Our daughter struggled, with a capital S, in middle school.
It made me remember the soul-crushing awkwardness of that age, the confusion of higher expectations, the need for social acceptance, the loneliness of exclusion, and the fear of being less-than. Yep! Middle school is hard for lots of people.
Our daughter is an awesome human. Yet, she struggled badly from 2nd to 4th grades. It was like watching her dissolve into a puddle of her former self. She’s smart, kind, funny but suddenly she was saying, “I’m bad at math,” “I’m bad at school,” and then the day came when she said IT…
And I died.
What Ella struggled with (and continues to work with) is attention and working memory.
These are parts of executive function [link] and dramatically affect school (and life) outcomes. We had her tested and she didn’t qualify for the diagnoses we thought she’d get. But hey! Who needs a label? You can call my kid a turkey if you get her the help she needs.
What was happening was this:
Ella would space out in class. The teacher, noticing the dreamy look, would call her out – gently – “Ella, sweetheart, come baaack. Are you daydreaming again?” and the girls would giggle and she would feel ashamed.
At the same time, she was not paying attention, so she missed the directions, didn’t do the exercises, and fell behind.
Then the special ed people came to do pull-outs for remedial reading and math. This caused the kids to tease her more and whisper that she was weird and she started feeling dreadful and… you guessed it… stupid.
Watching your child suffer is horrible.
Interventions and pills and doctors and special classes all seemed to fail for us. So we went the alternative route.
Without further ado, I’ll share the strategies that helped her get from “I’m stupid” to “I’m really good at math” (shhh, she’s at grade-level but she feels confident.)
Doing at least 15 minutes of exercise in the middle of the day helps so much. Shaking off the day dreamies and getting outside makes getting back to work better (quarantine has made this easier).
This is no hardcore floor-sitting for us, we like guided meditations at bedtime. The soothing alpha waves make the next day calmer.
We cut out sugar except as a special treat and we cut out all artificial food coloring (this after a particularly colorful Valentine’s Day vomiting festival). Whether or not this helped, we’ll never know… it probably didn’t hurt!
We started using the Attention Arcade and the results are measurable. 20 minutes a day 3 times a week to see increased ability to focus. It’s a small price to pay to get from anxiety to happiness.
The BrainLeap™ Attention Arcade is not another $8,000 doctor visit for meds.
It’s exercises using the eye-brain connection and, if you’ve exercised you know, regular practice yields results, every time.