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Where I began........or where I am coming from
Where I began........or where I am coming from

I was born in February in the late 1950's. I was very sick almost all the time.
I spent the first few years of my life in and out of the doctor's office
and the hospital putting my parents in hock.
It was not unusual for me to have a fever of 104.
I think my mom told me the highest fever I ever had was 106.
Maybe that was only as high as the thermometer would go.

Added June, 2008
I found out that without Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, TX
I would probably not be alive.

This hospital is a miraculous place.

As a result of being sick very often
and getting sick so easily, I could not be around other children very much.
I think, because I did not spend much time with children my age,
I did not know how to interact with kids my age when I started school.
Failure to read social cues is very common in ADD children.
It's something I've had to deal with all my life.
I can't speak for every ADD child,
but I do have some theories on why it's been a problem for me.

Early Photos
Pics of me when I was young.

Because I was sick so often, I did not have the oppurtunity to be
around other children. If a child is not in social settings - for whatever reason,
they won't get the experience they need. Sometimes ADD kids are very impulsive.
They just don't take time to think about their actions and the consequences.

Children with ADD may not take the time to read social cues,
or consider consequences of their actions.
If that child has the hyperactivity component and it's hard to
sit still, play the game, wait a turn, or do somthing they don't want to,
then they lack the patience to wait for a pay-off.
I want it NOW seems to be a common thread amoung people who live with ADD.

I think with me it was a little (or a lot) of all of the above.

I was a very hyperactive child. Could not sit, stand or even BE still!
A few years ago I took all of our home movies and put them on VHS format video tape.
I watched myself as a child very closely. A lot of things come out in that tape.
I must have worn my parents out!
Sometimes I wish I was still jiggly like that - I'd be a lot thinner!

My parents bought a movie camera when I was four
My mom was expecting my youngest sister.
There are movies of me always in motion - always moving
bouncing back and forth ALL the time.
My mom said I used to fall down tired - just pretty much sleep from exhaustion.
I remember hated taking a nap. In the 50's and 60's
that was what kids were supposed to do.
It's always been hard to go to sleep - hard to calm down - and hard to wake up.

This constant movement was a real problem when I began public school.
I remember a day when I was in kindergarten - VIVIDLY
standing out in the hall when my mom had come to pick me up from school.
It was pouring rain outside (something unusual for Houston).
We were going camping - I remember running to the car int he rain.
I remember telling my mom I didn't KNOW why I was put in the hall, I was just there!

I could not sit still! I never could.
This problem got worse as I began to progress in school.
I was always up out of my seat - walking around.
I guess I was looking for something other than whatever boring thing we were doing.
I drove my teachers crazy. They were constantly correcting me.
It was always - "Lise (pronounced Lisa) sit down" - "Lise get to work"
"Lise pay attention" - or something like that.
It got to where I hated to hear my own name.

In second grade I remember spending a lot of time in the corner.
My memories are mostly of standing there
with my face pressed to the walls crying.
My mom says that teacher loved me.
She used to bring me empty perfume bottles - other stuff.
I don't remember any of that.
It's sad that the one thing I remember about that class
is the time I spent with my nose shoved in a corner,
and then looking at the wall - wet with tear stains
because my nose had to actually touch the corner.

What I remember most is looking at the tear stains
and how wet my face was while I stood there.
I don't ever remember what got me there,
just remember being there - a lot.

When I was in fourth grade, I spent an entire day in the corner.
I had brought a workbook my mom had picked up at the grocery store,
and I had asked the teacher if I could show it.
I must have been too persistant because she sent me right to the corner.
Lunch time came, and I was added to the end of the line after almost being forgotten.
I can't tell you how stupid I was... when I brought that workbook right up to her
after we got back from lunch "can I show it now???"
She sent me right back in the corner until the bell rang.
I had spent the day there - CRYING - and I learned nothing that day.
Well, maybe never bring show and tell to school, don't take it with you
back to the corner with you, (the teacher sent a student to take it from me)
how to stare at the floor, how to feel completely humiliated
and how to hate the teacher.
The thing was - it just wasn't in me to hate.
I think I forgot about that incident for a long time.
I remember when I told my mom what had happened she was furious.
She had kept me home that next day - and we had school.
I think it was that day that my mom decided she could be a teacher.
She now has a Phd. in special education, and has been a great
source of strength and encouragement. I also remember her taking me
up to the school to see the teacher - but I don't remember what was said.
One thing I do know, I did not spend another day in the corner.

