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Crabby Lioness
09-27-2011, 01:52 PM
I have a 10yo middle child who wanders through life with her head in the clouds, paying no attention to what goes on around her. She's constantly having to ask what happened yesterday, last week, or 10 minutes ago. She gazes off into space when doing lessons. She pays no attention when drying the dishes and sticks them on the shelf soaking wet. You have to tell her four times to get her shoes on. She takes forever to do even the simplest tasks, and is constantly making us late. When we're out she wants to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes (which she doesn't do at home) and delays us at every turn.

When you criticize her, she bursts out crying over how mean you are. She pays no attention to what you actually said and never corrects her behavior, so she makes the same mistakes again and gets everyone exasperated with her.

It's not a medical condition. She's very astute, and a good "big picture" thinker; but she has no head for details.

Now her 12yo sister is starting to take lessons away from home. The 10yo wants lessons as well. She throws a fit for them. She's been told that when she starts paying attention and doing what she's told better, she can have them. But she doesn't get better. The teacher is used to working with adults who know how to pay attention, I seriously doubt she can handle a child who doesn't pay attention, gets lost, and throws a fit because she's fallen behind.

What am I going to do?

dbmamaz
09-27-2011, 02:12 PM
I know you said it's not a medical condition, but it sure sounds like ADD and anxiety . . .

MarkInMD
09-27-2011, 02:23 PM
ADD would definitely be on my list of "I wonder"s, too. Hurricane is sort of that cloud kid -- very smart and loves what he loves, but completely not self-motivated unless it's on his narrow list of things he wants to do right then, forgetting what you told him five seconds ago, etc. He's not diagnosed, either, but I'm 90% certain there's an ADD thing going on there. I resist those sort of labels on principle because I think they're often applied willy-nilly, but since we've HSed him for the last two years, it's perfectly clear to us what kind of kid he is.

My only suggestion, since we're still figuring it out ourselves and if you're not already doing it, is to constantly give reminders when it comes to things like time until leaving for karate class, piano lesson, bed, whatever. It may seem like a pain in the rear to always be saying, "10 minutes until..." "5 minutes until...", but kids like that need the constant external clock. I have hopes that it'll get better with age (he's about the same age as your DD), but yeah, I wonder, too.

Best of luck. I sympathize.

Crabby Lioness
09-27-2011, 03:19 PM
Thanks. I read Wiki on ADHD predominantly inattentive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADHD_predominantly_inattentive). There wasn't much, but they had these recommendations:

Behavioral strategies are of great help and they include creating routines - Check. We already do that.

getting organized, - check. We have to be super-organized with her or she burst out in tears.

avoiding distractions (television, video and computer games especially on weekdays during homework) - Check. We don't even own a TV, video, or computer game. She gets about 25 minutes of a downloaded TV episode a day with the rest of us.

limiting choices, - check.

using goals and rewards, - check, for all the good it does.

ignoring behaviors. - check, when possible. That one can be extremely difficult.

...parents should work with children to find specific places for everything - check

and teach kids to use calendars and schedules. - Check.

Parents are also advised to get children into sports to help them build discipline, confidence, and improve their social skills. Physical activity boosts the brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels and all these substances affect focus and attention. However, some sports may be too challenging and would add frustration. Parents should talk to their children about what kinds of sports or exercise most stimulate and satisfy them before signing them up for classes or enrolling them in a given team sport. You see the tripwire here?

behavioral therapy is recommended to improve organizational skills, study techniques or social functioning. -- Where do I find that for a 10yo?

Eileen
09-27-2011, 03:37 PM
My 8 year old is like that too. She was diagnosed with inattentive ADD last year, and she also has a mild auditory processing disorder which I think contributes to it. She can hear fine, but her brain doesn't automatically translate it if she's distracted. I think I have the same issue, because sometimes someone can be talking to me and I might even answer, but I don't have any memory of the conversation. It's not intentional, but I know how annoying it is.

We tried Intuniv for her when she was in school last year, and I didn't care for what it did to her personality. She was much more subdued, which seems like it would be a good thing, but it seemed unnatural. It helped her focus a little bit better, I think, but not enough for me to keep her on it at home.

It's a really frustrating thing. So far I don't have any good suggestions for you, but I'll be watching to see what other people say.

Eileen
09-27-2011, 03:40 PM
I have tried team sports with my daughter, and it's always an exercise in frustration. I won't do it again. However, things like swimming and bike riding are great for her, and I'm teaching her how to walk the dog so she can take her out on her own eventually. She likes obstacle courses and stuff like that too, so that's a possibility. But it needs to be something where she's just enjoying herself, because anything competitive or very challenging (she's not too coordinated) frustrate her and it takes the benefit out of it.

