So, I’ve spoke of ADHD, RSD, anxiety, and all that fun stuff. I’ve touched upon the sensory component, and executive function disorder piece of ADHD, but briefly.
My son is five, and with his ADHD has been also gifted a fair share of some Sensory processing disorder like sensitivities. I know all about those; don’t tell me to sit in the grass; eat certain textures, wear certain materials… I could keep going, but I bet you get it.
I’ve found simple solutions to my own issues; just don’t put myself in the position to have to face something destabilizing, as mentioned above. However, it’s taken me 38 years to figure these solutions out.
One of the pieces of these disorders I find most frustrating (and I think it’s the same for my son), is the failure of our memory. It happens in so very many ways:
- Being able to recall past experiences/ consequences, positive or negative
- Confronting what occurred – we don’t warp reality on purpose, the hurtful things which are slung at us so carelessly just tend to be magnified, and our hyperfocus gets stuck… while neurotypicals? They remember the facts. Not the feelings
- directions. I cannot (nor can he) follow spoken directions. If we are told: “I’ll meet you at the house.” My son and I can have a five minute argument two minutes after; neither one of us being sure of the meeting place (therefore, hubby is a saint – he has TWO of us like this!)
- Word recall. We both have decent vocabularies; his is certainly above average. We both get completely derailed if we cannot find the right word. I see it in him, and myself. We will both forget the entire point we were attempting to make
- Motivation. Neither one of us can hold a motivating factor in our minds long enough to follow through with the desired course of action (or good behavior). I have never been able to save a penny; a little of that is the paycheck to paycheck life, but more the motivational factor piece. My son? The school wants to try a motivational behavior plan – basically a sort of sticker chart. That was the answer to a child with a “Moderate to severe case of ADHD. He must be redirected every 35 seconds. Directions must be repeated six times until he follows.
Wait a minute. We need to pause and reflect on this. Redirected every 35 seconds. I certainly can vouch for that, spend a day with us. It breaks my heart. Have you ever seen “50 First Dates”? There’s a character, Tom – check him out. “Hi, I’m Tom.”
That may be drastic, but it’s closer to his reality (and mine) than your’s, I bet. I post this so others may understand ADHD is NOT: behavioral; it is neurological. Which means, people who suffer? Have no control of the resultant behaviors, most times.
The brain consumes 20% of the bodies energy. Think about the efforts he must be putting forth each day! His brain is working so very hard.
His largest deficits are in processing speed and working memory. The TEAM psychologist did tell us he’s “exceptional”, as far as IQ goes, and the rest of his cognitive testing is average to above average. It’s his visual-spatial that is off the charts; she said he could quite possibly be an engineer. His favorite past time is taking things apart and putting them back together.
But this little boy, this five-year-old? He needs help. He is trying so very, very hard to stick it out, make it work. I see the anxiety. The little one who just two weeks ago worried me he would eat us out of house and home is so nervous, his appetite is shrinking.
We parted ways with the afterschool program yesterday. The director (who is a wonderful person), let me know he needs consistent 1:1 at program and they are not set up for that. I understood. This was all a trial basis; we’d been in talks for a few weeks prior to the start of school, confirming they could accept him. We are welcome back a day or two per week, maybe in January.
I knew this was coming down. I have to severely cut work hours. We have a little one in crisis. Fortunately, we have so many caring souls in our lives; holding us up, checking in, and just being there. I don’t know how to thank all of them (you).
They want to give him a sticker chart to “motivate” him towards a reward at the end of the day. I believe we are way past that…. I want to give him a camera.
I want to give him a camera.
Why a camera? That’s been one of the most fun ways to track memories that would otherwise slip through the cracks of the daily minutia – and since the invention of the smartphone? I’ve literally been able to track what I did – since I received my first one in 2009.
I’m not talking about some fancy drool-worthy digital. I’m talking about a simple point and click digital or an iPod touch like device. He LOVES taking pics. And, putting our memory books together.
Do you think that will help with working memory? Or at least holding memories?