Thursday, September 24, 2009


Rebecca is struggling in school--specifically reading, which we've known, but up to this point we have been eking by. We are hopeful, every year, that this is the year she will get it--that something will click. She has begun third grade and the clicking has yet to happen.
We know what the symptoms are but don't know much else. She does well with math, but is still constantly writing her numbers backwards. It is like we are teaching her things, she learns them, and then it slips out of her brain and we are starting all over again. It gets discouraging for us and for her as all her friends and classmates advance and she does not. Rather, she sometimes actually seems to regress.
Words that she knew in first or second grade constantly seem brand new. Very frustrating and I'm feeling a bit of a failure here. Being a reading addict myself, it is a hard thing to watch my child struggle with this. I thought, because she has had many of the same tendencies as I did at her age she would be like I was and love to read. But looking back I realize that all through these particular years I was medicated. Maybe it made a difference? I don't know. In our brains everything is constantly misfiring, or worse, firing all at once. When a person is fighting to focus on any particular thing, which we clearly see Rebecca fighting with every day, the information isn't being retained.

My dad has this problem. Numbers have always made more sense to him and reading has just not been a strong point. The way his brain works is entirely different than the norm, and the same for Aaron, my brother. Don't ask me why I thought we might not get at least one child who didn't dodge the bullet of my biological mental disaster.
No one who was not present from the moment Rebecca was born could understand what incredible strides she has taken behaviorally and socially. So many of our fears for her have already been eased it has been easy for us to overlook the things that have not improved with time. Time has been our stratagem--just giving her more time. Time time time. More time.
Time is not easing this problem--it is like she is stuck.

As a mom I feel pretty helpless watching her struggle with things when I understand what she must feel like and what she are in for as life gets more complicated. For myself, I take an anti-seizure medication in order to calm down the racing in my mind that otherwise takes over my life, leaving me to expend all my energies just trying to calm it. Simple things like driving, cleaning, or following a conversation become a lot easier when your thoughts are not racing. We haven't done the medication with Rebecca yet--kind of looking at that as a last resort.

We are finally going to have her get some formal testing, which I have been pushing for. We need to understand what it is that is specifically the problem. Why she cannot remember a word she has seen 1000 or more times, why all the letters are mixed up in the word, why she cannot see smaller words within a word, such as "become" or "without." People keep saying, just read, read--the light will come on. So far, not much lighting. What is particularly frustrating is that we know she is smart and can do this. The strange thing is her comprehension is high--just the opposite of what we would be expecting. She understands everything I read to her, she just can't read it herself. We listened to "Life of Pi" on the way home from California this year. No movies, just listening. Rebecca followed it.

Meeting with a specialist today. I started out this year going in the first week to start squeaking the wheel first thing. She has a young and ambitious teacher--one of the things I love about Utah--and I think we are moving in the right direction.

I made the decision shortly after the kids started school (first 2 days maybe?) to quit school (taking an online class) and dropped all of my classes a couple of days into the semester--after I had my financial aid, bought the books, met with the advisor... (My timing on the whole decision making process isn't great.) I just didn't want to look back in the future and wonder if I wasn't plugged in enough to help her. If nothing else, I can provide her with structure.
When I met with BYU to see what this was going to mean for future ambitions they were very supportive, even a little pushy. Can you take just night classes? Can you just forfeit the semester and start back up in the winter? Nope. Once I made the decision it was an easy one and kind of a surprise to everyone, including my husband. He was just like the school and tried to get me to rethink it --except I know was secretly delighted to have a full time wife again:)
So that's Rebecca. Then, there is John, which none of us can figure out...but that worry is for another day. For now, we are hoping he just needs time. Lots of time.

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