Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Four Pillars of Life: Part 2

Quick recap:  My husband and I came up with four different categories and related skills that we felt S was going to need in order to be successful starting as a young adult heading off to college.  The categories are physical, educational, financial, and spiritual.

2.  Educational:
a.  Work breaks:  S tends to hyperfocus when he works (ADD) and will not get up from the computer until tasks are completed.  This is not an issue if it is a shorter task, but he has been known to sit at the computer for hours at a time without moving.  That isn't good for anyone to sit like that, and it is especially not good for someone who has CP.  Using his iphone to set alarms/reminders for himself is a tool that he uses.  This has improved.  Our goal this next year is to mark it as done.  For now, still working on this step.
b.  Prioritize work:  This is difficult for him (ADD - can you tell we have been reading A LOT about ADD this past year? http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/10117.html).  What I see as a priority, S does not.  His mind does not put importance on anything until he is in crunch mode. Then he is full steam ahead.  This is where using a calendar to input deadlines will at least give him a visual on what is due in the upcoming days/weeks.  Still working on this step.
c.  Work efficiently:  This just means working smarter not longer.  S has been known to spend hours at the computer and finish nothing one day.  The next day he might accomplish record amounts of work in 3-4 hours.  This could be related to ADD, CP, or a combination of the two. What we have found is that he is more productive on days that he gets up earlier in the morning. By earlier, I don't mean 5:00.  We are talking 7:30/8:00.  He wants to be in denial about that because he thinks he is entitled to sleep until 10:30/11:00.  That's not reality unless you are on the night shift.  Still working on this step.
d.  Be aware of distractions/redirect:  Of course, this is related to his ADD.  It becomes a huge issue when he needs to look something up on the internet.  He can jump down rabbit holes in a heartbeat. He is working on checking up on himself in 15 minute intervals to make sure he is doing what he is supposed to and, if not, redirecting himself.  Again, using his iphone is beneficial for this.  This is coming along, but we are still working on this step.
e.  Continue to take assignments seriously:  We are not concerned about this when he is at college. This has been more of an issue with being homeschooled.  We had one year where he thought (incorrectly) that he didn't have to do work that he didn't feel like doing.  He thought he would get credit for it and move along.  He quickly learned that doesn't happen when you are in high school even if you are homeschooled.  He attended summer school that summer to get caught up.  He worked quite efficiently during that time and finished his work in record times (ADD hyperfocus was his super power during that summer).  This past year he demonstrated that he had learned his lesson.  DONE!!
f.  Meet deadlines:  This will always be difficult for him.  It doesn't mean he doesn't get his work done.  It just means he does it in a way that is very different than anyone else in our house does it with our very left-brained thinking.  It doesn't become a priority (see b above) until it is crunch time (http://www.additudemag.com/slideshow/36/slide-6.html).  He will get on it with such intensity and drive that it is amazing; however, we are working to get him to understand the importance of giving himself some wiggle room with due dates so he doesn't drive himself crazy.  Still working on this step.
g.  Write faster/Use speech recognition:  S is a good writer, and he has A LOT he wants to tell others; however, he doesn't see any sense of urgency with his writing.  He thinks an acceptable amount of time to write a paragraph could be 2-3 hours.  He sees nothing wrong with taking a week to write a 5 paragraph essay.  These are not reasonable times, so we are working on speed.  He distracts himself with Dragon Dictation (i.e. watching the words type out on the screen and not speaking while watching the screen or wanting to go back to correct every little thing immediately), so we are working with him on that.  He has seen how quickly he can write if he uses it in the manner it was designed to be used.  Still working on this step (it is a priority for his senior year).
h.  Set educational goals for self:  He has come so far this past year regarding this goal.  Up until this past year, he would try to deflect the conversation about college and career plans.  Now that he has friends who have graduated, it is a different game.  He has set plans for himself.  He knows that people change their minds and don't have to decide their specific career at the age of 17 or 18; however, you need a plan to start moving forward with.  This will always be a work in progress, but he has a plan for now.  DONE!!
i.  Education requirements for 4 year colleges:  S has decided to start at our local community college and finish 2 years there before transferring to a 4 year program.  He needs to look at courses he will take and make sure they will transfer to the college of his choice.  This will be something he will look at during his 2 years at the community college.  Still working on this step.
j.  Self-awareness for accommodations planning:  S needs to know what his specific needs are when he goes into the Student Services office at college to ask for his accommodations.  This has always been a strength of his, so we don't have any concerns about him not knowing.  He just needs to know he is entitled to these accommodations, and he needs to make the time to go in and ask for them in a timely fashion.  Still working on this step.

Again, there are many things that are still works in process; however, every area is being addressed. It will be interesting to revisit this pillar at the end of his senior year and the start of his college career. What an exciting time for him!

All of this excitement is getting to me.  I think I need to sit on the couch with some chocolate!

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