ADHD, Dyslexia, Language Processing Disorder, Anxiety, Emotional Outbursts, Speech Deficiencies, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Complex Neurological Issues, Yep, meet Hyrum.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


I'm at my mom's and she is starting to see what no one but Dustin and I see about Hyrum. And it was hard for my mom. She finally came to grips by saying "oh, I see, you just can't reason with him, that's all."

She was very sweet about it, but that is an issue that really concerns me about Hyrum. I'm feeling like if I write down situations that I've been having with him, I figure out more how to talk to others, myself, or God about how to handle things:

Daniel and Hyrum were rough housing in my bedroom, and I was half paying attention. Then I saw Hyrum totally punch Daniel purposefully and with anger. Wanting to make a big impression that this sort of behaviour was not acceptable, I took away Hyrum's two new Silly Putty eggs because I knew that would be hard for him.

He got so upset. He asked how he could earn it back. I told him he could get one back after he had been good for Grandmas as they went out, but that he couldn't get the other one until the next morning.

He said Daniel was punching him, that he didn't punch Daniel hard, that he hadn't done it in anger. On and on, story changing ever more. He was recreating the event in his mind to the point where he was completely innocent and if anyone, Daniel was the culprit.

"You never punish Maxwell or Daniel. I'm the only one who gets in trouble, and I never do anything wrong."

We went to the Circus. I knew that circuses make all their money off of buying concessions,  and mostly because I don't want my kids to become entitled spoiled things, I did a little pre-teach about how we weren't going to buy anything. I explained how there would be glowing twirly wonderful things they would want us to buy, that we were NOT going to buy. I had each child repeat that we were not going to buy anything.

Of course, when the cool pulsating Light Sabers came out, all the kids wanted one, and I had to remind them that we were NOT buying anything.

But Hyrum took this extra hard. He had one dollar. couldn't he buy it? Me "No"
H "How much do the light sabers cost?"
Me "I don't know, but more than a dollar."
H "The man said those glowy things only cost five dollars."
Me "Exactly and those glowy things are not as cool as the light sabers, so the light sabers would cost more."
H "You just don't want me to buy it. You don't want me to get it."
Me "Even if it was just one dollar I wouldn't want you to get it."
H "SEE! you don't care! You won't let me buy it!"
Me "Fine, you know what? I'll ask the next person with a lightSaber how much it costs."
at which point we found out it costs $12.--Silence for a few minutes.
H "You didn't let me buy what I wanted with my own money."
Me "You didn't have enough."
H "Not now, when I bought Maxwell's birthday present. You didn't let me buy what I wanted."
Me "Two weeks ago? we're talking about two weeks ago? I didn't want you to get that toy because it didn't work with Lego and had lots of pieces. I let you buy one of them, and what happened to that toy that same day?"-------"It got scattered all over the house and became junk."
H "You scattered that toy! You did it because you didn't like me buying it."

Absolute lie. But he believed the lie after he told it.

So, what do you do? He's WAY to emotional when these situations are going on to reason with him. If anything, it hurts his psyche even more. He retreats further and further into his justifications that become more and more real to him.

So, here's my plan for tomorrow. I'll snuggle up to him in a good healthy-brain moment, and share a story similar to these about other people, and ask him what he thinks. Then bring in the parallels of our real life and try to make him see that I am not his enemy, and that I love him and I'm on his side.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Susan Barton and Hyrum

I guess you could say Susan Barton is the reason I started this blog.

Susan Baton is the founder and creator of The Barton Reading and Spelling System which is a Orton and Gillingham influenced, simultaneously multisensory, explicit and systematic phonics program. She is also the founder of Bright Solutions for Dyslexia.

One day, I decided to finally call Ms Barton because Hyrum was still sounding out every single letter of every single word instead of smoothly blending. (He still does this 95% of the time.)

When I told her that Hyrum took a whole school year to get through book two, she said "Wait, hold on, there is something more going on here. This is not just dyslexia." She then said that I needed to put him through diagnostic testing for a complex child that had a combination of conditions. This should include a speech language evaluation.

This sent me down a hole for the next 24 hours. When I called her back the next day, I had talked to just about every psychologist in Calgary, and I talked to private schools, pediatricians, my family doctor, hospitals, and about anyone I could think of.

Susan Barton, however, did not pat me on the head and say "wow, I can tell you've been researching this and trying to find out all you can," Instead she shot down everything I had found out and insisted that a full evaluation by a paediatric neuropsychologist that would give me a prioritized action plan was the only course of action that was sain and reasonable.

