Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Here We Go Again

There are moments, as a parent, that simply confound you. There are situations that arise that you simply have no freaking clue how to handle. There are days when you just shake your head because you have no idea how to respond any other way. Today is such a day.

We talked with Lucas' second grade teacher earlier this year about Lucas having trouble focusing in school. The situation seemed to have improved. That is, until Friday. We received a note home from his teacher on Friday indicating that Lucas was having trouble focusing in class again. Along with the note were six worksheets Lucas was supposed to have completed in class. A few were halfway done and several were completely blank. We talked to Lucas about it. Of course, he could give us no indication as to why he was having trouble focusing. The work certainly looked like work he could complete. Then yesterday, Lucas brought home a ziploc bag full of worksheets, mostly half-finished. Work, I assume, that he neglected to complete in school. Suddenly, his homework--homework I dread doing anyway--has increased fourfold.

We tried discussing it with Lucas again this morning as he was laying on the couch eating his daily Pop Tart prior to going to school. We got absolutely nothing from him. His only response..."I'm sorry." I don't care if he is sorry. That is not the response I want. I want to know why he is not focusing in school and what we can do to remedy the situation.

Lucas struggles with reading. He has no problem whatsoever with math. He can whiz through a math worksheet in no time flat. But reading? That is a painful, painstaking, slow, tedious process with him. I still believe in my heart of hearts that Lucas is dyslexic. His teacher has certainly not ruled that out, but there is a procedure at his school. Certain paperwork that must be filed. Certain lesson plans that must be completed. Certain interventions that must take place before a child can be tested for a learning disability. In the meantime, Lucas is struggling.

I am not 100% certain that his reading struggles are the root cause of his inability to focus. He has trouble focusing at home as well. He's not hyperactive. He has no attention deficit. He just has extremely selective powers of focus. We refer to it by the highly technical term "airhead-ism." Some of the worksheets he brought home uncompleted were math sheets. Work that he most certainly could do with little difficulty. Why then, is he not doing them? Is he just being lazy, after all?

What is a parent to do? Do we give him punitive consequences? We told him this morning that he is no longer going to be allowed to play the Wii after school on days when he brings home unfinished work. But if he is struggling rather than simply being lazy, what will taking away his video games accomplish? We've already enrolled him in an afterschool tutoring program at his school. It is three hours after school on Mondays and Wednesdays. He couldn't possible need more than six hours of tutoring a week. Could he?

I emailed his teacher this morning to see if she has any suggestions. At this point, I am at a loss. I hate the thought of him falling behind his classmates. His writing is barely legible and his reading is painful to listen to. How in the world is he going to move on to third grade if he can't read and write? And I have no earthly clue how to help him.

Seeing your child struggle and not knowing how to help is quite possibly the worst feeling imaginable.


Jessica said...

I wish you the best of luck with this problem. I can only imagine. I think as a parent you always wonder what is going on at school and worry about what might (or might not) be happening there. But then to find out and not have a solution, has to be beyond frustrating for you guys.

Trying to get Audrey to read is also like pulling teeth. She has known all her letters and their sounds for years now, but refuses to put the pieces of the puzzle together. I don't understand it b/c she loves books and stories. Apparently I'm supposed to read to her for the rest of her life. :(

Kelly Shirley said...

He could have attention deficit without the hyperactivity - ADD not ADHD. Or it could be all about the reading. It doesn't sound like he is lazy though!

If your school is dragging its feet about testing him, call your pediatrician's office and ask to talk to the social worker or someone else there who knows about educational testing. In most states, once you make a formal written request for testing, your school has a limited amount of time to accomplish the testing. Your pediatrician should have a form letter that you can simply sign and send to the school. Make a copy! If they don't comply, an educational lawyer or your pediatrician may be able to light a fire by simply writing a letter.

I would really push your school to speed things up, and don't be afraid to be pushy. The earlier Lucas has his educational testing, the faster an IEP (Indevidualized Education Plan) can be in place, and the faster Lucas can get the services he needs to SUCCEED in school and feel good about it.

You might also contact your insurance company and see if they will pay for educational testing outside of the school. Again, your pediatrician's office should be able to help you with this process. Another good resource is other moms who have done it.

I hope this is helpful!

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