The other form of punishment that increased as I got older was getting spanked.
I remember being out in the hall getting spankings from the
third grade teacher OR being sent to the prinicpal's office to be spanked.
The prinicpal was an older woman with a 1/2 inch paddle with at
least holes drilled in the middle of it. I think the
3rd grade teacher just used her hand. After third grade it was up to the
principal to take care of "licks". I remember the
principal leaving me 'til last because I was usually the only girl.
I had to watch everyone else - then get the special
"and here you are a girl getting a spanking".
I'll never forget the look on her face.

I've had teachers laugh at me. My fifth grade teacher had the entire class
laughing at me because I didn't know the capital of Ohio was Columbus.
Apparently they had just said it and I had been (mentally) somewhere else.
I put my head down on my desk and sobbed. They continued to laugh.
To this day I can't stand it when someone laughs at me.
This was the teacher that called me "Super Messie Bessie".
My house is still a mess.

June,2008 - I'm working on it!
I'm hoping to get my house in better shape soon.
I'll build a page and post the success.

There's what I can think of now (3-17-99).
I'm sure - now that I have written these down - other stories will surface.
I really don't hate those teachers I used to have.
What difference will it make? The only person that hurts is me.
I do hope, however, that people who read this will pass it on and say
here is a story of a person who has lived through a lot and still has something to sing about.
I am not blaming anything I have done in my adult years on things that happened when I was a child.
I hope that now instead of blaming a teacher for trying to control a class the only way she knows how,
maybe offer some alternatives for your hyperactive/learning disabled/dyslexic child.
If someone had said "Lise - if you do this worksheet - I will let you draw on the chalk board for 5 minutes.
It doesn't have to be perfect. Just do your best, and raise your hand if you need help."
maybe - no not maybe - things WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH better.
Maybe I could remember more of the good things that happened in school.
It would have taken a while to instill that in me.
It would have taken some work on the part of the teacher
but it would not have taken the entire year and MAYBE
my memories of public school would be so much better.

Teachers - re-think your means of discipline.
Re-think the way you look at that kid that is making you crazy.
For most ADD kids, doing anything they have to focus on
is very hard for them!
Be open to new ideas of coaxing kids to do their work.
because - face it - would you do YOUR job for a GRADE?
Sometimes grades can be their own reward,
but when that's weeks down the road and it's not right now, so why bother?
MOST ADD kids have had so much failure in their life
that it looks as if failure is all there is ever going to be.
Why waste the effort? It's painful, it's hard,
and the outcome will be the same anyway.
Your challenge is to get that kid to see that
it's worth the effort and that it feels great to succeed.

Parents - stop blaming that teacher for everything your kid does.
It's possible that each of the teachers I had were not only
ill-equipped to deal with special needs children,
but were under pressure to get a certain amount of curriculum taught.
Teachers are under a significant amount of pressure to teach
a lot of information in a very short period of time.
It's very possible that if that teacher gets support
that every child's life in that classroom will get better.
I am in no way saying don't advocate for your child.
You know your child and all his or her history.
I am saying consider that your child's actions are
different when you are not around.
It's hard to admit when a child will say anything
to avoid getting into trouble.
Even watching a teacher lose her job.
Many people who are GOOD teachers
will not return to the classroom, not because of kids,
but because of parents with unreal expectations,
and believing a kid that will sit there and lie with a smile
I have had to face this fact with my own children.

Drop in on that classroom where the child is having so much trouble.
Set it up with an administrator, to be able to observe the child without
that child knowing you are there. Set up an email reationship with your
child's teachers. If administrators won't help, then go to the school board.
There has to be a way to make the classroom a place where students
and teachers want to be. Teachers need your support, not accusations.

I was once a teacher.
I had strange ideas.
Learning should be interesting.
Students should be paying attention.
They should be sitting up strait
and participating in class
I'd play around with the kids
And once I went too far
I swung a magazine that was supposed to miss
But it connected.
His head moved at just the wrong time
I did all the wrong things
I should have gone to my administrator
I tried to pretend that it was no big deal
There were several adult witnesses there
It was an accident, an INCREDIBLY DUMB accident
but no one wanted to listen.
How can you accidently smack someone?
I was broken, tired and worried about my students.
I resigned instead of going through a hearing.
I thought that would be better for the kids.

That was almost 8 years ago.
I miss teaching.
The problem is - it's acceptable to
make accomdations for the student with special needs
But no one wants a teacher - with special needs.

Here is my email address.

Email me

All the phtography on the page is my work
I didn't do the sisyphus - or the firwork thing
The butterfly photo was taken in the house my
grandfather grew up in, which is now in Poland
I saw it in 1996, with a large group of German realtives.