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Pukalani79
ADD and homeschooling?
March 21, 2013 at 11:40 PM

 My youngest has a few health issues.  The big one right now is abdominal migraines which leave her in daily pain.  We've been able to get the pain to a manageable level, althrough they aren't sure she'll be pain-free until she finally outgrows this.  Anyway, she doesn't often live on the same plane as the rest of us.  She's here, but not, if that makes sense.  We thought at first that it was a coping mechanism, that it was easier to check out than to deal with the pain.  Now that the pain level is consistently low, the fact that she still checks out is a bit worrisome.  The doctor thinks it could be ADD, that she just has trouble focusing, and we'll do some testing to see if that's the case. Does anyone else have a child who does this? How do you help them focus on their school work? She gets math pretty easily but has a lot of trouble focusing on getting the work done.  Typically it takes two days to get through a workbook page of 20 questions.  (She's 8)  Reading is hard because while she gets the words, she can't always remember the context or the story because she just can't focus on it for long.

Replies

  • Pukalani79
    March 23, 2013 at 12:40 AM

     I'm finding that with her, we have to take those breaks.  If I push, she gets frustrated and "forgets" how to do it. Some days we get a lot done, other days...not so much. 

    Quoting QueenCreole313:

    I think short breaks are needed. My son used to get frustrated. It's gotten a lot better. I'm teaching him to listen to his body and take breaks when needed. He says it helps him "massage his brain" lol. I let him know there is no rush.

    Quoting Pukalani79:

     Thank you!  She does well with hands on projects as long as the lessons themselves are fairly short.  It's why I like Oak Meadow.  We do Compass learning online quite a bit, but even those lessons can be too long for her and she gets frustrated. 


    Quoting QueenCreole313:


    My son is ADHD and diagnosed with anxiety. This is part of the reason we decided to homeschool because I was feeling pressured to medicate him. I think first mom, you should read up on add. It has helped me a lot. But mom to mom, what has helped me is that I had to find out how my son learned. He is very visual. He hates workbooks. He has to select his own reading material because if he is not interested, he won't remember. He will just read the words but not pay attention to what he's reading. The only workbooks we use are for math. Everything else is more interactive like time4learning, khanacademy, DVDs, comic books etc. I've learned to be more child led in many areas such as history and science. I hope this helps! Good luck! Remember, children with add are often highly intelligent and highly creative. Try something creative with her! 


     

     

  • tmcris
    by tmcris
    March 23, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    My daughter has ADHD.  Removing distractions, flexibiilty, and chunking instruction (i.e. instead of working on a task for 20-30 minutes straight, do 5 minutes at a time.  For example, my daughter does 5 minutes of one writing instruction then another 5 minutes of another writing book that correlates with the first part of instruction).....She loves to listen to books, so she does some reading aloud or I read to her, or she listens to a book on a CD/iphone, etc.  Patience is also important with her.  My daughter also has occupational therapy needs, speech/language disorders, undiagnosed learning disability, anxiety, and asthma.  Homeschooling has been the best thing for her.  I also homeschool her two brothers and next year will start homeschooling her little sister (who is also showing ADHD behaviors and learning disability symptoms).

  • JKronrod
    March 23, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    It could be ADD, but I'll tell you, I used to get severe migraines when I was younger.  One of the things that made me ultimately decide not take drugs for it was that, while I could get the pain under control with the drugs, I was "stupid" or "spacey"  when I should  have had a migraine but didn't because of the drugs -- if that makes sense (?)  It was fairly easy for me to see this because I while my migraines were severe, they were usually not exceptionally frequent (except for one period at the beginning it was a couple of times a month at most).   If I wasn't thinking clearly I was useless at my job (I'm a lawyer), so it was actually safer NOT to take the drugs.  I also know I'm not the only one to experience this kind of mental fog associated with migraine -- Joan Didion who had both severe and frequent migraines wrote about it.  I'm not saying that it's the same for your daughter (abdominal migraine is different from classic migraine), but you might want to track when she's more "spacey".  If it seems to correspond to the prior pattern of migraine, you might want to consider whether the inattention is a symptom of the migraine, rather than a separate issue or a mean of coping with pain. 

    If that's the case, and there is variation, you may be able to help by assigning her work that requries focus during times when she CAN focus. 

  • Pukalani79
    March 23, 2013 at 11:40 PM

     Those are good thoughts, and I'm trying to figure out how to determine that. She has them on a daily basis.  The pain is manageable with blood pressure medication, but she has not had a pain free day in a year and a half. I know that when we're not consistent with the timing of her medication (three times daily) the pain levels go up. 

