The many layers of High Functioning Autism
It is amazing, just amazing how much I love my daughter. I would really do anything in this world for her and that includes the fact that I will never stop searching for answers regarding her high functioning Autism/ADHD/Sensory Processing Disorder/Hyperlexia diagnosis.
She was diagnosed when she was 2.5 because she wasn't talking like a "normal" child her age and she was bouncing off the walls. She was digging in her diaper (number 2) and rubbing it all over the walls and her body! My husband was deployed to Iraq and I was huge pregnant with our son. It was the absolute WORST year of my life and I wouldn't wish that year on my worst enemy.
After years of therapy, special needs pre-school, and regular kindergarten our beautiful little girl is heading to first grade. She caught up with all of her speech and she seems like a completely normal 6 year old. The problem is that last year in kindergarten she struggled with wanting to do her schoolwork. The teachers all agree that she is very smart, she's been reading words since she was three (hyperlexia) and she has an amazing memory that helps her to memorize material quickly. She knows how to do all of the work but just didn't want to do it. She likes school because she loves people and loves to socialize but the constant pressure to do a certain amount of work everyday was just too much. She started acting out in class, pinching other students. She was acting out when she got home and was bouncing off the walls every afternoon. When it came to homework, she would fight with me about answers being right when they were wrong. She never wants any help, saying that she knows everything. Then, the next night she would cry over her homework saying that she doesn't know everything and that she needs to know everything! It was a crazy rollercoaster ride of emotions.
She has three weeks left of summer before first grade and I am more nervous about first grade than I was about kindergarten. I picked up and read "Emotional Intensity in Gifted Children" by Christine Fonseca. She states that there are many children out there that have been diagnosed with Austim/ADHD/Sensory Processing Disorder that are really just gifted children and shouldn't have the Autism/ADHD label at all. She goes into great detail about the signs that your child is gifted and how most ADHD symptoms are really symptoms of giftedness. When I read the information it was describing my daughter to a T.
Giftedness is not what most parents think it is. Yes, it is a good thing that your child is smart but just because your child is smart in one area they also have weaknesses and those weaknesses in gifted children are emotional issues. It causes them to be perfectionists, they have extreme mood swings, anxiety, and explosive feelings. My daughter has sensory processing disorder too which causes her to chew on things that aren't food, she is an extremely picky eater, and she flips out with excitement over anything soft. Traditional school is difficult for any normal child so for a child like mine school is going to be very difficult. We have an IEP for her which helps to an extent but she is currently labeled as having Autism/ADHD. The schools do not recognize your child as being "Gifted" if they have a learning disability label.
In my previous experience with public schools these teachers and staff do not seem to have the education and/or resources to help children like my daughter. They are just a number, there are now 25 kids in each classroom. How can we really expect one teacher to be able to cater to 25 students different learning styles? I feel like this is all on me if I want my daughter to have a life long love for learning. I will start her in first grade but my motherly intuition is screaming for me to pull her out and homeschool. She says when she grows up she wants to be a doctor that goes to space. I tell her that she can be and even though I question myself, deep down I KNOW that I am the best teacher that can help get her there.