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    Joined: Mar 2012
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    fwtxmom Offline OP
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    In the continuing saga of DS13, I am thinking of some seriously out of the box ideas. He has continually struggled with homework, grades and lying about these.

    The latest: on Tuesday DS came home early from school due to dr appt with no homework but studying for a big algebra test. I got home from work and prompted him to study. I scribed every assignment in this chapter for him so I know he did the work and understood it. He had a review to work for studying with answers to check. He shoo'd us all out of the room to minimize distractions and told me he wanted to study without my help so that he can be sure that he can do it by himself. I asked him where his devices were? He had to have computer, iPad and phone in another room to prevent getting off track. He took his ADHD homework dose, ate a snack and started to work.

    At first he was calling out questions to me in the kitchen then he became quiet. Instead of becoming suspicious, I cleaned the kitchen and did my evening chores. When I finally did check, after an hour and a half, disaster! He has secreted my old iPad and played with it without doing a single problem. Instead of exploding with frustration I really pushed him to explain why, why he would choose to do this? After crying and wallowing for a while, he finally sobbed that "It's like my nails (which are chewed bloody.)I just can't stop doing it."

    DS' lies and deception are crazy-making and maddening. However, when I try to think about what is going on from his perspective, I can see maybe it's a desperate attempt to escape his misery. DS hates school. He changed schools this year and the new school is much, much more supportive of him. However, traditional school is torture for kids like him. He has long been diagnosed ADHD and dysgraphia but recently identified as dyslexic, with CAPD and visual processing deficits. Every Sunday he asks me to take his temperature to see if he has to go to school tomorrow. As he starts to think about school he is clearly dreading it, every week.

    DS is immature with marked social problems. He has literally no friends and no social life, mainly due to impulsive and immature ADHD behavior. He is a clumsy kid, not athletic, with mild sensory issues that are a little odd at times. He is also very small for his age. He has not started puberty at all. DS is also slightly young for his grade due to widespread red shirting here.

    DH and I started talking last night about what would happen if we took DS out of school for a year of unschooling. We could just put him in school as an 8th grader in fall 2015 and let him take a year off to detox from school.

    Pros:
    Our state homeschool laws would totally allow it.

    Perhaps he could casually pursue some academic interests (architecture, ancient history) and try to rekindle a love of learning.

    He now requires a boatload of therapies in light of his recent diagnoses (vision therapy 6-9 months, speech language therapy 6-12 months, dyslexia therapy ??? and serious work on executive function suggested by his tester.) We could have time to get these done without school overlap.

    DS might get to actually do some extracurriculars, like musical theater troupe or even scouts. Homework takes pretty much all night, every night and he has no outside interests.

    Cons:
    It just feels weird.

    I work so some, maybe a lot, of his time would be unstructured. Would this be a year of unabashed video game playing in the sly?

    Has anyone ever heard of doing something like this? I really want to do the right thing for him and I feel that he is desperate. I am kind of desperate too. Am I giving up too easily? The school is really trying to work with us. Will he take the mythical leap to greater maturity and outgrow some of these issues?

    Feedback?

    Joined: Apr 2013
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    You may want to think of it as a sort of gap year and fully embrace the possibilities.

    Have you seen this book: http://www.amazon.com/The-Teenage-Liberation-Handbook-Education/dp/0962959170?

    Or the Davidson guidebook on gap year http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Resources_id_15662.aspx? Although a break at this time is not the typical gap year between high school and college, it could be put to similar good use.

    PM'd you.

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    Well, if he were mine, I'd be worried about the year-of-video-games possibility, but that's an issue you could possibly work around by creatively scheduling companion/tutors. We have found college students excellent as hired mentors.

    What is happening right now to make school work? Are there accommodations for the various disabilities in place? When school isn't working, I always start by looking for what could be tweaked to make it work. Are they letting him type all his work? Is someone doing Orton-Gillingham or another program for the dyslexia? School is responsible for providing some therapies-- though I know that timing (time out of class) quickly becomes an issue.

    I would not want the gap year to be only rewarding-- as you note, you could probably plan for it to be a mix of rewarding work on topics of interest and targeted remediation/therapies, specifically teaching workaround skills that make it possible to "do school" with the disabilities. You'd have to be careful to set it up to be rewarding enough, though, so he wouldn't feel "broken" (any more than he already does).

    I would also talk to any professional helpers you already have about what you're seeing. Your prescribing doc needs to know that the studying is or feels impossible right now, even with the medication-- as well as monitoring the frustration level closely. If DS has a therapist, I'd talk with that person about pros and cons before broaching it with him. If there are any teachers who really "get" him, likewise. Gathering perspectives feels to me like building a safety net.

    Hang in there-- now that you know what you're dealing with, hopefully the steps to make things better will fall into place.

    ETA: At this point I would not really do much about the lying, as I'd see it as a by-product of the frustration. He needs to know you are on his team and trying to help improve things. That will produce more honesty over time.

    Last edited by DeeDee; 04/27/14 06:23 PM.

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