Reality Check

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by JJJ, Oct 20, 2007.

  1. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    husband and I actually got out for a night without the kids!!!!

    My mom babysat. It was her first time seeing the kids in a few weeks and her first time seeing Kanga for more than a few minutes in over a month.

    She commented that she was shocked by how blatant Kanga's intellectual disability has become as she has gotten older. That if she'd have closed her eyes, she would have sworn she was talking with my 6 year old niece -- the topics of conversation, the grammar, the word choice -- all just so horribly young.

    husband and I are slowly grasping that college is not in her future. We had seen flashes of it before, but always believed that we could help her to achieve and that she could go to college, not Ivy League, but a junior college at least.

    I think her Learning Disability (LD) may be just as big of a handicap as her mental illness. The problem is she is smart enough to know she is slow and mentally fragile enough to become depressed by it.

    On a good note, I needed to clean the house and I was able to get Kanga to help me all day! I lowered my expectations and kept each task small and she was able to help.

    That is my reality check. I think I need to admit that she is functionally retarded (even if her IQ is technically normal) and lower my expectations. This is hard.
  2. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Triple J,

    I've had those moments of awareness with wm especially. He's so delayed in so many ways but mostly emotionally.

    husband & I over the last 2 years acknowledged that we didn't have to worry about the big cost of college for either kt or wm. It broke husband's heart. He's big on education - loves learning just for the sake of learning.

    kt & wm struggle with grasping so many of the simple concepts needed in school. In many ways, like your kanga.

    I feel for you & husband. This is heart breaking. However, on the other side, acceptance is necessary to prepare kanga for her future as an adult.

    Knowing her limitations will help you guide her to her highest level of functionality. She may find a vocation that she just loves & thrives in. kt so wants to become a massage therapist. We are working with her on what she would need to achieve that goal.

    If & when kanga starts talking about an interest for the future you can guide her. Plant seeds, if you will.

    If she needs a group home you can start advocating now. If she needs assisted living again now is the time.

    husband & I have already started the process of becoming guardians for wm & in turn kt, if it becomes necessary after the age of 18. We are looking into adult group homes & getting their names on the waiting list. Given the lack in our communities now is the time.

    Acceptance & awareness hurts - it also can help guide you through the next steps in your kanga's life.

    Sending you & husband gentle (((hugs))) tonight.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I feel our ambition for our kids as parents is to see them do the best they can to be independent, happy and fulfilled. That's the goal. If the best the child can do is only partial independence, then finding somewhere that the child can always rely on support is the way to fill the gap.

    JJJ, do you have copies of hr past psychometric assessments? You said she has a normal IQ, but functionally just can't cut it. Have you looked at the sub-scores? They can give you big pointers on exactly where (and often, why) she is having difficulty, and where he strengths lie. I was just talking about this with a friend today, whose son struggled at school and is doing well in his job despite being unable to read. "He's still pulling down $85 thou a year," his mother told me. [that's Aussie dollars - still not to be sneezed at, I wouldn't mind an income like that].
    Too often when a child who is gifted AND learning disabled is assessed at school, they give you a final number from averaging out all the little scores on each test. If the scores are all fairly close together in the same ball-park, that's OK. but when there are BIG gaps, of say, more than six or seven, then this is masking not only the learning problems but also any giftedness.

