Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Paige Wonders....

Paige: "Mom, I've been thinking about what kind of doctor I want to be. What kind of doctor deals with the most blood, guts and bodily fluids?"

Me: "A nurse"

Sending love to all my nurse readers out there! lol

A few minutes later Paige comes out and tells me she wants to be a surgeon. This isn't the first time we've heard her say this. We always try to balance our answer with reality (she has very mild CP and shaky hands) while not squashing her drive.

"Well, maybe I'll stick with my original idea and create a preemie doctor field."

You do that sweetie!!


Sheila said...

I hope Paige can follow her passion where ever it may lead. You comment about a parents dilema of trying to help a child be realistic without being a huge buzz kill really hits home with me. Ali, has a very dichotomous personality, when Ali A is "in the house" she's all about being a dancer (even knowing how hard a life that might mean) - two of her "first choice" colleges are her picks because they have top-flight Dance/Performing Arts programs. When Ali B in "in the house" - she desperately longs to be a Pediatrician. While *in general* she is smart enough to be an MD (she's a magnificent self directed student) ... she has an *extreme* math disability. I just don't see her getting through Med school with her issue. When she talks about it - I tell her, that would be an amazing accomplishment because she's taking on a career that requires great math abilities to get through college and med school. She typically re-thinks it when she ponders 8 more years of math after HS Lol ... It's a lot harder to know what to say to your kids than they intimate in those darling What to Expect books..

Anonymous said...

I probably have a mathematical learning disability. I'm studying mathematics and algebra despite the frustration anyway. My passion exceeds my frustration and makes the struggle a bearable and worthwhile one. I would not discourage your daughter or anyone away from their passion to avoid later dissapointment. They will learn their limits on their own, and if those limits can be worked around, or through, without a well-meaning external influence trying to soften the blow by encouraging avoidance of what you might see as needless difficulty.

Kristie said...


I totally understand your point about being realistic. The way you respond about her desire to be a pediatrician is brilliant. That said, if Ali really wants to pursue a career in medicine, I just wanted to share a few thoughts.

Osteopathic medical schools (DO programs) have different entrance requirements and curricula than allopathic medical schools (MD). But, DO grads have exactly the same residency and specialty options once everything is said and done.

Also, once you get past the college math course requirements for getting into med school, there isn't much advanced math required. I don't know how extreme Ali's math issues are, but pediatricians usually just need multiplication and division to figure medication dosages. In the end, getting through med school comes down to the ability to memorize huge amounts of material, and the ability to interact well with patients and your superiors.

Obviously, you know way more about exactly what Ali's limitations are than I ever could. It is a tough path, even without learning problems, but who knows...

Take care,

Anonymous said...

We were at the ped's office the other day and although he had a laptop in his lap, presumbly with a calculator on it, the doctor struggled to figure out the meds dosage. The problem seemed to metric to English conversions, not a favorite of mine either:)

Anonymous said...

I'd bet that Paige would be a great pathologist. A NICU MD really needs steady hands as does a surgeon. But, I would bet that Paige would be a great pediatrician or a pathologist (for the blood and guts). She could also be a radiologist. My cousin is a radiologist and he works at home.

On a side note about math disabilities, we have found that the Math-U-See program is great.


Sheila said...

Anon 4:03 wrote: My passion exceeds my frustration and makes the struggle a bearable and worthwhile one. I would not discourage your daughter or anyone away from their passion to avoid later dissapointment. They will learn their limits on their own, and if those limits can be worked around, or through, without a well-meaning external influence trying to soften the blow by encouraging avoidance of what you might see as needless difficulty.

Hi Anon,

Not sure what about my post would give you the idea that I try to dissuade my daughter from attempting anything she wants to do - but I think a *responsible* parent, will help their child prepare and understand the steps needed to follow that course. I would *never* tell a child (or an adult) NOT to try something (anything - a career, bungee jumping, voting Republican ...whatever). But since you are capable of doing algebra, it seems unlikely that you have a math disability in the sense that I was talking about. I'm guessing if you do algebra, that when you were 14 you could do simple math. My daughter cannot. She's had continuous private and school tutoring since grade 2. Yet she is still not able to do basic third grade math. While certainly MD's have the ability to use computers, calculators and other assistive devices, the DO need to know *which* calculations apply to a situation. My children feel completely free to envision themselves in a limitless bounty of futures. It's what parents are supposed to do - but they also know that ALL careers and vocations have "requirements" and that those may be a key factor in deciding if that path is for them based on their OWN willingness to apply themselves.

