Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Round 3. . .

I've been blogging of late about my younger son, E. (Rounds one and two, here and here. If our family lives on the spectrum with P and I on the Aspie side of the ledger, and my husband on the (possibly) ADD side, than E is somewhere in the middle. In the alphabet soup of "diagnoses", he has NLD. What I know is that he's a bright, articulate, motivated kid who struggles with organization and output.

Yesterday, he came home with his interim progress report (midway through term 2) for his 4 core classes, Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, and Science. He is currently failing Language Arts, Math, and Science.

Looking at the components of those failing grades, I am struck by a pattern. Work that he had handed in: A's and high B's. F's (automatic zeros) for missing assignments. If it were not for the missing work, he would be doing extremely well in all subjects. (Well, except Math, but that's another conversation for another time.)

So, one could look at that pattern and name it laziness. I can almost hear the conversation: "E. has so much potential. If he would just apply himself. . . "

Let me tell you something about my younger son. He isn't lazy. What he is, is hampered by a brain that doesn't multi-task and doesn't shift attention (transition) rapidly. What limits E the most is his impaired executive functioning. He has little ability to employ systematic strategies, so whatever he does, it's like he must start from scratch each time. That's evident whether he's looking for something in his room, searching for a homework assignment in his backpack, or organizing for homework assignments.

Penalizing him for his lack of organization and his poor executive function will only drive a dangerous cycle that will ensure continued failure for this child who has enormous potential.

1 comment:

Jonah said...

That was a difficult post for me to read. I also had (and have) difficulty in school, where I learn the material but don't do much of the homework. I think it started as only being executive function difficulties, but it pretty quickly grew to be an anxiety issue as well, maybe because of teachers who said pretty much what your son's teachers are saying about him.
I eventually convinced my mother to let me leave school. It was a wonderful choice. I didn't do a send-in-your-work homeschool either- that's like having all homework. I just did a lot of reading, worked through some math textbooks, auditted a few college courses, and talked about it with my mother 1-2 times per week. When I ws 16 I applied to college as a homeschooler, and I'm now finishing up my third year in college.
The feasibility of homeschooling is different in different places, but sometimes it makes a really big difference.

As a side note: I might or might not have left a comment on your blog ever before, but I've read it every other month or so for maybe two years and I was at autreat last year.