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selah75

Pulling out anxious 4th grader

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Hi there,

I'm pulling out my fourth grade daughter at the end of January due to her chronic and worsening anxiety. Her anxiety has become so debilitating that she is fearful of trying new things, afraid she won't do something perfectly and afraid of making mistakes. We talk about learning through failure all the time but it doesn't help her (I'm not sure how to help her develop grit when she has a meltdown over not being able to tie her shoelaces perfectly). Anyways, with all that in mind I'm wondering the best way to start at mid-year. I homeschooled my oldest for two years many years ago and I'd say I lean toward CM but I'm open and would prefer secular resources (or resources that can be secularized). She's a bright kid - loves to read and is strong in math. Her spelling is a bit weak and, according to her, she's never had any grammar. History has been your basic community social studies. Science has been topical through the years. I would love any advice about curriculum or anything that seems like it might help us on this unexpected journey. Thank you!

 

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So to start, since you're sure you're pulling her, why wait for another some weeks? Why not immediately? 

As to what to start with, you've probably seen a period of deschooling recommended before starting with curriculum. That's probably the best way to start!

I'd probably consider getting Story of the World as an audiobook or read aloud, and just listening to it "for fun" as a world history survey over the rest of the year.

Edited by Kiara.I
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Welcome to the forum! I would say the way to begin mid-year with an anxious child is gently.

Start with setting a day each week to go to the library and get as many books as she wants. You can pull for her some books about dealing with anxiety/perfectionism, too--Amazon has some examples you can look for.

Once you have your materials in hand, you might designate a Preview Day before getting started--just a chance to look over the new books (and maybe something attractive like a sparkly pencil to work with).

For math, look at Math Mammoth? Very straightforward.

If she's very visual and does well with colorful things (and has decent stamina for writing/copying), Spelling You See might be helpful. I have not found an elementary grammar book I love.

For history/social studies, what do you want to cover? Geography, US history, world history?

For science, you might go interest-led. Would she like to study the local ecosystem? Learn about chemistry and do simple experiments (All About Atoms and Molecules can help with the latter)? Habits of observing and thinking, and any background knowledge she'd like to acquire, are the foundations she needs.

Maybe there is something else you can add to your school routine that she will enjoy, such as music. Anxious kids tend to like order, so you might want a tool like a daily checklist to help her keep track of what's happening. When DS was younger, I made sure to start the school day with something easy and fun to ease into it.

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I wouldn't even think about doing anything formal with her for many months, because it will take time for her to recover herself. I'm thinking it will be *at least* the fall before she's ready. So you have plenty of time to think about things.

And I would also suggest that you withdraw her right now.

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Thank you so much for your replies! I appreciate it so much.

Kiara and Ellie, I would withdraw her right now but this is a compromise with my husband. He is reluctant to make any decisions mid-year as he fears being reactionary. Pulling out at the end of fall/winter term was a good compromise for us.

Deschooling sounds like the right course but if I'm being perfectly honest, a bit scary. We've been in the school system for six years now and some parts have been great but I do think we've slowly become achievement oriented as a result. I would love to bring curiosity and wonder back into her life.

Whitehawk, I appreciate the advice to start gently and love the book advice on perfectionism. And yes to needing structure! I think we both will need this. I'm not a structured person by nature but I know she will need that (I think I will need it, too). Sounds like a lot of interest-led activities and learning - perhaps that can be what deschooling looks like? I'm hopeful.

Thanks again. I am grateful.

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I agree with deschooling, and during that time period I would work toward building a weekday routine.  Even once "school" time is in full swing, it still will not take up nearly as much time as public school, so I'm always proactive about daily routines for my kids so that the "extra" time doesn't devolve into boredom and screens.  We have chore time, quiet time, non-screen free time, extracurriculars, weekly library time, etc.

I would have no problem with a de-schooling child spending their "school" time doing puzzles/going for walks/daydreaming/etc, but I would not allow them to get in the habit of watching mindless YouTube videos or whatever during that time.  After a bit of a break I would start gently floating "educational" ideas...would she like to hang out at a museum one day, would she like to help you make a fancy dessert, would she like to play a board game, would she like to do an art project or a science experiment, etc.  If it were me, I would s.l.o.w.l.y transition from deschooling to full homeschooling by gradually shifting how school time is spent rather than giving her a number of months completely "off" and then jumping into a full workload cold turkey.

One other thing I would look into is homeschool groups/activities in your area.  Even a simple meet-up can be a great opportunity to get out of the house, meet new people, have some fun, etc.  My kids also struggle with severe anxiety, so even though they would prefer to just stay home, I think it is important for them to participate in activities that force them to engage with people and life.

Wendy

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How about spending some time at the kitchen table listening to audiobooks and coloring/painting/drawing/sculpting/knitting on a loom/anything low key that keeps hands busy while you listen?

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My anxious kiddos benefit significantly from physical activity; for us that has mostly been dance, tumbling, and martial arts; you may even have homeschool classes locally (we're about to head out to a homeschool tumbling class right now).

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Deschooling doesn't mean de-learning. 🙂 You'll be establishing new household routines, and getting acquainted to each other in a way you haven't been able to do before, and she's going to be learning that she doesn't have to be anxious because she gets to be *home* (she might still be anxious, you know, but she'll have the freedom to be anxious, you know?). You just aren't going to be sitting down at the table with a bunch of books and stuff.

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Thank you for your replies. Wendy, I think a new routine will be vital for us. I like the idea of chore time, quiet time, reading time, etc. Structure will help us for sure.

Maize, I think low-key activities around audiobooks would be great. We do play a lot of board games. She is completely disinterested in art but it's because she doesn't think she's good at it. I think changing this mindset would be a big hope of mine.

Ellie, I like that. Yes, it's not de-learning. I think after years of common core and school expectations it will feel disorienting not to have that anymore. Freeing, yes, but also without a safety net. I guess I need to deschool, too. ; 

Thanks again for your help, everyone!!

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8 hours ago, selah75 said:

I would withdraw her right now but this is a compromise with my husband. He is reluctant to make any decisions mid-year as he fears being reactionary. Pulling out at the end of fall/winter term was a good compromise for us.

Have you brought any of this up with the teachers? Is she in the ps? And have they eval'd to IDENTIFY her anxiety and actually help her with it? Does she have an IEP in place?

In our state, anxiety is a tier 3 disabling condition, meaning she would get an IEP, intervention, some of the REALLY GOOD SERVICES that can be provided, and support in the classroom.

So I'm actually with your dh on this, that if you have not made a formal written request for evals to be done by the ps to identify her disability and gone through the IEP process, you may want to slow down. There's actually quite a bit that is being done in the ps for anxiety if you fight for it to happen. And frankly, it's stuff you're going to want to do ANYWAY, even if you bring her home. 

So to me, at the very least, you should go ahead and make the written request for evals immediately and see what happens, what they can do for you. You might gain valuable information through the eval process to help you work with her better, even if you decide eventually to pull her out.

Fwiw both my kids are diagnosed with anxiety, one on meds for it, the other with an IEP. I go to training workshops for it, just went to another really GREAT one. You can even start boning up on best practices, things you can learn to do to support her. Here's something to get you started https://jessicaminahan.com Personally, I'd be more concerned about how to support her with the anxiety than what curriculum you're going to use. You might find that some of what she needs is the opposite of how you like to roll, which is why you'll want to start by reading up on best practices for anxiety. 

Has she *always* struggled with anxiety, or did this just flare up recently? If she was functioning well for a number of years, you'd like to know *why* it's flaring up now. It's chronic? Ok, that's good. Because not chronic but all of a sudden can = something happened. For my kids, I've tried things based on genetics, doing mindfulness, interoception, etc. etc. You've got all kinds of paths you could run down, depending on what you're seeing. You can come hang on LC if you want. 

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4 hours ago, selah75 said:

after years of common core and school expectations it will feel disorienting not to have that anymore.

You might also be sensing that she responds well to STRUCTURE. Having a clear plan, security, clear expectations REDUCES ANXIETY. So for some people, no plan = everything falls apart. You can have choice and deschool without losing STRUCTURE. Deschooling is about reclaiming how you enjoy being together, what you enjoy doing at home, your ability to choose for yourself, etc. But that doesn't mean you have to lose structure or have her feel more anxious about it. Some people find the STRUCTURE of school very calming! They like the predictability. They might be Perfect Paulas (read Cathy Duffy's stuff) and want a desk. You can talk about that. You work work together and make your plans, so she knows the plan. You could plan out your deschooling together for the semester, the month, the week.

