How are you? I missed you yesterday, I was too poorly to write, but I feel better enough to be up today. I hope to have a day out with the children before they go back to school, Poppy wants to go rock pooling- one of my favourite things to do at the beach. The weather is a bit dull, but we will go anyway.
I can't think enough to write intelligently, so I've pulled up a letter I wrote to my GP about Sam when I wanted to have him referred for assessment re ADD. Would you mind giving me your thoughts please?
Sam was a big baby. He was very hungry, colicky, unsettled, demanding, wouldn't sleep. I didn't know what to do with him, how to make my health visitor understand what problems I was having with him. I kept thinking if only I had a video camera I could show her the mealtimes, the night times, the all the times. I had him sleep in bed with me to get some peace, then I moved into his bed with him when he was old enough.
When Sam was 31/2 he was sexually abused by a child minder's 15 year old son. There was no evidence, but Sam's description of events was enough. The act was vehemently denied by the boy's father, I was too afraid to pursue it further. I just hope there is no lasting damage.
Sam was a child that was everywhere, into everything, needing little sleep and constant attention, when your back was turned something would be happening, no chance to relax unless he was asleep on my lap. He was noisy and active, and very bright, but had problems with his fine and gross motor skills. He didn't play rough and tumble with the boys, didn't take bumps and knocks well, and he hated getting dirty. He was very sensitive, cried a lot, had some episodes of being bullied, and had difficulties with friendships. No-one at school thought he had a problem, he was ahead of his year, but he was disturbing and easily distracted, very fidgety, and couldn't settle to task. At home he would procrastinate constantly, (still does), and would need more help and supervision than I expected to get things done timely or at all. A 10 minute piece of homework would take an hour. His hand writing was terrible and his drawing skills were very immature. He would make us late for school or the child minder, for one reason or another, and my stress and coping skills were starting to be challenged, especially as I had little help from Dave, and I was working shifts. One day when he was taking part in a gymnastic display at school, I could see there was something amiss - there he was for the whole school to see, unable to do a roly poly, or walk along a balance beam, even holding someone's hand. His PE teacher had always given him a hard time, couldn't catch a ball, couldn't kick well, all the other boys in his year were the other extreme, very capable physically it made Sam stand out so much more. So I did some googling, and came across dyspraxia, which I'd never heard of, but I found he fitted the term perfectly. School said,yes, how right you are!!!!! cue Ed Psych at long last (he's 9).
I had him assessed by DDAT (DORE) and they described him as having a developmental delay disorder, and signed him up for a two year course of activities to improve the function of the cerebellum. We plugged on with the twice daily exercises, usually with arguments and cross words, until we could bear them no longer. We didn't finish the course, but I hope it wasn't a waste of time and money. I just wanted to do what I could to help him, I felt bad and sad that he had to struggle so much with his life.
When it was time for us to look at secondary schools for Sam, his form teacher told us that she didn't think he would cope in a main stream secondary school, she imagined him in a class of 30 spending the whole lesson, whole day, fiddling, or day dreaming, not learning a thing. She knew he was bright, but he had spent his primary school years in a class of 12, and under her nose where she could keep him on task. So I was thrown into turmoil as to how to facilitate his education.
After much deliberating and advanced maths we sent him to Stover with class sizes of no more than 15, and a high proportion of children with SEN, so I hoped they would take good care of him.
His reports and parents evenings were full of ‘lack of concentration, always disturbing others, easily distracted, getting little work done in class, messy work, fiddling, won't sit still, work handed in late, late for class, not reaching expectations, should be up the top'. Homework was always catching up with class work plus set homework. I could never leave him unsupervised to get on with his work, I would be up and down the stairs to see if he was getting on with it, nothing done while I'd been gone, ended up spending my evenings watching him, never going out because it wouldn't get done, if not done he would be in trouble and have to do it again the next night to catch up, I found myself planning my life around Sam's needs, and so not having a life. Dave had his own. When it was exam time he couldn't look at a book without me to keep his attention on it. Any homework took 3 or 4 times longer than necessary. I wanted to stand back and let him get on with it, but I knew that he would have to spend more time on things at a later time to get it done at all- whose best interests was it in to leave him to it? I didn't want him to fail at school, that would dent his already low self-esteem even more.
So I spent hours and hours over years and years giving Sam all the time and help he needed to get through school, and feel good at the end of it. He was still bullied, still had relationship problems, still ridiculed for his quirky behaviours, his angry outbursts, his lack of sporting abilities, his awkwardness, but as he grew up he became more in control of himself, more self-assured, more outgoing, and had a lot of good friends who accepted him and he didn't feel he needed to prove himself all the time. I asked the SEN tutor if she thought he was ADD, but had no definitive answer. I think he is.
He has a compulsiveness to be clean and washes his hands over and over. He showers every morning, even when he doesn't have time. That is more important to him than being somewhere on time, catching the bus for school. I spent 5 years every morning telling him the time, asking him to speed up, to PLEASE be on time for the bus, PLEASE not to expect me to drive him all the way to school yet again, sometimes 2, 3 times a week (let's just leave Dave in bed shall we, better that way, saves World War 3 before school!) It was the same, no matter how much time I gave him to be ready.
Sam was studying for his GCSE's a year ago, and I was very stressed because he needed so much supervision to get him to get his course work done before the deadlines. He could not work for more than 10 minutes without a break and so his flow of thought was constantly being interrupted. He would not work without listening to music, and any computer work was staccato'd by a need to put another track on on You Tube, and maybe watch the video at the same time.
Since starting at college I have made it clear that I cannot help him, there is no room in my head to cope with his needs. I feel terrible that I can't give him time anymore, and he is failing. I don't know what to do to help him cope with his future, he is scared that he won't get a good job, he knows he won't cope at University, he knows that he can't study alone, can't plan for himself, can't meet deadlines, is often late. I have put so much effort into helping him try to overcome all his weaknesses, which is why I am so exhausted, why I couldn't cope anymore.
Today, nothing much has changed, he is still noisy, still fiddly, touches things, bangs the drums, breaks his pens, can't settle, up and down, procrastinating, late for the bus, hyper-clean, angry, defensive, disorganised, needs little sleep, easily bored, low self esteem........but has amazing attention for his X Box!!
I might be able to think later...will write again. I'm sure there's more I want to say...
Hope you have a good day,
Thank you Kate :)