Don’t Let Your Children Waste Their Years

So I am standing in the shower a few minutes ago getting more and more upset over a conversation I had with someone yesterday. I was at my younger granddaughter’s gymnastics class where parents and grandparents are invited to watch their children from a second floor balcony. Standing next to me were two women whose children were also part of this Advanced Beginners class. Both of these women were teachers in a small, private Christian school, both had husbands deployed in the service, both had several children that were dependent on their mothers for pretty much everything. One of the women, and we never exchanged names so I guess I will call her Kathy, pointed her child out to me and said, “Well, at least she is good at something.”

It seems that her child has the A part of ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and has recently been put on a variety of medications, none of which have helped. The child is going to be 11 years old. ADHD is not something a child gets, it is something that children, and adults are born with. The sooner a diagnoses happens the better so that parents, working with a trained person can put techniques like behavior modification and then/also/maybe medication. The longer a child goes without being identified and helped the more the child begins to believe that he or she is stupid because they are not progressing like the kids around them. The kids around them, because they are kids, are sure to point this lack of progress out, and in so many ways.

This child has difficulty retaining information, she has difficulty with memorizing spelling words, hates to read because she does not remember what she read on the first or fourth page. No surprise, she is the A and cannot focus so why would she remember. Her mom said her daughter refuses to read aloud to her and won’t answer questions about the reading. I didn’t say what I wanted to say which was, “Well would you?”

“What about videos?” I asked if the girl could tell the story of a new video, beginning middle, end. I asked if she was ever given a book on tape/cd/iPad/ phone and if she could relate the story after hearing it. Well it seems that this “Not-good-at-anything-else child can do all of the above, oh and she is great with song lyrics too!

Then Kathy tells me that next year’s teacher, going into the 4th grade teacher, has already told Kathy that she is too busy to give her daughter individual attention, that the girl needed to grow up, to be more independent. And, that is when I could no longer shut my mouth.

Move the kid out of the school if there is no choice in teachers, get the educational tests done, find out how she learns because prescribing meds means knowing what the issues are, get books electronically and listen and enjoy with the girl and don’t ask question! Just enjoy the story together — start in the car so they are locked in and maybe start with Charlotte’s Web.

I kept thinking “Who are we to tell a child how they MUST learn. If we have children who learn by hearing, or seeing or doing before we label them unable to learn DO SOMETHING TO SEE IF THAT IS SO! “

Here was a women with two children spending three hours at a gym so that both of them could take gymnastics, which by the way is not cheap,and she is doing it by herself. She works full time teaching pre-K in the same school her children are in, in the same school that houses a 4th grade teacher that says, a year ahead of time, that her daughter needs to be more independent (at 10 years old) while dealing with educational difficulties.

It took me until I was thirty nine years old to graduate from college because no one knew I had a learning disability. All it took was a used typewriter for me to find a way to show that there was a reason I skipped a grade — I was smart. Thirty nine years of thinking I was stupid and that is too many years of wonder to waste. Don’t let your children waste their years.