Thursday, April 28, 2011


Kolby's teacher asked me to come in and conference with her today.  I was a bit frustrated, because there are four weeks left of school.  What type of intervention would be beneficial at the tail end of a school year?

I know this year has been difficult, pertaining to consistency.  Kolby was in one school for four months, then we moved.  His new teacher turned out to be only a long term substitute, because the real teacher of the class he was put in was out on maternity leave.  Now she is back, but has only been in the class for a month.

Since Kolby started school, I've always been very upfront with his teachers, regarding what Kolby needs.  His attention and focus need improvement.  He doesn't care for schoolwork, but happily goes to school.  He is a bright boy that doesn't see the need to do paperwork.  He's not genius by any means, and I'm not trying to say that he's above the mundane, but unless a reward is in it for him, he really wants nothing to do with it.

The psychiatrist that joined his teacher and I, in the meeting, at one point asked if Kolby was diagnosed with anything.  I said he wasn't, and I didn't think that pertained to him.  The bottom line with Kolby, in which his teacher agrees, is that he lacks the motivation to get things done.  It's not that he can't do it.  It's that he doesn't see the point in doing it, when there are other things that grab his attention, like playgrounds and computers and movies and biking.

The psychiatrists suggested, while admitting that she has never observed Kolby, that these are things she hears a lot of, and all the excuses I've given fall under the category of an Attention Disorder.  Although she's not saying to run to the doctor and get it diagnosed, she said it's something to keep in mind.

It's never something you want to hear, that your child has a "disorder", and I'm not saying that he does, but it still stings.  I think that Kolby's real issue is simply that he doesn't see the value in certain things, and schoolwork isn't the only category.  Housework, showering, brushing his teeth....these are all things that he shrugs off because it's not fun to him.  I really think time will help.

At any rate, there has been improvement in the past few weeks, regarding Kolby's school work.  There is improvement (most days) with getting his homework done.  He didn't throw one fit today, with everything I've asked him to do (this week he has the kitchen, which he always finds unfair.) and right now he earned some playtime outside for getting everything done with a happy attitude.

Kolby gets five stars today.  Not every day is a five star day.  I can only hope I can continue to help Kolby see that things are beneficial, even if it's not very fun at the moment.  Who knows. Maybe 2nd grade will be amazing for Kolby.  I pray it is.


Jen Sue Wild said...

we had simmler issues with Garret Supriesed right! in 1st and 2 grade the teachers kept trying to say he has ADD or ADHD I told them nope he dosent he is just a child with a lot of energy. I even brought this up one day with a friend of ours who new Garrett and was a Child Psychiatist she said no way was he ADD. Garrett learned in 2nd grade that if he did hid school work quick it was done and over with and then he could play. Like Kolby at that age all he wanted to do was play.

If it gives you hope Garrett is our hadrest working kid he thrives of of phycical labor and loves to earn money Hince the reward.
Just do what you are doing and he will be fine..

Jennifer Magreevy said...

If you changed the name "Kolby" to "Jason", you would be describing my husband. Yes, I'm comparing your elementary aged child to my 35-year-old man-child. :) Seriously, his attention span is ridiculous! He will leave the water running in the sink because he suddenly decided to take out the trash...then he's out there and decides to clean out his car, organize the recycling, get laundry started...all the while the sink is still running. But man, you shove him in front of his XBox, he can concentrate for 5+ hours without blinking.

Don't take it personally that he might be ADD or ADHD. Lots of kids are. I think that I would have been diagnosed if the diagnoses were available when I was younger. Basically I consider it to be like this: Kolby's brain fires all the time. He's aware of so much around him that its hard to keep track of everything. So he focuses on the things that he truly likes, and drowns out the other stuff. It may be challenging for you to "train" him and "mold" him to refocus his attention on the things he doesn't like. Or you could look at alternative education like magnet schools or homeschooling.

My son is only 2.5, and recently was diagnosed with VeloCardioFacial Syndrome (VCFS), which is a genetic abnormality where there is a deletion in the 22nd chromosome (also called diGeorge Syndrome). I can tell, at this point, that he learns differently than most kids. I have a Master's in Education, and its hard for me to teach this child! He learns at his own pace, and really responds to certain things and ignores other things. I have already begun researching different schools in the area because I KNOW he is not going to excel in a mainstream classroom where he's one of 30 children. I just hope that I'll be able to find an excellent alternative for him. Fortunately a late birthday means I have an extra year to get ready for school. :)

Heidi said...

We have had similar meetings with our boys teachers over the years. Both of our boys are busy and curious. Both kids seem to "peak" around first and second grade. I discussed the teachers concerns with our pediatrician and each time the dr has said that they don't see true ADD signs. Maturity plays a role too. We just stressed self control and wanted our boys to learn how to control their impulses rather than mask them with medication. Our oldest is now a 5th grader and near the top off his class. They do eventually grow out of some of it but they will always have those moments when they see something "shiney". But aren't we all like that? Sit down and pick up a book on a topic you have no interest in and see how long it holds your attention.

Stay strong Shaina- he's a normal boy and he has good parents. He will be just fine.

Paula said...

We had Emily assessed for ADHD in 1st grade while she had a long term sub. If her regular teacher 'who was away for >50% of the school year on maternity leave) had been there I don't think we would have needed to. Turns our she doesn't have ADHD but does require the teacher/s to be clued in to how to help her focus and complete things.
The paediatrican was great and had lots of expereince with ADHD and it was good to get it out there, on the table, up for discussion. He said he would rather assess kids early than have them present at the end of 4th grade and have 'lost' several years of educational opportunities.
Luckily there ere no long term subs for her this year and we will try to avoid them . if at all possible in the future for her. Don't think our other kids would notice but it didn't help her!

Lydia Davis said...

So, my first thought while reading this post was, well that would explain the stealing. Children with ADHD have a difficult time control impulses. They can understand that something is wrong, but have a hard time doing what they know is right. This is not to say that I think he has it- just my thought.
Another thought... websites that give advice on techniques to help children with ADD (skills rather than drugs) may have good advice on how to help motivate and encourage Kolby (well all kids really- but especially those that need extra encouragement).

Alissa Maxwell said...

Maybe Kolby's diagnosis is BOY. As a mom of two boys, I found this article really helpful - especially the comments from moms of other boys that have noticed it takes them a few more years to "get" the traditional school program.

It drives me crazy that we are trying to stick labels on so many kids that are just developing exactly as they should. I recently heard an elementary school principal say, "It's not your job to get your child up to some specific LEVEL for Kindergarten. It's our job as educators to match the kindergarten program to the developmental needs of your child." How refreshing!

dippyrooroo said...

Its weird to me that they wasted your time and theirs by bringing in a 'professional' who had never even observed Kolby. It makes her being there completely irrelevent!

Disorder is such a strong word. Sometimes I think that they could call all of childhood a disorder! And it makes it sound like it's something to be ashamed of, but it's not. If it does turn out that someone who has acctually observed Kolby diagnoses him, it just means you have the benifit of the research thats been done to help you understand how to help him.