As you start reading about anxiety and interventions and supports, you might find there are things you'd like to bring into your days that would fit really well in a deschooling habit. Like body scans, they wouldn't take much time, can help give you some structure and calm, and they can kind of punctuate a day filled with choice and deschooling. Since she enjoys reading and math, I'd probably be encouraging/facilitating those. That's pretty prime deschooling there, when it looks like school but she's choosing it. :biggrin: And to learn how to find her books, how to use the library, to get a library card, find the magazine section, make summer performance plans or spring field trip plans or spring garden plans...

Well anyways, have fun. Is she on board with this or she doesn't know yet? It would be nice if coming home meant coming home TO something, to better intervention. But if there have been no evals by the ps, you don't know what they would do and what supports they would provide. And if they haven't provided them adequately, that's a shame. There's so much out there now, but it definitely varies by district. 

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5 hours ago, selah75 said:

She is completely disinterested in art but it's because she doesn't think she's good at it. I think changing this mindset would be a big hope of mine.

Drawing with Children is a great book that presents drawing as a skill not a talent.

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You're looking for spelling and grammar specifically.  We like All About Spelling and the Easy Grammar series.  For older kids, we use Sequential Spelling (after AAS).  For math, we've had good experiences with Dimensions Math and Mathusee.  Those aren't the only ones out there - just listing the ones we like.  

We use living books in our homeschool - mostly no textbooks (we do use Apologia sometimes and I consider those textbooks....).  We're probably more like unit study homeschoolers, but I use a lot of ideas from CM.  Anyway, how I plan is - I make a list of all the subjects I want to cover like:

  • science
  • history
  • literature
  • poetry
  • art
  • music
  • geography
  • Latin/German (we do both)

Then, I will research topics for each category - like we're working on chemistry right now for science.  I'll google "living books for chemistry" or start looking around on Amazon.  If I find "Mystery of the Periodic Table", it leads to more books that are similar or that other homeschoolers have bought.  For science, I'll also go on Home Science Tools and just browse all the different lab kits, etc.  I list anything that looks interesting.

And it's ok if I only have "Where the Red Fern Grows" for literature.  I don't need to plan some massive booklist, because I know I'll think of something after that book and be like 'hey, this looks like fun!'  So, don't panic if your plans don't cover an entire school year.

You can look at different kinds of schedules, too.  Some people do certain subjects on certain days.  Some people do loop scheduling - where they have a list of subjects and just work through them in a loop.  At this point, I'm just picking every day what we feel like doing.  

You could also do a schedule where you cover math, language arts and one other subject for a few weeks.  We've done that before when they were little.  Then, you switch the subject for something else at the end of the 8 weeks or whatever.  

Good luck with your planning!

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8 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Have you brought any of this up with the teachers? Is she in the ps? And have they eval'd to IDENTIFY her anxiety and actually help her with it? Does she have an IEP in place?

In our state, anxiety is a tier 3 disabling condition, meaning she would get an IEP, intervention, some of the REALLY GOOD SERVICES that can be provided, and support in the classroom.

So I'm actually with your dh on this, that if you have not made a formal written request for evals to be done by the ps to identify her disability and gone through the IEP process, you may want to slow down. There's actually quite a bit that is being done in the ps for anxiety if you fight for it to happen. And frankly, it's stuff you're going to want to do ANYWAY, even if you bring her home. 

So to me, at the very least, you should go ahead and make the written request for evals immediately and see what happens, what they can do for you. You might gain valuable information through the eval process to help you work with her better, even if you decide eventually to pull her out.

Fwiw both my kids are diagnosed with anxiety, one on meds for it, the other with an IEP. I go to training workshops for it, just went to another really GREAT one. You can even start boning up on best practices, things you can learn to do to support her. Here's something to get you started https://jessicaminahan.com Personally, I'd be more concerned about how to support her with the anxiety than what curriculum you're going to use. You might find that some of what she needs is the opposite of how you like to roll, which is why you'll want to start by reading up on best practices for anxiety. 

Has she *always* struggled with anxiety, or did this just flare up recently? If she was functioning well for a number of years, you'd like to know *why* it's flaring up now. It's chronic? Ok, that's good. Because not chronic but all of a sudden can = something happened. For my kids, I've tried things based on genetics, doing mindfulness, interoception, etc. etc. You've got all kinds of paths you could run down, depending on what you're seeing. You can come hang on LC if you want. 

This is so helpful. Thank you. I have brought it up with her teacher several times and with the school's guidance counselor. My understanding is she isn't eligible for services if it doesn't interfere with the classroom. She is a model student in the classroom and falls apart the minute she gets home. Her teacher is a veteran and does know that DD struggles with anxiety and that's she's a super sensitive kid. Her teacher is excellent and is attentive to that but I figure that's as far as it goes. My older daughter had an IEP for ASD but even with a formal diagnosis from our Children's Hospital it wasn't until her behavior interfered with the classroom that we were able to get an IEP. 

I do think she's always struggled with anxiety but for many years I've misinterpreted her anxiety as anger. She has always been an explosive kid and her anger has been pretty difficult to manage. We've seen a few therapists over the years for anger but we often have left with the therapists thinking she's the perfect kid. It was only in my research over the past couple weeks that the lightbulb went off that her anger is really anxiety (trying not to beat myself up for missing it all these years). 

That said, it has flared up significantly this year. There is a lot of girl drama in her fourth grade. Her teacher has taught for 32 years and said she's never seen mean behavior, this sophisticated, this young. My dd had a pretty painful experience of being excluded last month. The school has been dealing with it but it's difficult to deal with actions that are often subtle.

This year also marks a shift in doing more projects and that has created a ton of stress for my dd's perfectionist soul. For example, they have an art project due Friday. We worked on an idea on Monday afternoon but by Monday night she's already stressing that she won't finish on time. Yesterday afternoon was spent in explosion after explosion when she would make a mistake and she would to start over. It ended in a complete meltdown, calling herself stupid - it was so ugly and sad.

So, yes, I think you're right on that I should be more worried about dealing with the anxiety than with the curriculum choices. We are working to find a CBT therapist and I feel better equipped to advocate for her. I really appreciate the best practices suggestion. Yesterday, I was keenly aware that I didn't have the best language to offer in coming alongside her. I definitely need better tools.

9 hours ago, PeterPan said:

You might also be sensing that she responds well to STRUCTURE. Having a clear plan, security, clear expectations REDUCES ANXIETY. So for some people, no plan = everything falls apart. You can have choice and deschool without losing STRUCTURE. Deschooling is about reclaiming how you enjoy being together, what you enjoy doing at home, your ability to choose for yourself, etc. But that doesn't mean you have to lose structure or have her feel more anxious about it. Some people find the STRUCTURE of school very calming! They like the predictability. They might be Perfect Paulas (read Cathy Duffy's stuff) and want a desk. You can talk about that. You work work together and make your plans, so she knows the plan. You could plan out your deschooling together for the semester, the month, the week.

As you start reading about anxiety and interventions and supports, you might find there are things you'd like to bring into your days that would fit really well in a deschooling habit. Like body scans, they wouldn't take much time, can help give you some structure and calm, and they can kind of punctuate a day filled with choice and deschooling. Since she enjoys reading and math, I'd probably be encouraging/facilitating those. That's pretty prime deschooling there, when it looks like school but she's choosing it. :biggrin: And to learn how to find her books, how to use the library, to get a library card, find the magazine section, make summer performance plans or spring field trip plans or spring garden plans...

Well anyways, have fun. Is she on board with this or she doesn't know yet? It would be nice if coming home meant coming home TO something, to better intervention. But if there have been no evals by the ps, you don't know what they would do and what supports they would provide. And if they haven't provided them adequately, that's a shame. There's so much out there now, but it definitely varies by district. 

Great advice. Thanks again. She is totally on board with homeschooling and is asking for it. The days you describe seem so calming. I think that would be such a nice change of pace for her. Our current pace is hard on her - we attend an earlier start school (7:50) and she's a night owl. Even if she's in bed at 8:30 she cannot fall asleep until close to 10. Being able to move slower and get enough sleep will help her immensely, I think.

