I Don't Understand My Kid

  1. Most of you know I have triplet daughters. They are 12 years old and in sixth grade. Two of them are identical and one is fraternal.

    One of my daughters, I'll call her "Anna," is just doing horribly in school. She has always done borderline work. (She is one of the identicals; her identical sister does above average work; her fraternal sister excels). I have had Anna evaluated by psychologists, both the school psychologist and an independent psychologist. They both report her to be "average" to "above average" with NO learning disabilities identified. She does not have ADD. Her standardized test scores identify her to perform average to below average. She has good social skills and good common sense.

    But she seems to just plain NOT CARE! When she does her homework, she mostly concerned with "getting done"--regardless of whether it is *right* or not--as long as it is DONE. She just got an F on a science test (same test, same teacher--her sisters got an A and a B).

    I was just trying to study with her for tomorrow's test. She attended class with no absenteeism, she did the homework, she participated in a "verbal quiz" at school today and took notes on it, filled out the worksheets and sat at the table tonight and re-read the material before I asked her questions. SHE COULDN'T ANSWER A SINGLE QUESTION I ASKED HER!! Yet, in her mind, she had studied for the test and was ready for it. But didn't know a single question. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?! I'm going out of my mind. I can't understand it. When I ask her how she could NOT know a single question after putting all that *work* into it, she simply replies "I don't know."

    I tried Sylvan Learning Centers once but it is VERY expensive and not convenient to my area. We only did it for about a month and a half so I can't really judge if it was effective or not. I had a private tutor come over for a year for math and she did a little better but not much.

    So...what do I do next? I know she does not do well when pressured or pushed...but she doesn't do well if NOT pushed either! This last science test (the F) she was pretty much left up to her own devices--studied with her sisters, etc. That non-pressured environment sure didn't do the trick.

    I'm at my wit's end. Sorry for the rant! Any suggestions are appreciated! *SIGH*
  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   Robin61970
    I don't know....it sounds like a learning disorder to me.....I'm not sure, but I once heard of something called central processing disorder....people could read it, but not understand or retain it.....check into learning disorders......I will think some more on this...

  4. by   Robin61970
    I think I may have been mistaken about CPD, but i still think there is something going on there......
  5. by   NRSKarenRN

    Request a rewiew of her educational abilities, not by a psychologist by by a reading specialist or diagnostic educator at your school. YOU recognize a problem. Write down the above info, think of other clues in everday life.

    I KNEW my 5 year old had comprehension problems: couldn't get dressed without being told one item of clotheing to be put on at a time; shutting of the TV and looking directly into his face to get attenion, spacey look as if ddep in thought with wheels racing. LOVED to look at books and could read a few words.
    Husband poo-pooed my concerns.

    While helping out in kindergarten,noticied he always had back to classmates/teacher. Was a quiet well mannered kid who'd get lost in shuffle as not noisy. Kindergarten teacher had him tested by diagnostic education teacher and we filled out screening questionaire. DX was ADD focus disorder. Behavior mod, set homework routine and medication noticable change in one week.
    Discussion with my grandmother, helped her realize her youngest brother ALSO had this problem but never diagnosed.
    Now 13 yo, he functions well with recent testing reading 98% percentile overall testing 90 percentile. He's very smart, not organized without minimal amount of Ritalin due to "short circuit" in processing info---"thoughts all jumpled without my med, don't know which one to do" he states.

    There are many types learning problems.

    Screening Tool @ http://www.ncld.org/info/common_signs.cfm

    Elementary School:
    Does the child have trouble with:

    - Learning new vocabulary
    - Speaking in full sentences
    - Understanding the rules of conversation
    - Retelling stories
    - Remembering newly learned information
    - Playing with peers
    - Moving from one activity to another
    - Expressing thoughts orally or in writing
    - Holding a pencil
    - Handwriting
    - Computing math problems at his or her grade level
    - Following directions
    - Self-esteem
    - Remembering routines
    - Learning new skills
    - Understanding what he or she reads
    - Succeeding in one or more subject areas
    - Drawing or copying shapes
    - Understanding what information presented in class is important
    - Modulating voice (may speak to loudly or in a monotone)
    - Keeping notebook neat and assignments organized
    - Remembering and sticking to deadlines
    - Understanding how to play age-appropriate board games

