Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Possible, But Let's Stick to the Facts

Everyone who has children who like school and like to do homework, here is a look at what it is like to help a child with ADHD do homework.

Keegan, look at the problem, I will help you read it.  Keegan, come on look at the problem.  A man drove 758 miles on Monday and 437 miles on Tuesday.  Keegan, what did I say "what oh, it's time for homework."  I read it again.  Keegan, what are we trying to find.  "Math answers?"  Yes, now tell me what we are trying to find.  The man drove 758 one day and 437 miles the next.  So what do we need to do?  Please look at the problem and quit playing with the dog.  "oh ya, what?"  Keegan if he drove 758 miles on Monday and 437 miles on Tuesday, how many miles did he drive all together.  "I don't know, maybe he had less gas on Tuesday."  Yes, maybe that is the right answer.  UGH I need a drink.

It would be easy to offer a lot of suggestions for this type of child.  Don't let him do anything until he is done.  Put him in a room with no distractions.  Take away privileges until he works faster.  But see, it doesn't work like that when your child has ADHD.  If you parent the way you would with a standard child (I refuse to say normal) your child never gets any privileges and is always in trouble.  You have to be patient and understanding but most important you need to alter the bar.  Don't lower it, alter it.  Use a different scale and be creative.  This is hard for me because the children I had before I had kids loved to do homework, they were compliant and easy to parent; just like the kids I was around as a kid.

Having divergent learning kids has been stressful to say the least.  You worry about getting "the call from school" all day long.  You learn to deal with the stares and comments you hear from others who think you must just be a shitty parent if your kid acts like that.  But most importantly, you learn to really appreciate those moments when all the stars align and see the small, small, mini steps of improvement.  My kids are smart- hell they beat the socks off of kids their age in knowledge and technological skills.  And because they have had consistent lives and parents who care, they will be successful. 

I knew when I got married that my husband had been a difficult child.  That is uncle had sever ADHD and dyslexia but that he was the chief of plastic surgery in Ann Arbor Michigan.  That his uncle had to be put in a pen with a bum lamb to keep him out of trouble on the farm but that he had done two tours of Viet Nam as a drill Sergeant and retired with medals of honor.  I just never thought about what it would be like to raise children like that.  Because I was planning on having really smart (like my husband) kids with excellent study skills (like me).  I guess you don't get to pick your genetics............

So until my youngest is older and more independent, I will continue to beat my head with every story problem.  And then laugh about it with my father in law and go further questioning if he maybe didn't have as much gas the second day and also got a late start because the pool at the hotel was really nice and he wanted to get a chance to use it.  Or maybe he had friends in the second town he was visiting with that day.  Regardless of the story you create to go along with the story problem, you gotta admit its much more fun to analyze the story then to just solve it. 

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