Thursday, June 08, 2006

My Gillian

Summer is coming. Unfortunately for Gillian that means summer school. Those of you that know me and have been reading me know that Gillian was diagnosed with a severe learning disability last year in 7th grade. For those of you who don't know, I will give you a quick update.....Since Gillian was in 4th grade we have had concerns about her reading. She just wasn't comprehending what she was reading. I asked for her to be tested and they told me that she was really OK and they put her in a reading lab for the year to boost her comprehension skills. In 5th grade her teacher thought maybe she had some ADD problems, not learning problems. Now, as a clinical social worker, I have worked with many, many ADD/ADHD kids and I knew Gillian didn't have ADD/ADHD. She had a learning disability. Another year went by with no testing. In 6th grade Gillian started at the middle school. This was the first year that our district moved the grades around and so things were crazy. Add to this that starting at the end of 5th grade Gillian started to have horrid diareah. The horrible diarreah continued through the summer and we wrote it off to the stres of her going to middle school. The first week of school was so horrible for her and then I noticed that there was blood in her stools. She was admitted to the hospital for 8 days and after a colonoscopy was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. What a year that was. She was on high doses of prednisone which made her very angry and we had lots of acting out behavior. She continued to struggle in school and I again requested she be tested. That fell on deaf ears. As soon as she started 7th grade, I demanded she be tested and her teachers concurred. At the end of the testing it was determined that she was reading at a 2nd grade level and doing math at a 1st grade level. This kid had worked so hard in school and PASSED, sometimes being on honor roll. I blew a major gasket. She was diagnosed with a severe perceptual visual delay. Basically, when she reads anything her eyes jump all over the page so she doesn't know what she is reading. We took her to the eye MD where they said for $1,000 they could do vision training, but couldn't guarantee that it would make a difference. So, we didn't do it although if we become independently wealthy we will. As you might imagine this has created a lot of stress in the house. I feel so helpless. I wonder all the time if there was something that I did that caused this in her. I keep thinking back to when I was in labor with her and the lack of oxygen she suffered necessitating the crash C-Section that I had to have. Next year Gillian will be in a 12:1:1 class. If she wants to graduate with a regular high school diploma she will have to go to school for an extra year because as far as diploma's go, next year won't count for her. She is totally sucking it up and doing this so she can get a regular diploma.

Which brings us back to the summer. She is going to be in a new program called Jump Start where they won't just go over skills from last year, but introduce some that they will be learning next year. She will be in summer school half of the day through most of the summer. Again, she is totally sucking it up because she knows that she has to do this.

So, yesterday I wrote about how proud I was of Katie. Today I wanted to brag about Gillian. While she gives us a run for our money, she is the most hard working kid I have ever met! WTG Gillian! You rock hard.....and I love you more than you will ever know!


Care said...

Love her smile! I hope that summer school goes well for her.

Sonya said...

WTG Gillian!!!!

Grandma Brown said...

What can i say about my first born grandaughter. you rock kid

Merle said...

Hi Wendy ~~ You have two lovely girls.
I am so sorry that Gillian has had so much strife in her life, and I hope it can be overcome. Meanwhile she has you
and Grandma in her corner. Did you see the Grandma poem the post before Grandpa? My little friend Ash has been
found to need a change of tablets, but
it has to be done over 6 weeks. At last
they think it was the fault of the tablets. Take care, and Well done Gillian for working so hard. Merle.

Sue said...

I take it there is no special ed or insurance coverage for her visual delay? That is so outrageous. What happened to no child left behind? Such a crock. She is clearly a fighter, and her mom is too. You both have my admiration.

Dharma said...


I am amazed at how blase the school was, I am amazed also your persistence. And Gillian is incredible.