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New Member - My history with LD.


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Joined: Aug 19, 2005
Posts: 9
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Posted Aug 19, 2005 at 10:20:17 PM
Subject: New Member - My history with LD.

Hi, I just discovered this board a few days ago, and I was very pleased to find it. I have been feeling very alone, as if no one out there shares my problems, and have been wanting to find others like me whom I can share support with.
I thought I would begin by given a little history of the role LD has played in my life. I will try to keep it brief, but I cannot promise anything.
I was in preschool, no more than three or four years of age when my preschool teacher noticed some odd things about me. I was extremely socially awkward, and tended to withdraw from my peers. In addition, I "had trouble putting things on paper." I don't think I could do much more with a pencil than scribble with it, and maybe do some very primitive drawings that fell short of what would be expected of a child my age. I couldn't write my name, even though I recognized it, and could tell anyone the letters in my name. I simply couldn't physically write the letters. I also could not handle the equipment on the playground, and was afraid to try much of anything. I was unable to jump until I was four. It wasn't until years later, until I myself started working with preschoolers, that I realized how abnormal that was.
Anyway, I was tested, but my parents either weren't given many conclusive answers, or they didn't bother to pay attention to what they were being told. Either way, I haven't been able to get many answers from my parents. Apparently, I displayed difficulties with fine and gross motor, and spatial skills as well. My langugage skills, however, were above age level. It was also mentioned that I might be dyslexic, as I did not yet have a preferred hand at the age of four. However, I entered Kindergarten the following year, learned how to read relatively easily and this possibility was never mentioned again. I also finally learned how to write my name midway through Kindergarten. I was almost six years old. My handwritng, however, was extremely sloppy and almost illegible. It hasn't improved much since then.
I began going to resource room that year, and continued to do so throughout elementary school. Meanwhile, my difficulties continued. My Kindergarten teacher noticed that I often seemed to space out and had difficulty following directions. I was eventualy diagnosed with ADD.To this day, I am pathologically absentminded and disorganized. (By the way, I know that "eventually" is mispelled, but I cannot fix it without deleting everything that came after, so it stays) I recall seeing a neurologist from time to time. She put me on Ritalin for a while. This improved my classroom performance, but also led to serious sleep disturbances, so I eventually stopped taking it. I took another ADD med for a while, but it was less helpful than the Ritalin and the side effects were worse, so that didn't last either.
I recall bits and pieces from those visits with the neurologist. Once, when I was eight or nine I recall sitting on some sort of examining table. My mother was saying, "So, her coordination is poor."
The neurologist replied, "Her coordination is very poor."
This is true. My coordination was, and is, to this day, very poor. I didn't learn to tie my shoelaces until I was seven and half, and that was with several people working with me. I learned the two loop method. I still cannot consistently tie shoelaces using the one loop method. I generally don't bother with shoes with laces, since the laces always come out within ten minutes of my tying them. The children I work with will ask me to tie their shoelaces, and then a few minutes later, I"m being asked to tie them again. I never learned how to ride a bike without training wheels very well, or to roller skate. I cannot properly throw or catch a ball. Growing up, gym class was a constant source of humiliation for me. I can barely lace a sneaker, and will never be able to knit or sew even the simplest things.
I was in occupational therapy for a little over a year. At the end of sixth grade, I was about to enter Junior high. The system decided it would be too complicated to continue providing me services, so resource room, OT, everything was stopped. I somehow ended up in honors classes. In some classes, I did well, others, not so much. It was around this time that I started having serious problems with Math. I still don't understand Math.
In Junior high I continued to be an extremely shy, socially awkward outcast,and suffered a great deal of abuse at the hands of my peers. things got slightly better in high school when I joined the Newspaper staff and gained a degree of respect, but I still didn't fit in and struggled with certain aspects of my scoolwork. I got accepted to bennington College, a very strange school with no core requirements. I found myself an advisor who was a total pushover, and agreed with everything I said when I told him of my choices for classes. that way, I was able to completely avoid taking any Math or science in my four years of college. Instead, I focused on writing, literature, history, psychology, education, and social science classes in general. The classes were small, so when I found myself struggling in classes, it was a pretty simple matter of arranging an individual meeting with the professor and asking what I needed to do to get on track. Four years later, I graduated.
Currently, I am working full time at a not so great daycare center, and studying Early childhood Special Education at the graduate level on a very part time basis.
There's more, but I share this computer with my Mother, who wants a turn with it, so I don't have time to get into everything. I have not yet discussed all my issues, such as my complete lack of a sense of direction, so I will save that for another post.
I look forward to getting to know you all better, and contributing to this support community.

