ADHD — 5 Minutes for Special Needs

ADHD



                               

Jennifer Donovan is here to share about a home organizational system aimed to help kids become more independent and self-reliant. This is a sponsored post, but her opinions are her own.

30daymomchallenge

I’ve outlined some of the features about the M.O.M. Method that I love, over in my post at 5 Minutes for Mom about how to teach your kids self-reliance.

This is universal product that all families can benefit from, although the creators have found a particular niche use as well for kids with special needs including attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome or executive functioning challenges.

The time management and task management programs give kids the stability and consistency they seek, and what’s even better, it puts them in the responsible role, removing you from the tough taskmaster position.

Find out more information about the M.O.M. method 30 Day Challenge in my post at 5 Minutes for Mom.



                               

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When I Realized I Needed My Own IEP

Well hello there stranger! I’ve been MIA for a month and I’ve missed your posts and interactions. But as of today, I’m back, and can’t wait to catch up on some great posts here!

What have I been doing all this time? (Besides doing the happy dance upon the arrival of my new escape Kindle?)

I was apparently re-enrolled in Special Needs Parenting 101: Moving Forward Often Means Moving Backward. And it was like that dream I used to have in college – the one where I wake up in class on the day of finals and realize I didn’t attend lectures or read the book.

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On Our Tweens and (Not) Letting Them Flounder

“You must be so busy, with four kids!” People say when I introduce my family. And I look at them, thinking, “Well, no, not really.” (Minus the doctor and specialist appointments).

You see, until this year, there haven’t been extracurricular activities. It was enough to take two older girls to the park 3 days a week and not have them throw a rock at another child or eat wood chips. It’s not that we didn’t get out in the community, it’s just that I decided pretty much right away that it wasn’t going to work for our family. Mostly because I couldn’t handle the stress of my own expectations for the experience.

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A Homework Miracle At The Kitchen Table

She looked up at me, wrapped tight in the blanket that was holding her together. Thirty minutes she’d been yelling at math problems on crumpled paper in front of her. Pencils strewn around, nerves frazzled. Now she sat quiet. Smiling with those big brown tear-soaked eyes. Oh, she was so proud of her work! She finally got it – this long-division beast!

But even more amazing (as you can imagine if you saw my last homework post!) was HOW she got it.

Since her learning disabilities relate to auditory processing and mood, it often seems the moons and stars have to align perfectly for us to have a shot at explaining a math concept or vocabulary word without the interaction ending in a giant meltdown.

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The Hardest Word I’ve Ever Said

Seven years. Over a thousand hours at hospitals and specialist appointments. Countless interventions at home. And it turns out the most important word to help my daughter’s treatment is this:

NO.

No… we’re not doing a nineteenth round of medication adjustments. It’s time for hospitalization.

No… I won’t take her home from the hospital and keep doing the things that haven’t worked in the past.

No… I won’t take her home, period. She needs more help than we can give her. It’s time for residential placement.

No… We’re not going to let her case be assigned to an intern at your teaching facility.

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Balancing Journey vs. Destination Mindset With Our Kids

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters in the end.” – Ursula K LeGuin

I think we as parents of special needs understand this more than any other parents in the world. And even still, I fight this truth so much. As someone who’s good at getting things done, organizing time, and facilitating groups and projects, the journey mindset nearly drives me crazy. I’m the mom who, on a long car drive, says “no, we’re not stopping to go to the bathroom again. We’ve got to GET to grandma’s house!”

We all do this at times.

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Trust

Shirt soaked, the suds engulfed my arms. Water sloshed as she fought me. She’s 9 and I’m still stronger, so I finally got her in the tub. Breathing hard, I knelt next to the bath, stroked her dark hair, poured calm words over her anguish. Warm water wrapped her struggle-reddened skin. She slowly calmed, began to draw deep, steady breaths. After a few moments she turned and in her eyes I saw she was back with me again.

It took an hour to get her to this place. Fighting, redirecting, soothing, spouting coping ideas, I helped her pull out of the mental implosion that swallowed her.

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Helping Kids With ADHD Make Friends

“They don’t want to play with me!” She yells, stomping up the stairs and throwing her book bag down the hall. As is my daily habit, I wait until she blows off steam and it’s calm in her room again. Then I walk in, plop on the floor next to her where she’s creating an angry-looking art project, and prompt, “Tell me about that.”

The details are different each time, but the gist is this: my daughter who has bipolar and ADHD really struggles to have friends.

  • She misses social cues
  • She gets in people’s personal space
  • Her mood swings leave friends confused about her
  • She’s loud and demonstrative (and because of development issues, seems a little clumsy)
  • She’s chronologically, but not developmentally their age.
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Homework Strategies for Moody Kids

A few weeks back in school and all the old frustrations are in full swing.

The pencil-breaking. The paper-ripping. The weeping. The gnashing of teeth. You’d think schoolwork was, in fact, hell on earth. But really it’s just hell to a child with a learning disability. Especially one that’s at the mercy of bipolar mood swings.

My 4th grader, on an IEP for auditory processing and working memory difficulties, made great strides last year with her resource specialist’s help. That was after 3 years of working with her on homework, only to have her shred her assignment and stomp off, screaming, to her room.

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Do you still follow your dreams?

Do you still nurture your own dreams?

I’m headed across the country to She Speaks in North Carolina next week. It’s the next step in my journey toward a dream.

In preparation, I’ve been thinking a lot about dreams and purpose. Hours have passed writing a book proposal, working on talks for the speaker evaluation groups. I’m up WAY too late, even now, because I’ve been writing.

Why in the world do I invest this much effort into following my dreams? Because if I didn’t, I couldn’t make it through days like today.

Days when medications are imbalanced in my 8 year old, and every transition, change and limit I set with her becomes a nuclear explosion.

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