We knew Naya was going to have challenges in school. Even in preschool, she had a designated support person to help her with her social interactions, her safety with manuveuring stairs and outdoor play time, and also her learning and development. But it wasn’t until Kindergarten that we realized where her strengths and weaknesses lied.
As she progressed into Grade 1 and Grade 2 we started noticing patterns. She could recall peoples names who she had just met briefly, but when it came to remembering our phone number she had troubles. She always scored 80-100% on spelling tests, but would have troubles recalling what 1+0 equalled.
We noticed she would ask the same questions over and over again, even though she knew what the answers where. We suspected she had ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), but a lot of children at that age fidget and can’t sit still anyway so maybe it was normal.
Finally, in 2019. our paediatrician sent Naya for a NeuroPsychological Assessment at BC Children’s Hospital. We wanted to know exactly how her brain worked so that we could equip ourselves with the tools to help her succeed. And the results were very interesting!!
Naya’s official diagnosis is Right Brain Hemisphere Brain Damage and, as we suspected, ADHD. Her brain bleed was on her right side. And most of her brain surgeries were done on her right side, so we were not surprised. But what did that mean?
It became very interesting to learn about the different sides of the brain and what functions each side is responsible for. Based on her test scores, she was “text book” for right side brain injury. The right brain controls the left side of the body, attention, memory, reasoning, and problem solving. All of the areas we noticed weakness.
Strengths – Naya scored high, Average & High Average, on Verbal Intelligence (58 to 84%). She excels in verbally identifying similarities between words an ideas. She showed strength in the ability to learn and remember things she hears. This explains why she can recall names so well.
Challenges – Naya scored extremely low on reasoning and problem solving. When given a set of shapes in a set pattern, she could not predict what the next shape was going to be – for example O O A A O O ? ?
Her memory for visual information was Extremely Low (less than 2%). When shown a geometric design, she couldn’t recall major details of the image. Also part of the right brain, Naya is not good at reading facial expressions and cues.
Naya also shows significant weakness on the left side of her body. She can not stand on one leg using her left leg. As a baby, her left arm was significantly smaller than her right.
Overall these results did not surprise us and we are very happy with the results and recommendations. It became clear why she is so good at some things, but not good at others. It confirmed our suspicion of ADHD and it eliminated our curiosity if she could be autistic.
I know labels are not always a good thing, because you put assumptions on those labels which may not always be accurate. But for us, it gives us the tools we need to help Naya with her struggles and to reinforce her strengths.