Adoption Interview

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Roller Coaster

It seems like we live on a constant roller coaster. Yesterday Hannah and I had a wonderful Mommy Daughter Day. We went to the museum, had lunch, played, did school, had dinner, bath, bed with no problems. We made it through with no screaming, melting down, hitting, kicking, etc. There was of course some minor preschool disobedience, but hey, no one's perfect. This morning, however, was a totally different story. Hannah was out of control. She threw things, hit me, kicked me, scratched me, tried to bite me, and pinched me. All this because she didn't want to turn off the TV and then later didn't want to wash up and leave for school. It's not like this routine was out of the ordinary. We do it EVERY Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We've done it for over a year. In fact, except leaving for school, we do the same routine every single morning! Still, it's impossible to predict when she'll be able to smoothly move through the morning routine successfully and when she'll just completely lose control of herself. By the time I actually got her to school she was fine and I'm sure she'll have a wonderful day there. That's the other thing that is frustrating. She almost NEVER displays these aggressive behaviors at school. For them she's a sweet angel all the time. I can almost guarantee though that the minute I walk in to pick her up the behaviors will start building and by the time we make it home they will be in full swing. UGH! How can she act so sweetly and behave so wonderfully one moment and then at the flip of a switch shift into another gear and go nuts on me? I just don't get it.

Something that interests me about Hannah's reading level is that even though she can read at a second grade level and comprehend what the text says as far as being able to report the events of the story and the facts objectively, she is unable to make predictions or inferences about the stories she reads. In this aspect of reading comprehension I would say she is just barely at age level for a 4 year old, maybe even a little behind since my expertise is not early childhood, but elementary school. Even stories that she has read to her and that she doesn't have to expend the mental energy of actually decoding, she is unable to display this higher level comprehension. Picture books she is a little better at picking up unspoken aspects of the story, but that is only because she studies the pictures so intensely. If the pictures weren't there she wouldn't gain as much depth about the story as she does. Every now and then she'll get something that I'm surprised she catches, but on the whole this uneven development she has in reading is quite fascinating to me. A four year difference between decoding and comprehension is a pretty big gap and I am amazed that it could even develop. It's hard for me to imagine being able to read the words, but not really understanding all that they tell. I've heard that this is quite common for children with hyperlexia, but I'm not too concerned yet since really she's right about where she should be comprehension wise. If it ever gets to the point where she can't comprehend at the grade level she's SUPPOSED to be reading (even if she's still reading 4 years ahead!) then I'll be worried. For now though, I'm just intrigued.


Lydia said...

The reasons she acts out at home at not at school, most likely, is kind of twofold... First, she knows that you will lover her no matter what and thus that she is safe with you. Secondly, she can only "hold it together" for so long. Since she feels like she has to at school, she comes home and lets loose.

I was similar to Hannah in that I was reading way ahead of my age, but I lacked comprehension. I could read the words of absolutely anything (newspaper, Pride and Prejudice, The Hobbit) by age 5 or 6, but I still can't follow the plotlines and characters in adult fiction. I've learned to read the books that are at my comprehension and interest level (books for 10-12 year olds, typically), for the most part, with an occasional challenge book thrown in. Interestingly, I can read technical things at the college level (and did, for college) with no problem.

Mama said...

Lydia, Thanks so much for the insight. Good luck on your trip!

Taz's Mama said...

the start and stop of behaviors at school and at home is very typical, especially with kids with special needs. i agree with the previous poster. because she knows she is safe so she can show her worst with you. it sounds a lot like my little guy. which is really annoying because it makes teachers think the problem is us. but don't get down on yourself because you know it's not true. i had a professional tell me that this happens because many kids can hold themselves together but it depletes their resources so when they don't have to anymore, it comes out ten fold. with my son, he would start acting out as soon as i stepped into the room. and all the teachers would say, he was just fine. it's more than embarrassing. now i take it all in stride. i just say yup, i'm sure he was. like it was the most normal thing in the world and i don't let it get to me. most of the time :)

oh, and i can relate to your other post about the inconsistency in behaviors. that can be common with kids with aspbergers or other special needs. it was explained to me that kids like ours are very sensitive. so if they are even a tiny bit hungry, or the room is a little too bright, it can completely set them up to not be able to handle the slightest challenge. we see this a lot with my son. one day he can put his shoes on then the next he falls apart. it all depends on what's going on for him that day. did he just have a hard time before i asked him to do it? did he have to pay attention too long to something? is he hot? does his belly hurt a bit? etc. it helps to think of it that way. you can even relate it to yourself. just think of how you feel on a really long stressful day. if you're hot, hungry, and tired, you're more likely to be a little snappy right? and less likely to want to pleasantly cook dinner or put away laundry. it's like that but these kids are even more sensitive and they feel that way every day. imagine that! anyway, it just helps me to have more patience when i think of it that way.

Suzymom said...

we have a auti-daughter who learned to read very early too. She's now 16. She's always been incredibly good at spelling, so the technical aspect of reading causes no problems. Yet, "reading between the lines" is still very difficult for her. In school she does well for languages, but always scores fairly poorly for reading comprehension. Summarizing a book for school is hard for her. She generally loses herself in the details.

Strangely, she likes poetry. Her favourite author uses very down-to-earth images she can relate to.