Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hellions and style-cramping

It always amazes me how different a child behaves at home. Is Unruly a perfectly behaved kid? Not by a long stretch. Is she the holy terror, demon-on-wheels hellion child her kindergarten teacher pretty much described her as, daily? No. Not really. She has moments, but we've learned to deal with and defuse those moments. I guess after living with her for six years, the moments are just moments to us, not day-wrecking behavior. No matter how many suggestions I made to that teacher, and to the principal, the best they could come up with was to take recess away. From a kid who can't sit still. From a kid who needs nearly constant motion. Yeah. Makes sense to me. No wonder her afternoons were horrible.

The school even suggested ADD/ADHD. However, the fatal flaw in that reasoning is she CAN sit and do something that challenges her brain. For hours. She reads at a third grade level, easily, and is already doing double-digit math. She learns things and can't want to share her knowledge. Did you know that a herd of rhinos is called a "Crash?" Me either. Unruly found out and told me. She gobbles up knowledge and information like its the only thing sustaining her.

I feel so bad for her. She wants so desperately to be a "good kid," she just doesn't know how. She's only six and already she hates school. It shouldn't be this way.

"Mom, I want to be good, I really do, I just can't. I try, but I can't." she says. And my heart breaks and I am unable to help her. I do think it's something pyschological with her, some chemical imbalance in her brain or something. Ever since she was a teeny tiny thing she would shake, literally physically shake, with excitement. Like there was just so much uncontrollable excitement built up in her little body that she didn't know what to do with it and it manifested in her physically. Like a shaken soda bottle, pressurized until the cap is twisted off, then all kinds of hell breaks loose. That's Unruly.

We will figure this out. We will help her figure herself out. The challenge now is finding a fairly local therapist/counselor that actually has an opening for youngun's and is accepting new patients. Do you have any idea how difficult this is becoming? Grrr...everyone seems to accept teenagers, but not the school aged kids. It's very, very frustrating.

The girls are spending this week at home alone. While this is usually fine, Wild is a teen and obviously, having a 1st grader around "cramps her style." Her style is cramped. Way out in the country. With no neighbors. And no driving privileges to go anywhere. I don't know what style Unruly is cramping, but I'm all kinds of confused that she even has a style that can be cramped. I even asked her what the heck she would be doing if her sister wasn't home with her and the response perplexed me: "Umm...I don't know. Probably just hang out and watch TV or swim." Exactly what she's doing now, less a sister.

Next week Unruly starts day camp and I'm crossing everything I can possibly cross in hopes that she behaves so she doesn't get kicked out of camp. It would be an awful summer for all involved if she doesn't have some activity to keep her busy every day.


Rebecca said...

Hi-- I came across your blog through links to it from various other blogs... I've put up a link to your blog on mine... Hope that's ok and that you have a great weekend.

By the way, I really appreciate what you're going through right now with your daughter. I work in the school system and apologize for the ways in which your district has brushed you off. It's unacceptable. I hope you can find the right therapist for your family and have someone who can advocate for your and your family.

Slackermommy said...

I've got one who is also unruly she also has been diagnosed with ADD. Don't rule it out because what I've learned about ADD kids is that they can hyper focus on things they love. It also has nothing to do with intelligence. In fact these kids are usually above average in intelligence. It's a shame you are having such a hard time finding a therapist. Maybe you could read some books on spirited children and ADD until you find a therapist.

Jenn said...

Rebecca, welcome! And thank you for the link. I was actually pretty surprised that the school didn't try to help more, even when I was offering suggestions and asking for help. I guess I figured a school district would have a little more experience with kids like mine than I do and would be able to offer some suggestions that worked.

Slackermommy, I've been reading all kinds of books, and websites about different things. So far I've concluded Unruly has OCD, Asperger's syndrome, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, ADD and bi-polar syndrome. I guess my fatal flaw is believing ADD kids are the kids that can't sit for any length of time to do anything. That's all I've ever really heard about ADD. I don't think they aren't as intelligent as other kids, just that they can't sit still for anything for very long. I didn't know they could "hyper focus" if something interests them, because that' is exactly what she does. And she gets upset, really upset, if she can't finish what she started or can't get it exactly as she wants it.

I think I may have found a therapist/counselor team associated with the psychology department at SIUE.

Rebecca said...


I love your do-it-yourself style of diagnosis! Seriously though, all of the syndromes you listed above are very common in the schools. Very. You are not alone, and don't let your school staff make you feel that way.

Some suggestions/things to consider as options in addition to therapy: requesting social work services through your school's social worker; requesting the school psychologist to test Unruly and taking these findings to your pediatrician and/or psychologist.

Getting as much information as possible and including as many professionals is crucial. So many times kids have dual-diagnosis and everything can get very complicated and overlapped. For example, ADD meds can work wonders for kids with Aspergers, etc.

I work with kids with all of these diagnoses: ADD, Aspergers, ODD, Bipolar, you name it. The right interventions and collaborations can make a world of difference and allow these kids to experience success in the classroom.

Email me at if you want to discuss further!

Jenn said...


Thank you for the suggestions. Right now I'm working on getting an appointment for her with a therapist and psychologist and just going from there.

The most frustrating part of "working" with the school was the feeling I got that Unruly's issues were something they were unwilling to work with, or think outside the box to help her have a successful kindergarten year.