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Struggling with G&T daughters "practical"; issues

(19 Posts)
TherapeuticVino Sun 23-Sep-12 13:03:49

My daughter is 13 and very academic (top of her selective school at most things) but when it comes to anything remotely practical she is absolutely useless. I am trying so so hard to be patient and sympathetic but it's like she has a complete mental blank about things.

Eg she'll be trying to cut something by just shoving the knife at it while it's moving around on the plate. She'll announce she can't do it. It literally doesn't occur to her to hold it still with the other hand even though I tell her this every day.

Similarly with eating something like a burger. She'll announce it's too big so she can't eat it. It doesn't occur to her to get a knife and cut it up. Again, we go through this very very regularly but the next time we go through the exact same thing again.

Has anyone else had experience of this? She has anxiety issues which I have been told often come hand in hand with being G&T - is this also related or is there something else wrong??? We've always accepted that her development stages have been "different" (some ahead, some behind) but this just doesn't seem to be catching up... her non G&T younger sister is WAY ahead of her and has been for years....

Thanks for any advice.

TherapeuticVino Sun 23-Sep-12 13:04:44

Sorry, that's a bit ranty. We've just had a rough lunch time.....

adoptmama Sun 23-Sep-12 19:29:32

MY DD also has anxiety issues and a irritatingly perfectionist nature. However she is more likely to tell me I am cutting the food up wrong that not do it herself. smile

What happens with your DD if you don't basically walk her through the steps of the practical issue - does she simply give up or will she figure it out in the end? What other issues does she have problems with - are they all to do with the planning and carrying out of motor activities? If so have you considered if she has dyspraxia? Dyspraxia is basically a learning difficulty which - despite all your training of your child - means they have difficulties thinking about what motor activity to use (like cutting up her big burger), planning the activity and then carrying it out.

It might be worth while checking out one of the support websites and seeing if it ticks any boxes for you.

ReallyTired Sun 23-Sep-12 19:32:29

Did your daughter struggle to learn hand writing or other practical tasks like using sissors or tying laces when she was younger. Do you think its possible that your dd might have dyspraxia.

SofiaAmes Sun 23-Sep-12 19:44:29

I agree with everyone else about the dyspraxia. This is really normal G&T stuff. My ds who is a genius and almost 12 can't really tie his shoelaces, eats like a 5 year old (ie food all over him, the table etc.). He gets migraines so we see a neurologist who said that clumsiness and dyspraxia are very normal in G&T kids. I have tried a few things to help with this. I try to give him work arounds....for example...he now wears Vans (slip on shoes with no laces), he does all his school work and takes notes in class on a laptop (he has no problem with typing, just can't do handwriting). I try to give him routines for daily life things. For example, I encourage him to do things in an order like getting dressed and taking pills and teeth brushing... He will never remember to do them, or notice that he is dirty/stinks, but if the tasks are part of a routine that he does out of habit, then it gets done. ie Taking a shower is something you do every morning when you get up. Brushing your teeth is something you do every morning and every night.....
So for example with your dd, you could create a routine of cutting up all her food when it appears in front of her. That way she doesn't have to go through the through process of seeing something on her plate, figuring out that it is too big to go in her mouth/pick up, figuring out what needs to take place next (ie cut it up), figure out how to do that (ie with knife and fork) and then command her body to to do it all. Those kind of linear thought processes are 2nd nature for most people, but terribly difficult and painful for a lot of G&T kids (especially with dyspraxias).

You will also have to pick and choose the battles that you want to fight and that you think she will need in life. If she really is agitated by the hamburger being too big, then you should work on that, but if it's just your issue, then maybe there are more important things to work on first.

Niceweather Sun 23-Sep-12 20:43:47

My son has dyslexia and is like this too.... will wander around all day with shoe laces undone, always puts t-shirts on back to front, leaves a trail of mess behind him wherever he goes. He has to be reminded to do everything - eat, teeth, hair and even go to the loo! Mornings are a nightmare! He also uses a laptop at school because his writing and spelling are not good. And yet, he is incredibly verbally articulate. His brother is non G&T and is far easier to manage.

SofiaAmes Mon 24-Sep-12 04:12:04

Niceweather, I really endorse creating routines for kids like this. It has worked really well with my ds. Every so often I introduce something new to his routines... but he gets a lot of things done without reminding because he just does them out of habit. Latest intro is a daily shower as he has just started to smell!

TherapeuticVino Mon 24-Sep-12 12:52:09

Thank you so much for your replies. She was looked at for dyspraxia when she was much younger as she struggled so much with scissors and cutlery but they decided she was "normal". She's actually been back to the GP re the anxiety so I'm going to mention this too and get her looked at again.

I like the idea of the routine (she loves rules) so will bring into place the "cutting everything into bite size pieces" rule.

I feel terrible for getting so frustrated with her but just find it hard to understand how she can be so brilliant in some areas and so painfully slow at the apparently "easier" things. I will remind myself that it's all part of the fun I guess.

Thanks again.