8 hours ago, parent said:

Drawing with Children is a great book that presents drawing as a skill not a talent.

I have this book somewhere! Thanks for the suggestion! I forgot all about that one. Love that this is already on a shelf. : )

 

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6 minutes ago, selah75 said:

This is so helpful. Thank you. I have brought it up with her teacher several times and with the school's guidance counselor. My understanding is she isn't eligible for services if it doesn't interfere with the classroom. She is a model student in the classroom and falls apart the minute she gets home. Her teacher is a veteran and does know that DD struggles with anxiety and that's she's a super sensitive kid. Her teacher is excellent and is attentive to that but I figure that's as far as it goes. My older daughter had an IEP for ASD but even with a formal diagnosis from our Children's Hospital it wasn't until her behavior interfered with the classroom that we were able to get an IEP. 

I do think she's always struggled with anxiety but for many years I've misinterpreted her anxiety as anger. She has always been an explosive kid and her anger has been pretty difficult to manage. We've seen a few therapists over the years for anger but we often have left with the therapists thinking she's the perfect kid. It was only in my research over the past couple weeks that the lightbulb went off that her anger is really anxiety (trying not to beat myself up for missing it all these years). 

That said, it has flared up significantly this year. There is a lot of girl drama in her fourth grade. Her teacher has taught for 32 years and said she's never seen mean behavior, this sophisticated, this young. My dd had a pretty painful experience of being excluded last month. The school has been dealing with it but it's difficult to deal with actions that are often subtle.

This year also marks a shift in doing more projects and that has created a ton of stress for my dd's perfectionist soul. For example, they have an art project due Friday. We worked on an idea on Monday afternoon but by Monday night she's already stressing that she won't finish on time. Yesterday afternoon was spent in explosion after explosion when she would make a mistake and she would to start over. It ended in a complete meltdown, calling herself stupid - it was so ugly and sad.

So, yes, I think you're right on that I should be more worried about dealing with the anxiety than with the curriculum choices. We are working to find a CBT therapist and I feel better equipped to advocate for her. I really appreciate the best practices suggestion. Yesterday, I was keenly aware that I didn't have the best language to offer in coming alongside her. I definitely need better tools.

Great advice. Thanks again. She is totally on board with homeschooling and is asking for it. The days you describe seem so calming. I think that would be such a nice change of pace for her. Our current pace is hard on her - we attend an earlier start school (7:50) and she's a night owl. Even if she's in bed at 8:30 she cannot fall asleep until close to 10. Being able to move slower and get enough sleep will help her immensely, I think.

I have this book somewhere! Thanks for the suggestion! I forgot all about that one. Love that this is already on a shelf. : )

 

Does it interfere with her ability to do homework or perform on tests in school? Even if she's behaviorally fine in school (my DDs were) she would be able to qualify if it affects her academically. If she has an official diagnosis of anxiety, they have to consider an IEP. They have to do an evaluation if you ask them to anyway. 

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7 minutes ago, Evanthe said:

You're looking for spelling and grammar specifically.  We like All About Spelling and the Easy Grammar series.  For older kids, we use Sequential Spelling (after AAS).  For math, we've had good experiences with Dimensions Math and Mathusee.  Those aren't the only ones out there - just listing the ones we like.  

We use living books in our homeschool - mostly no textbooks (we do use Apologia sometimes and I consider those textbooks....).  We're probably more like unit study homeschoolers, but I use a lot of ideas from CM.  Anyway, how I plan is - I make a list of all the subjects I want to cover like:

  • science
  • history
  • literature
  • poetry
  • art
  • music
  • geography
  • Latin/German (we do both)

Then, I will research topics for each category - like we're working on chemistry right now for science.  I'll google "living books for chemistry" or start looking around on Amazon.  If I find "Mystery of the Periodic Table", it leads to more books that are similar or that other homeschoolers have bought.  For science, I'll also go on Home Science Tools and just browse all the different lab kits, etc.  I list anything that looks interesting.

And it's ok if I only have "Where the Red Fern Grows" for literature.  I don't need to plan some massive booklist, because I know I'll think of something after that book and be like 'hey, this looks like fun!'  So, don't panic if your plans don't cover an entire school year.

You can look at different kinds of schedules, too.  Some people do certain subjects on certain days.  Some people do loop scheduling - where they have a list of subjects and just work through them in a loop.  At this point, I'm just picking every day what we feel like doing.  

You could also do a schedule where you cover math, language arts and one other subject for a few weeks.  We've done that before when they were little.  Then, you switch the subject for something else at the end of the 8 weeks or whatever.  

Good luck with your planning!

Thanks so much for the suggestions! I can see us leaning more toward unit studies and chasing rabbit trails. My daughter is very interested in ballet right now and I could see us spending time with ballet and seeing where that leads us. And I love the advice on schedules. Schedules are intuitive and can be hard for me to implement so it's nice to see there are options. We can experiment and find what works best. Thanks for taking the time to respond! I appreciate it.

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1 minute ago, Paige said:

Does it interfere with her ability to do homework or perform on tests in school? Even if she's behaviorally fine in school (my DDs were) she would be able to qualify if it affects her academically. If she has an official diagnosis of anxiety, they have to consider an IEP. They have to do an evaluation if you ask them to anyway. 

It doesn't interfere with tests. It has only interfered as we've moved on to project learning. I will see what our options are - thank you for clarifying! I appreciate it.

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9 hours ago, selah75 said:

She is a model student in the classroom and falls apart the minute she gets home.

So *technically* they can't say that (even though they try) because technically her breakdown at home is resulting from a lack of support during the school day. This is a super common issue in autism too, where kids will mainstream and seem to be getting by and go home and have melt downs. So it's a common issue and a fight you can make. But reality is, you would have to fight hard, like get private evals and FIGHT. If you're committed, you can make it happen. Like if you like what she's getting in the ps otherwise, it can be done and you can know they are not being as helpful as they could be compelled to be.

9 hours ago, selah75 said:

She has always been an explosive kid and her anger has been pretty difficult to manage.

We got AMAZING breakthroughs for this running genetics. Some of the stuff you'll find helps both the anger *and* the anxiety.

9 hours ago, selah75 said:

My dd had a pretty painful experience of being excluded last month. The school has been dealing with it but it's difficult to deal with actions that are often subtle.

This year also marks a shift in doing more projects and that has created a ton of stress for my dd's perfectionist soul. For example, they have an art project due Friday. We worked on an idea on Monday afternoon but by Monday night she's already stressing that she won't finish on time. Yesterday afternoon was spent in explosion after explosion when she would make a mistake and she would to start over. It ended in a complete meltdown, calling herself stupid - it was so ugly and sad.

Do you think there are *reasons* she's being excluded? I mean, having those kinds of behaviors would be a reason kids might exclude her. And I'm kind of SHOCKED that they're not running pragmatics or ANYTHING on her when she's having this level of behaviors. It seems unlikely to me that she's having this at home and having *nothing* going on in school, kwim? You can't be that anxious, that perfectionist, that controlling, that unable to problem solve... (keep going here) and not have it show up while she's interacting in those groups, kwim? And the teacher is like keep walking, nothing to see here...

She's at the age where a lot of this starts to become more apparent. What is your ability to get her private evals?

9 hours ago, selah75 said:

We are working to find a CBT therapist

Since you've already tried talk therapies, what about going a different direction? Genetics to find out why her body is so explosive and INTEROCEPTION work so she can self-monitor better. 

https://www.kelly-mahler.com/what-is-interoception/

9 hours ago, selah75 said:

She is totally on board with homeschooling and is asking for it.

So I'm pro homeschooling, but it is kind of feeding the running mentality. More is going on than the teacher is saying. You might want to make the written request and force their hand legally. It's really an absurd situation. Then they'd have to bring in observers. Get some evidence of something going on, kwim? Make substantiated claims, maybe even more than anxiety. Force their hand. I mean it's nice to think this is limited to anxiety, but given that she's being ostracized by her peers, struggling with rigidity and perfectionism, maybe she's having trouble with pragmatics and social thinking? Maybe UP the number of things you're saying you suspect and GIVE EVIDENCE. Force their hand. If she's being ostracized and bullied and wants to leave school, it's now affecting her ability to access her education. So you don't tell them you want to homeschool. You tell them you want them to eval and run everything so they can identify why she's being bullied and help her be comfortable staying in school.

