesn't matter a flip if he stares out the window or wants to or needs to. What did it hurt? Nothing. What's important there is whether he's self-monitoring and advocating for breaks. Self-monitoring is a really important EF skill. You might like to get the EF workbook for elementary from Linguisystems. You can do check-ins where he writes down every 5 minutes what he's doing. You could also look at Zones of Regulation. Ideally, if he has enough self-awareness, you'd like him to REALIZE he's not attending and need a break and self-advocate for a break. You'd like for YOU to be self-aware enough to realize you need a break.

It sounds like break terminology and working on self-monitoring could help you both. It's NOT a problem to take a break. It's HEALTHY and part of a toolbox of good learning strategies. In Zones of Reg we would call it blue zone and we'd want the person to self-monitor and go wow, I'm fading out, my arousal level is low, I'm not green zone and ready to go. So then you'd go to your Zones book or Zones choices board and go ok when we're Blue Zone these are things we might try. This is good stuff! Then, after you make 3 choices from that board you go ok, did it work, am I green zone, am I good to go back to work now?

It's not a problem to have attention issues or need breaks or need strategies and supports. It's only a problem if we aren't self-monitoring and using the strategies. He's home, where he has plenty of flexibility. Many schools now are incorporating Zones of Reg for EVERYONE because it helps lots of people self-monitor and make choices to get back to green zone and be ready to work.

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I have one son who has spectrum traits.  I took him when he was 9, and he was only diagnosed with dysgraphia.  

First, I have heard a lot of kids not getting diagnosed until 9 with ASD.  Especially if there was nothing included about peer play.  Peer play can be a place it shows up younger for kids who could go into an office and not be definitely diagnosed.  Observations forms for peer play or a group activity can make a big difference.  

Second, I think it is accurate with my son.  It has seemed more accurate as he has gotten older, and he is more mature and some things are going better than they used to.

Okay, so what do I think is left for his spectrum traits?  Now, this is truly not so severe with him because he can take some feedback. 

But he can be rigid in his thinking.  He can be very dug in with an idea and not think about an alternative or even if he is (gasp) wrong.  He can get like this and it can be very frustrating.

Then combined with that he can have difficulty with perspective taking/theory of mind.  He may not know why someone has done/said thing or responded or reacted in some way.  

And he frequently will assume some negative intent on the part of other people, because he doesn’t understand their reasoning or their perspective.

So combined, this means he can rigidly think that someone has a totally unfair negative intent towards him and he will think this very strongly, and then ——— he acts based on this, and he can act in some less-than-nice ways that to him are totally reasonable based on what he thinks.  

He also will fail to see what part his own actions may have played and so fail to feel remorse and fail to learn from his mistakes.

So — this is an issue for him, and there are a lot of thoughts about how to address this in autism materials, because these are also issues that can be related to autism traits for people who are diagnosed.  It is still good information for me with my son.

So I think — if you are clear on specifics for your son, that are spectrum traits, then look for how to handle those things as a parent.  You might find better information in ADHD materials, if ADHD materials address his areas.  If there’s any area that isn’t covered in ADHD materials, I think it is worthwhile to look in autism materials.

Because, these can be frustrating things and not amenable to common sense parenting or general parenting advice.

A lot of common sense parenting assumes that kids do have perspective taking and flexible thinking, that they bring with them to problem solving and thinking about their actions.  If those things are weak areas, then the common sense parenting doesn’t have the same foundation to work with.  Or — fill in the blank with whatever was a spectrum trait for him.  

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Not sure if it's off topic to address the rolling around on the floor and doing spelling words part at this point. 

We have the visual schedules, and a routine block rotation of school subjects that we stick to, more or less. Some days are more "active" than others. In K, writing/phonics lessons was a combination of 5-15 min writing/letter sound identification exercises on a whiteboard and 5-10 min of flashcards with physical tie-ins.

Even now, in 3rd grade, many a history or english comprehension lesson is read while DS jumps on the mini-trampoline. And sometimes, he just doesn't have it in him to sit still and write for math or spelling, so that is done audibly too. 

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Dust, thanks for the tip! Also, I have meant to thank Lecka for her post.  It was very helpful and I thought about it a lot, I just forgot to post a response.  

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Completely random and not contributing to the discussion much, but I grew up in NWA. We now live in SW-MO, but my family is all in NWA. What schools were you considering? 
Also, have you looked into this group? http://www.nwasocialhomeschoolers.com/aboutus 
From what I've heard, it's purely social, not religious, so it might be a bit more accepting. 
 

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On 4/18/2018 at 3:12 AM, HeighHo said:

He's two to three grade levels ahead despite the possible ADHD...he's probably highly gifted.

This, and a lot of what seems like ADHD may actually be due to giftedness.  

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My dd most likely was/is inattentive ADHD (she is seeking diagnosis now at 18) and held it together during school.  But our relationship was awful for most of her schooling because she always fell apart at home.  So on the surface it looked like school helped her since she was compliant while there, but it came at a cost.  On the other hand, since she is the most strong willed person on this planet, if I had homeschooled her I fear... well, I just see hell freezing over before I would have been an effective homeschool teacher for her! My younger kids are pliable and wouldn't even dream of pulling the kind of tricks she pulled. She was a master manipulator and pretty much steam rolled me much of her life. Thank goodness she has switched over to using her powers for good. 

She did most of all the things you mention. Very impulsive, argued about EVERYTHING, very focused on short term gratification to the expense of all other possible rewards, total dreamer too (she often took showers but forgot to bathe, other times I'd find her sitting on her bed staring into space with her towel around her an hour after her shower... but she also is a writer and had constant stories going on in her head so her rich inner life could at times be just as real as the outer life!). 

And I will also add that whether it was the giftedness or the ADHD... but when middle school hit and the workload increased and the executive functioning requirements increased and her buy-in decreased, that's pretty much was when the train went off the tracks. Elementary school was fun, not a lot of homework, very relaxed with lost of recess. Middle school was the worst and she just gave up. Just our own experience. 

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