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    #95431 - 02/24/11 10:07 AM Re: Can't focus because "too easy" [Re: Mama22Gs]
    deacongirl Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/03/10
    Posts: 948
    Good luck to the OP--I hope that you are able to work out a solution with the teacher for your son.

    HK--your dd reminds me of myself when younger--and I am just wondering if you have ever considered that ADD (the inattentive kind) could be playing a role in her procrastination? I may be totally off base, but thought it might be worth exploring.

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    #95448 - 02/24/11 02:59 PM Re: Can't focus because "too easy" [Re: Mama22Gs]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    It's a good question.

    We think probably not-- relative to chronological peers, she seems pretty on top of things, and she can focus quite readily when she's willing to do so. She simply never forgets things that are important to her, and she has no trouble absorbing/recalling even quite complex information-- when it suits her.

    She's just completely oppositional when it comes to being told to do something that she thinks is pointless and unpleasant.

    She's very much an adrenaline junkie. I can see that light of exhiliration in her eyes when she's in the middle of chaos and riding the hurricane to get more finished than should be humanly possible... she definitely sets herself up to do it deliberately on some level. She truly thinks of herself as someone who "works best under pressure" and views it as a time-saving technique. LOL.


    SHE doesn't seem to mind that process. It's everyone else that thinks it isn't good or healthy.

    ETA: It was good to take a renewed look at this, though, and carefully consider the possibility again. Thank you for the suggestion. It's such a good idea, in fact, that I'm going to paste the link here (there is a wonderful checklist of differentiable behaviors):

    Before Referring a Gifted Child for ADD/ADHD Evaluation

    My daughter's behavior is squarely on the "gifted" side of things; but if she were actually sixteen (not 11) it might not be wholly age-appropriate in terms of executve function (her judgement of time management is mostly very good-- but sometimes she miscalculates and gets herself into trouble). It's so very hard to know what "appropriate" looks like when a child is far away from age norms. I can see very easily how my DD might be labeled as ADD in a classroom, however.


    Edited by HowlerKarma (02/25/11 09:33 AM)
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #95580 - 02/26/11 10:29 AM Re: Can't focus because "too easy" [Re: Mama22Gs]
    deacongirl Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/03/10
    Posts: 948
    HM:
    So, all of the following may be true about your dd, and adhd may not have anything to do with her behaviour. But I am sure that what was going on with me appeared very similar to my parents/teachers/college friends who just could not believe the level to which I would procrastinate and then somehow manage to get it done. But *inside* there was more to it than that, some of what you have addressed in other posts about your dd (imposter type stuff, perfectionism, fear of failure) all combined with motivational paralysis, which for me anyway is best explained by adhd. (I also clearly see it in my father, brother, and cousins, and I know there is a genetic component to adhd). If any of this continues to seem like it might possibly be an issue for your dd, I think the book Driven to Distraction might be helpful. When I was 11 I think that the executive function stuff didn't appear to be an issue to those around me b/c the giftedness compensated for it (and honestly even with many classes in college). But it would have been helpful to me to sort this all out sooner.

    "We think probably not-- relative to chronological peers, she seems pretty on top of things, and she can focus quite readily when she's willing to do so. She simply never forgets things that are important to her, and she has no trouble absorbing/recalling even quite complex information-- when it suits her.

    She's just completely oppositional when it comes to being told to do something that she thinks is pointless and unpleasant.

    She's very much an adrenaline junkie. I can see that light of exhiliration in her eyes when she's in the middle of chaos and riding the hurricane to get more finished than should be humanly possible... she definitely sets herself up to do it deliberately on some level. She truly thinks of herself as someone who "works best under pressure" and views it as a time-saving technique. LOL."

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    #95582 - 02/26/11 10:53 AM Re: Can't focus because "too easy" [Re: Mama22Gs]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    I truly do appreciate the insights. Thank you. smile

    She's been quite open her feelings that this is entirely voluntary on her part-- but we do ask. If there is a point where any of this feels as though it isn't "a choice" on her part, we would (and will) immediately seek a consult. Our communication with her is pretty open and healthy on this front.

    I'm a little wary of the "well, let's see if meds help" mentality, though. Our family's gatekeeper for referrals is someone that we jokingly call "Doctor Feelgood" with good reason... basically, he has the fastest script pad in the West. wink Every time I see him, he asks me about depression or anxiety while he's reaching into his coat pocket with a gleam in his eye. (Apparently a sinus infection puts one at grave risk for clinical depression, or something...) I also forgot to add that he is completely clueless about giftedness and the issues associated with it. He regards DD with a bizarre kind of bemused curiosity, like he isn't really sure what to make of her. (Her specialist physician is much more at ease around her and simply accepts her the way she is-- I can recall HIM explaining to my then 3yo how his stethescope worked.) Anyway.