SofiaAmes Mon 24-Sep-12 17:24:44

So, along the same lines....this morning we had the first run of me leaving the house with dd at 7:20 and ds having to eat his breakfast and take his pills (old routine) and lock the back door when he gets picked up at 8:00 (new addition to routine). I ran through the additional task of locking the door 4 or 5 times with ds. and we practiced all last week (when dh was around to supervise). BUT, I get home to find....door locked (hooray), but breakfast on table uneaten and pills on table untaken. Ds was completely ready for school when I left at 7:20. How on earth could he have been so distracted for the next 40 minutes as to completely forget to eat breakfast (was all ready and sitting on the table) and take his pills!? I completely understand how frustrating it can be......and have to constantly remind myself not to get too mad at him.

TherapeuticVino Mon 24-Sep-12 19:48:00

Oh goodness it's so difficult isn't it. He probably won't be able to tell you what he was doing for that time either...

I have just successfully bitten my tongue as DD spotted her piano music under my cup of tea on the table. So she pulled the music off the table. The tea obviously came too and went everywhere. If you ask her to do a rubiks cube she can plan 5 moves ahead, but she can't spot that a cup on top of paper being pulled off a table will spill...

redwhiteandblueeyedsusan Tue 25-Sep-12 22:46:35

perhaps she as trying to demonstrate inertia.. the old table clth trick?


<slaps self>

I can see similarities.. I am hoping it is not something else that ill need investigating. I had not heard about the link before.

SofiaAmes Wed 26-Sep-12 00:54:14

Every time I hear the word inertia, I think of ds running down the very steep hill in front of our house every day on his way to elementary school, yelling "INERTIA!!!" and then tripping and injuring himself at least 2 or 3 times a week and never ever learning from the experience.

madwomanintheattic Wed 26-Sep-12 04:49:07

Ds can sit at the table, with breakfast laid in front of him, for an hour and not manage to eat or drink a thing. He insists on using his cutlery in the 'wrong' hands, and then can't cut stuff. He prefers to pick everything apart (dissect it) with his fingers before he eats. He can sit on the toilet for hours. He just forgets to get off. I can hand him his medication and he will put it on the table and forget it. To get him out of the house and onto the bus in the morning makes me crazy. Every single day.

Of the three though, he is the least gifted overall, but has the spikiest profile. The girls manage to combine high iq with some semblance of living on the same planet. Their results are higher overall and nowhere near as spiky - dd2 has bigger anomalies and I see glimpses of distractibility etc, but nowhere near ds.

Given that he drives me to distraction, I'm v interested in the whole 2e thing. The psych calls it ADHD, and he's medicated as such, but it's largely the distractibility issue (he also has the hyperfocus stuff)... The misdiagnosis and dual diagnosis book is interesting but for me doesn't deal with the bones of the difference, just that dual diagnosis and misdiagnosis exists...

Sofia, you are much better than me. It makes me doolally.

LilyBolero Wed 26-Sep-12 12:16:25

She sounds like ds1 who I think is borderline dyspraxic.

He is 11 and;

forgets to use a knife and fork, though I tell him DAILY
can't do shoelaces
leaves his magazines around EVERY day and is then somehow surprised when we tell him they are still there
is super-fussy about foods - has panic attacks if he eats a new texture or taste, will only eat super-bland foods
very poor spatial awareness
and he did have very very bad hand-eye co-ordination, but he loves tennis so has hugely improved that.

haggisaggis Wed 26-Sep-12 12:27:16

dd is borderline dyspraxic - she was seen by the OT a few months ago (was assessed a few years ago but new school wanted a repeat assessment). She is "normal" - but the normal range is very large - what it basically meant was that she was outside the level which merited additional help (I think she scored something like 7 on most tests but help only kicked in if you scored 5 or below) - so would be worthwhile getting your daughter assessed again. THey did give dd some really useful cutlery which helps her to remember how to hold her fork and knife so she can cut her own food.

Everhopeful Sun 07-Oct-12 00:45:16

Really happy it's not just me...not that I'm being unsympathetic, as I can see it's no fun to live with. DD hasn't been diagnosed, I just have suspicions as all this is so familiar. I don't really know how to go about getting a diagnosis either. School traditionally is unhelpful in these matters, especially for a child that is above average academically, but nothing like as high as she should be -she's really bright.

ibizagirl Mon 08-Oct-12 06:20:47

Sounds awful for you op. Hope you get everything sorted. Dd is g&t and very academic but doesn't have any issues so i am feeling for you. I do know a child with dyspraxia but she is not academic at all and actually has no desire to learn whatsoever. She is in a class below the one she should be in. Apparently she is dyspraxic because she "falls over a lot" and is clumsy. Is this right?

adoptmama Mon 08-Oct-12 09:21:27

everhopeful you don't have to go through the school for a diagnosis. See your GP for a referral to local services.

Everhopeful Mon 08-Oct-12 14:23:09

Thanks adoptmama, I wondered if I could go through GP. Alternative seemed to be expensive EP, but much of what I've read says they might not know the right things anyway. I'll think a bit more and talk to DH- with all secondary "Fair Banding" tests coming up, I'm not sure it wouldn't be more pressure rather than less for DD right now, so I may leave it a little.

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