school is at home now

“She’s above benchmark in all her skills,” said the school psychologist when she was evaluated at the beginning of last year. I know the school staff surely thought I was nuts. “She doesn’t appear to stick out from the rest of the class behaviorally,” from the school OT, after a 10 minute in-class observation. Then for the ENTIRE school year, the teacher tells me about how she doesn’t stay in her seat or get her worksheets done. I repeatedly tell the teacher to document the issues and share them with the OT. Without the OT’s blessing, we can’t get any help. The teacher does nothing. You can imagine what a year of being corrected every few minutes does to a kid’s esteem.

After a summer of hearing “I don’t want to go back to school;” we’re homeschooling. Technically, she’s still enrolled in a school but we do all the work at home at our pace. It’s tedious and stressful but the only option that we can do with a kid who cannot get an IEP.


by jurvetson, on Flickr

We are trying to get to the bottom of all this turmoil. She had been dreading the first day of school all summer. This change has lessened her anxiety but by no means solves all her problems. We are visiting a child psychologist who is helping us develop strategies to help her succeed at home.

The developmental pediatrician and the child psychologist agree that ADHD is not the whole picture. She doesn’t fit the pathology for autism, her anxiety is more overly emotional states (emotional lability, they call it right now) than worry.

We took her off Concerta. We were seeing the listed side effects of insomnia and decreased appetite in the severe form. Tenex (guanfacine) is the next step. We’re optign for the twice a day dose instead of the once-a-day (Intuniv) that is about 80 times more expensive. I’m seeing more problem-solving emerge. I am beginning to notice the highly important distinction between lack of skill and lack of motivation in her behaviors. It is wearing me thin.

Then, I read that children of anxious mothers (read: me = clinical) have a more difficult time  learning to regulate their emotions. Great, just great. As if I wasn’t already blaming my depression and all the attention I have had to put into her sister’s health and development, it’s even more my fault. Now I get to accept the fact that my elder daughter is headed towards a complicated mental health diagnosis. I barely have mine under control. I’m not ready for this.

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