Wednesday, April 12, 2006

ADDing Up the Evidence

I'm sorry I haven't posted anything in a while - I've been busy riding the rollercoaster that is Jamie's schooling. He has been doing very well in almost all his subjects. He gets A's and B's in math, science, social studies and the creative arts. But spelling and language arts - that's another matter entirely!

Last report card, Jamie had a C in reading and a D in language arts. Currently, the highest grade he's gotten in language arts this nine-weeks is a 65! All year I've been fighting with the school, telling them there has to be a reason why Jamie has no reading comprehension skills, no memory retention for spelling, impulsivity, inability to pay attention and constant disorganization. I've had meetings with the teacher, meetings with the counselor, meetings with the principal, meetings with the speech therapist, etc. I've been telling them all along that Jamie needs to be tested for learning disabilities. I was told "we don't see any evidence of that."

Finally, I went over their heads and called the district office for special education to ask what I needed to say to get it in their heads that I'm serious and want Jamie tested. A couple of weeks ago I was finally able to sit down with his teacher, counselor, therapist and district education specialist all at once and we agreed, "Yes, Jamie needs to be tested" (gee, where had I heard that before?) They also recommended that Jamie see a child psychiatrist to be tested for behavioral disorders. Seeing as how I had already taken Jamie to his pediatrician, an allergist and a neurologist looking for answers, I figured a child psychiatrist couldn't hurt. So, I took him to one.

He said he was "about 95% certain" Jamie has Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD (Oh... so THAT'S what the title of this post means!) He is on a mild medication to hopefully help him focus. He's only been on it about a week, but he seems to be doing better. I used to have to fight with him to get him to sit down and read five pages. Now he sits down and reads five to ten chapters in his Larry-Boy chapter books! Jamie will be further tested later this month to see if there are any other psychological things that are holding him back in school.

As for the learning disabilities, we don't know yet. The education coordinator called me this morning to let me know she was going to start the testing today. I don't know how long it will take. I won't be upset if he does have any, or if he doesn't; I just want to know definitely what's wrong, and the best way to help him. Anyone who knows Jamie also knows he is far too intelligent for his problems in school to be at all related to his IQ. I'll keep you all posted!