i’ve got scars i’m willing to show you / you had heart that i’ll never see / she had answers to all the wrong questions / it’s funny, these answers are all that i need.
[…] we end up regretting the things we don’t try.
caldecott tunnel, something corporate
Multiple times, including Wednesday, this song came on my iPod via shuffle on the bus when I was returning from evaluation-related appointments. Unplanned, but appreciated–for some reason, in that frame of mind, the level of resonation was so much higher than it had been in previous situations listening to Caldecott Tunnel.
When somebody climbs into your head with a variety of questions and tests, it is certainly a strange experience–the questions they then ask after acquiring a basic knowledge of what is going on in there then start to lead you to believe that they understand what is going on. It’s been crazy, and it’s sure as hell been emotional–but answers? I’ve got some of them. I’ve also got more questions, but those will sort themselves out . . . because I’ve got solutions, too.
It’s been a flurry of activity in my brain . . . about my brain. Which is totally weird.
Now, if you are internally saying “Kerri. Cut with the preamble here!”, then you know how I felt when I got a bunch of pre-results preamble from my student therapist.
The testing for ADHD was inconclusive. I have a very significant inattention component, but very little hyperactivity [I am sure some of you will be surprised by that!]. Thus, they could not confidently give a diagnosis FOR or AGAINST ADHD. So, I have considerate inattention symptoms, but also a low processing speed. Jay shed some light on this in an e-mail the other night [for which I am very appreciative, because holy acronyms batman.]
It’s the processing speed and the working memory that are of the greatest challenge for you which slips into the attentional difficulties category, yet makes sense that a full Dx of ADHD was not there and not ruled out.
The primary findings are that I also struggle more significantly with visual memory than I do with auditory, and to work with that. It is also recommended that though I could not receive OR discount a diagnosis of ADHD, that I consider discussing medication with my doctor to alleviate the symptoms of ADHD I do experience, which I am going to do in a couple of weeks. I am still not sure of my thoughts on meds, and I do not want to be on something all the time, but as my friend Sara pointed out yesterday, and Jay agreed with, it could potentially be helpful for certain things. For example, attending lectures [longer days especially], studying, staff meetings, etc. These are kind of things I peg as having more structure, and thus not so conducive to having my brain wandering a significant amount and thus missing important things. Other things though, like downtime, and the nature of my job, are things that I don’t feel I require medication for, and I would rather not be on it all the time if that is an option.
Very cool, though, is I have a very concrete map of what things look like within my own learning style, and suggestions on how to maximize on that. The testing revealed I struggle significantly with visual memory [which has been a surprise to many of my friends!], so it is recommended that I audio record my lectures, and use audiobooks for textbooks. Interestingly, my vocabulary and writing scores were very high [not to brag, but totally to brag–90th percentile, over here!], but my reading comprehension scores were significantly lower than expected [which could very much explain my dislike of English, but my love of writing]. When I read for fun, obviously reading comprehension is not such a big deal, but academically, it makes things harder. They also assume that because my language abilities are high is why I am achieving significantly more than the tests predicted–which, of course, is a really good thing! (Because my processing speed is considered to be “Extremely Low to Borderline”, this would have negatively impacted my “full scale IQ” score, so they were unable to give me a nifty IQ number, which was disappointing! :]).
Currently, academically is where things require balancing out. And we’re working at that.
I had an appointment with Accessibility Services at my university yesterday morning, the [my?] Accessibility Advisor was absolutely fantastic! They are truly going above and beyond the recommendations to hopefully make this school thing more successful for me now that we know what is going on. Because I am getting my results really close to the end of the term, I figured we likely would not be able to get my accommodations in place for my upcoming April exams, but they are going to do their best! I have an exam on April 2nd during my class period that is obviously coming up soon and does not give us a lot of time to work with. Accommodations for upcoming terms will include audio recording my lectures and having a volunteer note-taker in class so that there is less of a chance that I miss something in lecture. Finally, I’ll be getting audio versions of textbooks so that I can listen to readings and hopefully gain more information from them that way. I found one of my textbooks this term has an online component, so I tried using that tonight paired with the screen reader. It will take a bit of getting used to, but I finished a chapter–with notes–in about two hours–this is a big deal! Prior to this discovery, it would take me significantly longer to get through readings without taking notes!
Everybody’s been asking me how I’m feeling about this. As I told the student therapist when she gave me my results (and she once again used her sixth sense like Dr. B did with the klneenex on intake day), because no i am fine this is totally a good thing, and oh my God you are explaining my life. Because lets face it, it’s been twenty-one years. It’s been more years than I ever let on to anybody that I felt something wasn’t right–how I felt that how I was working wasn’t working for me–especially this last year feeling like I should be doing better, but not knowing how I could possibly be working any harder than I was and still not doing well at all academically. In reality, I think the culmination of things did not click fully until the accessibility advisor kept referring to this collection of whatever as your disability. That was an interesting concept to wrap my head around.
As I questioned in the aforementioned post: “What gives?” This. Now . . . we have pinpointed things. We are working at this. And . . . I am finally feeling good about what is to come. Whatever it is, it’s just me. This is how it’s always been. That is the interesting thing about this–there is nothing different about me pre- and post-asessment/diagnosis. The only difference is, we know where I’m at. And hopefully this helps to get me where I’m going more effectively.
It’s modifying the process, not the outcome. Hopefully though, through modifying the process, the outcome comes sooner and perhaps looks brighter. I have no idea how the classroom accommodations are going to play out, how they are going to work for me, but I very much hope I start feeling some more success, as well as seeing it. To that effect, I bought an iPad. I am hoping that between the audio textbooks and continuing to use Evernote and the text-to-speech feature on my Mac, that I can also incorporate some other technology, like textbooks via iBooks and Penultimate for the diagrams that are necessary, to intersect with my learning style, and what I need to learn effectively, better.
Finally . . . I am hopeful. I am hopeful that school will no longer make me feel completely defeated. I am hopeful that this opens up more options to me for whatever may lay ahead. I am hopeful that though I have learned a lot through this process . . . that I will learn even more as a result of it.
I am hopeful. And that . . . is a good thing.