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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Getting help for our children

Amen. It's utterly ridiculous what we have to go through in order to get help for our children. Help; mind you, that's paid for by our taxes. Sadly they don't always want to do their job but yet my taxes still go to paying their salary! And I'm not talking about the teachers - sadly their hands are tied, too.

For FOUR years I've been telling special services my child is dyslexic and was told no, even after I presented them with testing from an outside source; I was told there are no signs of dyslexia. My child has struggled; thought of herself as different because she doesn't understand like other children; she's questioned her own intelligence; but thankfully my daughter is a FIGHTER! She's strong, hardworking, tenacious, last but not least.. She is smart! She's compensated, only someone intelligent can compensate so well she could fooled even a trained educational specialist.

In the 3rd grade, she compensated so well she managed to come off of her accommodations because she benchmarked her reevaluation; however, she kept her IEP due to speech accommodations.

4th grade was quite the transitional year for her. Very difficult - I begged and begged to put the accommodations back in place but to no avail because she benchmarked the previous year. Now understand from the beginning of August 2014 to February 2015, my daughter stayed with an F the entire time in Reading, literally, nothing but an F. The teachers tried to rally together to help but with each of the 3 teachers having 30 kids in the class you can imagine the help wasn't adequate and I was left with no other alternative but to drug my child.

In February 2015, we started our daughter on 20mgs of Vyvanse, moving up to 30mgs and now she's on 40mgs to help her. It helped but really, at what cost? My child suffers from stomach issues due to the medication and we have no clue what the long-term effect will be. 4th grade was such a struggle. I felt so useless to help my daughter. It was the worst feeling in the world to me; I felt as though I had failed my child even though she passed to the 5th grade, her self-confidence took a major hit.

As my daughter started the 5th grade; I was determined not to fail my child. I wanted to give her all the tools I could to help her succeed. She's on her 40mgs of Vyvanse, which does help with her ADD, no doubt! But she still struggled! So I started the year paying for a tutor 2 days a week for 2 hours each time, which has helped a lot. My child is doing well. I'm so happy for her! And I thought well maybe the testing for dyslexia was wrong.

So here we are, time for the annual IEP meeting. I'm thinking, easy meeting. None of me having to fight for accommodations because I went over their heads with medication and tutoring. This is her last year at this school and she'll move to a school that a lot of people around here want their child to attend due to their academic curriculum. We moved to this school zone specifically to get her in this school system. Again, I'm feeling great about the IEP meeting. My sweet girl is on honor roll and this is going to be easy! Wrong...

We are discussing where my daughter is currently and although she has an A in Reading; Reading is still such as hard subject for her. Another person enters this IEP. One that's been there before but only briefly to tell me my daughter shows no signs of dyslexia. She's the person that tested my daughter before or had a hand in her testing.

She tells me they are deeply concerned about my daughter. I said why? She said, we believe she meets 5 of the 6 criteria of dyslexia.

I mean, seriously? My mouth literally dropped. How do combat someone's inability to listen to the parent? Trust me, I've handled myself with poise, intellect, knowledge, and they've seen me more than my own sister has each year! I was never rude or ugly; I simply asked for help; backing up the need with outside testing as well as her scores within the school. I was prepared.

I literally cried. I realized a few things on this day:

1. I didn't fail my child; THEY did. My child struggled when she shouldn't have because they wouldn't do their job properly. 2. My child is the strongest, smartest, most tenacious person I know, and how extremely proud of her I am! 3. How much harder I should have fought for what I knew. If that's possible because I fought but I would have been there fighting more than I did. They would have seen me every time she had a failing grade! 4. I have to reiterate; I'm so proud of my daughter. She compensated because she's smart in spite of obstacles no one was willing to see that were in her way.

Sorry I was so long-winded- I just wanted to share our story in hopes to help other frustrated parents out there. Continue to be your child’s number 1 advocate; continue to go there until they listen to the person that is truly your child’s teacher; YOU! You know your child better than anyone and you need to make them understand that as long as your child struggles… you’re going to be right there, holding them accountable to do their job!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

What NOT to do if your child has ADHD

What Not to Do If Your Child Has ADHD

When kids with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) become frustrated, struggle with school, fail to complete tasks, or meltdown, their parents become stressed and feel defeated as well. It can be difficult to know which direction to turn, and what to do to better manage your child’s ADHD symptoms. Sometimes, the best answer is to not do certain things. I hope the list below of actions to avoid will help you and your family have better days and nights.

