After the last meeting with Learning RX, where we got to see her post-test and talk about her 24 weeks of cognitive brain training, we face a conundrum concerning our plans to put Caroline in public high school. The head of Learning RX highly recommended, actually implored us, not to put her in public high school because of her short-term memory issues. She said that she would get eaten alive academically. You see, the post-test revealed huge gains in most of the cognitive areas that she has been working on for the last six months at LRX, such as auditory processing, visual processing, processing speed, etc. But her scores in short-term memory, long-term memory and working memory remained abysmally low, like in 1% percentile. We were so disappointed to see this obvious learning disability persisting, but they felt that another 12 weeks of LRX training, focusing exclusively on these areas, could help. That would be great, except that we probably can't afford to do this. The director has a son with this same learning disability and she has taught both gifted and special needs kids and so she is speaking from experience. She says Caroline wouldn't be able to keep up with the workload at a big public high school and deal with the social aspect as well. So now we are unsure of our plans to put her in public school in Colorado. The LRX director recommended homeschooling her another year, but I just don't know that this is the best thing for me. When do my needs supersede my daughter's needs? Do they have to be contradictory? We would look around for a small private school, but we can't afford it at all. So this is really a new problem. Well, really an old one. I hate that nothing is ever a great fit for her. She really does best for other teachers, having the same routine every day, having a definite schedule that I don't seem to provide to the degree that she needs. She is so excited about going to public high school that I am dreading having to tell her it may not be the best thing. Or it might. Sigh. I can't think anymore about this until we get to Colorado next week. Right now I have to organize and pack. I think I am going to consult an educational consultant out there to help us navigate the options for Caroline and determine what is best.
On the bright side, the Learning RX training gave her a boost to her IQ, about 13 points, so that is good news. She is still below average, and we hope that if we can continue therapy for the memory issues, which bring down her IQ score pretty significantly, that the score will rise. She was gifted at age 5 and 7 when tested. Very hard to see her scores now. Again, whether this is medication related, or bipolar related, or something else, I am not sure we can know.
Last week we said good-bye to Caroline's amazing psychotherapist, her pediatrician since she was born, and to her psychiatrist, who has known her since she was 7. This week we say good-bye to another friend, our family therapist for the last 9 years. I know I will shed some tears. We have been very blessed to have some truly great providers for Caroline and our family here. Now we have to start all over again. Our house goes on the market on Monday. We are praying it sells quickly for a great price. Confident in God's plan and His providence.
About our Daughter
I am mother to four wonderful daughters, ages 17, 19, 21, and 23, and wife to the greatest husband on earth. God has given us a special child to raise one who was diagnosed with early-onset bipolar disorder at the age of seven, though she showed signs of it from the age of fifteen months. She also has ADHD, Sensory Integration Disorder (sensory seeking), Dyslexia, and Non-Verbal Learning Disorder-NOS, all typical comorbidities for a bipolar child. In spite of the trials, she enjoys lacrosse, running (finished her first marathon in October of 2014!), and reading and writing her own books. I will share with you the many joys and sorrows we have faced and will face in the future with the hope that you may find better understanding about this mental illness caused by both chemical and structural abnormalities in the brain. I desire that you will be encouraged by this blog if you are also dealing with a bipolar child. Thank you for reading and sharing in our journey.
How Did You Know She Was Bipolar So Young?
I wrote a long explanation of how we came to this bipolar diagnosis in a child so young under my post of March 19th of 2009. If your child or a child you know bears similarities, please seek out a good psychiatrist and don't wait for "things to get better." Often they will simply get worse, and the longer a child is unmedicated, the more damage their brain can accrue. Early diagnoses and treatment are key to providing these children with a chance at a successful life later as a teen and an adult.