"If I have a bag of rocks to carry as I go/ I just want to hold my head up high./ I don't care what I have to step over/ I'm prepared to look you in the eye/ Look me in the eye. REM- "Walk Unafraid"

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geodob
Joined Feb 06, 2005
Posts: 265

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Posted:Aug 21, 2005 5:48:12 AM

Hi Trainwreck,
Or trainwreck Survivor might be more suitable?
Or maybe Mountain Climber?
I must say that I was really happy to read that you are training in Special Education!
Your personal life experience gives you a genuine understanding as a foundation to help children take on the difficulties of climbing their own mountain.
Given your own difficulties with your Visual-Spacial, Fine and Gross Motor Skills. Perhaps these could become your area of Expertise?
In a world of experts, it is still very hard to find someone who actually understands?
Good luck on your journey!
Geoff.

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TammyCat
Joined Aug 04, 2005
Posts: 38

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Posted:Aug 21, 2005 2:00:27 PM

Trainwreck, give this a try. 25 mg Benadryl twice a day along with Bonine or Dramamine or Meclazine. the last three are motion sickness meds. al of these are available with out a prescription.

What I think is going on is this. I think like many kids you suffered an ear infection that caused inner ear damage (vestibulum) The vestibulum communicates with the cerebellum which in turn comunicates with the rest of the brain and especially the motor parts of the cerebral cortex. Any disruption in that can cause a myriad of problems. The delayed develpomental mile stones suggest to me that you have been cerebellar vestibular dysfunction.

Give the above meds a try. They may make you drowsy so be careful.

Let us know what happens.

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Trainwreck24
Joined Aug 19, 2005
Posts: 9

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Posted:Aug 21, 2005 3:23:33 PM

Geoff and tammycat, I'd like to say that I really appreciate both of your responses.
One reason why I'm studying to go into Special Education is because I'd like to provide others, some with issues similar to mine, with the sort of supportive and nonjudgemental help that I feel I was denied as a child. There are special Education teachers out there who don't understand the way the LD mind works.
When I was a sophomore in college, I interned at a school. In the morings, I worked with impoverished preschoolers, and in the afternoons, I worked with school-aged children in Special Education. I recall one afternoon, the teacher was working with one boy, who must have been seven or eight years old, on counting by twos. The boy was not grasping the concept. the teacher thoght he should have the concept mastered, and was anything but gentle in letting the child know that. Because he was struggling, she was very criticizing him. I could tell the child wanted to learn, but his teacher's harsh criticism of him was making him feel inadequate and discouraged. Eventually, the teacher decided that she was tired of working with him, and sent him out of the classroom with me, telling me to try and see if I could do anything with him. I sat alone with him, and began working with him my way. I understood that he really wanted to learn, but because of his LD, this concept didn't come as easy for him as it did for his peers, a fact which most likely frustrated and confused him. Bearing the in mind, I treated him in a very non-critical and nojudgemental manner. Within five minutes, he had mastered the concept. After that, every time he saw me, he proudly demonstrated how he could count by twos.
I find it disheartening how so many teachers- general and special education alike - lack empathy. I recall being in second grade, and having a teacher who was particularly lacking in empathy. We were getting ready for our class show. One part of the show involved singing and dancing to the song, "The Locomotion." When the song came to the line, "Let's make a chain now," the each child in the class was expected to march around the stage, holding on to the shoulders of the child in front of him/ her. Not surprisingly, I could not keep up, and the "chain" inevitably broke where I was. My teacher decided that that I was messing up the aesthetic appeal of the show, and forced me to sit the song out. Because of my inattentiveness and (from her perception) lack of intelligence, she didn't trust me to know when to get up and go hide backstage, so she had a boy in the class come over to me to escort me backstage before the start of the song. to this day, I cannot stand to listen to "The Locomation."
Another time, in third grade, I turned in an assignment which was so sloppily done that the teacher refused to mark it. Not only that, but she showed the whole class this assignment of mine which she refused to mark. I'm sure most or all of you have had similar experiences.
Now that I'm working in a daycare/ preschool which doesn't employ the most qualified people, I am constantly seeing my coworkers being very harsh and critical of children when they don't live up to their sometimes ridiculously high expectations. Whether or not a child has an LD, no one is good at everything, and no one can get things right all the time. It infuriates me to see how lacking in empathy nearly ALL my coworkers are. Children learn best when their self esteem is being built up, not torn down. As naive as this sounds, I like to think that when I enter the field of Special Education, I can make a difference.
Okay, I'm finished with my rant now, LOL. ::stepping off soapbox. ::
Tammycat, you may be on to something. I did have a lot of ear infectios as a child. Incidentally, I also suffered from motion sickness. I still do, to an extent, but to a much lesser degree.
Your solution sounds like a good one. The problem is, I suffer from significant sleep disturbances, and anything that has the slightest chance of making a person drowsy, knocks me out. However, if I can find a way to counteract the drowsiness, such as taking the meds with a dose of caffiene in some form, your suggestion might be worth a try. In a couple of weeks, I'll have a three day weekend. that would be a good time to try out your technique. While I'm pretty sure the issue you mentioned is not my only problem, it's undoubtedly a significant contributing factor. I really appreciate your advice.
Once again, I want to thank the people eho have responded. I look forward to writing/ reading more soon.

