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Are random memory lapses a typical part of learning challenges?

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    Are random memory lapses a typical part of learning challenges?

    We have 6 children (from 16 yrs down to 2 yrs), and I was introduced to the challenges of teaching a child with learning issues with our fourth child (who is also our only adopted child so he sometimes feels like the odd man out since our other children seem to pick up most of their schooling by osmosis). He is a delightful, energetic, and personable 9 year old boy. We have continued to struggle with what appears to be obedience issues, but on further research could be more related to some of his other learning challenges. We have not taken him for any formal evaluations at this point. He has gone through vision therapy, and that has proven to be very helpful for him. That has actually clarified some of the other struggles he has. One area that continues to befuddle me is when we are trying to correct a behavior, and he appears to be unable to change his behavior without our insisting on the new behavior every single time it happens. Here is a great example. When he turned 8, he was legally allowed to stop using his car seat. That was fine for awhile. After a few months, he "forgot" how to buckle himself properly in the van every time we drove someplace (100% disobedience). We insisted every time that he buckle properly and "reminded" him the proper way to buckle. I tried different rewards and punishments for his "forgetting". I finally found the "perfect" consequence. I told him that he needed to buckle properly or we would have to return to using his booster seat to insure his safety. From that day forward he has never "forgotten" to buckle properly (100% obedience without a single "I forgot"). This is a very concrete example, but this type of issue happens all day long in performing daily chores, completing schoolwork, reading books out loud, participating in church services and other activities, and anything else we are doing. His behavior is only modified if my husband or I happen to discover the perfect motivator or consequence to a situation (after several years of struggling with his behavior in church, our "perfect" consequence was that he had to sit up in the very front with Dad during the remainder of the service...Dad is a pastor...I have had 100% participation from him ever since). I am struggling to keep patient with him. Our older children are usually patient and loving towards him, but this is driving them crazy (the younger ones don't notice anything). Does this have anything to do with his memory challenges or any of the other learning challenges he struggles with? I can't seem to wrap my brain around his complete and total change from disobedience to obedience. What am I missing? What am I not understanding related to his learning challenges and how they affect his obedience and other tasks?

    #2
    Originally posted by teamtork View Post
    We have 6 children (from 16 yrs down to 2 yrs), and I was introduced to the challenges of teaching a child with learning issues with our fourth child (who is also our only adopted child so he sometimes feels like the odd man out since our other children seem to pick up most of their schooling by osmosis). He is a delightful, energetic, and personable 9 year old boy. We have continued to struggle with what appears to be obedience issues, but on further research could be more related to some of his other learning challenges. We have not taken him for any formal evaluations at this point. He has gone through vision therapy, and that has proven to be very helpful for him. That has actually clarified some of the other struggles he has. One area that continues to befuddle me is when we are trying to correct a behavior, and he appears to be unable to change his behavior without our insisting on the new behavior every single time it happens. Here is a great example. When he turned 8, he was legally allowed to stop using his car seat. That was fine for awhile. After a few months, he "forgot" how to buckle himself properly in the van every time we drove someplace (100% disobedience). We insisted every time that he buckle properly and "reminded" him the proper way to buckle. I tried different rewards and punishments for his "forgetting". I finally found the "perfect" consequence. I told him that he needed to buckle properly or we would have to return to using his booster seat to insure his safety. From that day forward he has never "forgotten" to buckle properly (100% obedience without a single "I forgot"). This is a very concrete example, but this type of issue happens all day long in performing daily chores, completing schoolwork, reading books out loud, participating in church services and other activities, and anything else we are doing. His behavior is only modified if my husband or I happen to discover the perfect motivator or consequence to a situation (after several years of struggling with his behavior in church, our "perfect" consequence was that he had to sit up in the very front with Dad during the remainder of the service...Dad is a pastor...I have had 100% participation from him ever since). I am struggling to keep patient with him. Our older children are usually patient and loving towards him, but this is driving them crazy (the younger ones don't notice anything). Does this have anything to do with his memory challenges or any of the other learning challenges he struggles with? I can't seem to wrap my brain around his complete and total change from disobedience to obedience. What am I missing? What am I not understanding related to his learning challenges and how they affect his obedience and other tasks?

    Welcome!

    This sounds so much like my daughter, your son made me smile. Her twin brother and I marvel at her ability to stop an otherwise habitual behavior, if only a $1.00 fine is attached to it!

    As you suggest (or at least imply), a formal evaluation might reveal more information about your son. This might be something to consider. Sometimes seeing a report of "2%ile working memory" or "3%ile auditory processing" can make siblings (and parents) more patient.


    One possibility is poor impulse control. He might act impulsively, as if by habit, unless something externally effective reminds him to halt, think, and act differently. Another could be the construct known as "working memory." Without the added boost of a "perfect consequence" to provide the extra motivation, he might fail to hold the standard in his mind, because he lacks the "working memory" to do so. In either case, a full evaluation may provide answers, so family members do not assume that his "thinking lapse" is a moral lapse.


    Of course character issues can play a role, so you will want to boost and reward his self-control, model character, and courtesy whenever it occurs. You will also want to select books about boys with strong character. The Childhood of Famous Americans series, available at the library, can be helpful for his age. Aesop's Fables may also help, because "Look before you leap" is a common theme!


    In our experience with adopted and highly impulsive boy/girl twins, frustrations still become greatest when our expectations are the most unrealistic. Whenever we expect, "Now she has it!", or she announces earnestly, "I finally learned my lesson!" we grow irritated and weary when she then repeats the same behavior not 24 hours later. However, when we expect that we need to supply coaching or a consequence every single time, this lessens the frustration. Sometimes it even results in our being pleasantly surprised.

    hth-
    Cheryl

    Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child

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      #3
      I don't have your particular challenges but, like Cheryl mentions, getting some outside info and diagnostic impressions has really helped how _I_ deal with our challenges. (These are minor compared to what others handle: poor working memory, dyslexia, some speech issues, probable aspergers.)

      I used to be frustrated to the point of anger when I had to continually remind my dd (6y/o in a couple wks) of the simple daily tasks that she needed to do. One in particular from our house is changing from pull-up to panties in the morning. Once I accepted that part of what we'd deal with is continual explicit direction from us, I am now able to patiently accept that I'm still telling her daily to get panties on. Even tho day time potty trained for 3+ years she'd stay in a wet pull up all day if I didn't tell her to change. Eventually the directions will sink in and stay but for now, at least, I'm not angry.

      It's not perfect, I still have trouble handling her fear of "new" and physical tasks (swimming, bikes, etc..). I know that my DH or mom handle that better than I do so I step back when I can. In this regard, I know where her fear is coming from. She's not trying to be a pain. But it's just something that really gets me frustrated.

      I don't have any advice about helping your son, just encouragement that some info can help not only with the mechanics of how you teach and parent but with how you feel on a daily basis.
      Last edited by CelticaDea; 07-29-2014, 08:59 AM.

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