    Quoting JKronrod:

    It could be ADD, but I'll tell you, I used to get severe migraines when I was younger.  One of the things that made me ultimately decide not take drugs for it was that, while I could get the pain under control with the drugs, I was "stupid" or "spacey"  when I should  have had a migraine but didn't because of the drugs -- if that makes sense (?)  It was fairly easy for me to see this because I while my migraines were severe, they were usually not exceptionally frequent (except for one period at the beginning it was a couple of times a month at most).   If I wasn't thinking clearly I was useless at my job (I'm a lawyer), so it was actually safer NOT to take the drugs.  I also know I'm not the only one to experience this kind of mental fog associated with migraine -- Joan Didion who had both severe and frequent migraines wrote about it.  I'm not saying that it's the same for your daughter (abdominal migraine is different from classic migraine), but you might want to track when she's more "spacey".  If it seems to correspond to the prior pattern of migraine, you might want to consider whether the inattention is a symptom of the migraine, rather than a separate issue or a mean of coping with pain. 

    If that's the case, and there is variation, you may be able to help by assigning her work that requries focus during times when she CAN focus. 

     

  • KickButtMama
    March 24, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    I'll tell you - I have a chronic medical condition that includes fluctuating pain levels. And I have 1 child with Aspergers, similar in behaviors to ADD. So I can say distraction, living a lot in that fantasy land, is totally fine and normal. I think, unless you want a battle daily, that will not help - just make the two of you hate HS - you want to find the key to engage her and KEEP her engaged. For my son he's a 100% visual learner. SO any worksheets, writing assignments, etc are epic fails because it's too mechanical for him. He ends up with anxiety and he will drag his feet. For myself, even when I'm not in active pain, my body (and psyche) remember the pain, so emotionally it's the same. For me, I'm an escapist as well - I usually do so through books. SO I'm most content with curling up and reading - even educational books. 

    So, what works for us? Technology. There are hundreds of educational websites - my son loves ReadingEggs.com, Time4learning.com and BrainPop.com. With these there is no battle. He enjoys technology, so it doesn't seem like school. 

    Good Luck!

  • Pukalani79
    March 24, 2013 at 11:42 AM

     I was hoping you'd respond because I had remembered you had mentioned living with pain.  She does enjoy games, especially on the computer so I'll have to see what I can find that will challenge and engage her attention.  Thank you for the advice.

    Quoting KickButtMama:

    I'll tell you - I have a chronic medical condition that includes fluctuating pain levels. And I have 1 child with Aspergers, similar in behaviors to ADD. So I can say distraction, living a lot in that fantasy land, is totally fine and normal. I think, unless you want a battle daily, that will not help - just make the two of you hate HS - you want to find the key to engage her and KEEP her engaged. For my son he's a 100% visual learner. SO any worksheets, writing assignments, etc are epic fails because it's too mechanical for him. He ends up with anxiety and he will drag his feet. For myself, even when I'm not in active pain, my body (and psyche) remember the pain, so emotionally it's the same. For me, I'm an escapist as well - I usually do so through books. SO I'm most content with curling up and reading - even educational books. 

    So, what works for us? Technology. There are hundreds of educational websites - my son loves ReadingEggs.com, Time4learning.com and BrainPop.com. With these there is no battle. He enjoys technology, so it doesn't seem like school. 

    Good Luck!

     

  • JKronrod
    March 24, 2013 at 6:45 PM

     Oh, poor kid.  That really stinks.  If it's nearly constant it's going to be very hard to determine.  I guess the only other thought I have is that I'd be very careful if you are considering drugs for ADD.  If it's actually migraine related that may not be the best option, and some doctors (at least in my experience) tend to discount the "mental fog" issues with migraines.  As long as the pain is handled, they consider it a "win' -- which it is, but it's  not a complete "cure."  Good luck to you and your daughter.


    Quoting Pukalani79:

     Those are good thoughts, and I'm trying to figure out how to determine that. She has them on a daily basis.  The pain is manageable with blood pressure medication, but she has not had a pain free day in a year and a half. I know that when we're not consistent with the timing of her medication (three times daily) the pain levels go up. 

    Quoting JKronrod:

    It could be ADD, but I'll tell you, I used to get severe migraines when I was younger.  One of the things that made me ultimately decide not take drugs for it was that, while I could get the pain under control with the drugs, I was "stupid" or "spacey"  when I should  have had a migraine but didn't because of the drugs -- if that makes sense (?)  It was fairly easy for me to see this because I while my migraines were severe, they were usually not exceptionally frequent (except for one period at the beginning it was a couple of times a month at most).   If I wasn't thinking clearly I was useless at my job (I'm a lawyer), so it was actually safer NOT to take the drugs.  I also know I'm not the only one to experience this kind of mental fog associated with migraine -- Joan Didion who had both severe and frequent migraines wrote about it.  I'm not saying that it's the same for your daughter (abdominal migraine is different from classic migraine), but you might want to track when she's more "spacey".  If it seems to correspond to the prior pattern of migraine, you might want to consider whether the inattention is a symptom of the migraine, rather than a separate issue or a mean of coping with pain. 

