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  • Sharon Tootill 2:10 pm on March 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ADHD, ,   

    Not Lazy, Crazy or Stupid 

    This is the first post I have managed to organise this year.

    I have started 17 separate blogs and websites just on WordPress, and I haven’t posted on any of them for months. I thought amalgamating them all here would help but I think it might possibly have made it all worse.

    It isn’t due to my life being horrendously empty and boring. It’s quite busy but in fact this is the problem – I have an irresistible impulse to create and start things, but I get overwhelmed really easily and end up doing nothing at all instead.

    It’s the same reason why I buy and keep multiple diaries and planners but end up not writing anything in any of them. I can’t even promise I won’t buy any additional ones.

    But after a lifetime of believing that I was just a little bit rubbish at everything, “lazy, crazy and stupid”, I finally got confirmation from two counselor/ therapists that in fact I have ADHD. My GP agreed, but she cannot make an official diagnosis.

    Sadly, I was told by the same people that “there is no NHS pathway in Cornwall for adults with ADHD” (and the same would appear to be true for Asperger’s, since my eldest has been struggling for over a year now to get the official NHS rubber stamp on that diagnosis.)

    What this means in practice is that we have no access to meds unless and until we are in a position financially to pursue a private diagnosis. Well I guess we will just have to start saving our pennies.

    In the meantime, it’s a case of muddling along in the mess, physical, mental and emotional, repeating to myself daily, hourly, “I’m not lazy, crazy or stupid, I have ADHD.”

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    • Strawberryindigo 7:03 pm on March 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Totally understand, and hey you finished this one!! I have the same tendencies. I have so many started projects, especially writing ones. Every finished post is a victory. It seems I start on a subject and it unfolds exponentially, it is hard to keep up with my mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Sharon Tootill 12:46 pm on October 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ADHD, , , , , , , , , type1 Diabetes   

    Home Ed & Fibro 

    I imagined when we started the new year that I would somehow manage to find the time to post regular weekly updates. Of course that hasn’t happened. I would like to be able to say that it’s due to being far too busy to blog! But in fact it has been more to do with ill health.

    I wonder how common it is for families with both parents and children with chronic diseases to home educate.

    It has been on my mind to organise some pages with links, books and resources for both parents and children with chronic illness. I will get round to it. But right now I am struggling due to my ME and Fibro pain – struggling with the most basic activities such as housework and cooking, staying awake for any length of time after showering, driving, walking. I’m not quite bedbound but I have been very much more limited than usual.

    We have been managing short spurts of homeschooling. Of course, it isn’t necessary to do anything formal at all – we have tried to cultivate a way of life that incorporates constant learning. But we have become more formal recently and I like to feel that we have achieved something quantifiable every day.

    We have reached a little bit of an impasse with regards dyslexia, and we have abandoned the attempt to learn joined up writing – I had read that it is recommended by some experts as something that helps the brain make connections, but I think that when the dyslexia is severe, it only serves to confuse further. I’m looking now into software to help them work on the computer instead. When I have something in place I will let you know.

    We did manage a couple of field trips and activities in September: a medieval castle ruin in Launceston, the first meeting of the new Home Ed Teens group and surprisingly regular trips to the library, but there were lots of things I had to say no to.

    The two eldest have started their courses with the local adult education centre. It’s a bit of a hodge-podge but they offer some quite nice opportunities for free. At the moment they’re doing some photography which they’re enjoying.

    The two youngest are part of a drama group and we organised a new sports group (or rather, I should say, I got the ball rolling and somebody else has kindly taken over the organising as it is not my forté!) which starts in October.

    I’m having to re-learn to pace myself after a long spell of not needing to worry too much, but I hope to be able to manage my energy well enough to get some more fun things done in October. And I’ll try and post more often.

     
  • Sharon Tootill 4:22 pm on January 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ADHD, , , Aspie, , , , , , , SEN,   

    Parenting Choices 

    Over Christmas, I had what almost amounted to an argument with a very old friend, on facebook (of course). I could rant and rave how facebook is the spawn of the devil and brings out the worst in everybody – which it does, but that isn’t the point I’m wanting to make this time.

    Our almost argument was essentially over parenting styles.

    Another, even older friend had re-posted a photo of a monkey with words along the lines of “I can’t wait until the monkeys go back to school (and I pity their teachers)”. Personally, I found the whole sentiment sad (what an indictment on society that mothers can’t spend two weeks’ holiday with their children without wishing them away) and bordering on offensive. (Perhaps I’m easily offended – maybe that’s the topic for another post…)

    I re-posted it with words to the effect that “I find this really quite sad and offensive, and if you feel like this, I feel sorry for you.”

    I had several mothers chime in with comments agreeing with me, and a couple from abroad who mentioned that the UK seems to be a very anti-child culture and the openness with which mothers speak so negatively about their children, even in front of their children, is really quite shocking.