    Check out LD on Line---found much helpful info here:

    Good luck. Best wishes for your daughter.
  6. by   thisnurse
    Zee, these are some of the same symptoms my stepson, damien, displays. i am so tired of *****ing at him and hearing him being *****ed at. the school calls us almost every day for some type of homework not done or project not turned in. its to the point now where his dad might just as well go to school with him. i have been very angry at this child for the stupid things he does....trust me..he does some lulus.
    i was on a message board once where a joke link was posted to another person. i went there to see what it was.


    i started reading this site and there before my eyes was an accurate description of damien. not only did he have one of the symptoms..he had them ALL.
    now this kid failed fourth grade in california three times. you would think that somewhere along the line SOMEBODY might have noticed something wrong with this kid. not making excuses for dad but he just isnt all that smart when it comes to kids. you would think one of the teachers or counselors...somebody would have done something when he was failing the second time.
    his grandma, who had guardianship of this child when we first moved realized something was wrong. she took him to a clinic. they diagnosed him with depression and wanted to start him on paxil. (he was 11)
    i had an absolute fit about this because while this kid might have some degree of depression...much of it was due to all the crap he was getting in school. i told gma about paxil. i also told her what i thought was wrong and she said they tested him for LD's and there werent any.
    she ended up suing damiens dad for guardianship so she could make sure this kid got paxil.
    she got her wish.
    he took one dose and she refused to give him more. he had "bad effects" from that....no kidding.
    they were just the normal side effects of anti depressants. she never called his doc and never had him on anything else.
    she realized she just couldnt do anything with this kid so she sent him to us. more messed up than he was when i saw him last.. and she refuses to sign papers to have his mental health records sent here.

    the school district , on his dads request is doing the LD testing. they concurr with me that damien is most likely ADD and most likely will need medication.
    while the schools dont test for this, they are making arrangements for him to be tested.
    im not saying your daughter has this or not...im just saying its a possibility. theres no use sending her to a learning center if she cant retain what she is learning.
    you can and i would request retesting. they have to provide this within 30 days of reciept of your request. its obvious something is wrong. kids for the most part dont really want to swim against the current.
    this might be something you are going to have to fight for. schools dont really like spending the money for testing.
    i know a lot of things about LD's and i have too damn much experience with schools. if you need to talk...message me.
    good luck.
  7. by   Zee_RN
    How many of these constitute a LD?

    - Learning new vocabulary *YES*
    - Speaking in full sentences *NO*
    - Understanding the rules of conversation *NO*
    - Retelling stories *NO*
    - Remembering newly learned information *YES*
    - Playing with peers *NO*
    - Moving from one activity to another *NO*
    - Expressing thoughts orally or in writing *YES*
    - Holding a pencil *NO*
    - Handwriting *NO*
    - Computing math problems at his or her grade level *YESYES*
    - Following directions *YES*
    - Self-esteem *YES*
    - Remembering routines *NO*
    - Learning new skills *NO* (not physical skills)
    - Understanding what he or she reads *SOME*
    - Succeeding in one or more subject areas *YES*
    - Drawing or copying shapes *NO*
    - Understanding what information presented in class is important *YES*
    - Modulating voice (may speak to loudly or in a monotone) *NO*
    - Keeping notebook neat and assignments organized *YES* (but so do I )
    - Remembering and sticking to deadlines *YES*
    - Understanding how to play age-appropriate board games *NO*

