Tuesday, November 9, 2010

is it bad When M texts me midway through her "assessment?"

The neuropsychologist fans through stacks of paperclipped test printouts, referencing them as proof. She leans forward a bit, looking right at me not to the point of intimidating. Apparently my daughter excelled in these simple (elementary / middle school level) tests, "so obviously she doesn't have any learning disorders."

Um, what?

While this woman moves to her next points, I stay stuck on that sentence. I instead wonder if she meant that ADD / ADHD isn't a learning disorder. I wonder if she believes that M does not possibly have ADD / ADHD, and if not, is this woman really basing her opinion that could become a diagnosis (or rule out diagnosis) on THOSE tests?

M's been on Vynase for months now. The neuropsychologist doesn't know if it'd remain in M's system or not, and as M wasn't on the medicine that day and did above average on her focus test, the neuropsychologist doesn't plan to pursue any additional ADHD testing. Um, one test, and she's an expert but doesn't know the potential interactions for the prescriptions for what she tests for and provides diagnoses for? She may e-mail M's neurologist for clarification on how long it remains in the system. Good, I hope so. I'd read previously to not stop it cold turkey; it makes sense to me that it could very readily maintain a baseline in the system vice just flushing out. We'll find out.

"And, I didn't notice her fidgeting." Never mind that reports indicate that M "fidgets" sufficiently often, and used to get commented on it regularly in "Intermediate," i.e., her middle school. Never mind that some people don't show the outwards signs of physical hyperactivity; their brains can still be all over the place. Never mind that she was in a new situation so would be on higher alert and focus, and may be retaining some medicine within her system controlling "fidgeting."

I'm, of course, grateful that my daughter doesn't have anything obvious that has hindered her in her elementary nor too badly in her middle school years. Oh, M's "presented" with symptons of ADD since Lower Elementary, often, and we share these fantastic "orange swirl" bounce all over the place yes there is some random vague connection and we can follow each other, really, conversations at times. It's just now in her higher level high school classes that this perceived way her brain processes information has hindered her more academically.

That's how we got here. Her chronic hiccupping lead to pediatrician visits, who ruled out some potential causes such as acid reflux, which lead to an excellent neurologist, who ruled out other things, including brain tumour and seemingly Tourette's isn't going on, either, thankfully. This doctor listens, had a very bright roommate in med school who had ADHD, has a son with ADHD, and understands that intelligent people can have disabilities, too. He felt that M was presenting with enough ADD/ADHD symptons to prescribe an Rx likely to subdue the hiccups and help take the edge off the ADD. The dosage for a small 5 year old was tried first, and then it's been increased twice. The edge is off, it really seems to be working for both things. I'm so pleased.

Just with this dosage, the neurologist wanted to go ahead and have M seen by a neuropsychologist. She sounded good enough, was recommended, doesn't take insurance argh but will help me submit and it's covered mostly. I figured it was worth laying out the money for, if this could help M achieve her personal optimal functioning. Even if some behavioral tricks are taught to her, I don't care, help her please.

Yes, M may also have nerves. She's not the same, however, as the neuropsychologists daughter who got very very nervous before exams in law school. Nah, M and I have talked quite a bit about her first half of her assessment. M is fine going in to an exam, or in-class essay that'll count as an exam, or starting off a project. She won't get nervous until the 10 and 5 minute bells ring when she realizes that she's been so caught up in searching through her brain for information and ideas, and how to write it all down, properly and hopefully perfectly, that she's only gotten through maybe half of the test........ then, yes, she gets nervous:)

M was the only one of her friends actually excited to take AP World History this year; she enjoys social studies courses and history. My boyfriend, E, asks me how hard can history be, even AP World History with literally several thousands of years worth of information within a few weeks of academic study time. He remembers classes asking when this happened, or who was the Commander / King / President in year x. Nah, in her class, she's asked to compare and contrast two different countries in relation to their, oh, I don't know something appropriate and applicable that has a student think about her answer. Great stuff, can only help them learn and appreciate more, just takes a lot longer.

The class M was worried about taking is her AP Lang class. Lang stands for Language something else, basically her English class for this year. M is learning a lot and I believe actually enjoys it and her teacher. She was worried about the AP exam, and how on earth she'd get her thoughts down, in time.

But, now? Ask about her homework, "Honey, are you having any trouble with any of your classes, do you understand what you're supposed to do?" "It's not that it's hard, there's just a lot." M does have the intellectual capability for the level classes she is taking, and the neuropsychologist even agrees via the ingelligence test. She did, however, gently nudge me to consider M taking less AP classes, or less classes overall, if she's too nervous and feeling overwhelmed. I asked M what she thought of potentially taking lower level classes instead of AP (college level). "No way, I'd be SOOOOOO bored." I knew that. Boring can even bring on the inattention, and potentially poorer grades. I don't see boring as a solution and will let M figure out how many and which AP classes to take next year.

Besides, other than World History where several whole projects were never turned in argh, and a few others turned in the last week of the grading period, and even with getting A's on the portions of tests that she finishes and, um, zeros on the parts she doesn't get to, she has maintained excellent grades. With a few months time to learn her classes, a new planner, and this slightly higher dosage of Vynase, she may even get an excellent grade on the rest of her history, too. (She tends to get A's, some B's, and a glaringly out of place set of E's.) M says this shows that she can handle her three AP courses and other classes. As long as she maintains handling it emotionally as well, great! We both believe that she is. That is worth "teasing" out, as the neuropsychologist terms it, just don't hang a hat on it out of proportion to M's reality.

Apparently these tests didn't challenge M sufficiently to keep her mind truly on task, however, as she'd memorized the majority of the titles of the books on the neuropsychologists bookshelf, and thee exact placement of the various decorations, et al. Gosh, so had I actually, so M and I laughed that we'd both done that.....

Today was the second half of this assessment. M asked if it was really worth it, besides, this time I had to pull her from part of school. She hates to miss any of school, in large part as it's so difficult to make up sometimes. She'd forgotten her medicine at her fathers and I didn't even bother telling the neuropsychologist this time. I may, just haven't.

I knew it could finish early, I knew that there'd be one test on a high school / college level. I hadn't expected a text from M so early. "I just want to leave." Oh. Yikes. Later M told me that she was simply really tired and bored. M was moving her feet and legs around slightly when I arrived. This is common enough, or was a lot more common before she started her medicine, and it doesn't bother me. This time, I figured I'd say something so that I was in essence pointing it out to the neuropsychologist. "So, are you dancing?" "Yes." Talking with the woman, exchanging administrative items. "Is that your [non-traditional] set?" "Yes." She was "hand dancing" a smidgen as well, now that I think about it. SO tired and SO ready to just leave, she was no longer finding the woman and these tests to be a novelty. She even interrupted me a couple times enroute back to her school, and I didn't correct her; she just wishes to get her thoughts across before she forgets. I'm understanding that now.

So, my daughter who "obviously has no learning disability," while taking assessments to theoretically test her ability to stay on task, was also memorizing the details of the room including all the titles of all of the books and their exact placement, practicing her dance steps, and texting me. Uh-huh.


  1. Test comment - on which email does this come through?

  2. YEAH, last time I tried, I couldn't log in, as if it needed my google screenname. Um, I can't remember that one (even if I remember that password). Phew, this time I could view via my aol:) Thanks, Guido for having me try again -- I could log in to view yours, then come to my own.