I was quite miffed with her to be honest. I felt defensive.

In the end, I'm apparently on the waiting list for a few different options (more on this later.) but I can see her point that this is not just about dyslexia. I have four reasons why:

1-Hyrum's grammar has always been lacking. Barton has sight words that Hyrum needs to memorize, but he doesn't even use some of the sight words because of his grammar. For example, Hyrum says "He doos that" instead of "He does that" and he's supposed to memorize the sight word "does." Same with the word "have." But on the other hand, maybe going over these words every day is helping him learn his grammar......not sure.

2-His vocabulary is not very big. Barton has "nonsense words" to make sure students are able to "decode" words, but with Hyrum almost EVERY word has to be "decoded" because he doesn't recognise many of them. Words like "swift," "brisk," and "slim" are unknown to him, or at least they used to be. When he would read "plump," he would say, "what does plump mean?" and then try reading it as "...plung? plum?" So on the upside, he's expanding his vocabulary, even if it's slowing down his reading process.

3-His reading comprehension is struggling. He can't remember the first of the sentence by the time he's gotten to the end of the sentence. How is he supposed to feel like any of the reading is worth it?

4. (and this isn't really a problem now; he's overcome it) He used to have difficulty in his phonemic awareness when it came to blending consonants. For example "tramp" was "chramp." "Drift" was "trift."

Yes, this is why reading has been going super duper slow lately. I'm wondering of All About Reading would change up things enough to give him more drive and help any of his deficiencies.  I'll look into it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

"It's not Autism," he says

Here I go, launching a new blog. This one is for my absolute joy of my life: Hyrum.

Hyrum has always been such a bright-eyed busy boy, but there have also been some red flags going up around his mental development.

So much so, that when Hyrum turned 4, I took him to the pediatrician to ask the question no parent really wants to ask "Does he have autism?"

In preparation for this visit, I had made a list of every indication that he might be autistic, and a list of every indication why he might not.

I made this list when he just barely turned 4, and I still (miraculously) have it, so here it is:

Things that Worry me:

  • Doesn't understand new ideas sometimes. Example "Are you my sunshine?" "NO! I'm Hummer!"
  • Gets Daily uses mixed up (calls me daddy.)
  • Still doesn't know colors. Yellow is "Hot." White is "Milk." Brown is "Chocolate." and Black is "Dark."
  • Only know some of his shapes.
  • Doesn't understand instructions well, especially if you give a lengthy instruction.
  • Doesn't like loud noises.
  • Likes to be alone.
  • Quick temper/outbursts
  • Hypochondriac
  • Has weird word issues. Example: Spiders were spiderman, now spiderman is spider.
  • Groups words together weidly. Example: All trains are "Thomas." All clothes are "pants." The word "Butter" stands for all bread and sandwiches. If it's not water, then it's juice (even if it's milk.) When first learning to talk, water was "more." 
  • Mixes sentences up: "Go downstairs, the chair."
  • Adverb issues: If I say to him "ask him nicely." He turns to him and says "nicely."

Things that Comfort me:

  • Always imagining things and acting out things.
  • Affectionate (for me and his brothers.)
  • VERY expressive gestures and copies and reads others expressions.
  • Sense of humour.
  • Plays with toys
  • Okay with change.
  • Plays with others he knows well.
  •  Doesn't have any unusual physical behaviors or reactions.
  •  Excellent eye contact.
  • Coordinated.
  • Good sleep habits.
  • Expressive intonations in his voice.
  • Not clingy-loves nursery
  • Emotionally sympathetic.
  • Figures out how toys work and builds
  • Tries to make others laugh
  • has good dexterity
  • initiates social play with well known friends.
  • Asks questions.

I read all this to the pediatrician, and before the visit was even over, he informed me that it was his definite opinion that Hyrum did not have autism.

I'll never forget that visit. Hyrum took the toy bins that were in the doctor's office and started hooking them together. "I didn't know those bins did that!" said the doctor.

"See!" I said to myself "Hyrum is smart. and he is NOT autistic!"

The doctor referred us to get hearing and eye tests (which we did.) He also referred us to a speech pathologist, and that was the end of our road with that doctor. That was the amount of help he gave.

As for the hearing and eye tests, Hyrum seemed to be perfect.

I think I will leave the speech pathologist experience for another day, but I know we are just at the beginning of this road, and I'm grateful I was able to find and record some road signs that have been along the way.