Friday, January 11, 2008

Little Help?

Please forgive the serious air of today's post. I promise to get silly again soon. I could use some advise, should any of you have any ideas, on how to deal with our daughter. Shortly after she started first grade she was diagnosed with ADD. She takes medication, which helps, but last year in third grade a new problem arose that we just can't seem to get past. She won't write. It's not that she can't. She won't. She is not intellectually stunted, and now reads well beyond her grade level, but when it comes time to put anything on paper she will sit and stare at the paper for hours and do nothing. Or, when she does put anything down she will write over the same words until they are illegible. Last night she was supposed to read a chapter from a book and write a one page summary. After three hours, and me shouting myself hoarse, she had written only two sentences. She is seeing a psychiatrist, who doesn't seem to be doing much, but I don't know what to do. In fourth grade she has to take the FCAT(the FL version of the No Child Left Behind foolishness) and we have told her that writing is a major part of it, and that she will not pass if she won't write, but I might as well be explaining it to the cats. We are about at our wits' end. Have any of you heard of anything like this? Or maybe heard of a solution? Anything?



Anonymous said...

First breathe.
Now, I feel the frustration in your words, but i can tell you,
shouting equals shut down.
Call Keith. It seems to me, if I remember correctly, that he can be of both intellectual and personal help.
The goal is to find out what is really wrong,not getting to the next grade.
She will get there, and you will be there, but there are worse things than being held back a year.

Call Keith. Don't wait.

Monkey said...

With my teacher hat on here are the things you might try:

have her dictate her ideas to you. She can tell you her sentence and you can write it down.

try typing rather than writng- some kids find holding a pencil/pen physically uncomfortable

try "I write a sentence- you write a sentence."

With more specifics, I could come up with more ideas. The bottom line is- and I am sorry to say this- you have to chill out. The yelling and punishments etc for this behavior will just compound the problem. The first step should be to find out why this is happening. Once you understand why, then you can create a solution to the problem.

I am sorry this is happenng. I know that school problems can dominate family life. Just let CotA know she is loved, that the two of you have her back, and that you are all going to work to find a way to overcome this. I am nearly certain she wishes this problem would go away- I cannot imagine how stressful her school day is if she is not able to write in class.

Alysoun said...

Our youngest (now in the 5th Grade) also has ADHD and is on meds and ALSO had huge writing problems. "Won't" rather than "can't," as you are experiencing.
Have her teachers been on her back about the neatness of her writing? ADHD/ADD kids can be quite stubborn and in the face of being told they have to do better on a task, will sometimes do WORSE, just as a defense against not feeling comfortable with the skill.
What also worked for us was asking our son to write us a stroy about what he thought was fun and interesting - a trip with his grandparents, his new cat, etc.

good luck!
And, I can tell you from experience, it DOES get better.
Also, does your daughter have an IEP in place w/accomodations for the FCAT? If she doesn't it, I would advise you to schedule an IEP meeting with her school ASAP.

No defeat, no surrender, as the Boss said.

Turtle said...

Kathy is right. You need to talk to Keith. He can probably help, or at least give some good pointers.

While I do not have kids, it sounds to me like a control issue. This is the one thing in her life that she has control over. She has complete custody over it. She owns it. She will do it, or, more to the point, not do it, as she sees fit. Yelling will not help. That is only going to make her build up a wall of resistance that you will never conquer. The trick is to get her writing. To get her to want to write.

I don't know how you should go about doing this. Show her how much fun writing can be. Consequences mean nothing to her at this point, because she hasn't suffered any. She needs to want to do it, and want it on her own.

Again, I don't know.... Maybe Keith will have better suggestions. I'm just a lowly bartender.... What do I know?

celebhith said...

You've gotten some great advice there and my advice would be to try everything that was suggested. Especially the not yelling - turtle is right; she's got to want ot write on her own and yelling and threatening will just exacerbate the problem.

I think the important thing is to support the person she IS, not the person you'd like her to be. Encourage, don't threaten. Hug, don't yell. This has to be difficult for her too.

And if YOU need a hug, you know where to find me!

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, the problem. I have run into this with my 8 year old daughter. Hours spent, and nothing written, sighs, weeping and gnashing of the teeth. Most parents I have talked to have this problem in either 3, 4, or 5th grade.

Typing seems to have helped. Spouse spending more time helps. Encouraging her helps. Setting time limits helps. Encouraging free play to stimulate the mind helps too. (She had to write a story, and we had her act it out with her toys first). Helpful hints works sometimes, just to get the first sentences down.

There are other things you can do for your ADD child. Get organic if you can, stay away from fast food. Oriana's son is severe, and she has been able to keep his medication to a minimum with the use of organic vegetables, raw milk, grain fed beef, as well as other behavior modification. He still can be a HANDFUL, but has gotten better.

I'm still concerned about her FCAT this year since math seems to be her strong point right now (that was a huge issue last year). So, I'll keep plugging away - and it means sometimes no TV or other noise in the house all night, just to keep the distractions down.

Confernce with the teacher - we did back in Sept when she first started this behavior. It is mostly gone now!

Good luck! I'll pass more onto you as I find it again.

- KA

mom2 said...

Hey Rick,

Don't take her behavior personally. And, her ADD has nothing to do with her writing. Some children, as most female adults, see themselves as less than perfect. While striving for perfection, she writes over and over again trying to achieve the unachievable. Yelling just cements that she she is "not worthy" and what door was open a crack is slammed shut. Hence:

mom2 said...

Continued: 1. Ask for a meeting to discuss eligibility for a 504 based on her ADD diagnosis. I doubt if she has a learning disability, so an ESE label is probably out. 2. Ask for a writer for her FCAT Writes. She is not in need of Occupational Therapy so a keyboard will probably not be allowed. 3. Practice dictation: She dictates, you write exactly what she says, including punctuation. Hope this helps.