    If that's the case, and there is variation, you may be able to help by assigning her work that requries focus during times when she CAN focus. 

     


     

  • Pukalani79
    March 25, 2013 at 1:42 AM

     At this point, we're not planning to medicate. I just want to be as informed as possible as far as finding ways to help her.  It will also help get an IEP for additional testing time/accomodations when it comes time for state testing, etc.

    Quoting JKronrod:

     Oh, poor kid.  That really stinks.  If it's nearly constant it's going to be very hard to determine.  I guess the only other thought I have is that I'd be very careful if you are considering drugs for ADD.  If it's actually migraine related that may not be the best option, and some doctors (at least in my experience) tend to discount the "mental fog" issues with migraines.  As long as the pain is handled, they consider it a "win' -- which it is, but it's  not a complete "cure."  Good luck to you and your daughter.

     

    Quoting Pukalani79:

     Those are good thoughts, and I'm trying to figure out how to determine that. She has them on a daily basis.  The pain is manageable with blood pressure medication, but she has not had a pain free day in a year and a half. I know that when we're not consistent with the timing of her medication (three times daily) the pain levels go up. 

    Quoting JKronrod:

    It could be ADD, but I'll tell you, I used to get severe migraines when I was younger.  One of the things that made me ultimately decide not take drugs for it was that, while I could get the pain under control with the drugs, I was "stupid" or "spacey"  when I should  have had a migraine but didn't because of the drugs -- if that makes sense (?)  It was fairly easy for me to see this because I while my migraines were severe, they were usually not exceptionally frequent (except for one period at the beginning it was a couple of times a month at most).   If I wasn't thinking clearly I was useless at my job (I'm a lawyer), so it was actually safer NOT to take the drugs.  I also know I'm not the only one to experience this kind of mental fog associated with migraine -- Joan Didion who had both severe and frequent migraines wrote about it.  I'm not saying that it's the same for your daughter (abdominal migraine is different from classic migraine), but you might want to track when she's more "spacey".  If it seems to correspond to the prior pattern of migraine, you might want to consider whether the inattention is a symptom of the migraine, rather than a separate issue or a mean of coping with pain. 

    If that's the case, and there is variation, you may be able to help by assigning her work that requries focus during times when she CAN focus. 

     

     

     

     

  • kirbymom
    March 25, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    Aww >> Yeah, that sounds more like how I was and still am on occasion. Is she able to "come out" of it on her own at all? Or is it much easier with meds? I would make sure that she has several breaks during school time. Hopefully she will be able to focus more if her breaks equal her schooling.  

    I never took meds when I was a kids so I am not sure if that would have helped me more than me just having to work through it. Which I did do for the most part. I find that I have to really concentrate hard to accomplish this. Most of the time I can, but once in awhile, no matter how hard I try, it just doesn't happen. 

    This is something that I am familiar with, from when I was a child. 

    Quoting Pukalani79:

     She doesn't have the excess energy, she just cannot focus. She just checks out. Doctor says that these are the kids who often fall through the cracks because they dont draw a lot of attention to themselves.  Or these will be the ones who are labelled lazy because they dont get their work done.

    Quoting kirbymom:

    I have 7 kids and everyone of them have either add or adhd. Their dad has adhd and I have add. Both of us were diagnosed when we were young so we knew what to look for if it started rearing it's head. What we do is make sure they have an active atmosphere. They need to be busy and getting rid of their energy. They run around and they have to be "doing" something even with school work. These kids are brilliant but they have the attention span of a knat, sometimes. At least 3 of them, when they were little, thought that life wasn't normal if they were sitting on their head when watching tv or talking with us. And if there was any kind of a conversation going, well that was an adventure all by itself! So, what I would do is, keep their minds engaged as often as possible.  If you have any spelling, have her do a simon says spelling game. Involve as many of your family as much as possible. That will make it all the more interesting for her and help to keep her interest as well.  For every ten to fifteen minutes of schoolwork, have her stop and do something around the house for fun for five to ten minutes. Then go back to school and repeat the process through out the day. This will need to be done for a week or so, then you can either add to the process or change up the process. This way, the process isn't going to bore her either.  This is sort of what goes on in our family. My kids are always on the go even when they are at home. :). 

     


  • LostInLove2002
    March 25, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Poor baby. :(  I'd just keep things short and sweet for now.Maybe she's just 'checking out' cuz it's habit?  Sometimes the places we go in our minds (happy place) can be much preferable to real life. Hopefully that's all it is.

     I'll be in prayer for her.

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