"If I have a bag of rocks to carry as I go/ I just want to hold my head up high./ I don't care what I have to step over/ I'm prepared to look you in the eye/ Look me in the eye. REM- "Walk Unafraid"

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victoria
Joined Jun 13, 2003
Posts: 1784

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Posted:Aug 22, 2005 12:02:23 AM

Please see a doctor and discuss medications before playing around with them, especially with a cocktail of medications like that. You are taking risks that you don;t even know about when you mix stuff.

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Sue
Joined Jun 14, 2003
Posts: 1845

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Posted:Aug 22, 2005 3:45:51 PM

Lots of folks with language LDs also had some kind of problems with hearing or their ears. Makes sense; if you're not hearing things right during the time you're developing language, you're not going to have proper associations of sounds with words, and all that phonemic awareness stuff.

Now, the reach from there to it being curable with motion sickness meds is a bit of a long one that really hasn't stood up to the research test.

What really frustrates me is that there are at least half a dozen different variations on the cerebellar and vestibular theme. Maybe it's just one of those myths that refuses to die or maybe there *is* something to it... I think we're missing an important piece or four.

Another approach to the "vestibular" issues is to take it from the "sensory integration" angle and to do exercises (like jumping and crawling) that, supposedly, get both halves of the brain working better together. Unlike a medical cocktail, you may even sleep better afterward. Swimming (crawlstroke or sidestroke or something not symmetrical) and rock climbing and karate are activities that would be more "normal" but serve the same purpose. Google "sensory integration" and see if that doesn't ring bells...

There's an interesting book out called "Love, Jean" that has the letters of A. Jean Ayres, who pioneered sensory integration diagnosis and treatment, to her nephew, who she helped through sensory integration difficulties. It probably would cost less than the Benadryl (which also turns me into a total vegetable - and with caffeine, I'm just a more wide awake vegetable, but don't ask me to think). http://www.crestport.com/ has mroe info - but yea, it's a very small publisher.

It's awfully hard to discern the Next New Discovery from The Latest in Snake Oil. Sometimes the best snake oil salesfolks really do believe that it works and most of the New Discoveries were considered snake oil at some point. I wouldn't gamble anything I wasn't ready to lose.