Or pull her out and get private evals. But the problem is probably not the school or the other kids. Something is going on, but you want to know what part *she* is bringing. Can't hit it head on. And frankly, where are you going to get a peer group to work on those problems? Think about it. If you pull her out, where is the peer group? I mean, this is what I face. I homeschool my ds with ASD2 because I was already in the groove with dd. But there are things that take a lot of effort to make happen. And it *sounds* like she's having trouble in group settings, getting ostracized, and so she's like yeah pull me out!! And if you pull her out and do social thinking intervention and get evals, where is the peer group or the opportunity to practice those social skills? You're going to take her to social skills groups? Those are $$ and hard to find sometimes. 

It's stuff to think through. I'm not saying what you should do as far as the homeschooling, lol. I'm just very pro-evals, especially for girls. It doesn't sound like your therapist answers have been very helpful so far, so maybe need to move up the food chain. PhD psych. Hoagies Gifted maintains a list.

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18 hours ago, PeterPan said:

So *technically* they can't say that (even though they try) because technically her breakdown at home is resulting from a lack of support during the school day. This is a super common issue in autism too, where kids will mainstream and seem to be getting by and go home and have melt downs. So it's a common issue and a fight you can make. But reality is, you would have to fight hard, like get private evals and FIGHT. If you're committed, you can make it happen. Like if you like what she's getting in the ps otherwise, it can be done and you can know they are not being as helpful as they could be compelled to be.

I talked to our school's guidance counselor yesterday. She said the best they could do would be a 504 for accommodations if it's not impacting the classroom. And even if she qualified for an IEP, my dd would be pulled out of the classroom for services which we both agreed would be hard for her. To be perfectly honest, I don't have it in me to fight. Our school has a very caring and dedicated staff who just experienced staff cuts throughout the district. I volunteer with struggling readers at our school and there are a lot of hard stories of homelessness and food security on top of learning challenges. It feels like our school is already trying to meet an increasing demand of needs with a dwindling supply of support. I don't think I have it in me to fight for resources that are already scarce and may serve another family without resources better.

 

18 hours ago, PeterPan said:

We got AMAZING breakthroughs for this running genetics. Some of the stuff you'll find helps both the anger *and* the anxiety.

This sounds so intriguing to me but I've never heard of running genetics. Where do you start? I'd love to hear more. Feel free to PM me if you'd rather.  I'm so interested in learning more about interoception - I've never heard of it. I just checked out a book from the library about being more in tuned to your body and feelings and this sounds like exactly what she's needing.

 

18 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Do you think there are *reasons* she's being excluded? I mean, having those kinds of behaviors would be a reason kids might exclude her. And I'm kind of SHOCKED that they're not running pragmatics or ANYTHING on her when she's having this level of behaviors. It seems unlikely to me that she's having this at home and having *nothing* going on in school, kwim? You can't be that anxious, that perfectionist, that controlling, that unable to problem solve... (keep going here) and not have it show up while she's interacting in those groups, kwim? And the teacher is like keep walking, nothing to see here...

Those are great questions. My dd with ASD can't read a social cue to save her life and she's incredibly (and endearingly) quirky. My fourth grader is totally dialed in socially, almost obsessively so, but she copies, imitates and follows. She is a really bright kid and ahead of the class in academics but that doesn't hold a lot of street cred in her mind.  So if you ask why she's being excluded, I'd say she isn't very confident in who she is and she's in a class that is incredibly lopsided with alpha girls. The teachers have struggled with the girls in this class since first grade.

 

18 hours ago, PeterPan said:

And frankly, where are you going to get a peer group to work on those problems? Think about it. If you pull her out, where is the peer group?

Great question. She does have some good friends that she plays basketball with almost year round. And we visited our district's homeschool program and I was pleasantly surprised. My dd loved it and wants to enroll right away. I do think she has enough friends around that I'm not overly worried (yet, anyway).

Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. You've given me a lot to think about and I'm grateful you would take the time. 

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1 hour ago, selah75 said:

This sounds so intriguing to me but I've never heard of running genetics. Where do you start?

Quickie answer, and then we can get more in-depth privately if you want. 

-run 23andme, just the normal, $69 version

-download the raw data

-run it through https://promethease.com (low cost)

-run it through https://www.knowyourgenetics.com  (free)

-look in particular for issues in the methylation cycle, vitamin D (VDR), and TPH2 gene.

TPH2 converts tryptophan to 5HTP, and that leads to serotonin (mood) and melatonin (night owl). So when you're saying anxiety and night owl, that makes you wonder about a TPH2 defect.

The COMT gene (part of the methylation cycle) affects how we tolerate methyls. Vitamin D is also part of the methylation cycle, pulling them off the B vitamins to process them. Interestingly, 5HTP also slurps up methyls as part of what it does. And if the methyls go HIGH due to these defects, you get... drum roll... aggression.

So I know our church and system tells us we should be able to talk through everything and mindfulness it away, but these are some pretty big physical causes linked to some pretty serious things. Like when you're saying aggression in a girl, I don't think you were joking, and I don't think it's that she's bad or how she wants to be. And I'm not really into mysterious explanations either, kwim? I like how concrete this is, and this whole idea of nutrigenomics, running genetics to figure out the cause of mental health symptoms, well there's research on it but not ENOUGH. 

So can you find a doctor to do this? Well I live near a very big city with a lot of docs, and I know *one* practice that is sorta doing it. Hard to get in and they're VERY$$$$$$$$ and sort of overbearing. What I'm describing above is what I did. I paid $79 or whatever the price was at the time, ran the testing, got the results, poured everything, and this is the kind of stuff that was popping up. 

So here's the quick and dirty part. If you *suspect* methyls are high, you can drop them very quickly with niacin. You could also notice if her diet includes major methyl donors (orange juice, chocolate, caffeine, etc.) and see if there's any pattern to consumption and behaviors. You could have your doctor run her vitamin D levels or run them yourself by paying at healthcheckusa.com or another such service. Vitamin D will pull down methyl levels, stabilizing mood, and it's something you can test concretely with blood work and say yeah it was needed or no it wasn't. If you want to use vitamin D, you might take it with K2 to help it be better absorbed. 

With my ds, we had severe aggression. There's more to the story, but that's the jist. We started with niacin, just to see if it could work, and when it did I started looking for things that would last LONGER. Half life of niacin is very short, like 20-40 minutes. So vitamin D hangs in the system longer, leading to more mood stabilizing. Then we found the TPH2 defect, and that was the bomb, the ultimate. Treat that with a time release 5HTP, and suddenly you have 12 hours of mental stability!!!! 

So that's what we do instead of the prescription stuff he would have needed for his extremely dangerous mental health symptoms. I also give him B vitamin gummies once a day for the same reason, to keep putting into his system generally useful things that will help slurp up excess methyls and pull those methyl levels down.

Danger points? Well she could also have MTHFR defects and feel WORSE if you rapidly drop her levels. You'd need genetics to see that, but you can also guess just by giving her things and see what happens. What happens if she drinks orange juice? Is the mood better or worse? Does she get headaches from it? What happens if she gets caffeine? Benadryl? Stimulant meds for ADHD? What happens if she takes a regular off the shelf B complex supplement? Is that better or worse? 

For your trivia, I have both MTHFR *and* the COMT/TPH2/VDR defects. They're kind of contradictory, and it's messy to sort out. My kids each got one side, so I have one that tends toward undermethylation and the other over-methylation. Both are diagnosed with anxiety and both tend night owl. I think the TPH2 and VDR, which both have, are a big part of that. 

So it's not ideal to start supplements without genetics, because you're just guessing and guessing with a person who might find it challenging to self-advocate. That's why I was saying bloodwork on the D was a place if you wanted to start something sooner. Or you could try a very *low* dose of niacin and see what happens. But you have to be so, so careful. It really doesn't feel good if you tank someone's methyls *too* low. It has taken us about 2 years to get to a sweet spot with it.

 

 

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1 hour ago, selah75 said:

I don't think I have it in me to fight for resources that are already scarce and may serve another family without resources better.

