Friday, January 11, 2008

Two Peas in a Pd

In October I read an amazing book called A Pace of Grace by Linda Kavelin Popov. Its a program for using universal Virtues to create a really sustainable lifestyle.

There are 4 components

1. Purify Your Life
2. Pace Yourself
3. Practice the Presence
4. Plan a Sustainable Life

My greatest Vice is Excess. it is usually wrapped up in a bunch of Virtues though - like Compassion for others, Enthusiasm, Generosity, Idealism and Zeal, and I burn out on all my good intentions. It has been hard to see the harm this has been causing me because of all the good things tied into it. This program has been helping me find a balance and to practice Mindfulness and Moderation.

At the same time as I've been putting this program into action in my own life I've been facing Nature Girl's diagnosis of ADHD and worrying that the school will insist on medicating the Energy, Independence, Creativity, and Individuality out of her. This is a wonderful little girl who is very eager to please and wants to be obedient, and the deficient attention often get her in trouble in school. It has had a serious effect on her self esteem and her joy about learning. She doesn't do well with the school format of competitive spelling challenges, timed note taking, timed tests, and memorization of math facts. One on one or in a very small group she excels though. She excels when she's studying something of high interest (Natural science and history). So I've been researching alternatives.

I found a program that is individualized - the A-4 Healing Program

Nutritional Therapy, Supplementation, Detoxification, and targeted Medication (and we aren't talking stimulants, we're talking anti-fungals, antivirals, and targeted psychiatric medications to deal with specific symptoms) - very similar to "Purify Your Life".

The doctor/author who is pioneering this approach is very clear that the goal with treating ADHD should be to allow the person to remain true to their personality while treating the issues that cause suffering - to them, not the people around them. He is an advocate for the normal variations in personality seen in kids with ADHD and points out that these "problem" kids do just fine in unrestricted environments and that the phenomena of "growing out of ADHD" is more an issue of reaching adulthood and then seeking out environments that are of their own choosing, as they work on tasks that interest them.

The trick is for them to make it to adulthood with their self esteem intact so they feel they can make those choices. From the research I've been doing this task is MUCH harder for girls than it is boys. Mainly because girls are more socially keyed in and aware of their differences and bothered by it. I see this in Nature Girl, and it scares me. The thing is, Nature Girl has taken part in many extracurricular activities and none of those teachers would ever say she had any kind of a disability or attention problem - soccer, skiing, art classes, dance classes, violin lessons, and her Baha'i children's classes. Ideally I'd have her in a private school environment that met her social needs and gave her the interest driven curriculum, and one on one attention she needs for academic success. Or we'd home-school within a good cooperative social network. I'm not allowed to explore either option with her, she must be in public school. So what now? How do I advocate for her at school? It seems her best option is to be identified as having a marked disability and singled out for intensive resource help and even given the help of an aide in class for the one on one she needs - I have to play the role of uncooperative anti drug mum in that event. She will recognize that she is being treated as "different" though, and I'm afraid she will see herself as less intelligent than she is.

Outside of school we'll continue as we have - a moderate number of extracurricular activities that give her a place to excel, chores that help her with organization and attention, and a spiritual education that promotes the Virtues and an understanding of the Gifts she has been blessed with. Here we have Popov's- Pace Yourself, Practice the Presence, and Plan a Sustainable Life.

Nature Girl and I are very similar and maybe the secret is for me to model the self-esteem she is going to need.

No comments: