Why "Running with Bunions"?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

A Darling Girl

"Write four sentences about your favorite toy," Teacher says. "You have 25 minutes."

Amaze Girl stares at the clean sheet of lined paper. She twirls her pencil, looks out the window, back at the page. Wiggles in her seat, fidgets with a bit of discarded eraser. All about her, rubber soled feet kick desks. Voices whisper. The air conditioner hums. Pencils scratch paper as students scribble missives about favorite dolls, blankets, movies, balls.

Amaze Girl doesn't write anything.

"She's a darling girl," Teacher says. "She reads well! She's good in math. But her problems with focus and attention hurt her learning in other areas." Teacher's cheeks redden. "It's very frustrating."

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) are learning differences commonly diagnosed in children who have difficulty in the typical classroom environment. Children who won't sit still. Who speak out of turn, make careless mistakes, daydream, fidget. They're easily distracted, impulsive, forgetful, don't follow directions or finish assignments.

These children don't learn well when bound to the desk-chalkboard-timed-lesson-standardized-test system utilized by the majority of America's public schools.

There's no blood test to identify ADD/ADHD. However, learning disorders are commonly diagnosed in children exposed to lead before their 3rd birthday suggesting a biological basis may exist.

Some say ADD/ADHD are disorders born of (in)convenience. That children aren't meant to be confined to four walls, trained to raise a hand before speaking or urinate on a crowd sourced schedule. That some need more childhood time than others to run, jump, whoop, twirl, play in the mud, look at the sky, daydream.

That intelligence ought not be measured by one's ability to succeed in a conformer's environment. And children shouldn't be "labeled" good/bad/indifferent before their biology ripens.

Others point out the need for a measurable educational system and would medicate even the youngest child to help him fit in.

Everyone seems to agree that children who have difficulty with structured learning should receive help: home education, tutors, tailored instruction, more time to complete assignments, tests taken orally while doing jumping jacks.

Whatever the cause, the solution is coping strategies, test taking techniques, patience, medication.

Amaze Girl is bright and intelligent. She loves to read, has an excellent memory and a writer's eye for detail. Her favorite subject is science. She's learning to play piano. Through no fault of her own, she got a late start, but, once begun, made great, bounding, forward strides. In a little more than a year, with help from many wonderful people, she's learned to write, read, count, compute, stand on line, socialize, use silverware, swing, play games, take turns, create art and more.

Super Daddy is working with Teacher and others to determine the nature of Amaze Girl's learning differences and the type of help appropriate.

Meanwhile?

"What's your favorite toy?" says Super Daddy. He places a clean sheet of lined paper on the kitchen table. The refrigerator hums.

Amaze Girl pushes her chair aside and stands without fidgeting. Her eyes shine. She picks up her pencil.
Stay Puft is a beloved, stuffed marshmallow

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