m Celtic Cross Celtic Cross - Average Everyday Sane Psycho Supergoddess

May 10, 2006

The Mind of a Kindergartener

Several months ago, my son the D-Man started having what his teachers referred to as "behavioral problems" at preschool. He wouldn't stay focused on what they were doing, he acted up and wanted to do his own thing, he wouldn't listen to instructions - they were having "a terrible time" with him. At home, however (and wherever we would take him, for that matter), he was just fine - as well behaved as any 5 year old can be expected to be. I couldn't understand it and I would talk to him about it, but he couldn't explain it. A couple of the teachers went so far as to suggest that he has ADHD and they wanted to bring someone in to evaluate him. Um...I don't think so just yet.

Can a child who has ADHD watch a movie once and repeat to you afterwards, in detail, the entire story line? Can a child who has ADHD work out all of the mazes in one coloring book in one setting? ...build an intricate house and garage out of legos, complete with cars to go in the garage? Hmmm...I know my child and after a significant amount of research and talking with other mothers who have experience with ADHD, I knew in my heart that there had to be something else going on here.

The solution? Diet. I have eliminated almost all sugar from his diet (refined sugar, that is, not fruits and such) and have started giving him a good children's multi-vitamin. The teachers can not believe the transformation. One of them even asked me if he was taking medication.

It disturbs me how quickly some people seem to jump right to the idea of medicating kids who seem hyper. Sedate them and perhaps it wouldn't be so hard to keep this band of bouncing kids under control. Pffft! I know that some children need these medications and that they are very beneficial to them. I certainly do not think that giving your child medication is irresponsible, but it's not something that should be taken lightly or jumped straight into without exploring other options. I wonder how many of them out there are taking medications when they simply need an adjustment or two in their diet. It's called responsible parenting. You just have to keep yourself educated and work with your child to see what works for them.

D still gets in a little trouble from time to time, and after many discussions about the subject with him, we surmised that he is bored. After all, he is old for his class having been born right after the cutoff for last year's kindergarten qualifications. His interests and vocabulary are well above the levels of most of the kids in his class that I've come to know (hell, a few of them you can't even understand when they talk!). He keeps begging to be bumped up to the next level of class - to kindergarten. He's obviously ready to move on.

Well, this fall (and none too soon) the D-Man will begin kindergarten at a really cool school. This was accomplished by years of pestering these poor people with visits and phone calls to make sure the he was still on the waiting list and would be assured a spot. It's one of two downtown open enrollment schools that are of a different breed from the rest. They use a project based learning approach that fosters the child's independence and assures that they work at their own level on materials that are meaningful to them as individuals so they aren't either left behind by the pack or bored stiff because they're so far ahead. I love their philosophy and can't be more excited that he's officially in.

I think he's going to be very happy there. We went yesterday for an open house and just had a great time. While the principal talked with the parents about the boring stuff, the kids were ushered into the current kindergarten classes and were assigned a "buddy" to show them around. We then joined them, met the teachers, and were introduced to the structure of their days. I don't see how D could get bored there - there is so much to do and all of the children (each time I've been there) seemed to absolutely love it there. All of the staff members seemed very happy and they certainly did not appear to be "putting on the visitor face." When the open house was over, D didn't want to leave because he was having so much fun. I really wish he could start now since he has obviously moved beyond what his preschool has to offer.

This morning, he asked me when he would be moving up to the "stars" (kindergarten group) at his preschool since he feels that he's "officially a kindergarten student." I asked him if he had been told when he'd be switched and he responded in the most grown-up manner..."well, soon...hypothetically" rolling his eyes. That's my little man! *snif*

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