Don’t Avoid the Term “ADHD”

Your child has a condition that affects her every day, just as a learning disability or physical disability would. By putting a name to the disorder and using the term “ADHD,” parents help their children Avoiding the term makes the child feel more like she has something wrong with her, which adds to the stigma associated with ADHD. Dr. Robert Olivardia, a psychologist who treats ADHD and is a clinical instructor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, cautions parents that “if you do not explain to them what ADHD is, someone else will.” Don’t ignore the ADHD or avoid talking about it; educate your child and help her to understand what ADHD is and how you will help her to manage living with it. Using the term gives your child some power over it. Recognize that their challenges and frustration are rooted in their disorder and are not their fault.

Don’t Focus on the Negative

A child with ADHD will hear enough “no,” “don’t,” and “can’t” for a lifetime. Don’t add to the negativity by making a lengthy list of don’ts for your home. Instead, work with your child to set goals for positive behavior. Then, track their progress in a place that’s easy for them to see—such as a chart that’s kept on the refrigerator. By giving them this positive focus, you can reinforce the good behaviors that will help them be successful at school and at home. 

And please replace "Don' Allow Certain Items in Your Child's Bedroom" with the following:

Don’t Allow Tech in Your Child’s Bedroom

Most kids these days are regularly glued to some form of technology—be it a smartphone, tablet, computer, or gaming system. Unfortunately, all that digital exposure can take its toll. The reality is today’s kids are overexposed to all those devices and glowing screens, and that overexposure can contribute to attention deficit issues. My advice is to keep them out of the bedroom. That’s a new rule we’ve implemented with my son, who was recently diagnosed with ADHD, and we’ve seen great results. He’s able to get calm and go into “bedtime” mode much more quickly at night and his overall quality of sleep has actually improved.

Don’t Fall Into the Trap of Implementing Diets That Eliminate Lots of Foods

Some parents of kids with ADHD may attempt to treat it with a special diet. Research does not support these radical diets, which completely cut out processed foods, food additives, fruits, and vegetables. There also is no research supporting the idea that diets eliminating aspartame, an artificial sweetener, or yeasts are effective in helping treat ADHD. Experts contend the best diet for a child with ADHD is the same as one for a child without ADHD: a diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and avoids saturated fats and trans fats. It’s also important to limit carbohydrates that are digested quickly, such as those in processed and fast foods. And of course, all children need exercise and should maintain a healthy weight.

Don’t Make a Meltdown Worse By Responding When You are Angry

Handling an ADHD child’s meltdown is one of the toughest challenges a parent faces. Do not exacerbate a situation by responding to a meltdown or handing out unrealistic, inappropriate consequences for misbehavior when you are angry yourself. Parents should employ a time-out for their child to calm down and take time to calm down themselves before reacting inappropriately. It is better to collect yourself, get composed, and think clearly before responding, so that you are sure to react in a more accurate and appropriate way.

Don’t Try to Handle Everything On Your Own

One of the biggest mistakes parents of kids with make is trying to do it all. There are groups and professionals who can help you get more information and support so that you are better equipped for life with a child with ADHD. You especially should seek professional help if you are feeling depressed, frustrated, or exhausted. It also is important for all parents and caregivers, including grandparents, relatives, and babysitters, to work together to support the child. When everyone agrees on a behavior plan, routine, rewards, etc., it is much easier to handle your child’s behaviors and symptoms.

Of course, you’ll need to do what works best for your family situation and your child. But, by avoiding certain actions, you are taking the first step toward helping your child, your family, and yourself cope with ADHD in a more positive, healthy manner.


Vee Cecil keeps busy by being a wellness coach, personal trainer and bootcamp instructor in Kentucky. She also recently launched a blog where she shares her passion for health by writing about her favorite tips, activities and recipes.

**PHOTO CREDIT: Image via Flickr by chefranden**