    She catches on very quickly to anything she deems to be FUN. She has the best eye-hand coordination and can whip her sisters in any form of computer game. She loves to read and mostly reads modified versions of the classics. She's a good cook and can read and follow recipe directions. Stuff she enjoys she does very well; she doesn't enjoy school. At 12 years old, she can cook a complete dinner. Was the first one of the three who learned to ride a bike. Has well developed social skills and has good practical judgment. She just does so poorly academically. *sigh* She's a kind, caring kid. I just worry she's going to end up living in squalor somewhere someday because she can't make simple change.
  8. by   lpnandloveit1
    Zee have you had your daughters vision and hearing checked? Not the screenings that the schools give but professional exams? You also might want to have an outside source check her for dyslexia. You would be suprised how much compensating we do for Our kids without even knowing we are doing it.
  9. by   kids
    I am a mom with ADD...with 3 kids with ADD. The degree that they are impacted is really variable- from task/subject specific (math) for one child to full blown special ed for my youngest . They also all have areas of definate strengths -one can spell better than Webster but can't write an intelligable sentance-another can recalculate baseball stats in his head based on the ball just pitched but has to write down our home phone number. My youngest can play complex computer games.

    I see a learning disability in the picture you paint of your daughter. Please keep investigating. I think she sounds like she has ADD, I would suggest having her Pediatrition evaluate her. Many professionals hesitate to dx it in a girl, but given some of the things that are know to increase its likelyhood she is definately at risk (the birth trauma idea) by being a triplet. I don't know the laws where you are but here in WA any parent has the right to request their child be evaluated for learning disabilities by the multidisciplinary team. If she is found to have a learning problem she has the right to an IEP (individulized learning plan) that adapts the cirriculum/presentation/medium to encourage her strengths and accomidate her weaknesses. A child does not have to have a specific 'label' to be covered by section 504 (federal law) for a learning disability.
  10. by   kids
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by thisnurse
    [B] i am so tired of *****ing at him and hearing him being *****ed at.

    Boy do I know where you are at. My stepson lives with his Mom in another state. I spent a lot of time over the years with him before we moved back to WA so I know him pretty well. He gets great grades and is a very normal 11 year old in his behavior. He is a big kid so tends to get picked on for his size or is hassled by kids who want to prove something by taking on the big guy. He gets in fights (3-4 times a year). This kid repeatedly says things like 'nothing I do is ever good enough' or 'I get in trouble all of the time because I am bad'. They so called behavioral specialists his Mom takes him to have him on Adderall, Zyprexa and Paxil. Heres the kicker...she's a NURSE. The good news is she says she is fed up and is buying him a plane ticket to live with his Dad with the next child support check. I can't help but think he is one kid who will thrive in an environment with a more casual patenting style and where he is not an only child.

    You didn't say how old Damien is. Depression and low self esteem can be huge consequences of ADD, my youngest felt so much better when he got a workable IEP and dedicated teachers and started having some successes. There is some good research that shows that Wellbutrin can be a help in kids with ADD for both the depression and the ADD. If he is diagnosed and started on meds you might inquire about using it even short term to jumpstart his emotional well being while waiting for the rewards of improved behavior and education to kick in.
  11. by   Dplear
    I wonder if this is not a way for your daughter to assert her individuality?. Being a triplet must be hard on her. She has 2 others in her family just like her and she may feel dhe has to compete for attention just for her. Getting bad grades is one way of doing it, whether she realizes she is doing it or not. I am not one of twins or such buit I came froma LARGE family (10 kids) and was the baby. I know that I could do the work but did not try really hard in school. I got bad grades also even though I thought i was trying hard. I later figured out I was doing it to get attention.
    This is not anything against your parenting skills at all. I assume you are a great and loving mom to them all. But sometimes one needfs to be a bit different. Is it possible to switch her to a different school from her sisters?. That might be the answer. She would not be competeing in class for attention from her sisters and there would be no comparisons to her sisters by teachers. i used to get that all the time by teachers. Why could i not be like my brother/sister ect.

    Just a athought.

  12. by   NurseDennie
    I have very much the same kid. I didn't and still don't understand her. I love her like gangbusters. She's a smart kid, but she was very, very, very, VERY ill when she was very young. She had liver damage and profound hearing loss (I'm not sure of the connection). The doctors didn't notice the hearing loss, but one day it occurred to me "This kid is lip-reading, she doesn't hear a word I say." And I was right.

