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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Learning Issues

Kiddo has struggled off and on in school ever since she got here.

Her trauma brain has her ADHD, PTSD and Anxiety all interfering with being as successful as she can be.  I know she has the ability to learn and is smart, but she shuts down at times that affect her grades.

This year has been worse and I just realized core classes were in afternoon this year and electives in the morning. The last couple years, the electives were in the afternoon. It's possible the ADHD meds are starting to wear off at that point?

We can be doing something totally unrelated to school and her come out with the origin and what she learned in school relating to it, so I know she has the capacity for learning, but needs help with coping and not letting anxiety rule.

We have our 2nd meeting with the school tomorrow and another lined up for Wednesday.

We also need to make an appointment with a doctor.  From all I've read it seems dysplaxia could be a probable cause in addition to the trauma.

Known school triggers

  • ·         Homework  (from being demeaned in her past)
  • ·         Loud/Stern teachers (perceives as anger, which causes her to shut down)
  • ·         Being singled out frequently (even if it’s not bad, doesn’t like classroom attention on her, will self-sabatoge after frequent positive highlights) Life as a foster child meant don't draw attention to yourself. It doesn't result in good things.  Sexual abuse means "rewards" for being "good" and triggering that part of her.

 Kiddo brought home a math paper and asked me why her answer was wrong. Upon reviewing it, it definitely wasn't wrong. It turned out she had written the question down wrong, transposing the numbers.

She has a hard time transitioning from one thing to the next.  After reviewing grades more, the grades she's struggling with are the assignments at the beginning of class.

She gets overwhelmed with alot of material at once. When she can focus on a few questions at a time, she doesn't stress. When it's alot of questions (test time, SOL's), she shuts down.  

Organization--poor child has a chaotic brain.  She forgets to turn in assignments she's done and teacher has refused assignments with pages out of order.

With our investigation into symptoms, it seems likely she has Dyspraxia.

Many kids with dyspraxia also have speech issues (she was formerly on IEP for speech and improved)

Warning signs at her age:
  • lTries to avoid sports or gym class (she used to make up injuries and asks for notes to get her out of pe
  •   Takes a long time to write, due to difficulty gripping pencil and forming letters (very slow with writing, has odd grip and letters are made oddly)
  • Has trouble moving objects from one place to another, such as pieces on a game board (not so much her on this)
  • Struggles with games and activities that require hand-eye coordination (has improved dramatically)
  • Has trouble following instructions and remembering them (I see this at home, we cannot give her 2 things to do, one WILL be neglected)


 Dyscalculia:  basic math skills and has to think things thru even on low level math prior to doing things….ie. math puzzles at Pizza Hut, frequently uses hands to count even now)
·         Dysgraphia:  very messy handwriting, writes letters in odd manner, holds pencil in odd manner and has history in file of not being able to hold pencil properly even with instruction)
·         ADHD: on highest dosage ADHD meds and was diagnosed approximately 8 years ago

Kids with dyspraxia many times have speech issues, including pitch and volume. She previously had issues with pronouncing words, but definitely still has the pitch/volume issues. She can go from mumbling to yelling, even when happy.

They also become overwhelmed in groups and struggle with sports, which creates issues making friends because of anxiety.  Definitely her. She quit both soccer and softball after not being able to get in the group because she wasn't great at sports.

Difficulty with writing technique. The girl is an amazing writer.  I wish she'd create a blog. Her writing always either entertains me or makes me cry, depending on the theme. However technique, is another story. Her letters aren't formed property and she's unable to hold pencil properly.

Other clues include: temper tantrums, easily distressed, eating with fingers, immature drawings, pencil grip, use of scissors, preferring adult company (ie doesn't invite secondary friends over, if bff can't come over, prefers momma to secondary friends or alone time), sensitive to noise, dislikes being touched, slower response time, limited concentration.

So, while it could be trauma based only, there are enough similiarities to where we want her tested. If it's something that can be done to help her succeed, we need to get the ball rolling before high school.  She'll be in the tech program next year and our hope is it will make it easier because of combined classes, but it also has more independent study, which she needs work on.

There is enough going on that it's not 100% clear what the problem is. Our goal is to get to the bottom and get this fixed. She wants to be a nurse when she's older and she will definitely need to boost up the grades to do that without so much struggle. 
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