Monday, May 17, 2010

Books That Help Kids

I haven't talked much about it here, for various reasons, but Eric's had a pretty rough school year. All of his grades are great on the academic front, but he continues to struggle with anything related to fine motor skills and paying attention/staying on task. It is rather frustrating because he is such a smart boy (so his teacher says too, not just my bias) yet so many seemingly simple tasks are a huge effort for him.

In years past when the fine motor issues arose, and the concentration too, I was told to give him time. Sometimes kids outgrow this stuff, and he's such a good boy! And so smart! So we waited.
This year, it came to a point where I could no longer sit and wait for the miraculous point at which he overcame everything and suddenly all was easy, because suddenly I wasn't so sure that moment was going to occur without some intervention.

We went to the pediatrician for a consult for ADD and he fits the profile to the letter. We did decide not to place him on meds for now as his behavior is good and he doesn't have any problems with hyperactivity. Also, his struggles in school, while frustrating, are relatively minor and not interfering with his reading, math or science, all of which he is excelling at. We did get him on a 504 plan, which will allow him extra time on assignments, as well as a little more help and redirection in the classroom.

The next step for me, was to identify if his writing deficiencies were an actual fine motor delay or if it was tied into the ADD or a case of I don't want to-itis and got Eric evaluated with an Occupational Therapist. This uncovered low muscle tone in his upper body, as well as hand weakness and some sensory issues (although minor in that regard.) So, OT is recommended, but we are on a waiting list (which is so frustrating, but hoping to start that this summer.)

Anyway, all that to say, while Eric was fairly happy go lucky at the beginning of this year, he has been extremely frustrated of late and beginning to show signs of anxiety (which he's always been a worrier, but both I and his teacher were noticing it more) and also a problem with his temper - mostly in relation to his brothers.

I can't really stress how sad, and anxious I have been about my boy! Mad at myself for not seeking intervention sooner, and wondering what more I could have done to help. Then I decided to stop looking into the past and work on it right now. I hated the thought of him having this anxiety, but wasn't quite sure what to do about it, and I found a book that got rave reviews on Amazon called "What to Do When You Worry Too Much" by Dawn Huebner, Ph.D. I've been reading it with all of the boys and I will say, while Eric still worries more than I'd like to see, he is also more relaxed and happy *most* of the time than I've seen him in quite awhile. The biggest thing I find is I know more how to respond to him. How to minimize the anxiety without making him feel like I'm not listening or not caring. It's actually helped me with some of the other kids too. The hugest thing is that he is talking to me about stuff that before I never had any idea he even noticed or had concerns about, so I can better help him through it.

The other book is "What to Do When Your Temper Flares," by the same author. The same result. This one is a little trickier because all of my kids tend to flip out when things don't go their way, but I am noticing positive results here as well. Again, largely because I am learning the things to say, to remind them to keep their cool. How much more peaceful is it around here? Okay, honestly, there is still tons of chaos and bickering, but definitely less screaming and melting down. So, I'd say it's a win.

I just wanted to post about these books and recommend them because they have helped our family. The next one I plan to get is "What to Do When I Grumble Too Much," because boy oh boy I have some grumbly guys!

Can I just tell you a secret? They've helped me too. I found myself stressing about a situation earlier today and took a deep breath and reminded myself that I should lock the worry away, and deal with it if it came up. Which isn't exactly the language the book uses (it tells kids to lock their worries in a "Worry Box" and not think about it until "Worry Time") but it was definitely helpful.

I ordered these books from Amazon if you feel like they would help your kids. If you are a local friend, I'd be happy to loan them to you to look at to see if you think they'd help.


Shanna said...

Ah, I hope Eric is okay! Good for you for getting him the help he needs!! And thanks for the recommendations. I'm not much of a worrier, but the temper one might come in handy around here, for at least 3 or 4 of us!

Sue @ Laundry for Six said...

Oh those books sound great! Going to check them out now! I hope you get into OT soon. As you know, that changed our lives!

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