Makes sense. And a richer district would possibly have their people trained in these newer techniques, where your people maybe are not. It's why my ds isn't enrolled locally, sigh. Well that and what his placement would be. But there are big differences, sure. In the big city the big districts will send their WHOLE TEAM for some of these trainings. It's amazing.

1 hour ago, selah75 said:

I'm so interested in learning more about interoception - I've never heard of it. I just checked out a book from the library about being more in tuned to your body and feelings and this sounds like exactly what she's needing.

Yup, Kelly Mahler is doing a lot of work with this. It's mindfulness, like what you're reading about, but it's taking it all the way and making it really explicit. We're going to start outside in and be very systematic. She has an online course you can watch, a wonderful curriculum, and a facebook group. Her curriculum is literally what they're doing, in the schools, in trials, great stuff. And by starting with the body and doing it very systematically, she's going to get to emotions. It took me about a year, honestly, to go from body to emotions. 

Interoception becomes the *foundation* for everything else you're going to do. 

1 hour ago, selah75 said:

My fourth grader is totally dialed in socially, almost obsessively so, but she copies, imitates and follows.

She sounds like she's compensating. Have you ever seen this? https://www.socialthinking.com/Articles?name=social-thinking-social-communication-profile  It's a free article and you might find it helpful. 

1 hour ago, selah75 said:

And we visited our district's homeschool program and I was pleasantly surprised. My dd loved it and wants to enroll right away.

Is that through the ps or just local homeschoolers coming together? Sounds great. And sports are great. Some people find their ps friends fall away, so you can't bank on that. 

 

1 hour ago, selah75 said:

I'd say she isn't very confident in who she is and she's in a class that is incredibly lopsided with alpha girls. The teachers have struggled with the girls in this class since first grade.

It will be interesting to see if the issue *follows* her to the homeschool group settings. Working on the interoception should help her self-awareness and hence self-advocacy. It's a really natural flow there, choice making based on improved self-awareness. (I feel anxious so I'm going to xyz. I feel anxious when I'm with these people so I'm going to...) Given how bright she is, it could be really powerful to unleash her ability to help herself. 

Oh wow, the price just went up on these. https://www.aapcpublishing.com/products/interoception-assessment-forms  I REALLY liked the information I got by running this on my ds. You can use it to establish a baseline and then rerun later to track progress. It's not a must, and then set was much less when I bought it. Maybe watch AAPC and see if they run a sale. They run pretty frequent sales. I'm just shocked because the price has gone up. On the other hand, it's a really nice set, with printed copies of all the pictures and 10 assessment forms, allowing you to run it multiple times. You could use it and then donate to your school. :smile:

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My first grader is a perfectionist and meltdowns at some mistakes not all.

Earlier this week she melted down because she didn't get 100 on Math. Math is easy for her, most of the time but she is just learning how to carry a number over. That is where she made her mistake. After she calmed down and  I showed her why it was wrong. She understood and fixed it.

I explain all the time none are perfect but she won't except it. I didn't either at that age. I still tell myself that today. I don't meltdown about it anymore but it bugs me. I know that there are no perfect humans but I still WANT to be. With age and experience my daughter will learn want and reality are different. 

 

Edited by Mommyof1

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I’m mentioning this *just in case* because so many kids remain undiagnosed..  have you heard of PANS/PANDAS? My daughter’s onset was the summer before 5th grade after getting coxsackie virus. Her anxiety rapidly became debilitating. She lost the ability to tie her shoes. She developed OCD (never had before) and obsessed over redoing her work to perfection (which was never achieved.) She also developed many other horrible symptoms after getting the flu later in the school year, which finally clued us in that we were dealing with something more.    PANS/PANDAS can present differently and also can mimic many things. In my daughter’s situation, she was diagnosed and treated successfully relatively quickly. I’m not saying that your daughter does have this, but I have to mention it when it might be a possibility because I would never have known to look into it myself if it weren’t for another mom online. 
 

https://kids.iocdf.org/professionals/md/pandas/

https://kids.iocdf.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2015/07/Pediatric-Fact-Sheet-FINAL-102413.pdf 
 

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On 1/7/2020 at 12:20 PM, Ellie said:

I wouldn't even think about doing anything formal with her for many months, because it will take time for her to recover herself. I'm thinking it will be *at least* the fall before she's ready. So you have plenty of time to think about things.

And I would also suggest that you withdraw her right now.

I'd do a nice unit study on self care. In other words, yoga or some other form of exercise (my son's neuropsychiatrist recommends yoga or martial arts but anything really), learning about foods that help us feel and think better, researching the link between nutrition and mood, cooking together, shopping together, spending time in nature, getting enough and good quality sleep, etc. 

That kind of thing would cover a multitude of "subjects" and be of huge benefit to her going forward. 

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I’m sorry you can’t pull her right away, but I guess it gives a bit of time to plan and prepare.

Check rules and regulations for your state. 

 

Also perhaps this could be a time for physical health checks.  Is something physical possibly behind the anxiety and meltdowns?  Maybe try some supplements and perhaps dietary interventions?   (Could she have celiac? Might B vitamins, omega fatty acids, D3, or other vitamins, magnesium, Inositol, N acetyl Cysteine, etc possibly help?)  Would some form of meditation help?   Such things could be tried without waiting till end of January. 

For homeschooling:

I would suggest going through the whole of Story of the World audio .   Just listen and maybe discuss.  Don’t require output response, no quizzes or anything to trigger perfectionism.  

Try Bravewriter and see if it seems like it might fit for writing, and maybe its LA “lifestyle”? things like Poetry teatime Thursdays (or whatever).  

Firehouse Press - Michael Clay Thomas Sentence Island can be nice for a cozy couch cuddle and read to her about grammar.

Take a look at Math U See for math.  I think it tends to be a calming lay out and approach to math.  Math is the only subject where I’d probably want some output initially, so she doesn’t lose math skills.   Or look at Beast Academy.  Or things from Critical Thinking Press like Understanding Math.  Or James Tanton math.  Lots of different possible approaches.  

Consider cooking and or gardening together as science

Consider reading together, maybe choosing deliberately easy for her books so she isn’t stressed, 

Consider a health unit with an anti anxiety focus, including meditation and maybe yoga or tai chi

art could be good for relaxing if she doesn’t have an art phobia, even a subject area Coloring Book could be soothing.  Or music, even just listening to classical or something else soothing 

PE of some sort, maybe including a class that would give her some time with other people.  Maybe something that doesn’t tend to be competitive (or at least not at her level) so as not to add stress.  

 

It doesn’t need to all be started at once, you can ease in.  And evaluate every few weeks and add on or make changes as needed.  You don’t want either of you to be overwhelmed.   

 

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On 1/9/2020 at 10:26 AM, ElizabethB said:

For spelling, I would work through my syllables spell success program for a good overview of the English spelling system and then follow on with whatever spelling curriculum you like.

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Reading/syllablesspellsu.html

Hugs. That sounds tough.

Thank you! This is great. She's a quick learner and I think this could be a good place to start.

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On 1/9/2020 at 11:23 AM, PeterPan said:

Danger points? Well she could also have MTHFR defects and feel WORSE if you rapidly drop her levels. You'd need genetics to see that, but you can also guess just by giving her things and see what happens. What happens if she drinks orange juice? Is the mood better or worse? Does she get headaches from it? What happens if she gets caffeine? Benadryl? Stimulant meds for ADHD? What happens if she takes a regular off the shelf B complex supplement? Is that better or worse? 

I'm going to PM you on some of this. THANK YOU for your reply. My grandmother and mother both have an MTHFR defect so it wouldn't be difficult to surmise that dd is dealing with the same. We tried to get my girls tested a couple years ago and it was just too pricey. Does the genetic route you're suggesting identify MTHFR? 

 

On 1/9/2020 at 11:44 AM, PeterPan said:

She sounds like she's compensating. Have you ever seen this? https://www.socialthinking.com/Articles?name=social-thinking-social-communication-profile  It's a free article and you might find it helpful. 

I'm familiar with social thinking but not that article. Thank you. I love their stuff.

On 1/9/2020 at 11:44 AM, PeterPan said:

Is that through the ps or just local homeschoolers coming together? Sounds great. And sports are great. Some people find their ps friends fall away, so you can't bank on that. 

