Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dancing and Listening

I know....Saturday morning and I'm writing a blog post. I'm sitting here, between activities in our ridiculously insane Saturday, but I want to write this while I'm thinking of it. What better way to take advantage of a "quiet" 35 minutes, right?

Our Saturdays typically begin with Rachel's dance class (well, at least that's our first "activity"). I have wanted to experiment with Rachel and her Focalin dose for a while -- I wanted to see if she could handle the dance class without the ADHD medication. One of the benefits of Focalin is that it's so short-acting that you can take days off without any real consequences. And that's a good thing because we haven't had any for the last few days. Yup.....we ran out and even though I called the doctor's office to get a refill, because it's a controlled substance, it cannot be called into the pharmacy, but mailed to us so we have the original prescription. And the doctor's office is far enough away and my week was crazy enough that I decided to ask them to mail them rather than driving into Fairfax, VA to pick it up. I think I now regret that decision as it has been a week and still no prescription (and they can't deliver it through another Children's Hospital Outpatient Clinic -- it has to be where this doctor resides).

So, time to take advantage of the opportunity......can Rachel handle her dance class without her dose of Focalin? The only way we are going to know is to try. So, let's give it a try!

When we arrived , she was far more animated than usual when we arrive at class. She's talking up a storm, surprising her teacher and the mother of the other little girl in the class (she's normally very sedate, thanks to the effects of the Focalin). I let the instructor know that we are without the medicine this morning and that I'm really not too sure what to expect. Everyone took a deep breath and the class began.

I could tell immediately that this class was going to be different for Rachel. First, she didn't seem to want to go into her assigned studio, but to the one across the hall. But that was corrected quickly. Now, normally I don't hear her at all. Today, she was running around and talking quite loudly. I poked my head in and she was having a very hard time sitting in her hoop (her guaranteed space -- the other little girl is supposed to allow her this space). She was fascinated by the mirror and kept running over to it. But they were able to get through warm-up and stretching time. I just stuck around trying to blend into the background (unsuccessfully of course). Onto ballet. Rachel was doing a little better. She liked to point her toes. But she was clearly distracted. After a few minutes, the decision was made to abandon formal teaching and they played through an obstacle course (jumping, balancing, crawling through a tunnel and "log roll" along a mat). This was better for her. It was clearly a "game" which held her interest a little better. As long as she wasn't waiting. When she was waiting, she found a corner in the mirror with the added reflections which she just LOVED!!!!!!

When they switched to taps, once again instruction began. But this was more interesting. She really was trying. I could see the effort. But, again, she was distracted. She would start doing what was expected of her and then would either forget what that was or would switch her attention to something else. But she was still having fun.



I would call this experiment a "fail". However, it wasn't a "colossal FAIL". But she clearly isn't ready right now to be expected to perform in any classroom setting with any focus without the aid of medication. I'm glad that things worked out well and that there were no serious consequences -- she still had fun and she still learned. She didn't cause or create havoc. She didn't run off. But she just wasn't receptive to learning the way she needs to be.

The only way we were going to know if this was a good idea was to try. So, today we tried. And now I know. She still needs this. We'll probably try again in 6 months or so. I'm glad we tried, and I'm satisfied with the answer.

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