13 October 2008


When my daughter finished kindergarten her teacher told me she was "young" and worried that she might have trouble getting tasks completed in 1st grade, even eating lunch in time. As the years went on my daughter continued to be "young" and did indeed have difficulty meeting deadlines and time limits with her assignments.

In 4th grade her school started handing out letter grades and report cards. I helped her study for tests and quite honestly she sometimes seemed like an airhead. I'd tell her a fact, then immediately ask her a question to which the fact was the answer and she'd guess something else. It was frustrating. I had frustrations with the 4th grade teacher (didn't bother to make sure homework was written down or books were brought home). Almost every afternoon I had to rush back to school in the afternoon to get books.

5th grade was painful! My daughter confused this information with that. Most of the facts were in her head, but they were a jumbled mess, not organized at all. She was also very forgetful / scatterwitted. Unfortunately the teacher was very authoritarian and strict. He was also an unfair grader, refusing to give my daughter partial credit on answers even though he did so for other students. Yes - I called other mom's to see how their children's papers and tests were graded. The teacher refused all of my requests under the cop out, canned excuse of "We the 5th grade teachers feel children of this age need to be more responsible..." He even told the school counselor no on her requests in my daughter's behalf! My daughter received low grades on her report card and yet she scored high on state tests in 3rd, 4th and 5th grade, not to mention the school's counselor telling me my daughter's IQ was in the 130's. That year ended with a long email to someone of higher authority in the school district.

MY daughter has been tested by several experts and now sees a psychologist twice a month (for anxiety) and psychiatrist (anxiety & ADD) once a month. She started Adderall just before 6th grade- I noticed a difference right away with the meds at home. Most of the forgetful stuff is gone and she's on top of things.

Sixth grade was great! All teachers were cooperative and helpful. My daughter received two-thirds A's and one-third B's on her quarterly report cards. We celebrated every quarter with a trip out for ice cream and a slumber party.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for submitting this post to our blog carnival. We just published the 41st edition of Brain Blogging and your article was featured!

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

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MyLinda said...

I just found your blog. I'm looking for information so that your daughter's story doesn't become my daughter's story. My daughter is 5 (just began Kindergarten). Last year she was in 1/2 day preschool and I was told that she was just a dreamer when I asked her teacher about the signs I was seeing (lack of focus, frustration when working, etc.).

What would you have done differently when your daughter was younger?

I'm glad I found your blog!

Liz said...

Linda - Thanks so much for writing! I suspected ADHD when my daughter was in kindergarten and, at home, did what I could as if it were true. I wish I could have gotten the official diagnosis earlier but there is a gray area when you don't know if it's immaturity or ADHD (or both). That would have gotten the teachers to help out earlier and gotten my daughter onto meds earlier. Fourth and Fifth grades might have been happier and more sucessful for her. She did finally blossom in 6th grade. Her self-esteem improved greatly.

Unknown said...

I enjoy reading about other families and how they have dealt with their child's challenges. We had suspected issues with our son (now 10) when he was very little. By 1st grade, there were definite problems at school but the school support teachers refused to acknowledge them. We chose to have our son tested privately and he was diagnosed ADHD Combined following 1st grade. He was on medication by half way through 2nd grade...and he started to blossom. It infuriates me that if I hadn't gone above what the 'professionals' at school thought, he would have become a BEHAVIOUR issue in the class because boys tend to be much for physical with their symptoms. It is time for the 'experts' to listen to the people who really know these children - their PARENTS!!!

Liz said...

Mnatterer - thanks for sharing! One of my daughter's friends did end up becoming a "behavior problem" and transferred to a different school in the district, one that had special teachers just for ADHD children. Just be interacting with him differently, his "behavior" became acceptable again. Teachers really need to learn how to handle this better. Sorry it took so long to finally get the diagnosis. Seems like that's a common thing for us. Perhaps some teachers are afraid to suggest ADHD because it's been over-diagnosed upon kids who truly are a handful. Hugs to you!