I apologise in advance, this is going to be a long post as I really need to get everything that has happened in the last year off my chest! My daughter is 6 years old, recently diagnosed with ADHD and a LD, not sure which one yet. She is a very bright, perky and hyperactive child, who is also very very emotional and hypersensitive, having major crying tantrums caused by frustration at not being able to do something correctly. She often flat out refuses to do any writing or reading work, or is very dependent on her teacher and myself. Her self esteem is very low. She has made NO progress in kindergarten, as shown by her place on the literacy and numeracy continuum and her testing results. She is at least 3-4 levels behind every single one of her peers. She has been on Ritalin 10 now for 4 weeks, as a trial and it has helped her concentration immensely, but not the emotional lability, and it is causing her to stay awake too late at night, which is in turn affecting her emotions too. She also has mild conductive hearing loss in one ear due to otitis media, and a blocked grommet; which has in turn resulted in a mild speech impediment. I am desperately trying to get her the help she needs but we are in a rural area and I need to travel to get her to the specialists. However I work full time (as a secondary school teacher ironically) and trying to coordinate her appointments with the paediatrician, occupational therapist, child psychologist, Ear-nose and throat doctor, speech pathologist and nutritionist is proving absolutely ridiculous! Not the mention the COST and travel time! I try and do work after school with her but she often shuts down. Right now, our lives feel like an endless string of specialist appointments; being shunted from one person to the other without any real continuity and fluidity. It feels like they just give us the run around, offer no real help and raid our hip pockets. I'm finding it impossible to remain positive right at the moment, because I feel like I have no support and no one to talk to about how to help her cope with her emotions; how to best help her learn; and how to help my husband and I parent her in the best way. I feel like I'm trying to do my best but getting absolutely nowhere.
I am a school psychologist and have recently created a website, www.educationandbehavior.com, for parents just like you who are frustrated and don't know where to turn for help.
I have written several research based articles to help with ADHD, learning disabilities, and behavior. I give strategies for exactly what you are talking about with "shutting down" during school/homework as well as many other strategies. I hope you can find some help in my articles.