    My daughter is so much like yours. A good kid, smart and sweet, and level-headed. But she doesn't CARE about much of anything. Having been so hearing deprived at a pivotal time in her life, she hears things that don't make any sense, but it doesn't sink IN that it doesn't make sense. Example: After a bad car wreck, I had her at the neurosurgeon b/c of CSF leak from her ears. He asked her if her bowels and bladder were okay, and she sat there with a horrible frown on her face (this was an 18 year old girl at the time) and said "nnnnooooo.... but I Suppose if I tried to Practice....." I asked her what she had heard, and she thought he'd asked if she could balance ladders okay.

    I sent her to a nice college prep high school, where she did quite well. Well, off and on she did quite well. She almost didn't graduate because she couldn't be bothered to turn in her religion homework. You have to seriously not perform to flunk religion!

    She's an incredibly lovely young lady, she was the kind of little girl who looks like the fairies brought her. I've spent a lot of time trying to get people to deal with her on a PERSONAL level and not just on the beautiful face and hair and figure.....

    She does "cute, blonde" things that just scare me to death. A friend one time asked her how she can go through life like that, without a clue. She said "What do you mean?" She got a 27 (Way above average) on her ACT test, and has never set foot into an institution of higher learning. She signed up for a travel agency school a couple of years ago, but blew them off & never went to the first class. When she swam on a team, she once stopped (Body lengths ahead!) and hooked her elbow over the rope and watched everybody swim past her. She wanted to see what they looked like from behind.

    So what does this all lead to? She's 23 years old. She's been to psychologists, she's been to physicians, she's been to internal med guys. This is just the way she is. She has a horrible job that I thought would send her screaming back to school (putting accident reports and drivers license applications through a microfiche machine!!!) but there she is. I guess the mental challenge of coming to terms with the mindless tedium is enough for her........

    I don't know what to tell you as the moral of all this. Check everything out, I say. Help her in schoool. Make sure her teachers understand that she's a little bit more of a challenge than she might look. But if she's okay, and this is just the way she is (and that's what I've come to conclude about MY daughter), then just let her make her way through her life in the way that makes her happy.

    God bless all of you. It must have been a wonderful, hectic, scary, blessing to have triplets!!


    Last edit by NurseDennie on Dec 26, '01
  13. by   Zee_RN
    Dplear, I'm ashamed of myself for not thinking of that. Sure, we've all heard that kids will resort to undesirable behavior simply for attention, but I never thought of it that way, in this case. She's a good kid, she just never seems to try, academically. I'll have to explore this!

    NurseDennie, it does sound like we have a lot in common! My daughter sounds a lot like that, minus the hearing loss. She was in speech therapy all of her elementary years and there's still a slight residual. When she was 21 months old, she fractured her right femur and was in a hip spica cast for 6 weeks. During that time she lost all verbal ability. I've always thought this contributed *significantly* to her trailing behind...I mean, 21 months old is a prime verbal ability developmental time! Docs have scoffed at me (c'mon?! doesn't it just make sense, though?) But your line "she didn't graduate because she didn't bother to turn in her religion homework." Oh my! That could be my kid!!

    The psychologist she saw for a year told ME to chill out and let her alone (that was several years ago now). He said her social skills and her common sense were more important than academics. He said he saw A LOT of patients that were brilliant but miserable because they had horrible social skills and little common sense. But SHEEZ....she needs to know how to make change, doesn't she?!

    Gonna concentrate on that 'attention' thing right now...now why wasn't I born rich so didn't have to work so I could spend more time with these wee folk I call children?!
  14. by   annies
    Did Sylvan evaluate HOW your daughter learns ( visual, auditory, kinesthetic )? If so, are your daughter's needs being met? If she hasn't been evaluated, I urge you to do so. If her school psychologist cannot do it, keep looking for someone that can. It is easily corrected by changing the method of TEACHING.

    I used to have problems performing in school until I went through a vocational- type class. It was lots of hands on, not just reading but doing. With doing came understanding. It was like someone turned on the light. After that class I went back to college, kept an A average. I know how to do it now.

    Teachers do not have time to spend with individual students. If one doesn't fit the program - read, review and test- he/she will be left behind. It is sad, but true.

    Explore all the applicable options and good luck.