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Our main problem right now is my son's refusal to do school work. He has missed most of the last month of school and is way behind... though he is only 6, and it sounds a bit ridiculous for a 6-yr-old to be "behind" in school, he goes to an accelerated school and is, indeed, behind.

 

He came home for spring break with a packet of work the teacher wanted me to do with him, and I waited until today and tried to gently, positively steer him toward doing some of it-- but he dug in his heels and refused, though at first he agreed to try it.

 

This is work which really should be quite easy for him. In particular, he refuses to write-- he will not write anything.

 

I don't think he can go back to the school if he continues to refuse to do his work.

 

We always have huge fights about this, because it's hard for me to grasp that this is beyond his control.

 

I want to pull him out of school and homeschool, but my husband is adamantly opposed, because then my son will "get his way" and also because our fights will get worse.

 

Just wondering if anyone else has a similar experience.

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Hi Bronxmom2,

 

We have had some experience with that, but just a little bit different. Our daughter is five and was only in pre-school when the pandas hit. We had no choice but to pull her out. We did not have to pull her out because she would refuse to do the work. She would refuse to go to school altogether. That said, we have had issues with the writing. We used to practice writing all the time before the pandas. She loved to write. Now, she doesn't enjoy it. It got to a point where she would want to write the alphabet and then she would have to redo it and redo and redo it again when she did not write one letter perfectly. We really notice a decline with her fine motor skills. :wacko:

 

When we pulled her out of pre-school, my husband was against it. I did it anyway. (Kindergarten/first grade is a different story, I completely understand.) He told me the same thing. He told me that he did not want her to think that she always gets her way. Maybe he was right? Maybe we should have kept her in? I just could not see forcing her to go. I thought it would have been more detrimental for her mental health. Now we have to deal with getting her to go to kindergarten. She doesn't even want to discuss it at this point. We discuss home school and to my husband it isn't an option.

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Our main problem right now is my son's refusal to do school work. He has missed most of the last month of school and is way behind... though he is only 6, and it sounds a bit ridiculous for a 6-yr-old to be "behind" in school, he goes to an accelerated school and is, indeed, behind.

 

He came home for spring break with a packet of work the teacher wanted me to do with him, and I waited until today and tried to gently, positively steer him toward doing some of it-- but he dug in his heels and refused, though at first he agreed to try it.

 

This is work which really should be quite easy for him. In particular, he refuses to write-- he will not write anything.

 

I don't think he can go back to the school if he continues to refuse to do his work.

 

We always have huge fights about this, because it's hard for me to grasp that this is beyond his control.

 

I want to pull him out of school and homeschool, but my husband is adamantly opposed, because then my son will "get his way" and also because our fights will get worse.

 

Just wondering if anyone else has a similar experience.

 

Hi BronxMom--

 

Do you think it is that he "won't" write or that he "can't", or even--perhaps can't write as well as he wants to--so he is refusing?

 

In any case, my own child hit a wall with writing. After much discussion with the school (re: OCD issues, PANDAS) the teacher informed me that they had decided to no longer grade our d's writing, and would put NA on her report card for the trimester.

I was relieved at that point, as it was a difficult symptom time and our d. did not need any stress, at all. We believed she really could not do it at that point and that it was just not worth the battle for her.

 

We also worked out a "time" limit on homework with the school and the agreement that she could stop homework when she got tired.

 

This was a tough one, but they agreed to grade homework on what came back, and not worry about what was left undone. If your child is ill, they are ill. Neuro-psych issues as well as physical.

 

The school is keeping a weekly checklist of OCD behaviors for us to chart how she does week to week to compare. I hope your teacher will be understanding.

T.

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Usually DD gets behind in her work at school because she starts to meltdown. A lot of work has been scribbled on, torn up, crumbled up and attempted to be thrown away during her fits. However the teacher will send home her missed work and then I'm forced to sit down with her and make her work on it. Usually I don't have to fuss too much at her to do it, but I absolutely have to sit with her or stay very close by - i.e., she'll sit at the kitchen table while I'm cooking dinner and I wander back and forth to keep an eye that she's doing her work.

 

We have a really tough time with her handwriting though - it seems to vary with her moods. When she's having a tough day her handwriting is obviously sloppy. When she's having an OK or great day, it's very neat and beautiful. :wacko:

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Hi. We have had some homework issues as well. My dd has, so far, done very well at school (although she did miss 2 weeks during the worst of the episode), but she tends to crumble when she gets home- and at that point I have a hard time asking her to do homework.

