August 13, 2011

Neurotransmitters need more than just ME to make them work

Today a normally foggy and frozen student, aged 10, brightened up and lightened up and wrote up a storm.

He has spectrum-like tendencies, which in layman's terms means he is a little Asperger's-like.

I wish I could take the credit, but Concerta gets the trophy.

It is his first week on it, and he was articulate, not at all dreamy, honest to a fault about his writing goals, and he produced three times as much as usual without arguing. This is a miracle. Granted, he needed some organizers, tips, and tools that I provided, but wow.

So once again, my tried and true line gets inserted here: Success is a Vitamin. Stole that from Mel Levine.

MelLevine may be controversial, and accused of all sorts of things that cut to the heart of our trust, but he was brilliant, dedicated, and widened my vocabulary. I never talked about "de-mystifying" children before I read his books.

He makes grave efforts not to use traditional labels. When he spoke for our local IDA (International Dyslexia Assoc.) he would not use that term!

This is how he describes the input/output mechanisms, very succinctly:

Mental Energy

A student:
  • has difficulty concentrating; may complain of feeling tired or bored
  • does not seem to be well rested and fully awake during the day
  • has inconsistent work patterns that negatively impact quality and quantity of work
  • shows overactivity and fidgets -- especially pronounced when sitting and listening


A student:
  • processes too little or too much information; can't distinguish between what is important and what isn't
  • focuses too superficially or too deeply on information presented
  • has difficulty connecting new information with information already known
  • only pays attention to exciting information or highly stimulating activities
  • focuses for too brief a period
  • has problems shifting focus from one subject or activity to another

A student:
  • fails to preview the effects of statements or actions or to predict the outcomes of tasks or activities
  • has difficulty coming up with the right strategy or technique to accomplish a task
  • does not monitor quality of work or the effectiveness of strategies
  • does not use past successes and failures to guide current behavior, actions, or strategies
  • is apt to do too many things too quickly and some other things too slowly
  • has a poor sense of how time and how to manage it

If any of these signs occur inconsistently or in a particular subject area, they may be pointing to a different learning problem. When children struggle with reading, for example, because of a neurological breakdown that hinders their decoding ability, it is very difficult for them to concentrate and stay focused.

So with tools, and nutrition, and medication (sometimes) and breaking the whole thinking process down more than seems natural, we can send kids (and adults) soaring, in written self expression.

No comments:

Post a Comment