Thursday, July 15, 2010

Getting Outside Help

Our son hit the inattentive ADD "wall" last year. Expectations increased in 8th grade as the teachers prepare their students for high school, and those higher expectations were incredibly hard on our son. His meds weren't working all year long, and he spent all of the waking hours after school doing homework -- from 3:30 pm to 11: pm, almost every night. We spent those hours reteaching him everything that he had not been paying attention to in school. If you are a parent out there, looking into inattentive ADD, know that we feel your pain.

I began to read multiple books in an effort to figure out exactly what is wrong with our son's attention problems. Phrases like "working memory," "slow processing speed," and other educational jargon are what I'm concentrating on and trying very hard to understand. In my research, I've come across programs like CogMed, and Cognitive Educational Therapy, that are supposed to improve working memory. As a result, we've contacted a local educational therapy group (like Sylvan or Huntington Learning Centers) that provide this sort of thing. My husband and I went there yesterday to have a conference with their experts to discuss the results of our son's 3 hour test. As is often the case, there is a huge discrepancy between his nonverbal IQ (high) and his verbal IQ (very low).

Now comes the situation where one has to decide whether the high cost of these programs is worth it. My feeling is that I HAVE to try something -- I just can't stand by watching my son struggle for another year, spending all of his time doing homework and nothing else. I also can't stand idly by while the school district does nothing to help. They offer a group of classes for kids that are struggling, but I only see this as warehousing my son with kids who don't care about school, and who have parents who don't care about their kid's education -- and are probably the type of kids who would give MY kid a hard time and take advantage of his naivety. My son's grades are much better than these other kid's grades, even with all the struggles that he has. One of the school counselors at his high school took one look at his grades and said "you don't put a kid with grades like this into this program!" [Thank heavens for good school administrators]

So we are going to try this next step, and I'll write about whether I feel it is helping. I could find parent reviews of the CogMed program (which received restrained high praise from parents, and is lower in cost) but I could find no parent reviews about Cognitive Educational Therapy -- so I'm going to provide that for people so they don't have to fly blind in this situation.

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