    That's not something I want to do, for reasons of my own related to an understanding of the pharmacology of those drugs (which I'd venture to say is superior to our physician's, if it comes to that).

    Caffeine definitely does NOT help her in terms of executive function, and it often does behave paradoxically if the issues are truly chemical in origin.


    Edited by HowlerKarma (02/26/11 11:00 AM)
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #95586 - 02/26/11 11:38 AM Re: Can't focus because "too easy" [Re: Mama22Gs]
    deacongirl Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/03/10
    Posts: 948
    I think your dd is in a very good place that you seem to get her so well, and that you do have such an open relationship and that she is able to be open about her feelings.

    I totally agree with you about the meds--and am thankful that dd9 appears to take after her stereotypically German, detail-oriented, def. not adhd father (unfortunately perfectionism is still a driving force though for him and her). But we are now facing this challenge of adhd or not with my ds7, who has Down syndrome. So different ends of the spectrum, but same issues--what is causing the behaviour? Is it being in the tail of the bell curve (although my son really isn't the tail, just pretty far left)--and how to tell if it is really adhd.

    I know that I could get meds for him tomorrow from the ped., but we are trying to make the most informed decision and can't get into the specialist whose opinion I respect the most until May.

    Re: meds--anecdotally, fwiw--they def. make a difference for me. When I remember to take them!;) But it is an entirely different case to try to decide to give them (or withhold them from) to a growing child.

    Oh--and for me re: the choice thing--when I was 11 I (very defiantly) *chose* not to do my pointless reading work and my parents got called in for a conference with the reading teacher(which resulted in...nothing. Could have been a chance for acceleration or differentiation or SOMETHING!)

    When I was 17 and in AP English and just.couldn't get started on the 3 page papers we had to write each week (but then did a whole 1/4s worth in one weekend) it wasn't a choice. It was different.

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    #95602 - 02/26/11 03:17 PM Re: Can't focus because "too easy" [Re: Mama22Gs]
    Nik Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/10
    Posts: 286
    "When I was 17 and in AP English and just.couldn't get started on the 3 page papers we had to write each week (but then did a whole 1/4s worth in one weekend) it wasn't a choice. It was different." That's my DD to a T!!!!


    Deacongirl, if you don't mind my asking, at what age did you start taking ADHD meds? Are they such that a person could just take them when a big paper is assigned and then just deal with other coping strategies without meds the rest of the time?

    If so, I think that might be a possible compromise for my dd, since writing with a deadline seems to be her biggest obstacle. I think that occasional as-needed type use would be a much more more acceptable risk weighing her need to function to meet deadlines with her medical risk. I just wouldn't want her taking them daily given heart problems in the family.

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    #95606 - 02/26/11 04:20 PM Re: Can't focus because "too easy" [Re: Mama22Gs]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    <donning pharmacologist hat>

    Now, before I say any of this-- I'm not for even an instant suggesting that it is wrong to medicate persons with ADHD/ADD so that they can function more normally-- they really help some people, and I understand that. I just think they are perhaps not sufficiently respected by clinicians as the potent drugs that they are. This should never be a casual decision, IMO.

    It is also posited by some (mostly those without background in the molecular side of this) that ADHD subjects may not respond to the drugs in the same way that neurotypical persons do (meaning that the two factors I mention are thought to be untrue for them)-- but from a molecular/neurochemical standpoint, that seems farfetched to me.

    Nik, I really urge you to speak to someone with genuine expertise in neuropharmacology and cardiac pharmacology who knows your family's medical history. A genetic quirk at the receptor level might lead to dangerous idiosyncratic responses to stimulant drugs that a neuropharmacologist might not consider. (I only mention that because I have some background in BOTH of the subdisciplines involved-- and cross-training, particularly in physicians in these disciplines, is unusual.)

    One thing to bear in mind with psychotropic drugs in this class (that is, SSRI's and stimulants that are intended to operate in the biogenic amine system) is that they alter the kinetics of the neurotransmitter system.

    There are two important sequelae of that fact clinically:

    a) these drugs as a class may produce potentiation with habituation-- that is, the system responds in an exaggerated manner to additional doses of the drug once it has been withdrawn for a period of time. (This is a contributing factor in cardiac fatalities that are so well-known in stimulant-addicted persons who fall off the wagon after detoxing-- they are sensitized to the effects of the drug and a previously safe dose results in an overdose-- this is most frequently seen with the tropanes like cocaine, but I don't know whether it has been sufficiently investigated with the amphetamine or SSRI class.)

    b) because they alter the baseline kinetics of neurotransmitter signalling, (reducing post-synaptic clearance times), use may result in INCREASED clearances when unmedicated, relative to naive control subjects. In other words, while drugs in this class do not induce "physical dependence" the way opiates do, it is extremely clear that neuropharmacologically, there is most certainly dependence.

