Tag Archives: Concussion

Getting Some Help…

teacher quote

As a teacher, one would think that I would be more on top of my own children’s education.  I cannot say that I have not tried.  Both my boys are those kids that every teacher has, that are just a “conundrum”.  Well behaved, never a discipline problem.  Grades not quite low enough to warrant team meetings, yet far from above average.  I have always been on top of DJ to work harder in school and still he is bringing home grades that are not much better than C’s in his major subjects, when I know that he is capable of doing so much better.  I know that based on his abilities, verbal skills and potential, that he is able to be so much more successful in school.  He was “that kid” who could read at age three and knew every state capital and location before entering Kindergarten.  He has an amazing memory.  Dave and I are not parents who expect our children to bring home straight A’s.  In our point of view, if they are doing their best and working to their highest potential, then we are satisfied.  Yet, since Middle School, I have just felt that there was a missing piece.  He sailed through elementary school, so I did not notice that there may have been something that was just not quite right.

I try to stress how important it is for him to succeed because college is not far away.  His lack of motivation concerns me.  I don’t know if he quite understands the importance of doing well and seeing the future at age 16.

Drew on the other hand, has struggled since first grade. Like, DJ, never to a point of more than parent-teacher meetings though.  As he moved up in grades, the work became much more difficult for him and he was falling more and more behind.  After his second concussion, it has been even worse for him.  Memorization, concentration and focus are the biggest factors.  Also, like DJ, never a behavior problem, and unfortunately, those are often the children who “slip” by.  Drew has two amazing teachers this year and they have been working me all year to find accommodations that will work for him to help him reach his highest potential.  They have been a blessing to us and I appreciate them more than they could ever know.

Dave and I talked a lot about it and it has always been in the back of my brain, but my three siblings all had learning disabilities growing up and had different variations of classification as students.  I know that our families’ diagnosis of Neurofibromatosis, (NF), is a big factor.  There is so much research done on NF and one of the symptoms is learning disabilities.  This summer, we visited a geneticist who gave us even more information on it.  I began communicating with him about Drew, and got medical documentation on it which I was able to forward to The Child Study Team at his school.  After routine CST testing at school, it was determined that many of the areas that Drew struggles in link back to NF.  This helped us to move forward and getting him an actual plan that we have begun to implement in his school.  As he moves forward to middle school next year, I know that it is going to be a huge factor in leading him to becoming a successful student.

As I sat with his CST, I realized that many of the plans we were implementing, would be beneficial to DJ as well.  I knew that it was really late into his schooling.  He is almost finished with his Sophomore year.  I went to the team at the high school to discuss what I have been seeing.  DJ was put through a lot of the testing that Drew was, (at a higher level of course).  In many of the same areas that Drew was lacking, DJ was too.  All aligning with NF.  We are putting a plan into place for him for is Junior and Senior year.

I am kicking myself that I let it get so far with both of them.  I wonder if things would be different for them if I had taken actions sooner.  I guess as parents, we always second guess ourselves.  I am just so happy that they both are now going to get what they need to help them succeed.  This Neurofibromatosis presents itself in so many ways.  For me, as I wrote in an earlier blog, it is cosmetic and the cause of so many issues I have with my self-image.  For my siblings, it was learning issues they have dealt with their entire lives.  Hopefully, for my children, by having Dave and I act upon this diagnosis, it will give our children every opportunity to be the very best learners that they can be.

A Regular Day

the present moment

My New Year’s resolution was to write something about kindness everyday.  I have definitely had days that I have not been inspired to write.  My kindness blog has branched out to include a lot more than just kindness.  Most of March was dedicated to my mom.  I did not have trouble finding things to write about during those few weeks.  They may not have been directly about kindness, but my mom was definitely one of the kindest people around.  I knew that before I began writing about her, but so many people shared stories about how she touched their lives that I guess it really did fit right into the idea of a kindness blog.

