Thursday, February 7, 2013

Testing, 1, 2, 3 . . . and again

Receptionist: Insurance will usually cover the testing and screening because it involves a medical diagnosis. However, insurance typically does not cover the therapy for the diagnosis, so it would be *INSERT $$$ COST HERE.*

Me: I understand. That's the story of my life

Round and round and round it goes and where it stops, no one knows...

About half way through kindergarten, we noticed Camille was having trouble reading. I was really surprised at this, since she did so well in an academic based preschool and was really on the cusp of reading. Her teacher and I weren't sure if she was really having trouble or pulling one over on us, so I decided to begin with the basics and have her eyes tested. She needed glasses! Okay, maybe that was her problem.

A few months went by and the glasses really helped but they weren't the magic cure all I had hoped they would be. She qualified for a summer school program designed to help kids who were having trouble reading not fall behind. However, it was several hundred dollars, only a few times a week and involved a class of seven-plus kids. We felt it wouldn't be the right fit for her, so I worked with her at home, as much as I could. Sadly, the insane brothers made it hard to sit down and just focus on work. As soon as I sat down with her, someone would need me NOW and it wasn't working as well as I hoped.

First grade was off to a rocky start. Her behavior in school is perfect and she adores school, friends and her teachers. At conferences, her teacher and I spoke at length about her behavior at home, willingness to try and how she was progressing. I asked, point-blank, if she thought there was a learning or attention problem. Her teacher is old enough to have been my first grade teacher and she said that she wasn't ruling anything out. Many kids really pick up on reading around spring break of their first grade year. Camille was making progress in an upward progression, but it was slow and on her own time. We weren't to take our eyes off her but we were to not worry too much.

After fall conferences, I noticed a big improvement in her reading and math. At least, that's what it seemed like at home, but her report card indicated otherwise. At her well-child appointment last week I brought our concerns to the doctor. He ran through the ADD/ADHD check list with me and she has some of the markers for ADD, primarily inattentive type (or whatever they formerly call it now. Why are they renaming the wheel? Sigh). However, by observing her, he said she "looks like ADD."


My personal information, experience and mad Google skills leave me even more confused. I know ADD and I am on the fence as to whether or not she has it. I know some people say that they knew from a very young age their kids had ADD/ADHD. I read through the information and I don't get the "THAT'S MY KID!" feeling. I just don't.

I am pleased my doctor didn't push to medicate her then and there. We are not totally opposed to medication for ADD/ADHD but it's not a choice that should be entered into lightly and certainly not without a second opinion and more testing. Since we aren't sure what is going on, but we feel like something isn't quite right, I'm moving forward with different testing.I question whether she can see words clearly and if her sight and/or hearing is communicating with her brain properly.

Next week, I have another meeting with her teacher in order to address my concerns and she what she says. I hope she has additional tips and tricks for us and more insight into my princess at school. She has already had a physical and an eye exam. Next up is a vision therapy testing (for visual-spacial problems) and possibly an auditory processing exam with an ENT. Any bets on if those will be covered by insurance or not? I am thinking the testing will but the therapy won't be.

I am no stranger to mommy-guilt. I won't saying I am having a guilt-attack but I am certainly not guilt free. Our evenings are so rushed around here that it is hard to sit down with her and work on her homework or reading. If I want the little boys out of my hair, the best chance of that happening is to turn on the TV. If I turn on the TV, you can see it from the kitchen table. It's hard to work on spelling and sight words when the TV is playing almost in your face! Camille has more homework than Joseph, so I feel like I spend the four hours I have with them after school feeding snacks, making dinner, baths, TKD, bed and there's no time for homework. They all go to bed at the same time, so I don't have time after the littles are in bed to help her.Would she be doing better if I had  more time and worked with her more?

I'm hoping this Lent that we get our evenings freed up. No TV or iPad or phones after school. Maybe that will help.

Do I hope the testing reveals something? Yes and no. Yes because if it does, we know the dragon we have to slay and how to slay him. No, because who WANTS their kid to have problems? And the cost... oh, the cost.

Whatever Camille's dragon is, we will slay him. She's the princess and the princess always wins in the end.

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