MarkInMD
09-27-2011, 03:48 PM
Yeah, as far as sports go, I would go the individual rather than team route. Hurricane is in tae kwon do and loves it. Whether it's something in a group setting or just on-her-own stuff like biking, running, swimming (as mentioned above), maybe getting some of those natural brain chemicals going might help. Now that I think about it, Hurricane is more focused when he's being physical.

ETA: On the subject of behavioral therapy, occupational therapists might be able to help. My wife is one. I'll ask her when I get the chance what she might suggest.

dbmamaz
09-27-2011, 04:04 PM
Just a few bits and pieces - i heard several freinds have positive experiences w caffiene for adhd kids so I tried it for my older son - AWFUL! Upped his anxiety and tics for about 2 hours.

We recently started using Cozi - i have a daily checklist (brush teeth, etc) and a weekly assignement sheet for my son, which he can use from his hand held. Becuase, you know, the paper checklists on the walls didnt work but SURELY this will ... sigh.

We also are doing martail arts . . .

Lak001
09-27-2011, 04:05 PM
reading all the responses here makes me wonder if my dd has ADD. She fits all the descriptions of your kids to the tee. She's not diagnosed, and i'm not even remotely considering to get her diagnosed. I hate putting labels on children. if its ADD, so be it. I'll educate myself about ADD, and will strive to support her in any way needed. And definitely no medications here. I'm a strong advocate against medications for ADD for children.
I sincerely hope these kids will get better with age. Maybe it will have some bearings on social skills and such. But so many of us here struggle with social skills and are still able to function. So many of us adults have ADD. So, if you look at the bigger picture, I think things will be alright for our kids. Its just their personalities. I hope its time we cut some slack for kids with attention issues.

mitch77
09-27-2011, 04:13 PM
Its like you just described my son! He leaves the house at least once a week without his shoes on, even though we tell him at least 3 times before we leave to put his shoes on. But seriously, why should I even have to tell him to put shoes on? Shouldn't he just know that he needs shoes to go anywhere!!! School takes us 6+ hours a day, math alone can take 2 hrs. But he's smart, he completely understands the concepts, if I sit there next to him and read the questions aloud sometimes that will bring him back down to earth. But I don't have time to do that all the time. He drives me nuts, but he has other great qualities. About the individual vs. team sports, definitely individual. He does well in Tae Kwon do, golf and swimming. We tried soccer and baseball, but he would be out in the middle of the field throwing rocks or picking flowers.

Amanadoo
09-27-2011, 04:24 PM
Well, minus the crying you just described my husband. When I am trying to get him on track, I make sure he has an hour of hard physical activity asap in the day, a full stomach and something to look forward to once the job is completed.

I realize that I sound a bit like I am joking, since I am talking about a 31 year old man, but indeed, he has always been this way. Now our oldest son is coming up to be just exactly the same way. Heretofore I was never a proponent of a rewards-based system. But seriously, it's the only thing that works for these two. They don't do things for the joy of doing them, or because they will be beneficial long-term. They do things because there is a concrete reward directly on the other side of the task at hand! So maybe you could think about thinking about things in a different light? Breaking things down into smaller bits and rewarding the slightest progress?

skrink
09-27-2011, 04:41 PM
This is my kiddo, too. We have checklists for most routines. We set timers for everything - meals, dressing, lessons - which helps somewhat, but we still have to do too much pushing and prodding to get the simplest tasks done. She's extremely bright and knows what to do. She just can't seem to stay on track.

I see the sports tripwire, for sure! DD has zero interest, plus she has a strong fear of failing at anything new, so she's unwilling to try. We do yoga and hike, and she dances and sets up obstacle courses, things like that. But organized sports? Nope. I think she could benefit from more physical activity but I just don't think that's the right path for her right now.

As an aside: we resisted labels for a long time, too, but after spinning our wheels for years, I have accepted them as useful tools in getting help. You can't really formulate a decent treatment plan without a clear picture of what the issues are. And that involves labels, like it or not.