Yesterday, I wrote about some struggles we are having with our son Drew and how we are going to deal with his mood swings after the concussions.  That blog had nothing to do with kindness, but in response to it, I received an act kindness from a friend who shared her own personal medical struggle and how she felt it was “brave” of me to talk publicly about it.  So although, I did not feel kindness while writing it, I received kindness in return.

I sat for over an hour trying to decide what to write about today.  I googled ideas, looked for great quotes, but still was stumped.  I realized that writing everyday was going to be difficult.  I am not going to give up though.  Some days, I have so many things I want to write about and other days are like today.  So instead, today, I tried to think about those “jelly belly moments” I wrote about months ago.  Those times that I found sweetness in my day.  One sweet spot was when I took my boys mini-golfing.  It is Spring Break for us and we are not going anywhere this year, so we decided to make it a fun “stay-cation” for them.   They played a round of golf and then tried a silly arcade like game.  They were laughing so hard and enjoying it so much, I could not help but laugh with them.  Now that we finally have Spring like weather, another one of those moments was hearing them play in the front yard at dusk.  Despite their nearly five year age difference, those times that they get along like best friends, still gives me that feeling.

I know that this is not what people are going to be coming to my blog to read about.  Nothing exciting, nothing out of the ordinary.  Just a regular day for us, but after a very long, hectic, busy and sad few weeks, maybe regular is just what we needed.

Peace Amid the Storm


Last year, my son Drew, (who was ten at the time), suffered two concussions.  One in hockey and one in soccer.  The initial symptoms of the first one seemed much worse.  He lost consciousness, spent a night in the hospital and suffered severe headaches.  The second concussion, did not seem as bad, but the lingering affects have been much worse.  He was only able to attend school for half days for nearly a month and his concentration level was very poor.  The worst symptom by far, (for all of us), has been the emotional, angry outbursts.

Drew has always been our funny kid. He makes everyone laugh.  He is a ball of energy and is non-stop from the minute he wakes up until he goes to bed.  He never fails to bring out smiles in everyone he meets. Everyone wants to spend time with him.

Most people do not talk about having an “angry child”, but since the concussion, Drew’s days can go from calm, happy and fun to intense, fiery and out of control.  He screams, runs, punches pillows and cries.  I don’t often talk about it because I feel like people will not understand, or think that I can not handle my own child.  I deal with 22 children everyday and I have complete control, yet I can not handle just one of my own!  In school, these angry outbursts never occur, and this I am grateful for. He seems to reserve these tantrums for home.  Of course I love him.  I do so with all of my heart.  This is the child who will still curl up on the couch with me for “snuggle time”.  The child who could melt my heart with his smile but these rages can be set off by anything and we never know when one is coming!  It could be homework frustrations, being told no, a change in routine….anything.

Dave and I have finally sought the help of a psychologist.  We were told that post-concussion symptoms can last for awhile.  We never expected it to be this long or this intense.  I am worried about lasting psychological effects.  I want my Drew back.   We are lucky to have “regular” Drew most of the time, but then, the “concussion monster” rears his head and it all falls apart.  The storm can last for hours but then, like a rainbow, it ends, almost as quickly as it began.  I am hoping that the psychologist can help him through this and give him ways to manage his anger.  He was not like this before and I am convinced it is a result of the concussions.  I will never make him give up sports.  We are more diligent with precautions.  He wears soft head gear for soccer and we have not had him back in hockey.  We will never be able to shelter him completely but the research I have done says that every concussion after the first, is worse.   I hope we can find a solution and that we don’t have to deal with the symptoms much longer.

I do not want to write something that is going to cause him embarrassment or shame.  That is not my plan at all but Spring soccer started today and I was speaking to a friend who had not seen us over the winter.  She asked me how Drew was doing since the last concussion.  She has a friends who’s daughter is having very similar symptoms and her mom is at a loss as well.  This made me think that there must be others out there who are dealing with this.  I want to find out what they are doing and how they are getting through it.