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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

School for the Disorganized Child

Most people make resolutions in early January.  In our house we make resolutions in August and September.  Our son CJ will begin 5th grade in less than 2 weeks and he's not the only one dreading it.  CJ has ADHD and struggles with focus even with medication.  He seems to float through the day, more comfortable in virtual reality worlds of games and TV than in real life.  It's challenging for parents who are highly motivated overachievers.

At the end of the last school year, I found myself in tears in front of Kentster, CJ's teacher, the school speech pathologist and school psychologist.  While the teacher shared our serious concerns about CJ's inability to keep up, the psychologist was more interested in telling us what they couldn't do for him.  I begged for guidance, a clue, SOMETHING that would help us unlock what CJ needed to succeed.

So here we are again.  It's almost August and we have resolutions to find a way to help our son.  Over the summer we unlocked some answers in great books about executive functioning:  "Organizing the Disorganized Child" by Dr. Martin Kutscher and Marcella Moran, and "Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary 'Executive Skills' Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential," by Peg Dawson and Richard Guare.  As I've read these books I've been wondering how these people snuck into my house because they are definitely describing my kid.  The basic premise is that some kids (especially ADHD kids) lack the "executive skills" (not CEO skills, but more like the basic organizational skills to get from point A to point B) to organize their desks, much less their cluttered minds.  As a result, we now have some new resolutions which are developing into strategies to get this school year off to the right start.

I'm convinced that resolutions are a sign of faith and hope that all things are possible with God's guidance.  However, I'm a little skeptical about our ability to perservere when the school year (and church year and legal year) gets more hectic.  Check back with us after the first quarter is over and let's see how we're all doing with our "executive skills" :)