Monday, November 18, 2013
As most of my friends know, my daughter has mild cerebral palsy. Thankfully, though, her cognitive abilities have not been affected. She is mostly a straight A student and she is even in a challenge class once a week. However, I have noticed recently that some of her test scores have declined and her errors are careless ones. I often question Jackie about the incorrect answers and she almost always gives me a non-sense answer for her mistake. It's been very frustrating lately because I know that she can do so much better. I couldn't help but wonder if Jackie was just being lazy or if she was becoming bored. Another suggestion by a clinical social worker that I talked to was the possibility that Jackie may have a form of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
Beside the academic issue, there have been several other issues that are making me lean more toward the ADD possibility. Jackie tends to be pokey with just about everything she does. She always seems to be the last kid to exit the building when I pick up the kids from school. Seriously, we're usually the last family to leave the parking lot because Jackie is just that pokey coming out of the school. There have been times when most of the other kids have already been picked and still no Jackie in sight. I have gone to the office several times so the staff could help track Jackie down. I've been tempted to put one of those collar cameras on her, but somehow rig it to a necklace or even her eyeglasses. It would be very interesting to see Jackie's journey from the time school dismisses until she finally comes out of the building. On the days that Jackie has therapy after school, I have to email her teacher to remind her to dismiss Jackie a few minutes early and send her to the front of the school building so that we can leave in plenty of time for Jackie's appointment. I've asked Jackie what takes her so long to come out of the school. Her answers always vary and most of the time, they just don't make sense.
Homework has become quite a chore with Jackie. I dread homework time. Even with the TV and everything else off, Jackie will find something to distract her from doing homework. She will complain of some noise distracting her. She will argue that it isn't fair that she has homework and Ben doesn't. And I have to remind her that she was in kindergarten once and she didn't have homework then, either. It's just a huge battle with her more than half the time. I've had to threaten to just send her folder back to school with a note for her teacher to just give Jackie a zero because I refuse to fight with her (Jackie) about homework. Jackie has even started to lie about having completed all her homework. Thank God for those agendas that the schools supply the kids with.
Sometimes, she is sloppy with her work. This is a child who has a history of being a perfectionist with her schoolwork, including her handwriting. This no longer seems to be the case.
I will tell Jackie to go change from her pajamas to her regular clothes or vice versa but when I check on her 5-10 minutes later, I often find her naked from the bottom down and sitting on the floor playing with something or just sitting there daydreaming. It appears that she starts to get changed but something distracts her in the process. I just shake my head because this happens so often. Then when I remind Jackie what I requested of her 5-10 minutes ago, she snaps at me and says "I am!" and then slowly resumes what she was told to do 15 minutes earlier... Until she is distracted again 10 seconds later. If I hover over her to make sure she does what she is supposed to do, she gets angry. Bedtime is a huge battle. It doesn't matter how early I start the bedtime routine, it is a miracle if the kids are in bed at 8:30. It doesn't matter if I start the process 2 hours early, it's still a battle to have the kids in bed at 8:30. It doesn't help that I'm usually the only parent (at least 90% of the time) doing the bedtime routine.
Jackie's bedroom has been a huge battle these last couple of years. Ben does a fairly good job of keeping his room picked up when he is asked to, but Jackie, on the other hand, can leave her room in a tornado-like state in a matter of hours. She USED to be my neat kid. She used to put her toys away and do it neatly. I don't know what happened there. I'll tell the kids to clean up their rooms and Ben can be done in a half hour and his room really is neat and clean. Jackie, again, has usually not even started on her room before Ben is finished with his. I'll check in on Jackie and she can be found sitting on the floor, playing with some piece of trash and insisting that she was saving it because she was going to use it for something special. Oh, yes, she thinks a rice krispy treat wrapper is good for something special. And then she gets upset that Ben is already done with his room (and she hasn't even started) and she wants somebody to help with her room. An hour job of cleaning Jackie's room often turns into a 5-hour plus job. And it usually culminates in a meltdown by
her me. Well... her, too. It's just plain exhausting.
Recently, the school nurse called me to inform that Jackie had tripped over some stairs at school and acquired a small goose egg. Thankfully, she was okay. But the nurse also wanted me to know that while they were in the nurses office, Jackie nearly tripped on a table leg. The nurse thought it was perhaps Jackie couldn't see that well. Hmm, nope. She can see well enough, especially now that she has been compliant with her eyeglasses for the past year. Plus, she is followed by the pediatric ophthalmologist every 3-6 months because of a couple of issues with her left eye and there has finally been some improvement. So, no, she didn't trip on that table leg because of poor vision. She tripped on that table leg because she wasn't paying attention to where she was going! She has become somewhat clumsy lately.
I just don't understand what is going on with my daughter. She used to be a bit of a perfectionist in several areas. Her schoolwork used to ALWAYS be neat. She used to be good about keeping her room neat and toys were put away in the proper places. It just boggles me. I don't know where I went wrong. It has been very frustrating lately and I have considered whether or not we should have Jackie evaluated for some sort of attention problem or perhaps even some sort of seizure disorder. With the type of brain damage that Jackie suffered, even though she has not had any seizures (except for a possible one as a newborn), she is at slight risk of developing them as she enters puberty. So that is definitely a possibility even though I think it's a remote one at this moment. As normal as Jackie looks, she does have several issues that we have to follow-up on as a result of the CP and I really don't want to add to her repertoire of diagnoses. However, I want her to continue to succeed in school and if it means another treatment for yet another problem, so be it. We will deal with it like we have with everything else involving our children.
I'm on a handful of Facebook support groups relating to my children. One of those groups is for those with children who have Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL). Through that particular group, I have learned that I'm not the only one dealing with the type of behavior that Jackie is displaying. I don't know if this could be related to the type of brain damage our children have or if it's just a typical ADD behavior. I just really don't know what to think but I hope to get answers soon. In the meantime, I want to ask my friends to pray that we can get those answers soon so that we can help our daughter to continue succeed in school and that our frustration levels will decrease. Lord knows, we don't need another ADD person in this house. (I'm not naming the other ADD person but it's not me.)