A. Jean Ayres, Philip Erwin and Zoe Mailloux have put out a book called Love, Jean about the doctor

Sue J, webmastress www.resourceroom.net

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Trainwreck24
Joined Aug 19, 2005
Posts: 9

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Posted:Aug 22, 2005 8:37:07 PM

sue, thank you so much your advice. You may be right about the issue being one of sensory integration. I've done some reading about sensory integration dyfunction in the past few years, and I've wondered if I might have that. Aside from my severe uncoordination and balance issues, I've also had some other odd tissues over the years. For instance, on the playground, I always avoided anything that involved climbing. I'm afraid to climb ladders. I HATE staircases that have spaces between the stairs, I always feel that I'm going to fall right through them. As for spiral staircases with spaces between the stairs -- I REFUSE to climb them. I've always hated lying on examining tables in doctors offices because I feel like I'm going to fall off. When I went to summer camp from 1992-1995 (incidentally, it was a special camp for children with AD(H)D and/or LD) I was terrified to do this ropes challege course we were supposed to do for pioneering.It involved climbing up this diagonal log (kind of like a ramp) to this set of ropes. We were supposed to walk on one rope while holding onto two other ropes, one on each side of us. All three of these ropes were firmly attached to trees on either side. From there, we were to move on to the second portion, walking sideways along one ropee while holding onto another with both hands. From there, there were sets of swings, the seats all at different heights, and were were supposed to swing from one to the next. from there we walked down along another log. I was terrified and refused to do it. None of the other girls in my bunk ever had a problem with it. My first summer, I had a nice, understanding pioneer instructor: she saw that I was terrified and didn't make me do it. However, my pioneering instructor the following year wasn't so understanding. He told me I had to do it. Instead of moving on to the next girl waiting in line, he continued to argue with me, even after I started having an anxiety attack, complete with crying and hyperventilating. He continued to argue with me until the end of the activity period. After that, my whole bunk was furious at me for holding up the line. I eventually did it with A LOT of guidance and support. I hated it - it was horrible. I can't abide most rides at amusement parks, except for "kiddie rides." I can't even abide all kiddie rides. the only time in my life I was on a roller coaster, it was a kiddie roller coaster. I was ten -- I freaked out, was screaming in sheer terror the whole time, and practically strangled the friend who was on the ride with me. That was fourteen years ago, and the friend I was on the ride with still teases me about it. I was also afraid of water for years. I eventually learned how to swim, because my summer camp forced me to. Even so, to this day, if I'm swimming in water over my head, it freaks me out to have anyone touch me. I also don't particularly like water on my face unless I deliberately jump in the water or dunk my head, and then I'll probably be getting out pretty soon to dry my face. I swim with my head up to avoid the water. I hate cold water dripping onto my face in any way. If it's raining, and I don't have an umbrella, I bow my head and let my long hair take the brunt of it. when I shower, I generally lean out every thirty seconds to dry my face.
I also have a really hard time with the glare of the sun. I don't bother with sunglasses because I lose them all the time (an ADD thing), but I'll be bowing my head, squinting my eyes, and putting a hand to myy forehead to avoid the glare on days when no one else seems to be very bothered by the sun. I also find it difficult to think clearly when there's a lot of noise an movement, though that could be ADD as well as SID.
Anyway, I have other weird things too, but that's the jist of it. I never heard the term "Sensory Integration Dysfunction" as a child. I heard that I was "off-center" and "posturely insecure." as an adult, I've googled these terms and found NOTHING. However, I've found tons of stuff on sID, and I think it's clear from a mile away that I have this. I feel cheated that I never had treatment for this as a child.
anyway, doing exercise for sensory integration is probably a good idea. Rock climbing, though, is NOT happening, LOL. As I said earlier, I do not CLIMB things. I will try some of your other suggestions though, Sue.
I don't think I'm going to try the antihistamines just yet. It doesn't take much to turm me into a vegetable as it is, and at my job (Day Care teacher) , I need to be on the alert.
Anyway, I'm done with this novel for now. I realy need to work on being less lon-winded.
I wish everyone the best of luck in finding ways to cope with their LDs.

"If I have a bag of rocks to carry as I go/ I just want to hold my head up high./ I don't care what I have to step over/ I'm prepared to look you in the eye/ Look me in the eye. REM- "Walk Unafraid"

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octopus
Joined Aug 22, 2005
Posts: 6

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Posted:Aug 23, 2005 11:36:43 AM

Hi Trainwreck!

