I visited a second grade classroom, and a boy I remember from my visits to first grade last year was there. I was shocked by his deterioration.
Last year he had an attitude, and sometimes didn’t pay attention, but he was clearly smart and he eventually did his work. No big deal. Yesterday was different — he had somehow lost control of himself and his body. He couldn’t sit still, so I sat behind him and touched his back gently, and whispered his name. With most kids that would work but it seemed to rile him up more. Soon he was leaning on the kid next to him or flopping on the floor, instead of sitting up in the circle. I eventually moved away as it seemed I might be making things worse.
The poor teacher was trying to give directions for the math activity but I never once saw this boy look at her or give any indication that he heard a word she said. He made his hands into guns and “shot” the kids around him. He was in his own world.
Then an older woman I realized was his grandma stepped up, and she tried and tried to get him to pay attention. She was whispering to him lovingly and even guided his head so he’d be facing the teacher, and she didn’t have any luck either. It was almost like listening or focusing was beyond his abilities.
Later, she sat next to him to do the activity, and instead of listening, he built guns out of manipulatives. It was like someone had shot him up with ADHD poison, and he was completely lost in his own hyperactive world. I mean, it looked like he couldn’t even look at grandma and have a conversation with her.
It made me so sad for the rest of the day.