Monday, May 22, 2006

My God, She's a Smartie!

Today at 2:30 pm we met w/ the S.A.T. team to discuss Juliana in regards to school and her difficulties paying attention, following directions, and following through. Manny and I had a sit-down a couple weeks ago with the school social worker to discuss her social and at-home history, and we filled out some behavior surveys separately at home and sent them into the school psychologist. Her teacher Mrs. W also filled out a behavior survery to give to the school psychologist. The school speech and development specialist also formally tested Juliana. My shrink determined that Juliana is indeed Oppositional Defiant and their findings matched that diagnosis.

Juliana is exceptionally smart. She isvery advanced verbally, and in fact in most areas of her testing regarding speech and comprehension of language, she is in the upper percentiles. On one of them, in fact, she's in the 99th percentile! She doesn't have any learning disabilities, and doesn't qualify for therapy of any kind. The only problems in any of the testing and surveys that were consistently not in her favor were paying attention, and the aspects that would cause her to have to obey authority. Part of it is willful, but it's also part of ODD. We all have to present things a bit differently to her, perhaps be more blunt and leave less things open for discussion. She needs to have MORE discipline with negative AND positive reinforcement since she's so oppositional and stubborn. She thinks that she's equal to an adult, and because she articulate herself well and make a good argument years beyond her age, she doesn't think that certain rules apply to her. So we have to really set down some motivation as well as some more structured activities at home. I asked her teacher to send home all of the homework assignments "for practice" over the summer, and some of her the class assignments that she had to do that she had problems with or simply didn't do for whatever reason. I have to enforce more organization for her as well.

She's doing well but obviously, she is very strong willed and wants things HER WAY. That'll be a huge asset for her when high school comes and college and it's time for her to take control. She tells me all the time that she's not going to have a boss, she's going to BE the boss. She wants people to work for HER. SHE wants things HER WAY. Not in a bratty way, mind you... in that OCD, organizational, MY WAY way. I'm very much the same way but she's got much more confidence and self-love than I ever had. In fact, one of the problems is that she's TOO confident about some things in regards to school. Her need to be first and have things HER way is causing some social problems for her at school with the other kids. Nothing she can't work out, but she's so sensitive to the other students and social situations and how she feels about them and the way she takes things so personally... she has more social issues than other kids. She disrupts other students and talks A LOT, and sometimes at inappropriate times. She has trouble waiting her turn. She's like this at home too, so that's old news. And we just have to really work this out with her and put it in writing as The Rules somehow.

This weekend we're going to get a big Dry Erase Board or a Cork Board and hang it in the short hallway between the foyer and the kitchen so that The Rules are always there to refer to. That way I can say "It's not my fault, it's a rule. Look, you don't have a choice. It's a rule." And she'll see it there because yes, the kid can read. In kindergarten, she can read quite well (3rd grade level).

I'm so proud of her even though she can frustrate the crap out of me. She is so SMART and determined and sensitive. I know my Juliana is special, and she's on this Earth for a reason. She's going to be a Big Deal and people are going to pay attention to her because she'll make them. If only I can be a good enough parent for her, and learn to parent the "unparentable" child ;-)

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