stuck on sideways

Yesterday my fourteen year old had one of the best school days he has had in years. Everything seemed to click into place .Math,science,vocabulary all went without a hitch. He even wrote a paragraph that made sense. He remembered to punctuate. He used descriptive words. He even spelled everything correctly. I was so pleased,I bragged him up to his dad and oldest sister.
This is his brain without glitches.
This is how it should be for him.
Today,unfortunately,his brain is on vacation. For whatever reason, he. can. not. think. today. We are on our third hour of math. He cannot multiply. He cannot divide. He is twitching. Because I am kicking his work back for the same mistakes time and time again,he is getting more upset. He is stuck on reverse.We will work through a problem together;step by step. He will then do the exact same problem backwards or to be more precise,sideways.
I cannot tell him to hang it up for the day. That actually makes it worse. All I can do is teach,repeat,repeat and repeat some more. This is the same work he breezed through yesterday. Somehow, he (and his brother and sister,for that matter) needs to learn to use guides (the step by step problems we have gone over,the very well done examples in his text,ask questions if he is unsure, etc) when stuck.. If I do nothing else with my alcohol exposed kiddos, if I can get them to ask for help when they are stuck,if I can get them to look back in their books at the directions, if I can even get them to recognize they are having a hard time thinking, I will have done well. The real world sees them the days,hours,sometimes only minutes when they appear to be “just like everyone else” and does not understand that they are unable to function at that level indefinitely-or even very long-or even at all some days.
Denial being what it is, I want to hold on to those fully functional days. I want the days when the brain cells just click along synapsing as they should to be the norm. It hurts all over again when their brains seize up. One of the hardest things for me is to be able to see-literally-who they were meant to be,to see what they were designed to be capable of, but because of one persons inability to stay sober while pregnant,know how hard they struggle. What must it feel like to know that yesterday you could do your math and it all made perfect sense. Today,everything is scrambled up like eggs in a pan.
My fourteen year old has the hardest time of his siblings. He is the most effected. There isn’t a FAS parent out there that couldn’t pick him out of a line up. ‘Yep, He’s FAS. He looks just like my son.”
I have yet to decide if that is a blessing or not. His brother and sister have an easier time holding things together. They do have interests and talents,where their brother just sort of is. They have no facial features.On the other hand, when they glitch, when cause and effect do not come together, they are considered to be acting purposefully.
Practicality, we will just plug along. Today I will not pack any boxes,or change the sheets on my bed as I could if my son was doing well. Today I will sit a few feet away from him and be a Presence. I will give him instant feed back. I will teach and re-teach and sit in virtual silence until his brain un-sticks or it is time to start supper. What ever comes first.

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About lenell

Wife to a very patient man and mom to 8 interesting kids via birth,marriage and adoption. Grandma to nearly 5,nearly perfect grandchildren.
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One Response to stuck on sideways

  1. Jeanne Holt says:

    ‘Frustrating’ doesn’t seem a big enough word.

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