Thursday, July 26, 2012

Doodlers, Unite!: Maggie's Story

Doodlers Unite! for many years I have fought teachers who insisted that our talented artist and daughter MUST stop Doodling on her homework and test papers, also while they are teaching.  They said it was distracting...

To whom, may I ask?!! 

Apparently, to the teacher...a child with their head down and doodling must be goofing off and not paying attention.


In fact, one teacher that Maggie LOVED (despite) punished her all the time for Doodling on her papers or called her out to stop while she was teaching the class. I would get notes, phone calls and even a Parent/Teacher's conference primarily on the topic of her "continual" Doodling!!

Maggie's Doodle in 3rd Grade
I was told at said meeting that the continual Doodling was not a measure of good discipline and that she would not tolerate her doodling while she was teaching..."it was not fair to the other children...that they had to have their eyes front on her concentrating on the subject at hand, while, my daughter, was off in 'dream-land' doodling.(Please refer to the video below as this theory is debunked

As for her doodling on her test and homework papers..."this was just a distraction and made her work look messy."

I challenged this teacher saying: "First, let her doodle and then quiz her on the material, then have her not doodle and quiz her...see how she does." 

You know what happened?

1st Quiz with Doodling...100% correct
2nd Quiz without Doodling... 40% correct.

Maggie Doodled the rest of her time in this woman's class, but she had to sit in the back of the room to do it AND then I had to have a 504 created to allow her to do it without question.

Ah!!...but this wasn't the first time I had come against the Anti-doodlers!

We first came up against them in Kindergarten and then in First Grade, as my daughter was notated as a day dreamer, constantly doodling and not staying on task.  She was not allowed to doodle and as before...notes, phone calls and meetings on the topic arrived at home.
She was NOT doing well in class and her self-esteem and love for learning dwindled.

Recent doodle on perfume card 
with make-up pencil.
I knew she was a creative, a visual learner and needed physical activity or be kinesthetic to focus. I wouldn't let her be crammed into a box or have her multi-sided peg pounded into their square hole like some of my other children had been. 

I had gone down the "your child is not succeeding in class" road before with three of my other children.  They must conform to our rules and needs even though this is not the way your child learns.

One daughter suffered with school anxiety right up to the day she graduated from high school; another was held back in first grade for low performance, but then was diagnosed visual/spatial problems/dyslexia. Then, my son was wrongly diagnosed with ADHD and was on meds for 6 years. His diagnosis at 13 years old was sleep apnea, large tonsils and severe food and environmental allergies. He came off the meds; his tonsils removed; the sleep apnea disappeared; allergies treated and diet changed. He was a different kid...soaring to success throughout High School! 

I knew if I didn't nip this in the bud with Maggie right away...putting my foot down with the teachers, yet another one of my children would be labeled and struggle in school because their natural way of learning had been redirected in a damaging manner.

My daughter was "Tested" to see if she needed an IEP(Individualized Educational Program) or...


Don't say it out loud (Teachers can't say it out loud to parents, just nod their head if they think it)...

if she might have had ADD. (All day-dreamers have ADD, ya know!)

Now, the school psychologist determined that she had ADD because during her interview with him, she chose to doodle while listening to him..though she answered all of questions.  He also pointed out that she laid her head down while doodling, which in his opinion was a symptom of ADD.  

No, it was a symptom of needing visual therapy and glasses!

In the end, I refused to put her on the ADD/ADHD medications, as I knew through my own research she was fine  and in fact, quite bright and talented.  They were just trying to make her in to every other kid.  We opted for a 504 that would allow her to doodle, get front seat preference and help with an assistant if she needed with reading and math.

This was six years ago. 

Maggie is moving in to the 8th grade this Fall after another successful straight "A"Honor Roll year.  

Each Fall, I meet with teachers and tell them about her doodling and how it helps her think and learn...I also direct them to the video below if I see hesitation. 

Maggie has become a talented artist and animator, even at 13 years old. She continually practices and learns new styles, while using different mediums.  She already knows what she wants to do when she grows up...she wants to be an animator at Pixar, Disney or one of the other studios...even create her own comic books. She is preparing her portfolio to audition for the Governor's School of Arts.

Thank you Sunni for your daughter is proof of your theory!

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