Thursday, September 15, 2016


Third grade…started out so great. I mean, it was fine. We do homework each night, we read, we practice math.

Each week Olivia brings home a list of spelling words and we practice them. I say the words. She writes them out. If she gets any wrong, I write the correct spelling for her and make her write the word three times.

It’s fine. It works.

Except that yesterday she brought home her spelling test. The one we studied for last Thursday only to have Friday cancelled due to fog. The one we studied for on Tuesday night in preparation for Wednesday, the first day back at school since last Thursday.

She was ready for that test. She’d written all twenty words just fine during our practice test. She remembered that occurred has two c’s and two r’s. She remembered that greatest has an e before the a.

The problem was that her teacher couldn’t read some of the words she’d written because she’d scribbled/doodled all over her test. And I mean ALL OVER it. It was a mess.

She’s had doodling problems in the past.

We offered her a doodle pad to have on the corner of her desk for when the urge gets to be too much and she just has to doodle. She hated the doodle pad because none of the other kids have doodle pads.

Yeah, well, guess what, Sister! None of the other kids scribble all over the freaking spelling test to the point that the teacher can’t even read the words!

I’m so frustrated. I don’t know how to fix this for her. She’s so smart. She’s so capable but when these things kick in, she can’t stop herself, it’s an OCD thing, I think.

Hell, I don’t know. I really don’t.

I feel like I’m failing her. I don’t want to yell at her because I don’t know if she can help it.

Last night, Tom and I talked to her. We told her that the rule is she simply cannot doodle/scribble on her tests or homework. She isn’t allowed to do it. If she does it again, we’ll take away a privilege away from her at home until she learns to control the urge or finds a different outlet.

But what if she simply can’t stop herself?

Do I offer her a doodle pad again (with her new teacher’s permission, of course.)? Do I suggest to the teacher that all the kids have doodle pads so that O doesn’t feel singled out?

I had a hard time falling asleep last night, worrying about this issue. I am wondering about ABA therapy. Would it help? Could it hurt? 5p- syndrome symptoms often mirror the symptoms of autism, so yeah a therapy created to help those with autism might very well help Olivia.

I just don’t know.

I told her this morning, calmly and without blame, that I KNOW she can do this task we’ve set in front of her. I KNOW she can do her homework and take tests without doodling on the paper in front of her. I reminded her that her teachers can’t see how smart she is if they can’t read the work she turns in.

She nodded as if she understood me and then giggled as she bounced and farted.

I don’t want to wait much longer to help her if there is help to be had.

Third grade is only going to get harder and fourth grade will be harder still. She CAN do the work, she just has to learn ways around those urges to doodle, or bounce, or twirl.

I have to figure out how to help her. It’s my job and this is one job I simply can’t fail. If I fail her…that just, well, it isn’t an option. I can’t fail her. She needs me to figure this out.

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