Deli76
09-27-2011, 05:08 PM
Ok..many people are not gonna agree with me. I am NOT a believer in all this add/adhd stuff. The "head in the clouds" and "big picture thinker"....she is actually an observer. Observers will drown out everything except for what they are observing. This is not intentional. Perhaps she is observing peoples actions, their faces, body language.
I was like this, and my 16 yrs old does this. I am mathematically inclined..you put numbers in front of me...you have my attention. If I cant figure it out...I think about it all day until that problem is solved. My son, he is musically inclined. He plays violin and guitar. Plays with the piano here and there. He plays the guitar mainly by ear and doesnt have to practice long to get a piece right for his violin. I can tell when he has a song in his head because his head is in the clouds a bit longer and its harder to get him out of the clouds. Yes...its frustrating. I saw some here are or have tried karate. Karate is great! When she comes out of the clouds or while her head is in the clouds , ask her what it is she is observing. Ask her what she is thinking about that has her full attention at the time (head in the clouds).
The fact that she goes pee every 20 minutes when she is in signals to me that she is not liking what she is observing or its just too much for her to observe. I hate crowded places. Makes my head spin and my ears hurt. My son loves it.
Ask her to write about what she is seeing, observing and feeling. You may be surprised as to how she views a hustling and bustling world.
And I know some may not like my views on the next subject... The meds are horrible poisons for the brain. They mask "the symptoms" rather than deal with the symptoms head on.
For an observer, they are always late. Rarely ever on time. I start with my son 30 minutes ahead of time. Because I know, he is gonna look at this, that and the other and probably question just about everything or get distracted by something on the way out. This is how humans learn about the world around them. A short attention span. If our attention was on one thing all the time...nothing would ever get done, nothing would ever be learned.
In short...ask her about her views on clothes, politics, movies, MUSIC (music is a great way to get any childs attention), friends. Bring her thoughts and ideas to earth. You may be surprised.

Crabby Lioness
09-27-2011, 05:25 PM
Ok..many people are not gonna agree with me. I am NOT a believer in all this add/adhd stuff. The "head in the clouds" and "big picture thinker"....she is actually an observer. Observers will drown out everything except for what they are observing. This is not intentional. Perhaps she is observing peoples actions, their faces, body language.
I was like this, and my 16 yrs old does this. I am mathematically inclined..you put numbers in front of me...you have my attention. If I cant figure it out...I think about it all day until that problem is solved. My son, he is musically inclined. He plays violin and guitar. Plays with the piano here and there. He plays the guitar mainly by ear and doesnt have to practice long to get a piece right for his violin. I can tell when he has a song in his head because his head is in the clouds a bit longer and its harder to get him out of the clouds. Yes...its frustrating. I saw some here are or have tried karate. Karate is great! When she comes out of the clouds or while her head is in the clouds , ask her what it is she is observing. Ask her what she is thinking about that has her full attention at the time (head in the clouds).
The fact that she goes pee every 20 minutes when she is in signals to me that she is not liking what she is observing or its just too much for her to observe. I hate crowded places. Makes my head spin and my ears hurt. My son loves it.
Ask her to write about what she is seeing, observing and feeling. You may be surprised as to how she views a hustling and bustling world.
And I know some may not like my views on the next subject... The meds are horrible poisons for the brain. They mask "the symptoms" rather than deal with the symptoms head on.
For an observer, they are always late. Rarely ever on time. I start with my son 30 minutes ahead of time. Because I know, he is gonna look at this, that and the other and probably question just about everything or get distracted by something on the way out. This is how humans learn about the world around them. A short attention span. If our attention was on one thing all the time...nothing would ever get done, nothing would ever be learned.
In short...ask her about her views on clothes, politics, movies, MUSIC (music is a great way to get any childs attention), friends. Bring her thoughts and ideas to earth. You may be surprised.

I've been trying to do that for years. It's hard to get her started talking or writing or drawing. (We've done the "if you can't tell me then write it or draw it" thing) Of course then she burst out in conversations much later at the one moment I can't listen to her....

Dh has a PhD in molecular biology. He thoroughly researches any med before we get it, and he can't stand what Ritalin does to people.

Deli76
09-27-2011, 05:37 PM
is there a specific topic when she gets into conversation or is it many subjects?
and yes, ritalin is horrible!

Crabby Lioness
09-27-2011, 05:51 PM
is there a specific topic when she gets into conversation or is it many subjects?
and yes, ritalin is horrible!

Many subjects, although these days it usually revolves around animals.

Greenmother
09-27-2011, 06:00 PM
I was like that for a time. It was discovered I had food allergies, low blood sugar and I needed glasses.

After a while the first two were dealt with, I didn't even need the glasses.

The peeing all the time, can be a sign of a blood sugar imbalance as well. Either too high all the time or spiking enough to throw her PH off or cause yeast related UTIs.

If she is chubby, and lethargic who wakes up at night and falls asleep during the day--I would really get suspicious.

Crabby Lioness
09-27-2011, 06:12 PM
I was like that for a time. It was discovered I had food allergies, low blood sugar and I needed glasses.

After a while the first two were dealt with, I didn't even need the glasses.

The peeing all the time, can be a sign of a blood sugar imbalance as well. Either too high all the time or spiking enough to throw her PH off or cause yeast related UTIs.

If she is chubby, and lethargic who wakes up at night and falls asleep during the day--I would really get suspicious.

It's only travel-related. We suspect boredom.