Take care and good luck !

Sarah Manns said...

This sounds very much like dyscalculia.

I asked my nearly 14 year old son what he sees when he looks at numbers. His answer is that it looks like a bunch of symbols. Like us looking at the cyrillic alphabet then - it means nothing to us.

Of the 4 symbols: he can get "take away" and he can "add". If you show him the "times/multiplication" sign, he turns it sideways and says " add" and he has no clue re the divide sign.

It's like dyslexia for readers - but not nearly as well known or discussed.!

Once they know they have it, the relief is huge, they stop worrying,stop seeing it as some sort of impediment and parents can go "ahh..now I see why after all this time, they still can't "get" it. And we can all relax; direct help appropriately and move on!

All the best

Sheila said...

Hi Sarah,

Ali's math testing has revealed processing / executive function problems, (which make doing things like Algebra nearly impossible) - but she does not have some of the more common math issues (such as dyscalcula - she "sees" the math problems just fine, she just can't "store" math facts, formulas, processes etc. If you tell her "do XXX" and give her lots of time, and give her another chance or two when she gives you the wrong answer, eventually - she'll come up with the right answers on the second or third try about 70 percent of the time. The other 30, you could wait till hell froze over and she wouldn't come up with the right answer. If she wasn't so conscientious and determined, I'm sure her teachers and tutors would feel she was shagging it ... but she sincerely gives it her level best. I feel for her on so many levels.

terri w/2 said...

Ahh. .the dreaded math issue - my daughter has been excused from having to take math in college due to non-verbal learning disorder.

Non-verbal learning disorder is common in preemies - math in particular is a difficult concept, also executive functioning skills are impaired.

Anyone suspecting their child may have this issue should check out NLDline on the web.

Anonymous said...

From Helen Harrison:

I managed to weasel out of calculus by skipping it in high school and then by going to a college that didn't require it. As a sophomore, I transfered to a university that *did* require calculus, but didn't seem to notice I'd never taken it.

This was dumb, because I could have done well (I think). I was just avoiding a subject that didn't attract me as much as an extra foreign language (German, in this case).

Now, at age 62, I'm taking a course at Cal in Chemical and Molecular Biology and I love it! I now realize that what I really need to go forward is a super chemistry/biochemistry course. These courses have math prerequisites I never met.

So, in advanced old age, I'm thinking of taking calculus.

I can only hope that all is not lost for me and the many others who have math avoidance/dyscalcula. I'm so sorry I wimped out earlier in life.

From an ongoing academic adventure,


tbonegrl said...

What about a blood profusionist? (I believe that's the name of it) LOTS of blood in that field!

the last spartan said...

I think that I will chime in with my own approach. I don't have any learning disabilities that I know of as a result of being a preemie but I will offer this:

When I was a resident, I was convinced that I wasn't "smart" enough to specialize in my eventual field of kidney disease as there was a lot of math, chemistry and abstract thinking. I was, however, determined. I decided that I would make an honest effort until they literally forced me to find another field. Ten years into private practice, I think that it was the right approach.

Being "realistic" as Sheila puts it is a personal approach and I wouldn't presume to judge it as "correct" or not. Encourage your children. If I stopped and gave up every time I thought something was too difficult, I never would have passed organic chemistry, much less med school.

There are certainly fields in medicine that require less mathematics than others but how much you really need is debatable. Being able to do calculus is not required but some basic algebraic equations are a must. Whether you are an MD or a DO, you still have to do the same math. The math requirements to get into med school are fairly basic (unless they've changed since I was a student).

From what I know of Paige, there are certainly fields that would find her less-hindered by any physical limits.

Anonymous said...

1st off please do not ever think you know what might happen in the future. My son is a preemie and NEVER have I let him use it as an excuse or have tried to put him off of a dream because I thought he would not be able to do it. He still has major health problem and we are also to our eyes in debt. He wanted to play soccer but was in OT and PT for coordination. I was terrified to let him but he wanted it. He is now the lead scorer for his age division. He wanted it bad enough and made adjustments so he could achieve it. He wanted to be the first in his class to read a chapter book without help. I was terrified, he is resource for reading (dyslexia). Guess what he did that. I have never given him false hope what I have told him was. "Buddy you and I both know it is going to be very hard, but I believe in you. If it doesn't happen you will be ok, but you will never know if you don't try your hardest.What is not OK is to never try beacuse you are scared" He has over come so many things because I let him know it is ok to fail but not ok to not try and there are things he has wanted to do that he could not. The important thing is he said " Mom one day I will do it."