Thursday, December 9, 2010

Trying to figure out my next step

I have had a difficult week. We had IM tested for a gifted program. The test was heavily skewed toward short-term memory, which he apparently has a deficiency in. I knew that he doesn't always know the content of a passage that he's just read, even though can decode words that are far beyond his grade level. He's fidgety and can't always tell me what he learned in school that day, but that's true of many 1st graders, right? His very high scores in some areas, which would have qualified him for gifted services, were totally negated by his lower scores in working memory. Suddenly a 2-hr/week gifted program is not the least bit important.

I am looking into ADD, ASD, Cranial-Sacral issues from his very difficult birth, and into a special program (pricey) for memory training. I just want to help him be the best IM he can be and for him to be happy. He's so gifted in some areas that I feel I owe it to him to find a way to balance out his skills and make his language ability more meaningful. He is socially awkward and physically uncoordinated, but it always seemed to be within developmental limits, and I could look past it as the stuff that gifted kids often exhibit.

My first impulse is toward homeschooling, just to get a handle on all of this. I can control the curriculum and structure activities around remediating that deficiency while still providing the enrichment that will keep learning exciting. I can keep distractions minimal. I can keep other people from making him feel weird. Except that I know I can't do it. I will get very depressed and overwhelmed, and I know it. So many of my friends homeschool, several with more children than I have, and I just can't. At least not now. My heart wants this for my child, but I don't trust that I can keep emotionally buoyant enough to homeschool. A would want to stay home, too, and he brings his own set of struggles.

The homeschool idea beckons to me because I could go to the therapeutic treatments on our schedule, not just after school when he's tired. I could take him to museums and let him take music lessons during the day. We could take off on trips without the worry of missing days of school. The snag is that this would only work if A was homeschooled too. I have just gotten to a place where he and I are doing well in our relationship after years of daily violent tantrums. The other snag is the fear that IM will suffer more social awkwardness if he is not with peers on a daily basis. I can see that. I don't know the homeschool community here, and it's hard enough to meet people in general here.

We've decided to start the school interventions with an occupational therapist and to start investigating working memory training, a concept that some experts don't believe is possible but which has been tested at Notre Dame. That has to be a sign, right?

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