    My friend, however, posted a snarky comment to say that she did feel that way, and that it was quite normal for ‘normal’ parents to feel that way, and if I thought she was a bad parent, it was my problem.

    Hmm.

    I had never to my knowledge suggested that she was a bad parent or had made bad choices, so I suspect that there is a little bit of a conscience-prick (or cognitive dissonance?) happening to make her feel defensive, but here is the thing. We made very different and opposite choices.

    We both have children with special needs. We both have a child with ADHD and very difficult behaviour. My friend sent her child to school and encountered enormous difficulties including suspensions and permanent exclusions, psychiatrists, CAMHS and medications, and getting the help she needed involved an enormous amount of fighting against the system to force the system to address the problem so that he could cope with the system. Actually I admire her tenacity and determination. It is not so much my friend’s parenting or parenting choices that I dislike so much as the system itself.

    The choices I made involved avoiding the system altogether.

    Special needs were not the initial reason that made us choose to home educate (my eldest son’s special needs were of a quite different nature) but by the time our third child came to ‘school age’ it was obvious that there was no way he could be squeezed into the box that the system required.

    When his behaviour started to become difficult to manage, we did try to deal with GPs and CAMHS, but without success. But since he was home educated, I concluded, as I had done with my eldest (who has suspected Asperger’s but for whom we also failed to obtain a diagnosis or a Statement), that we would just continue to find solutions at home. For the most part, I believe that was the right decision for the children and learning at home has been a much calmer and better choice.

    There is a ‘but’ though.

    For me though, for my health and sanity, home education has possibly not been the best choice. It certainly hasn’t been the easiest choice. I have no doubt whatsoever that the stress level has contributed to my overall ill health and in as far as adrenal exhaustion may play a part in ME, I think that stress has broken me. Really. I am certainly not the person I was  – either physically or mentally / emotionally – as I was when I started out on this journey just over 15 years ago.

    So my choice has come at a rather high price.

    I have wondered seriously whether I am well enough to go forward with our plan to adopt. Right now, I do not feel that I am, and that feeling of failure just adds to my overall state of mind. My Plan A, to have more children, failed spectacularly, but now I wonder if my Plan B will fail. I don’t have a Plan C. Just be sad indefinitely?

    However, would I do it again, even knowing what I know about how hard it is? Yes, I would. For my children’s sake, I would. I am glad I did. Would I home educate an adopted child? I have to say, despite everything that I know now, that I absolutely would.

    From my observation, school for the most well-adjusted children is tough and often comes at the price of impacting the child’s personality and character negatively. For adopted children, who have already been through trauma, loss and worse, it has the potential to be downright abusive and even in the best cases seems to add another layer of trauma which inevitably adds to their overall difficulties.

    Please don’t get me wrong. This is not intended to be a judgement on parents – especially adoptive parents – who choose school. I’m only looking from the outside, and I know that I don’t fully understand the special stresses that come with adopting a traumatised child. Home education is not the norm, and for most people, it can seem like an extreme solution. It involves one partner giving up their job, or a very difficult financial struggle. There is no ‘respite’ from home education, and I wouldn’t even suggest anybody try it unless they have a very supportive husband or extended support network. You will need a break, you will need support, and you will need a very strong sense of humour to be able to laugh when life and the state of the house is just so awful it’s ridiculous.

    But for me, from a list of imperfect possible choices, home education seems to be the least bad, least damaging option, especially for children with special needs.

     
    • TheDerpGuru 4:53 pm on January 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      My kids certainly noticed the difference in attitude to children when we first moved the UK, in the first week someone told my crying toddler to shut the *f* up as he walked by. In the first 6 month someone shouted over 2 aisles at TESCO the same thing. It certainly made my empathy for parents with children with special needs heighten, neither of those men had any clue what was wrong with my child, but felt it appropriate to swear in response.

      I made a big effort as a parent to not take my children shopping when they were tired and grumpy but sometimes needs must and sometimes toddlers just cry.

      We couldn’t believe it.

      Anyway. I guess I am one of the lucky ones, as when my children have gone to college or school they have had for the most part positive experiences. And we certainly never found the home ed community to be free of bullying.

      So I come at things eyes wide open about both communities.

      I have thought through the same issues in re; to adoption and fostering, wondering if school is a great place for children who need more nurture than average. I was always under the assumption that it was compulsory to send adoptive and fostered children to school.

      Anyway, I hope you find some peace as you reflect on it all, and you find a way forward that is best for you.

      Like

    • lillbjorne 7:20 pm on January 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thank-you. I have come into contact with several adoptive parents who also home educate in the UK so it is definitely an option, although I can imagine you might have to fight to convince social workers, as they wouldn’t automatically see what a boon it can be for attachment and positive family relationships.

      Like

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