First and foremost, thank you. Thank you to all the mamas who reached out after my We Need a Diagnosis post and offered their own personal story, added much needed advice, shared many “us too’s” and ultimately reminded me why community and vulnerability go hand-in-hand.
Mama’s, you gave me confidence, courage and support that I didn’t even realize I was longing for.
So, where are we now…
We’ve got a diagnosis. An eye doctor visit and Doodle’s psychoeductional evaluation have resulted in a better understanding of what the Doodle has been struggling with and what steps we will be taking next to support growth, improvement and foundational skills for Doodle’s success going forward.
From a psychoeductional evaluation perspective Doodle was diagnosed with Frontal Lobe and Executive Function Deficit (EFD). Which in simplistic terms means that Doodle struggles to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, or manage multiple tasks. She struggles to process and program even after repetitive effort has been made. In years past Doodle’s teachers have expressed concerns over the potential of ADD and we (as her parents and tutors) have expressed concerns over the potential of dyslexia, but no one explored or maybe didn’t even know to explore EFD. EFD and ADD are tightly linked, but far from synonymous. Both make it exceedingly difficult to complete tasks and stay organized, but EFD is a broad condition that also affects attention, learning and social, organizational and time-management skills in ways that differ from ADHD. What we know so far, Doodle struggle with processing and time management. What Doodle has is EFD. What Doodle does not have is Dyslexia or ADD.
So what does this all mean? It means that Doodle would benefit from support at school and at home. At school Doodle should be in a minimally distracting seating arrangement, she should create a secret signal with her teacher to bring her back on task, Doodle should be allowed to break more often from tasks in order to allow her to refocus, she should be given tasks that allow her a mental break and movement that will bring her back to focused, she should sit on a wiggle chair and ultimately get more time on tests in order to review and correct her work. Simply, Doodle needs time because right now time management alludes her.
At home, Doodle needs a focused environment for homework in which distractions are limited to soft quiet music and our help. In this environment it is suggested that Doodle use a ball chair for stability and mental stimulation which leads to focus. It is suggested that we practice repetitive instruction and engage Doodle in repeating asks back to us. Most importantly we are Doodle’s advocate in teaching her how to center herself naturally with meditation, music, activity, intentional breaks and self management. It is our job to teach her time management with planners, in-home goals and support. And as always, a healthy focus on nutrition and how to fuel the Doodle’s body is key in calming all chaos (this tid bit is beneficial for all of us, not just the Doodle).
The book Smart but Scattered was a recommended read for us as her parents. It has been ordered. I will write a review upon completion.
As for what we learned from our eye doctor… The Doodle has hypermetropia (bilateral) and regular astigmatism (bilateral). Meaning the kiddo has a struggle seeing close up and has a hard time focusing and tracking. What this means for her as a student in particular; it is a struggle for Doodle to keep up as her eyes are always working harder than her classmates. Because her eyes struggle to focus when she transitions from looking at the board, to her paperwork, back to the board it is assumed she is missing slides, notes, key points, etc, making it nearly impossible to keep up.
The solution – glasses! Boy is the Doodle excited for glasses.
Aside, from her joy, the glasses will be a two-fold solution. One – the glasses will indicate to her that she is smart enough, she just needed help. After years of hearing she is behind, not keeping up, etc she has a belief that she is not smart. The simple task of getting glasses answers so many questions and tells her that she is smart, but her eyes were challenging her and creating a struggle. They’ll be her super hero cape moving forward that remind her she is smart. Two – she’ll get the support she needs to focus on the board and her paperwork.
The Doodle was over the moon to be getting glasses. I took her to my tried and true – Warby Parker! I mean a decent selection of glasses for kids and a price point no parent can argue with. $95 for glasses for kids (or adults) is beyond reasonable. It allows for more than one pair to be purchased in case the Doodle loses a pair, scratches a pair or happens to break a pair.
We visited our local Warby Parker at Scottsdale Quarter to review the selection on hand. The Doodle picked up and tried on multiple pairs. She tested and re-tested different frames. She modeled a few for us and ultimately settled on two awesome pairs. We chose to purchase two in order to allow Doodle to have a “desk” pair at school and a home pair. To note – kids frames are only available in Warby Parker stores, not online.
What is most important to note is that moving forward there will be no additional tutoring, testing or chasing something that is “wrong”. The hunt is over. The results are in, the Doodle struggles from something I think many of us would admit we struggle from too. It’s hard for any one of us to stay focused when our eyes aren’t keeping up. It’s hard for any one of us to stay focused when we lose interest, the topic doesn’t hold our attention, something is challenging or we’d much rather be doing something else.
We learned that the Doodle is absolutely performing to her abilities and grade level and that all she needs is time. Frankly, I love that her body is demanding the slow down. In a world in which everything is instantaneous and at our finger tips, in a world where everyone always seems to be on, I am grateful that as an 8 year old, Doodle has to learn patience and calm.
Mama’s, for all of those that said “us too” may I recommend exploring every and anything you feel is necessary to settle your hearts. The information shared above is a data point in a long life journey. That is all. I would do it all over again and again. For my Doodle, knowing how best to support her and honor her quirks and the human being she is, I am so grateful that I have that opportunity. Now, onward…
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