    This alteration is apparently permanent, incidentally, which is why I am often horrified at how cavalierly clinicians offer to "try" these drugs as a means of differential diagnosis in children or adults suspected of 'maybe' being depressed.


    The latter is why I think that probably "occasional" use of ADHD meds could just make 'unmedicated' periods worse than before, and the former would lead me to have very serious concerns in someone who had underlying cardiac risk factors.

    HTH. Of course, this isn't medical advice-- I'm pointing out why I'd want input from someone with expertise in cardiac pharmaclogy before going that route.

    <taking off pharmacologist hat>
    ______________________

    It's also interesting to me to note that my DD's problem is writing (or doing anything else) without a deadline. Maybe that says something about underlying causation, and maybe it doesn't mean a thing. But it is a remarkable contrast.

    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #95607 - 02/26/11 04:45 PM Re: Can't focus because "too easy" [Re: Mama22Gs]
    Nik Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/10
    Posts: 286
    Wow, thanks HK, that sort of thing is exactly what I was afraid of. I will definitely try to find the right professional to answer these questions for my DD before considering meds. my uncle is a heart surgeon, maybe he can point me in the right direction. I really want her to try the fish oil pills, but I fear even if those work, she will forget to take them once she is off at college.

    Re; deadlines, my DD has trouble writing on what she calls "stupid promts" for things like the SAT writing test but she can sometimes knock out excellent 7-8 page papers at one sitting on the morning they are due. She says she needs to work it all out in her head first. She refused to ever do pre-writing or drafts, so when a paper does come to her complete in her head, it either happens just hours/minutes before it is to be submitted or more often, after the deadline. I don't think it has ever occurred ahead of a deadline. She seems to have no control over expediting the "workings" in the head that eventually produce good work but often too late.

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    #96550 - 03/10/11 06:21 AM Re: Can't focus because "too easy" [Re: Mama22Gs]
    Mama22Gs Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/04/09
    Posts: 326
    Back again on the same topic.....

    We received a note from DS7's teacher asking to meet with us. She said that she thinks DS7 finds it to be too hard on him to get his work done, and that he just sits instead of doing it. She also said he's the only one who is being given differentiated Language Arts work who can't finish it.

    We had him tested a couple weeks ago, and are due to meet with the psych tomorrow to go over her findings. I filled out an ADD assessment at her request, but in retrospect since I suspect I may likely be somewhat ADD myself, I may have been a poor choice to fill it out. His behavior doesn't seem odd to me, but maybe my baseline for odd isn't standard. We elected not to have the teacher involved at this point, mostly because I don't get that warm fuzzy IYKWIM.

    I asked DS7 why he's unable to finish his differentiated work, and he told me that before he gets that, he has to finish his rather hefty regular language arts packet. Since he rarely finishes that, as I described in the original post, he has no time to work on the other. Apparently, the other kids aren't having this problem.

    Any suggestions for how to politely request that he be able to test out of these packets?

    I think it is possible that DS may suffer from mild ADD, or that it's masked to some degree by GT'ness. But it seems to me like IF that is the case, he shouldn't need to be medicated at 7yo, if the only real issue is that he can't focus on inappropriately challenging work.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated. (Be gentle -- it's been a rough couple months. Nothing bad, just too many little things piling up.) Thanks for being here.

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    #96636 - 03/10/11 07:15 PM Re: Can't focus because "too easy" [Re: master of none]
    deacongirl Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/03/10
    Posts: 948
    Originally Posted By: master of none
    I don't think you have to have ADD to have trouble focusing on what the teacher wants from you day after day, all day when it's too easy.
    My dd who I don't think has ADD (at least not today) was getting 80s on first takes and 60s on retakes of the EXACT same tests in math. I gave her an incentive and suddenly, her average jumped to 99, and they moved her up a level. in the new class, she is doing work she thought was too hard for her, except now it's at a synthesized application level and before it was at a building block level. She said it was because in the old class, they were trying to make her brain do things and in the new class, her brain just does it without thinking.

    I think someone on here has said that until you have the right level academically, you can't make any conclusions about behavior, ADHD, or anything else. That has helped me remember to look first at the level of challenge.

    When you go over the findings with the psych, can you ask her point blank what she thinks is going on? Maybe if she can comment in her report on what he needs, then you won't have to do the asking and the psych can be the pot stirrer.

    Have you seen the PBS series on ADD in adults?


    Thank you for sharing your experience...I think your first sentence is so true. I can't help wondering the difference it would have made for myself and even more so my brother if we had been advocated for in the way parents here do. (I know my mother did the best she could with the information she had at the time...)

    And I'm also thinking that is why it takes me all day to unload the dishwasher now...

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