It's a parent partnership program through our district. I was really impressed with the principal and my dd is excited about the possibility. It does move up our timetable - applications are due next week. So we might be pulling her earlier than we thought, and my spouse is on board. The program has a great reputation in our community. But, yes, it will be interesting to see if these issues follow her. This anxiety isn't going away but I do think that the situation she's in currently is exacerbating it significantly. The whole reason we started down this path was because she was much calmer during break. Not an angel, but considerably more at ease, less tense, and less explosive.

Thanks again. I haven't really considered biomed stuff with this dd. We did lots of biomed testing, diets, supplements, etc. with my oldest when she was younger and found a lot of success. It just hasn't been on my radar as much with my fourth grader. And genetics would be interesting because my youngest (first grade) does show signs of anxiety, too. Really appreciate your time and help.

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20 hours ago, Mommyof1 said:

My first grader is a perfectionist and meltdowns at some mistakes not all.

Earlier this week she melted down because she didn't get 100 on Math. Math is easy for her, most of the time but she is just learning how to carry a number over. That is where she made her mistake. After she calmed down and  I showed her why it was wrong. She understood and fixed it.

I explain all the time none are perfect but she won't except it. I didn't either at that age. I still tell myself that today. I don't meltdown about it anymore but it bugs me. I know that there are no perfect humans but I still WANT to be. With age and experience my daughter will learn want and reality are different. 

 

Yes, if I'm being perfectly honest my dd does come by some of her anxiety by me. We manifest our anxiety differently but I do relate. Thanks for your feedback. : )

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12 hours ago, kristin0713 said:

I’m mentioning this *just in case* because so many kids remain undiagnosed..  have you heard of PANS/PANDAS? My daughter’s onset was the summer before 5th grade after getting coxsackie virus. Her anxiety rapidly became debilitating. She lost the ability to tie her shoes. She developed OCD (never had before) and obsessed over redoing her work to perfection (which was never achieved.) She also developed many other horrible symptoms after getting the flu later in the school year, which finally clued us in that we were dealing with something more.    PANS/PANDAS can present differently and also can mimic many things. In my daughter’s situation, she was diagnosed and treated successfully relatively quickly. I’m not saying that your daughter does have this, but I have to mention it when it might be a possibility because I would never have known to look into it myself if it weren’t for another mom online. 
 

https://kids.iocdf.org/professionals/md/pandas/

https://kids.iocdf.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2015/07/Pediatric-Fact-Sheet-FINAL-102413.pdf
 

I have heard of PANS/PANDAS but it's been a while. That sounds like such a hard journey for your family. I will look into the links you gave - if I'm remembering correctly, strep can bring it on, right? She's struggled with strep repeatedly. Thanks for taking the time to respond and bringing this to my attention. Like I mentioned to Peter Pan, biomed hasn't been on my radar at all. Thank you.

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3 minutes ago, selah75 said:

I'm going to PM you on some of this. THANK YOU for your reply. My grandmother and mother both have an MTHFR defect so it wouldn't be difficult to surmise that dd is dealing with the same. We tried to get my girls tested a couple years ago and it was just too pricey. Does the genetic route you're suggesting identify MTHFR? 

Oh my! Well now you have a good lead! Yes, just the cheapest 23andme testing can give you the data you need.

So just for your trivia, the gene implicated in the aggression is COMT. It's part of the methylation cycle. There are others honestly I don't even understand (MTRR, etc. etc.). But COMT is *ugly*. So my ds has only the COMT defect, my dd has the MTHFR, and I have, drum roll, both! 

So you can't quite assume what's going on, because with your dd's presentation with aggression it's possible she's more complex. However, if she does have the COMT defect on top of the MTHFR, at least you can make the guess that right now where she is her methyls are running high, hence the aggression. But it will take some work to balance out. Just for a whirl (taken on your own responsibility, not mine), you can try niacin. Or read about niacin. It's just basically gonna dishmop methyls, slurp 'em up. Rude and crude, pulls 'em down. If you pull them down TOO much and she has an MTHFR defect, she won't feel well. So it can be a balance. 

Vitamin D is also going to dishrag them up, and it hangs in the system longer. And the 5HTP come time release, giving you the most stability. 

So I was taking these things before, but once we got my results and realized I had the MTHFR *as well* as the COMT, then things finally made sense. 

Complex kids, complex presentation, kwim? Not simple answers. Definitely not solved with talk therapy, lol. I'm 43, and once I started these supplements to address what was really going on I was finally able to BE the person I had always wanted to be. I'm now super zen, super chilled. Wasn't always that way, and talking and reciting Bible verses and even body scans weren't going to get me there. It was chemical and needed a chemical solution. 

 

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12 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

I'd do a nice unit study on self care. In other words, yoga or some other form of exercise (my son's neuropsychiatrist recommends yoga or martial arts but anything really), learning about foods that help us feel and think better, researching the link between nutrition and mood, cooking together, shopping together, spending time in nature, getting enough and good quality sleep, etc. 

That kind of thing would cover a multitude of "subjects" and be of huge benefit to her going forward. 

I LOVE this idea. I know she will be resistant - she will interpret this as something being "wrong" with her.  We are having breakfast together today to talk through all of this and I'm going to include this in my ideas for the months ahead. I've already been checking out some books about mindfulness for kids.  And she's very interested in cooking but often reluctant because she can't do it "right." That's been in my mind to do a lot of together but I love linking it with shopping and nutrition. Thanks so much for the suggestion and taking the time to respond. : )

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3 minutes ago, selah75 said:

I have heard of PANS/PANDAS but it's been a while. That sounds like such a hard journey for your family. I will look into the links you gave - if I'm remembering correctly, strep can bring it on, right? She's struggled with strep repeatedly. Thanks for taking the time to respond and bringing this to my attention. Like I mentioned to Peter Pan, biomed hasn't been on my radar at all. Thank you.

Good, put biomed on the radar!! :biggrin: I don't know anything about PANDAS, but I do know antibiotics, etc. screw with you, screw with your gut. I started with a nutritionist years ago who had me food combine. Taking care of your gut in some fashion can help. I've done different things over the years. People will talk about probiotics, don't probiotics, inulin instead. I started taking D-Mannose, and it seems to give us a little cushion there for the gap between intention and real life. 

Well good, I'm glad you're going down this trail. It will probably be part of the answer. No one thing is everything, but pieces definitely.

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1 minute ago, selah75 said:

I LOVE this idea. I know she will be resistant - she will interpret this as something being "wrong" with her.  We are having breakfast together today to talk through all of this and I'm going to include this in my ideas for the months ahead. I've already been checking out some books about mindfulness for kids.  And she's very interested in cooking but often reluctant because she can't do it "right." That's been in my mind to do a lot of together but I love linking it with shopping and nutrition. Thanks so much for the suggestion and taking the time to respond. : )

https://www.linguisystems.com/Products/20855/cooking-to-learn-combo-all-3-books.aspx  Cooking to Learn. Great stuff. Has all the steps clearly written out and weaves in LA skills. 

You might see if Kelly Mahler is doing any workshops you could attend. Or try her online course. There's a mindset, a way they talk with people, that you might catch. It might help with the "something is wrong with me" issue. You can also do it together, both of you. 

Yeah, just thinking about this more, it would be interesting to track whether her increase in symptoms correlates to the viruses or antibiotics or whatever. Sometimes you need to deal with the body a bit so that can calm down so she can be READY to do the mental/talk based work. We had to get my ds' body in a good place so he was READY for the good instruction we wanted to give him. There was stuff we had done (Zones of Regulation for instance) that he wouldn't apply, couldn't use. We got his body under control (supplements, interoception work) and then he started doing it himself. 

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12 hours ago, Pen said:

I’m sorry you can’t pull her right away, but I guess it gives a bit of time to plan and prepare.

We are probably pulling her out next week so she can enroll in our district's parent partnership program. She is excited and my husband is on board. It's a really great program.

 

12 hours ago, Pen said:

Also perhaps this could be a time for physical health checks.  Is something physical possibly behind the anxiety and meltdowns?  Maybe try some supplements and perhaps dietary interventions?   (Could she have celiac? Might B vitamins, omega fatty acids, D3, or other vitamins, magnesium, Inositol, N acetyl Cysteine, etc possibly help?)

I will look into some of this - thank you. We have a great naturopath that my husband goes to that I'm sure could help.

