We are winding up our never ending school year around here.My eighth grader only has to finish his current chapter in math and his reading. I am stopping him in the middle of a few text books and we will pick up where we left off in the fall. It is becoming apparent that I need to reassess where he is at before he begins high school.
His difficulties in math are interfering with his ability to do his science. He has an almost non-existent ability to take any information and apply it elsewhere. this becomes a problem when doing latter jr high and high school level work. He can memorize.He can memorize the formula for the area of a rectangle,but he forgets how to work the formula;adding where he should multiply. Sometimes it is difficult to figure out what he is doing because he still from time to time mixes up his math functions .Reading comprehension is also one of those things he can have on one day,but struggle with the next. His sister has similar issues, but not nearly to the same degree. Their brother’s issues are entirely different. Once he has learned something,he is able to apply it elsewhere. He also glitches,but his is more in processing speed. He also will still have moments where he looks lost,but then snaps back. I have written before on his loss of most of his cognitive ability when he hit puberty. He occasionally has brief periods when it re-occurs. (we have never had an answer for this. It is not seizure activity,and yes it scares me)
Because his deficits are greater,my eighth grader he may not be able to follow the same high school course as his siblings. This is not an epiphany. Unfortunately,the areas of strength he showed when younger are not continuing. I had hoped if he was unable to make progress academically,I would be able to transition him to life skills and more hands on projects. Now,I am not so sure.
I think I am going to have to figure out how to go backwards with his schooling without him catching on to what I am doing. He is not going to be able to help garden,or do household projects without one on one supervision. This is not because he won’t follow instructions (although we do have that issue from time to time) so much as he cannot follow multi-step instructions. I am talking about written instructions. Inability to follow multi-step verbal instructions is a given. Throw in a bit of hormonal overload and age appropriate distaste of being under female rule and it presents a bit of a challenge.
When he was small and learning to add and subtract each math fact was really six in his brain. 1+2=3 ,2+1=3,problems written out in word form,and one object plus two objects or two objects plus one object equaling three objects were yet more individual facts to learn. When learning his alphabet,print,cursive,upper and lower case were all different languages in his brain. Try then teaching phonics and you can see the challenges involved.
He still learns this way.
The problem is, I have been assuming he has outgrown the worst of this. I do not think he has. I think I have just been oblivious to the reason he has struggled this past year.
You see, I do not care what any parent of a neurologically impaired (FAS) child says. We all think /hope,somewhere in the recesses of what is left of our own brains, if we work hard enough,re-teach often enough,change our diets,remove video, move to the country and /or city,stand on one hand while hopping backwards,we can make our child whole. It is what keeps us always looking for the fairy dust that will undo,rebuild,make new our children’s minds. It is a combination of denial and hope and love and stubbornness on our parts.
Reality has little to do with it.
Yes,we do understand the reality.We are steeped in it. We see a thirteen year old (who is reading Robert Jordan) look at his fork with confusion because he has forgotten what it is for. We remind our fourteen year old that the ‘x’ means to multiply,not to add. We are reminded when our nineteen year old cannot figure out that the rain is coming in and to shut the windows,or “it is cold,put on your jacket””,or “it is hot,take your jacket off”. We are reminded when there is no one to invite to our teen’s birthday. We are reminded every minute of every day.
And still we will look for that magic curriculum,supplement,fairy dust that will make our child all better.
I’ll let you know when I find it.
You let me know if you find it first.