January 9th, 2015

Macbeth the Usurper

Mumbling and APD

A bit about my childhood that I often forget is that I had speech issues.

When I was in first-second grade, I went weekly for speech therapy for saying my R's correctly. I recall playing with animals from the Noah's ark set on the floor, flinging them this way and that, because animals needed to get flung. The vey nice woman who helped me had a circle of foam stuck to the wall, and around the outside of that she stuck lollipops, forming a foam-lollipop flower. I thought that very clever at the time. After she worked me on my R's, she sent me home, and there were game to play with saying R that needed to get played. I recall my father playing those games with me.

I also used to mumble. My speech isn't always the clearest, even now, but back then, I mumbled.

I recall one neighbor, the father next door, who would mumble back at me, which I understood as making fun of me. That frustrated and hurt me back then. Today, that stokes up my anger and I am mightly glad that I don't believe in violence. That man should have known better.

When I read children's books to my daughter, I took that as an opportunity to practice clear speaking. When my jaw gets tired, I fall back into unclear speech fairly quick.

Strangely enough, when I drink or I get sleepy, I don't mumble. Instead, I swap about my word order. When my sentences stop making sense, my speech centers have started shutting down or going wonky.

I was considered a late bloomer. My parents gave me a book, Leo The Late Bloomer. Do you know, I never thought that the book applied to me? I missed that. Really. I was good at being clueless. I think that the book taught me all the wrong lessons, as Leo never had to work to bloom. It just happened. In truth, I had to put in time and attention to produce a better me.

I recall that chapter books confused me for the longest time. I was a decent enough reader, but in 4th grade, I simply couldn't hold the story in my head. I tried reading The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, and all that produced in my head was noise. I eventually jumped about the book and abandoned the idea of reading books without pictures. It was too much. I didn't start in earnest on chapter books until the summer of 6th grade, where I found that I could now track a story. I supposed that some of my short term memory had trouble with tracking that much information, but it eventually developed. I still have a preference for serial reading over parallel reading.

Many parents of APD children report fevers among their children. I do know that I had my tonsils out at 5 years of age, may be 6. When I asked my father, the reason was because I was always getting sick, which doesn't give me much information to go on. Information from my parents, at this point, is pretty sketchy as childhood was simply so many years ago, and they have five kids to boot. I'm already vague on my own daughter's early years.

Interestingly, the one thing that I never felt was stupid. I sawy myself as "bad at" rather than stupid. My siblings and classmates called me foolish or strange. (Maybe the weren't allowed to use the word "stupid"?)

When it came to spelling, I just couldn't memorize a list. I eventually gave up memorizing at all, or even trying. That's a good way to make my brain swim. I learned by 6th grade that I had to do my worl and my reading as we went along, and do it for real. I had to learn some each day. Cramming didn't work. Not only didn't it work, but I got worse scores on the tests when I tried to memorize or cram.

My writing was truly awful going into college. One teacher explained that my ideas were good, but the writing was just a mess. On my next English course, I took to reading through my papers for all errors and taking in all comments, seeking to no do them again. By the time that I hit being a senior, my writing produced easy A's for any essay, except for English. Learning to write coherently has been a adult crusade for me. Even now, my novels have stretches where coherence goes out the window.

Learning math has been hit or miss for me. I honestly don't know how I worked it all out. I recall AHA moments in algebra where I finally got that you could Xs together. I kept missing things that the teachers were trying to teach. The system broke down at the end of high school and into college. What I really needed there was either a different teach, or more time to actually puzzle out every chapter. In my other classes, I came to learn the important of pre-reading my books.

At this point, I've read through one book on APD, Same Journey, Different Paths. The book is an account, mostly by parents, all of them women, about the struggles with their APD children. The book proved both interesting and annoying to me. On the interesting side, the book acts as a great resource for anyone looking to get an IEP for their child. You see story after story of what each set of parents had to do. You don't just see one case of APD, you see many cases with many variations. On the annoying side, each of these cases seems to be an extreme case. I'm fear that most of the discussions on ADP that I've found center around the more extreme examples of APD. They are a problem as they are the ones most likely to get detected, as milder cases of APD would either fall through the cracks or get mis-identified. Secondly, the worse cases are those who proportionately need more information and have more struggles, so they are more likely to join the communities. This self-selection tends to produce examples that aren't particularly useful to me or my situation. These examples would make me think that I could never have been APD despite the long list of matching tendencies that I found in myself.

If you are a parent, then I think that this is a good book for you. If you want to know the experiences of others with the condition, then the book is somehting of a miss.
Macbeth the Usurper

APD and Means

I've noted in my reading that most families that have followed APD also have means. They have the money, or are able to find the money, to pursue the diagnosis necessary for the IEP.