 

Firstly, I have learned to let go a little bit. I am usually very strict with school and homework- but I have come to realize that it is definately secondary to a child's health and happiness (especially at these young ages). My daughter is in K, she is a little behind where I would like her to be, but I know she can catch up when she is well (we will be doing "mommy school" this summer). I think it is most important to support these kids, and keep them feeling positive about schoolwork, than forcing them to keep up. In reality, before highschool, does it really matter?

 

Luckily, dd's teacher usually gives the homework weekly (she gives all of it on Monday, due Friday). This way we have been able to do more on good days, and none on bad days. I also have taken the liberty of handing it in on Monday, doing some on the weekend, if need be. So far, 95% of her work has been on time. If things go downhill, though, I definately plan on talking with the teacher, and letting her know that Julia will do it in her own time.

 

I did read in Tamar Chansky's book "Freeing your child from Anxiety" about accomodations to implement in school for anxious kids. One of them was limiting the homework, and she named pandas kids (because of escalating symptoms).

 

I would definately talk to the teacher (maybe get a psychologist involved). The last thing you and your child need is more stress.

 

Hang in there. It is so hard...

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We had the therapist come to the school to meet with the teachers and principal to try to work out an understanding re: accommodations (private school.) We needed someone other than us explaining it--

 

In a public school they should be required to accommodate if necessary under other-health-impaired.

 

I agree with you DCMom -- The absolute priority is the child's health, rest, and well being. Not homework. Stress is not worth.

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Our main problem right now is my son's refusal to do school work. He has missed most of the last month of school and is way behind... though he is only 6, and it sounds a bit ridiculous for a 6-yr-old to be "behind" in school, he goes to an accelerated school and is, indeed, behind.

 

He came home for spring break with a packet of work the teacher wanted me to do with him, and I waited until today and tried to gently, positively steer him toward doing some of it-- but he dug in his heels and refused, though at first he agreed to try it.

 

This is work which really should be quite easy for him. In particular, he refuses to write-- he will not write anything.

 

I don't think he can go back to the school if he continues to refuse to do his work.

 

We always have huge fights about this, because it's hard for me to grasp that this is beyond his control.

 

I want to pull him out of school and homeschool, but my husband is adamantly opposed, because then my son will "get his way" and also because our fights will get worse.

 

Just wondering if anyone else has a similar experience.

 

Does he not want to do it or is it truly more difficult for him which is causing his resistance? We run into that with our son too. When he has a PANDAS episode, his handwriting and ability to process numbers tanks and he shows major resistance to school work because he knows it's more difficult for him. And, it takes awhile for his brain to recover and be able to process and learn and write again. We've been home schooling this whole year because of PANDAS and are now looking at starting our own "school" or at least homeschool coop for next year to accomodate the changes PANDAS has brought about. Our son was also in an academically challenging private school doing great last year. Can you work out a deal with the school and your son where he still does the work, but dictates to you and/or get them to agree to back-off on the homework and some of the math for now? Your son's brain has likely been injured by the PANDAS and he's in a different place as far as learning goes now.

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Thanks to you all. The lesson is definitely to back off and be most concerned about his physical and mental health.

 

My husband would question whether it's in his best interest to let him get his way on this-- he still does not really grasp how much of this is PANDAS and totally beyond his control. Neither do I.

 

Also, he took an IQ test/Achievement test right in the middle of the worst of his PANDAS, and the results were still very very high. He's growing as a reader and a thinker, but he's losing the concrete tasks. Or that's how it seems. Maybe it's all going and I just can't accept it.

 

I know this questions has been asked so it's really just rhetorical, but... if their brains are injured, will they recover?

 

Jena, has the homeschooling been a success?

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We are also homeschooling and it's worked very well. I think it is most important that my PANDAS kiddo really love learning without the pressure to do so in any set form or manner. We take lots of breaks and bring lots of sensory input into all of our learning activities. It can be hard on me, but I take time during the weekend to go out alone if I need to in order to get a break. I think it helps to really see the parts of the brain that PANDAS affects and know that they really can't control those parts that are inflammed. I just read the other day that often children who are "behind" actually might just need an extra grade, particularly boys. It works fine for us because we use the Waldorf method where first grade starts at age seven....this method goes more by emotional/physical AND intellectual readiness than just intellectual readiness. Dd is truly thriving with this learning method and loves everything she is doing and learning.

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Thanks to you all. The lesson is definitely to back off and be most concerned about his physical and mental health.

 

My husband would question whether it's in his best interest to let him get his way on this-- he still does not really grasp how much of this is PANDAS and totally beyond his control. Neither do I.

 

Also, he took an IQ test/Achievement test right in the middle of the worst of his PANDAS, and the results were still very very high. He's growing as a reader and a thinker, but he's losing the concrete tasks. Or that's how it seems. Maybe it's all going and I just can't accept it.