Deli76
09-27-2011, 06:55 PM
She has a busy brain...thats a good thing . Is it animal facts or extensive information about animals? Is it an animal story she read? Is it exotic animals? Are animals part of her homeschooling..like anatomy or animal training?
the other subjects, are they ideas, opinions, facts, a concern she had about something she may have heard or seen on tv, news , radio? I found my son pays more attention to politics than I thought. He has many questions and ideas that he says could possibly be a solution, in his eyes. And I always tell him to look it up on the net or read a news paper. ofcourse being a teen he goes straight for the computer. My daughter will look it up on my phone I think it fits her little fingers and she thinks its neat. I also have her write little books after her research of a certain subject that interests her at the time. It seems to me she has a busy mind, has alot of thoughts and interests and feelings and ideas. I would just let her go with it.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
09-27-2011, 07:17 PM
My son has combined-type ADHD. Exercise most definitely helps. I can really see a difference in his behavior if he's been outside running around for a couple of hours. When he gets older, I'm going to encourage exercise like running, biking, or swimming laps.

We also praise (and sometimes reward) completing tasks independently and promptly.

Batgirl
09-27-2011, 07:46 PM
There's a book called Smart but Scattered out there that is supposed to discuss strategies for helping kids with executive functioning issues--like organization, time management, stuff like that. It's specifically targeted for kids with ADHD & Autism. I haven't read it yet, but it's the book my speech therapist recommended.

farrarwilliams
09-27-2011, 08:01 PM
I just wanted to add that ADD in girls does not usually look like ADD in boys. We tend to think as a society that ADD=crazy, hyperactive. Sometimes. But a lot of girls with ADD are really quiet types. The main characteristic of ADD (and ADHD, though it tends to shift really quickly) is not inattention, but hyperattention. ADD kids get hyper focused on things. The problem from an educational perspective is that you're trying to remediate their math skills and they've noticed that spider in the window and are thinking about how she builds her web.

PBB
09-27-2011, 08:13 PM
My brother in law (a PhD in Physics) nearly flunked out of school as a child. He was the kid staring out the window wondering about the spider web! (according to my late MIL). Even today, he is so scattered, unorganzied, rather lazy...but brilliant! We were talking a few weeks back about an article I read that said that gifted kids often have horrible study/work habits because everything came so easily to them. He agreed and believes that is his issue to this day. I would think that a child like this would be great in a child-led environment...studying what they want, but making sure the basics are covered.

MarkInMD
09-27-2011, 08:22 PM
Asked my wife the OT about this. She suggests that play therapy with a trained child psychologist would be a better choice than occupational therapy for figuring out the underlying issues and the best ways to work around them. Don't know if that's an option where you are, but maybe worth looking into.

Stella M
09-29-2011, 07:04 PM
Ok..many people are not gonna agree with me. I am NOT a believer in all this add/adhd stuff. The "head in the clouds" and "big picture thinker"....she is actually an observer. Observers will drown out everything except for what they are observing. This is not intentional. Perhaps she is observing peoples actions, their faces, body language.
I was like this, and my 16 yrs old does this. I am mathematically inclined..you put numbers in front of me...you have my attention. If I cant figure it out...I think about it all day until that problem is solved. My son, he is musically inclined. He plays violin and guitar. Plays with the piano here and there. He plays the guitar mainly by ear and doesnt have to practice long to get a piece right for his violin. I can tell when he has a song in his head because his head is in the clouds a bit longer and its harder to get him out of the clouds. Yes...its frustrating. I saw some here are or have tried karate. Karate is great! When she comes out of the clouds or while her head is in the clouds , ask her what it is she is observing. Ask her what she is thinking about that has her full attention at the time (head in the clouds).
The fact that she goes pee every 20 minutes when she is in signals to me that she is not liking what she is observing or its just too much for her to observe. I hate crowded places. Makes my head spin and my ears hurt. My son loves it.
Ask her to write about what she is seeing, observing and feeling. You may be surprised as to how she views a hustling and bustling world.
And I know some may not like my views on the next subject... The meds are horrible poisons for the brain. They mask "the symptoms" rather than deal with the symptoms head on.
For an observer, they are always late. Rarely ever on time. I start with my son 30 minutes ahead of time. Because I know, he is gonna look at this, that and the other and probably question just about everything or get distracted by something on the way out. This is how humans learn about the world around them. A short attention span. If our attention was on one thing all the time...nothing would ever get done, nothing would ever be learned.
In short...ask her about her views on clothes, politics, movies, MUSIC (music is a great way to get any childs attention), friends. Bring her thoughts and ideas to earth. You may be surprised.

Deli76, it's fine to have your own, strongly held opinions. Are they helpful in the context of this thread ? Maybe not :( It doesn't really help anyone to hear that 'meds are poisons for the brain.' I know that sometimes there are issues that I have such strong opinions on that I jump into a conversation eager to share ( correct ? ) and I don't always consider whether what I have to say is actually relevant to the person asking. I think you might have ruffled a few feather with these statements. Just saying...