12 hours ago, Pen said:

I would suggest going through the whole of Story of the World audio .   Just listen and maybe discuss.  Don’t require output response, no quizzes or anything to trigger perfectionism.  

Try Bravewriter and see if it seems like it might fit for writing, and maybe its LA “lifestyle”? things like Poetry teatime Thursdays (or whatever).  

I just picked up Story of the World audio from the library! She's interested in learning history and this seemed like a great way to ease into things. And we used to do poetry teatime back when I homeschooled my oldest (six years ago) and they still talk about it. Those are great memories. 

12 hours ago, Pen said:

Firehouse Press - Michael Clay Thomas Sentence Island can be nice for a cozy couch cuddle and read to her about grammar.

Take a look at Math U See for math.  I think it tends to be a calming lay out and approach to math.  Math is the only subject where I’d probably want some output initially, so she doesn’t lose math skills.   Or look at Beast Academy.  Or things from Critical Thinking Press like Understanding Math.  Or James Tanton math.  Lots of different possible approaches.  

Consider cooking and or gardening together as science

Consider reading together, maybe choosing deliberately easy for her books so she isn’t stressed, 

Consider a health unit with an anti anxiety focus, including meditation and maybe yoga or tai chi

art could be good for relaxing if she doesn’t have an art phobia, even a subject area Coloring Book could be soothing.  Or music, even just listening to classical or something else soothing 

PE of some sort, maybe including a class that would give her some time with other people.  Maybe something that doesn’t tend to be competitive (or at least not at her level) so as not to add stress.  

 

It doesn’t need to all be started at once, you can ease in.  And evaluate every few weeks and add on or make changes as needed.  You don’t want either of you to be overwhelmed.   

Thanks for these suggestions. I really do want to keep her up with math. She picks up concepts quickly (the slow pace in the classroom has been killing her love for the subject) so I'm looking forward to allowing her to have the freedom to move at a faster pace. I am not great at math, however, but I think I can keep up at this stage. But once we get to anything algebraic I'm out, coach.

Thanks for the reminder to ease in. I homeschooled my oldest dd for K and 1 and I remember stressing about doing enough and curriculum choices, etc. I was overwhelmed all the time and it's a good reminder not to go back there. But it does feel different this time around. I think I trust my kids more and their abilities to learn. At the risk of sounding cliche, I do think the world can be our classroom (okay, maybe not for grammar) and I didn't understand that with my oldest. I'm grateful to feel more relaxed about the learning part. The anxiety part? I could use some less anxiety, lol.

Thanks so much for your great suggestions. I really appreciate it.

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2 hours ago, selah75 said:

I have heard of PANS/PANDAS but it's been a while. That sounds like such a hard journey for your family. I will look into the links you gave - if I'm remembering correctly, strep can bring it on, right? She's struggled with strep repeatedly. Thanks for taking the time to respond and bringing this to my attention. Like I mentioned to Peter Pan, biomed hasn't been on my radar at all. Thank you.

YES YES YES!  Strep is the trigger for PANDAS.  Many doctors are unaware of PANDAS.  I strongly recommend that you look into it, if nothing else, to rule it out.  Our doctor initially referred us to a psych.  My gut told me it was something else because the changes we were seeing were out of character and/or extreme and not age appropriate.  Please let me know if you need any other information.  

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5 hours ago, selah75 said:

We are probably pulling her out next week so she can enroll in our district's parent partnership program. She is excited and my husband is on board. It's a really great program.

 

I will look into some of this - thank you. We have a great naturopath that my husband goes to that I'm sure could help.

I just picked up Story of the World audio from the library! She's interested in learning history and this seemed like a great way to ease into things. And we used to do poetry teatime back when I homeschooled my oldest (six years ago) and they still talk about it. Those are great memories. 

Thanks for these suggestions. I really do want to keep her up with math. She picks up concepts quickly (the slow pace in the classroom has been killing her love for the subject) so I'm looking forward to allowing her to have the freedom to move at a faster pace. I am not great at math, however, but I think I can keep up at this stage. But once we get to anything algebraic I'm out, coach.

Thanks for the reminder to ease in. I homeschooled my oldest dd for K and 1 and I remember stressing about doing enough and curriculum choices, etc. I was overwhelmed all the time and it's a good reminder not to go back there. But it does feel different this time around. I think I trust my kids more and their abilities to learn. At the risk of sounding cliche, I do think the world can be our classroom (okay, maybe not for grammar) and I didn't understand that with my oldest. I'm grateful to feel more relaxed about the learning part. The anxiety part? I could use some less anxiety, lol.

Thanks so much for your great suggestions. I really appreciate it.

 

If she had strep *definitely*  include PANDAS type problems in things that get looked into.

 

On math you might try to find website samples and Look Inside type views of various options and let her help choose what appeals to her.

MUS has videos and manipulatives  and is set up so that a number of practice pages are available for each skill.  She can move on as soon as she has mastered skill, no need to keep doing pages once skill is mastered, but if more are needed they are there (or often even more pages nowadays are probably downloadable if what was in book was still not enough).  The start of each book tends to be easy, the ends much harder so it lends itself well to doing a set number of minutes daily, which may sometimes result in a lot of forward progress, and at other points less.  It works well both for kids who struggle and kids who want to accelerate. 

Beast has cartoons, and is considered  more “mathy” with puzzles and so on if she’d enjoy that.  It probably can easily lead into the much more “maths” oriented AOPS program for middle to high school.    It was published too late for my son, but he used some as a fun supplement at one point.  

Critical Thinking Press has things like Balance Math, which are workbooks of what is basically easy pictorial algebra. My son loved them.  You might even find your own feelings about algebra would change if you gave them a try starting at the lowest level book.  😊  

 

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3 hours ago, kristin0713 said:

YES YES YES!  Strep is the trigger for PANDAS.  Many doctors are unaware of PANDAS.  I strongly recommend that you look into it, if nothing else, to rule it out.  Our doctor initially referred us to a psych.  My gut told me it was something else because the changes we were seeing were out of character and/or extreme and not age appropriate.  Please let me know if you need any other information.  

Yes!

One trick is to try ibuprofen for a few days and see if it changes things. If it does it points to brain inflammation as part of the reason for the anxiety. Kids with PANDAs often (but not always) respond really well which can be a key indicator. 

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Regarding cooking - maybe she could watch some of the kids baking championship on Hulu and see how many mistakes the kids there have? And they are the best in the country!

Or start easy - with a mix and some cupcakes. Get some store bought vanilla frosting or make some yourself and let her have a few bowls of it to flavor differently, just play and taste test together. 

Also, make sure to constantly be pointing out your OWN mistakes and laughing them off or saying out loud how frustrating it is but at least now you know what NOT to do, etc. And maybe study some famous inventors/scientists who made lots of mistakes, had failures, etc. I mean, hello - look at Elon Musk who has a zillion dollar (approximately) rocket blow up and he just said, "rockets are tricky", lol. 

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I have pulled more than one of my kids out mid-year. I highly recommend (if you have not done so already) writing 2 notes. One to the school that is "official" and says when you will be pulling her out and give your reasons if you want to. The other to the teacher (if this is applicable) thanking him/her for being child's teacher and to let them know personally when child's last day will be. Even if the teacher was not the greatest. Take the high road and burn no bridges, to mix metaphors.

Another thing that might be helpful is to read some of the books that your daughter likes to read and discuss them with her. This will help you get a good grip on her reading abilities and her comprehension in a way that is relational and non-stressful. Read Aloud Revival is a great place to start with this stuff. I also recommend lots of read-aloud time. 

Perhaps have her take the ADAM math test (google it) to figure out what she knows in math and what she doesnt. I found that when I pulled my kids out, I had very little understanding of what they knew and what they didnt. This was a quick way to get an idea of where we were at. 

 

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10 hours ago, PeterPan said:

https://www.linguisystems.com/Products/20855/cooking-to-learn-combo-all-3-books.aspx  Cooking to Learn. Great stuff. Has all the steps clearly written out and weaves in LA skills. 

You know, I actually think there is a course at the co-op that uses this curriculum. Sounds awesome. 

10 hours ago, PeterPan said:

You might see if Kelly Mahler is doing any workshops you could attend. Or try her online course. There's a mindset, a way they talk with people, that you might catch. It might help with the "something is wrong with me" issue. You can also do it together, both of you. 