I can relate to your Locomotion Experience. I was the slow kid in the chain too. I'm really sorry to hear your teacher was such a b*tch. Lots of mine were like that too... sport day was like the apocolypse was coming or something.

Well, it's good to know there are others out there with similar experiences and I'm so glad to hear that you're going into the special ed field. I'm sure you're a really understanding teacher. :)

-Octopus (so called cause I can't keep track of my arms and what's in them - i feel like i have 8 ;) )

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Sue
Joined Jun 14, 2003
Posts: 1845

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Posted:Aug 23, 2005 2:25:05 PM

I was eternally grateful that at least I was a girl... guys really had it worse if they couldn't perform :-(

I hear you on the rock climbing though perhaps if you were totally harnessed and it was one of those gym wall things and nobody was watching. You described it so well I was feeling giddy and nauseous myself! So p'raps walking with walking sticks would be better :-) - or those funky fitness machines, like the one in the Geico ad... or those rubber band exercise things that you wrap around a bar or wedge in a door...

Sue J, webmastress www.resourceroom.net

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geodob
Joined Feb 06, 2005
Posts: 265

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Posted:Aug 24, 2005 11:29:34 AM

Hi TW,
I'd just mention in regard to Vestibular, it's a 'balance level' mechanism in our ears. If you stand up in the dark, or with your eyes closed. Then this is what keeps you balanced. A simple exercise for this, is to carefully walk around your house with your 'eyes closed'.
Though in relation to 'climbing', we actually have a 'sense' called Proprioception. Which you may also have a problem with?
Proprioception is how we know where all parts of our body are located in space.
For example, close your eyes, then touch the tip of your nose with your fore finger. Also with eyes closed, bring just the finger tips of both your hands together.
Balancing on one foot is also a proprioceptive exercise.
These exercises also get the left and right sides of the brain communicating with each other. Where it's important to note that the left brain controls the right side of the body, and vice versa.
This is called Lateralisation.
Simply tossing a ball from one hand to the other and back, is a good Lateral exercise. Juggling 2 balls is an even better exercise.

These sorts of exercises can help overcome the problems that you have.
Perhaps you could try them, and let us know how you go?
Geoff.


:)

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Trainwreck24
Joined Aug 19, 2005
Posts: 9

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Posted:Aug 24, 2005 8:17:10 PM

I want to thank everyone who's written for their advice. I definitely want to try some of the exercises that have been recomended. I culd definitely do the jumping and crawling. I'm a little wary about walking arounnd my house with my eyes closed, since we have stairs, and I'm one of the clumsiest people on the planet. There are a few places in the house where it might be relatively safe, though. as for standing on one foot, I can't do that for more than a few seconds. If I tried to toss a ball from hand to hand, I'd drop it on the first toss, and I can't juggle to save my life. I realize that this isn't normal. I should probably practice this things. I suppose that if I practiced often enough, I might gradually improve. I guess I won't know unless I try, so I should try.
I'm sorry that so many of you have been dealing with challenges similar to mine. While it's good to know that I'm not alone, I know how frustrating it can be to struggle with things that seem to come easy to "everyone else."
I wish everyone the best.

"If I have a bag of rocks to carry as I go/ I just want to hold my head up high./ I don't care what I have to step over/ I'm prepared to look you in the eye/ Look me in the eye. REM- "Walk Unafraid"

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TammyCat
Joined Aug 04, 2005
Posts: 38

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Posted:Aug 25, 2005 2:54:22 PM

Quote a66d6e1c1c="victoria":

Please see a doctor and discuss medications before playing around with them, especially with a cocktail of medications like that. You are taking risks that you don;t even know about when you mix stuff.

Victoria makes a good point. Check with your doc and tell him what you are doing. Diphendydrmine/Benedryl in large doses over a lonng period of time has a slight potential for liver damage but if you are healthy you should be OK.

Dramamine, Meclazine and Bonine can make some people drowsy but usually those side effects go away.

Ginger is also a pretty decent motion sickness med but for most people the OTC ones work best.

Personally I would just go a head and start taking Benedryl and Drammamine because the potential for adverse reactions is so minimal.

You may need to gradually increase the dose if drowsiness is a problem.

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