    You've been told she is average IQ. That's round about 100. But what if one sub-score is 80, and another is 120? She needs support in the area which got the low score, and encouragement in the high score area.
    Example, from my own kids - difficult child 1. I can't find a complete assessment of him, just one which gives his tested reading age. He was thirteen and a half, same age as difficult child 3 now.
    We'd sent him for this particular assessment because he had scored 15 in one area, but only scored 6 in coding - this is where they have to copy from one place to another.
    The more detailed assessment found he scored above average in memory for designs, average (and performed haphazardly) in transferring designs (not using memory) and perfect score in visual discrimination. He also got a perfect score in auditory discrimination, auditory reception. He scored average in fine and gross motor coordination and showed mixed/ambidextrous dominance. In reading - his reading rate was below average (just a little), his reading accuracy was well above average and his reading comprehension was poor. I can't give more detail because this is a lousy copy, a lot of it is illegible.
    The simple conclusion, after averaging everything, is of someone with a normal IQ. A school counsellor told us he was not capable of doing the work he was actually doing, therefore I must have been 'pressure-cooking' him to achieve.[you can't actually do that - you can't force a kid to perform better than they are capable of].
    This particular expert told us that difficult child 1 "appears to be functioning normally. However, it seems that the processing of visual material quickly is an ability he performs poorly, especially compared to his other noon-verbal performance scores." He said that there was some problem in how difficult child 1 processed information. Well, we already knew that, and after working on this one for years, it seems difficult child 1 has short-term memory deficits which he has compensated for by using his long-term memory. This slows him down but increases his accuracy and ability to recall for a long time. He was in the bottom 3% of his peers, for speed of processing visual information. Poor planning ability - also connected to difficulty manipulating information in his head and processing things.

    If we had been able to find a way to help his short-term memory, we would have made a big difference to how he performs not only in these tests, but in so many other areas. Instead, what has happened over time is he has found his own way around a lot of these problems.

    Very few of us can afford a full, private psychometric assessment. But you CAN cut costs by taking the school's test results to a private expert and asking for more detailed study of the low score areas. This is only worthwhile if you have seen a big discrepancy.

    Or you can study your child, study the reports and try to find your own way to support her and help her feel safe, but to also extend her in areas where she can perform well already.

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 is bright but a perfectionist who is also obsessive. She excels at meticulous, detailed work. From very young, her drawings were finely detailed. Yet she hates to analyse text and would have dropped out of her English course, if it weren't compulsory. But in the books she reads, she memorises and discusses them in meticulous detail. She can't be pushed or led, she has to find the way for herself. Stubborn. She also has processing problems, but different to her older brother.

    In years past, easy child 2/difficult child 2 would have made a fabulous lace maker, she would have been devising new patterns as well. Or a seamstress. difficult child 1 would have been ideally suited as a falconer. Or a strapper at a stables.

    As things currently stand, easy child 2/difficult child 2 is studying to be a teacher and difficult child 1 is trying to get a carpentry apprenticeship.

    When they start to study something that suits them, they relax, they are happier, they are enthusiastic about their interests. They will talk incessantly about the course, or the topic.

    Wherever Kanga is coming from, she is going to need basic life skills. Teach her what she can handle, as she can handle it. If she wants to do more, expresses an interest in something, let her try it. For example, difficult child 3 loves to read my cakes and gateaux cookbook. He can barely make a basic banana cake, but he avidly reads about crystallised violets, poached marrons, meringue shell filled with fruit and cream in Spanische Windtorte - I couldn't attempt these in a pink fit. Then his German teacher sent him instructions on making a Schwartzwalder Kirschtorte - and he made it. He was meticulous about following the recipe - a problem, since "double cream" in the recipe is NOT "double cream" in Australia. Then he took a photo of his masterpiece, beside the photo of the recipe.

    And now he considers himself an accomplished chef. He has more confidence in the kitchen although he is still to nervous to peel potatoes!

    Give them the gentle push and the encouragement and do not feel hampered by what t hey seemingly CAN'T do.

    And talking to difficult child 3 also sometimes feels like talking to a six year old - until he comes out with his big words, usually in association with computer technology. He's a walking thesaurus, because he reads rather than hears. But he cannot comprehend much that is abstract.

  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    I am so sorry. This is heartbreaking for you. It really su&(s when we are forced to see the problems our children have so clearly.

    It does give us a chance to think about our expectations of them. From this comes new tools to help them be the best and happiest they can be.

    I can't say what is in kanga's future, except that she has is lucky to have a mom who loves her so clearly and unconditionally. This will give her a leg up on the world.

    Sending you gentle hugs today,

  5. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    I personally think it is too early to make that prediction. Soooo much can change for any kid in the teen years. Just be prepared for anything to happen!