 

I know this questions has been asked so it's really just rhetorical, but... if their brains are injured, will they recover?

 

Jena, has the homeschooling been a success?

 

We've been watching our son's brain recover over the past 7 months. After the worst of his PANDAS episodes in September, numbers looked like a foreign language to him and I had to re-teach him basic math facts over and over, he had ADHD behaviors for the first time and couldn't sit to learn or focus, his handwriting was horrible and he would resist even writing a couple of words, he would sit in front of legos wanting to build, but not being able to put his thoughts into any structures. Previously, he had tested in the gifted range in all areas and in November, his math was average and his cognitive (processing) skills were well below average.

 

As of last month, he was loving learning again and asking to play math games, could write several sentences at a time beautifully (although still with some resistance since he associates writing with difficulty), and was back to making beautiful, elaborate structures with legos. His tics and Tourette's symptoms were completely gone. I posted about another bout we've been having this week which has thrown a wrench in his recovery, but we did watch him come back from what I would call some pretty significant injury. I'm praying we continue to see recovery.

 

Homeschooling hasn't been easy (I have a 4 and 2 year old also), but it was right for him this year. I don't see how he could have functioned and learned in a large class this year and was most concerned about his self-esteem. We want him to continue to feel good about himself and to continue his desire to learn. As long as I keep the curriculum interesting, he likes homeschooling. We also have him enrolled in several classes with other homeschooled kids. I've found great resources online and there are tons of homeschool groups you can be a part of for lots of social time. We've decided he needs a regular classroom setting with a small number of children and lots of understanding for next year so are hiring a teacher with a few other families to have our own school. I think it will actually be safer for him as well as I'm worried about all the things he'll be exposed to if he's in a large school next year. It's certainly not just strep that triggers the PANDAS for us. Overall it's been a good situation for us and I've enjoyed it.

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Hey all, we went to see Dr k for the first time on April 10th. He told us something new, that I had not know from researching or reading the forums. He told us that the handwriting issue, along with drawing and items like that, is not because his motor skills are impaired, but that these PANDAS kids have a loss of short term memory. No problem with the long term. He said that short term memory plays a large roll in writing and drawing, and it is actually this loss that is causing the problem. (also makes sense when I read about the trouble building with legos) He also said this would be why I may find I have to tell my son to do something four or five times before he does. I felt horrible. Since I had not heard of it, I did not think his "forgetfulnes" was part of the pandas. I was always telling him he needed to listen "the first time" and that "I forgot" was not a valid excuse...

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Could this also be why PANDAS kiddos repeat sentences/numbers, etc.? They are keeping it in their short term memory by repeating it over and over, like we would do before we had time to write a phone number down.

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This is very interesting about the short term memory... I think all ds's cognitive problems and many behaviaor problems too boil down to this-- I've never thought he had fine motor problems.

 

His long term memory is extremely sharp, he remembers every details from Odysseus, but he can't remember things like his phone number or address.

 

It makes sense that any kind of written or drawn work requires information to be stored in short term memory...

 

Is there any way to help kids strengthen short term memory? To make him more functional?

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Hi bronxmom...

 

Yes homework is a big source of anxiety for us.

 

Would your son be less anxious about homework if you offered to be his scribe (assuming the point of the assignment isn't just handwriting)?

 

At some point you might want to look into dictation software (eg Dragon Naturally Speaking). He can dictate what he wants to say and the computer will type it out. (We haven't gotten that yet b/c I wanted to encourage dd to learn to type better first.)

 

We actually believe our dd does have fine motor problems (at least the OT has diagnosed a fine motor delay). She has had neuropsych. testing and her short term memory is okay. One test she really did poorly on was the rey complex figure test http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rey-Osterrieth_Complex_Figure She was in the 4th percentile for that one (tests visual spatial memory, they have to remember and draw an abstract figure). In school she is a terrible speller and has a terrible time remembering math facts. (Sort of like how a lot of dyselexics are.) She understands algebreic concepts, but gets the problem wrong b/c she does the addition or multiplication wrong. She is reading well above grade level and her reading comprehension is 99th percentile; her IQ is in the gifted range.

 

Of course, we don't really know if all of our dd's issues are PANDAS. However, a couple of weeks ago when we had her both on the Advil (re-starting it per the advice of the immunologist) and 250mg/day Azith, her handwriting improved. When we dropped the advil (she got nosebleeds and we were curious) and decreased the Azith. to 125mg/day her handwriting deteriorated. This past week her handwriting (vacation this week, but she was writing some stuff on her own) has been terrible (she's back on 250mg/day and advil) but I just tested positive for strep. hmmmm.

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