Wednesday, October 19, 2011

'I don't want to alarm you, but ...'

Oh, well, gosh, you didn't then. Mission accomplished.

What my therapist went on to say was, poor handwriting is frequently a sign of ADD.

The red flag was when kiddo's little friend gave me her apple tree drawing. We hang out frequently with the family, and she's apparently decided I'm good people, so when I dropped kiddo off at school the other day, she asked me to spell my name for her and she wrote it on the back of her tree, and gave it to me. Which was 1. the most adorable thing ever and 2. a bit of an etiquette issue -- are you supposed to take other kids' crafts? Aren't parents supposed to hang on to those forever and ever until they disintegrate? (Just me? Oh.) I did alert her mom, who was fine with it, and said she was glad her kids liked us.

But I looked at the handwriting on the apple tree. And it was ... good. Very readable. Straight lines. Very much not what kiddo does.

The only thing the other school ever said to us was, he doesn't press down on the pencil very hard. If they had also said, and by the way, he can't form a single letter properly and this is not up to par with his age group, we might have, oh I don't know, done something about it?

The new school, however, which gives the older kids real school-type homework, did catch on. And asked us if it was all right to hold off on the more advanced stuff with him -- since he seemed a little out of his depth anyway -- and focus on the handwriting. We've also been getting him to do letters with us at home. Which, maybe we should've been doing anyway, but we weren't expecting him to have academic issues at age 4.

At any rate, my therapist -- who's logged time treating ADD/ADHD kids -- also said kiddo is too young to diagnose properly and we should see how he does over the next year. If he's still having handwriting issues in kindergarten, we should alert the district's child study team, or whatever it's called.

But we've noted kiddo's extreme stubbornness. How easily he gets distracted and how bad he is at listening to instructions sometimes. How he still has tantrums on occasion, even though we've never given in to one and throwing a tantrum is going to get his butt thrown into time out. He works himself up into such a fit, isolating him until he calms down is the only option.

Granted, new school/teachers/classmates and no more naptime. So even though he's seemed more emotional than usual this week, that's probably a factor. (He was so tired last night he fell asleep halfway through his bedtime book.)

But. Previous daycare/teacher types have noted the stubbornness as well, the distractedness. He's our oldest kid -- our only other basis for comparison is our other kid. We're not always sure whether what we're looking at is normal.

Are you helping your kid more by assuming he's normal, or by assuming he isn't?

We also did a little homework last night, which he seemed to get the hang of, and then I convinced him to write his name at the top in marker. It did more or less look like his name, except for the backward N. So who knows.

He's a funny, smart, creative kid. It's just tough to figure him out sometimes.


  1. I would continue to observe him (just like you've been doing) and wait. Wait for more red flags. Wait to see if his stubbornness and other traits start becoming stumbling blocks to his happiness. Wait to see if things quiet down. Wait and watch. Which is not as easy as it sounds, I realize.

  2. Thanks for commenting. That's my plan for the time being. Looking back I feel like maybe there were signs I wasn't seeing ... excessive dramatics, achieving every single milestone at the tail end of the "normal" curve. That sort of thing. But it's also possible I'm connecting dots that aren't there.