Thanks for the resource and I will check it out. I do think I need help in finding the right language to help her and not exacerbate her perfectionism. I appreciate the encouragement! I do feel more hopeful than I have in months.

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8 hours ago, kristin0713 said:

YES YES YES!  Strep is the trigger for PANDAS.  Many doctors are unaware of PANDAS.  I strongly recommend that you look into it, if nothing else, to rule it out.  Our doctor initially referred us to a psych.  My gut told me it was something else because the changes we were seeing were out of character and/or extreme and not age appropriate.  Please let me know if you need any other information.  

I will check with our doctor. I'm guessing the way to rule it out is to see if she has strep? So ask for a strep culture? I do remember at an appointment last year when she tested positive for strep the doctor was completely caught off guard. He thought for sure she didn't have it but ran a culture just in case. Makes me wonder. Thanks so much for taking the time to bring this to my attention. Not even on my radar.

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5 hours ago, Pen said:

MUS has videos and manipulatives  and is set up so that a number of practice pages are available for each skill.  She can move on as soon as she has mastered skill, no need to keep doing pages once skill is mastered, but if more are needed they are there (or often even more pages nowadays are probably downloadable if what was in book was still not enough).  The start of each book tends to be easy, the ends much harder so it lends itself well to doing a set number of minutes daily, which may sometimes result in a lot of forward progress, and at other points less.  It works well both for kids who struggle and kids who want to accelerate. 

Beast has cartoons, and is considered  more “mathy” with puzzles and so on if she’d enjoy that.  It probably can easily lead into the much more “maths” oriented AOPS program for middle to high school.    It was published too late for my son, but he used some as a fun supplement at one point.  

Critical Thinking Press has things like Balance Math, which are workbooks of what is basically easy pictorial algebra. My son loved them.  You might even find your own feelings about algebra would change if you gave them a try starting at the lowest level book.

Thank you. You know, we actually have some of the logic puzzle workbooks from CTP lying around when the girls were into logic puzzles for a while. I will pull them back out. Those Balance math challenges are fun and a definite challenge!

Both MUS and Beast academy sound good. I like the idea of the cartoons because it would be so different than her current math experience (black and white worksheets only, no manipulatives). I will check them out. Thanks so much for the details!

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4 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

One trick is to try ibuprofen for a few days and see if it changes things. If it does it points to brain inflammation as part of the reason for the anxiety. Kids with PANDAs often (but not always) respond really well which can be a key indicator.

That is so interesting. I will give it a try and see how she responds. Thank you!

4 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

Regarding cooking - maybe she could watch some of the kids baking championship on Hulu and see how many mistakes the kids there have? And they are the best in the country!

Or start easy - with a mix and some cupcakes. Get some store bought vanilla frosting or make some yourself and let her have a few bowls of it to flavor differently, just play and taste test together. 

Also, make sure to constantly be pointing out your OWN mistakes and laughing them off or saying out loud how frustrating it is but at least now you know what NOT to do, etc. And maybe study some famous inventors/scientists who made lots of mistakes, had failures, etc. I mean, hello - look at Elon Musk who has a zillion dollar (approximately) rocket blow up and he just said, "rockets are tricky", lol. 

Yeah, I do think starting easy is great advice. We love the Great British Baking Show but no one is making a medieval pigeon pie around here anytime soon, lol. And I do think I need to continually work on my language that empowers her to make mistakes in the kitchen. I'm not controlling in hardly any areas of my life but I can be a controlling beast in the kitchen. I am skilled at pointing out my own mistakes - I just get controlling about the mess. I probably need to do some headspace meditations before we tackle our baking projects. ; ) 

Thanks for the great advice.

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1 hour ago, annegables said:

I have pulled more than one of my kids out mid-year. I highly recommend (if you have not done so already) writing 2 notes. One to the school that is "official" and says when you will be pulling her out and give your reasons if you want to. The other to the teacher (if this is applicable) thanking him/her for being child's teacher and to let them know personally when child's last day will be. Even if the teacher was not the greatest. Take the high road and burn no bridges, to mix metaphors.

Great advice. I talked with her teacher on Friday after class to let her know this is in the works. I plan on writing a card and giving her a gift. She is a wonderful teacher and worked wonders with my older daughter. I think she was surprised at our decision but very supportive.

1 hour ago, annegables said:

Another thing that might be helpful is to read some of the books that your daughter likes to read and discuss them with her. This will help you get a good grip on her reading abilities and her comprehension in a way that is relational and non-stressful. Read Aloud Revival is a great place to start with this stuff. I also recommend lots of read-aloud time. 

Perhaps have her take the ADAM math test (google it) to figure out what she knows in math and what she doesnt. I found that when I pulled my kids out, I had very little understanding of what they knew and what they didnt. This was a quick way to get an idea of where we were at. 

This is great. Thanks for the advice. I was thinking of starting with Understood Betsy with her, just because I think has similar struggles of believing she can do things herself. I'll check out the ADAM test, as well, because otherwise I have no idea of seeing where to place her. Appreciate the insight!

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22 minutes ago, selah75 said:

I will check with our doctor. I'm guessing the way to rule it out is to see if she has strep? So ask for a strep culture? I do remember at an appointment last year when she tested positive for strep the doctor was completely caught off guard. He thought for sure she didn't have it but ran a culture just in case. Makes me wonder. Thanks so much for taking the time to bring this to my attention. Not even on my radar.

 

So if this is PANDAS, there are a couple of things that could be going on.  One is that the strep has not cleared out and the ongoing infection is causing the immune response of brain inflammation.  The other is that the strep infection did clear, but there is still brain inflammation.  In my daughter's case, she had viral triggers and the viruses had run their course but her brain was still highly inflamed causing all sorts of symptoms.  A culture might show if there is still active strep but it might not and only be visible in a blood test.  There is a specific test that they do to check titers and then check them again...I'm not totally sure about that because, again, in our situation it was viral.  If she has been battling strep and on and off antibiotics, the antibiotics could be controlling it somewhat but then it flares up again when she's off them.  If you are noticing an up/down or better/worse pattern and if this is due to PANDAS I would bet that is what is happening.  Antibiotics have a strong anti-inflammatory effect; my daughter was successfully treated with only ibuprofen and antibiotics even though she did not have an infection.  I want to mention again that not all doctors are PANS/PANDAS aware.  If your doctor blows you off, I very highly recommend that you find an immunologist or neurologist who is a PANDAS specialist.  Children that do not get treated can end up with brain damage from the inflammation.  I am not saying that to be alarmist.  The downward spiral is devastating.  It sounds as if your daughter is still very functional and so if you are dealing with PANDAS, you are early enough in the game to get her successfully treated.  My DD's immunologist told me that she gets many kids in that have been undiagnosed for years and when that happens, recovery is much, much harder.  Please let me know if you need help finding a PANDAS specialist in your area.  

 

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If you are going to try ibuprofen (which I also recommend as long as she doesn't have a medical reason to not take it--it was the first thing our immunologist said to do, before the antibiotics, to see if there was a difference) give it 2-3 times a day, her regular dose for her weight, and try to keep track of everything--improvements or not in behavior, compliance, anxiety, perfectionism (which could be OCD), etc.  

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1 hour ago, selah75 said:

work on my language that empowers her to make mistakes in the kitchen.

The SocialThinking.com website will have books on anxiety. Also rabbit trail those to find more on amazon. AAPC Publishing also has great stuff. When you get in these veins (Social Thinking, AAPC), you're looking at stuff professionals use to get that terminology. Might be what you're looking for. And yes, sometimes it's literally about how you phrase it that changes the whole way it's received.

Yup, I just did a search, see if this works. https://www.socialthinking.com/Search Results#q=anxiety

Also https://www.aapcpublishing.com/products/totally-chill-my-complete-guide-to-staying-cool?_pos=14&_sid=af263bfe3&_ss=r  

But that list at Social Thinking is terrific. Minnihan's stuff on anxiety is amazing. I went to a workshop with her and it BLEW MY MIND. 

1 hour ago, kristin0713 said:

a strong anti-inflammatory effect

Total aside, but I've been using turmeric for inflammation for a while now. Cut my asthma down to almost nothing, a total miracle. Anyways, a quick google turned up that in fact that can be a thing.

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