My mother sat across from my first grade teacher and looked at her. “Dropped her crayons?” my mother incredulously asked. “Yes” replied my teacher with a snarky look on her face. ” I cannot allow her to go ahead in reading group because she drops her crayons quite often.” My mother is the daughter of my grandmother, so therefore this matter did not go well for my teacher and I was placed in the appropriate reading group by the following morning.
My life has been a series of me dropping crayons. Falling up stairs, unceremoniously dumping my pocketbook out on a regular basis to find my wallet which is lost to the many items that I acquire throughout each day. I struggled through school, not because I was not bright enough, but because I simply dropped my crayons over and over literally and figuratively, even while attending graduate school.
As an educator, I have encountered many students, who simply encounter Murphy’s Law. Never allowing myself to openly favor students, I chose instead to give them the patience and encouragement that was rarely afforded to me. I would think back on how long and hard my days in school were prior to college and want to make it better for every child, even those who could not find their homework because the papers were all over their backpack no matter how many time we had organized them in folders.
It was not until my youngest child entered High School that I discovered why the crayons had scattered so often for me. My daughter was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. My daughter has tested as “Gifted and Talented” and was able to manage rather well until she became a middle school student. Middle school was an incredible nightmare for her. She absolutely understood the work taught, in fact, she was often ahead of the class as far as comprehension. However, she simply could no longer focus since her class size had ballooned to over 32 students who never stopped chattering. In addition, she could not calm her mind down to give appropriate written responses when she had a time limit. Needless to say, many of her teachers met this with annoyance, only saw that she was inconsistent and unorganized. She scored well on standardized tests not requiring essays and was at the top of her class. During her final year, she missed Honor Society by an 8th of a point basically and a teacher who did not have the patience to work with her decided that she should be excluded. This child with very high intellect stood by and watched others walk around with medals on graduation day, while she stood bare, save for her white graduation robe over her beautiful dress.
I saw the repeat of my dropping crayons incident in her. I did not know how to handle this. She is a far better student than I ever was, inheriting her father’s ability to manage any mathematical issue placed in front of her, loving and devouring every part of environmental science, and having ability in art and music as well. But she was not part of the Honor Society even with perfect and near perfect state exam scores. Simply because she could not organize herself. Like me, dropping my crayons among other things.
Her freshman English teacher suggested that we work towards getting her exam modifications that would permit her additional time on tests and even a separate location with less distractions. We needed to have some evaluations done and low and behold, she fit the criteria for ADD. In addition to my child fitting the mold, I found that I had a very high score in the area of Adult ADD.
There it was. The open door of understanding. I am a person who always ran to the library to find the answers. Now I live on the internet whenever I am asking questions. WHY? HOW?
After years of thinking I simply was not smart enough. I was not as good as everyone else. I did not have the gift and so on and so forth….I knew. A light went on for me in so many ways. I allowed myself to be me.
As a student, I would lose entire class periods. One minute I was sitting in class, and next, the class was over and I had no idea what had just happened. In my mind, in my thoughts, there had been roses, princes and princesses, beautiful sunset, and flowing rivers. My imagination guided me through the day. I seemed to only “be awake’ during English, Social Studies and Music classes. Almost everything else, I survived through by daydreaming, doodling, reading and writing. I wrote entire novels starting at age 8 continuing through High School. I have no idea what was taught in the classes while I was writing them, I lived vicariously in worlds that I had created instead.
I no longer feel embarrassed that in a room with many people speaking at once, I cannot focus on what any person is saying. Instead, I enjoy the decor, check out fashion and study the architecture of the building I happen to be in at the moment. I manage. I accept me and I love those who join in my acceptance.
I know that when I set myself to clean my house, I must write lists, stick to them and not go to more than one room at a time to work. A person with ADD will go from room to room rarely completely a task because other issues pop up instead.
There are still many moments where I am dropping crayons, this blog is dedicated to sharing those times, in hopes that I will reach another crayon dropper and encourage them to stop and enjoy the colors, rather than scramble to pick them up.