Butterfly grew up with food intolerances and was diagnosed with ADHD, Asperger's
Syndrome, and learning difficulties. Now she struggles with OCDs.
This is the story of how we have faced these challenges.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Those Tests

When you go to a counselling facility, you're supposed to be wanting some counselling. Not that everything in our challenging lives was perfect, but we weren't there for that. And I wasn't looking forward to having to explain Butterfly's food intolerances and reactions to someone accustomed to resolving family rifts. But I did. Some of what the counsellor had to say was interesting, but mostly she addressed Butterfly's oppositional behaviour as if she was a "normal" kid. A lot of people see extra challenges as "excuses," because if you haven't seen them, you don't necessarily believe them.
But I persisted, and told the counsellor about Butterfly's dance lessons. Yes, she had a whole season of jazz and tap, and at the end-of-year recital, she was the only one who didn't know the dance moves in the group numbers. This, despite the fact that she'd had more lessons than the other kids, including some private sessions, because they were ALL from homes having marital difficulties and were variously absent from classes during those visits with Dad. (The dance instructor actually told us we were very odd because we were the only parents who were together.)

I had been doing my own research on-line again, and had discovered a site that described learning disabilities. I was sure Butterfly had Dyscalculia, described as the inability to remember dance moves, read clock faces, remember even simple math... hmmm. It all sounded remarkably familiar. And like a lot of people, I had assumed that reading and writing came from the same place in the brain. But they don't. So even though Butterfly's reading and comprehension was good, her inability to understand even basic grammar or to write properly was probably Dysgraphia.

After dance hadn't worked out, we put Bud into a gym class. The idea of all this was to help her focus with controlled activities, as well as to put her with kids her own age for awhile. She played a season of local kids' baseball as well. She did ok in the gym activities, but I noticed that some of the young coaches weren't including her. This is something we kept encountering. Bud was shy and distant with others and tended to stand off to one side, as if trying to blend in with the background. So she kept being left out of activities, instead of being encouraged to step up. This is not what we were paying for, so the gym classes didn't last long. But while she was there, I also noticed that she was dragging her right leg and foot. She got through most activities all right, but her right foot was always lower and finished behind the rest of her. She couldn't make it over the pommel horse, because she just didn't get her right foot up high enough. This suggested to me that there was some sort of damage on the left side of Bud's brain.

I was telling the counsellor about this and guessing that I was going to have to embark on some sort of study of the human brain, when she suggested that she arrange some testing for Butterfly. Well, ok then. Not only did we finally get there, we lucked out with the psychologist who did the testing. I'll call her Rita. So, Rita did a lot of testing of kids like Butterfly in the local school system, and while she didn't reveal any identities, she did tell us some horror stories about some of the kids she had to deal with. This made me all the more determined to stick with homeschooling. In fact, Rita was a big fan of the idea and the possibilities it held for kids with special needs. At last! Some understanding and support!

It was summer and school was out, so Rita had lots of time to give Butterfly thorough testing. They confirmed my suspicions about the learning difficulties and more. Rita told me to look up Asperger's Syndrome on the internet, and proceed accordingly.

2 comments:

  1. I leave here every night waiting for the next installment. I think you will have a book when you are done!

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  2. I think that's what it's shaping up to be! I have another post ready for tomorrow (Sunday), but it's bedtime now. :)

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