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Dyslexia and Junior Year of HS


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#1 Legomom

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 10:27 AM

My son is starting his junior year of high school and has dyslexia (mom-diagnosed, I haven't had him tested).   I first suspected dyslexia when he was around 10 years old because a friend of mine showed me the dyslexia testing report from her daughter and I was shocked to see many of the results/traits were very comparable to those of my son.  I have done a lot of research on dyslexia and most recently watched Susan Barton's free videos on dyslexia and my son has many of the traits that she discusses.

 

I am now looking back over the history of my son's homeschooling and trying to decide what, if any, "last minute" remediation or specialized instruction he needs.

 

Teaching him to read took awhile -- we used OPGTR and little did I realize that it would not be a good fit for him, but between that and the I See Sam books he learned to read and is above grade level now (over 80th percentile on standardized testing). We also used the Rewards program once his reading was more advanced. Although he was slow to learn to read, once he learned he has always tested above grade level.

 

Spelling scores were always very low when he was in early/mid elementary, but after starting All About Spelling his scores improved to slightly above grade level.  We completed the entire program.

 

Writing continues to be an issue from several angles.  I think that he is generally a "good" writer from a content standpoint but punctuation and capitalization can be somewhat nonexistent.  Also, it is challenging for him to organize his thoughts on paper. I think that he also has dysgraphia because he has always struggled with handwriting, so he mostly types everything at this point.  Regarding writing curriculums, we used Writing with Skill off and on but it was always a struggle.  Later, he worked with a private tutor (not an O-G tutor, but a certified English teacher) who used IEW techniques. On standardized testing he is above grade level in 'writing and language".  It is the essay writing that is trickier for him.

 

Anyway, I am wondering where to go from here with the last two years of high school left.  Although he is technically above grade level, I can see that he especially needs support and additional instruction in his writing.  I also wonder (and am feeling guilty) about whether he would be in a better position if I had used the full O-G program.  At the time his decent reading made me think that he didn't need to remediate that with the All About Reading program or the Barton program.

 

Sorry that this is such a long post.  I would appreciate any thoughts that you have regarding these last two years of high school. 

 


Edited by Legomom, 11 August 2017 - 10:28 AM.


#2 OhElizabeth

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 10:57 AM

My dd was in that position and ended up with an ADHD diagnosis. They used to be lumped together (dyslexia and ADHD) and called minimal brain dysfunction. ADHD and dyslexia are about 60% comorbid, so you'll have a lot of kids with ADHD who are very, very crunchy on reading but not quite to a dyslexia diagnosis, etc.

 

You might like to go ahead and get evals, because if he qualifies for accommodations under any of the labels (ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia), you'd like to know. My dd is going away to college and using the ADA laws to get accommodations for her ADHD. 

 

Whether you call it ADHD or dyslexia, they'll talk about "executive function" in the brain, which is how the brain organizes, keeps track, the working memory, etc. Low working memory might explain why he was having trouble with multi-syllable words, and happily it's something you can improve. My dd got improvement in her ability to get her thoughts out by working on working memory and metronome.

 

So I would get evals, see what they point to, then intervene on the things that are low. It sounds like his biggest deficits right now might be executive function stuff (organizing his thoughts and materials, etc.). If the psych who does the evals runs a CTOPP, that will set your mind at ease on the dyslexia question. My dd had poor word retrieval, which I've read is common to dyslexics, but her CTOPP scores were fine, including the RAN/RAS, which can be a lagging indicator of the dyslexia. So you'd get usable, actionable information in the evals I think.


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#3 Julie of KY

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 11:45 AM

Where to go is also dependent on future goals. If he wants to go to college, then getting an evaluation done now would be very helpful as it will open any doors to accommodations that he will need in college. At home, you can keep plugging along and accommodating him any way he needs, but a formal eval might get him accommodations on college board testing as well as in college.

 

I think a formal diagnosis is very helpful as it lays to rest a lot of questions your child may have about himself - why can I not do this as well as others?


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#4 Legomom

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 12:20 PM

Thank you for your responses. I think that there is a good chance that he will go to college, but he has a strong interest and ability in building and mechanical type things, so I could see him going to a technical school instead.

 

I have had a real hesitation in having him tested, mostly because I don't want him to feel like there is something "wrong" with him although I realize that it could also be beneficial for him to be able to say "ok, now I know why that is so hard for me".  I have a friend who has two kids with dyslexia who had them tested and one was relieved and the other was extremely demoralized, so that is my fear.  I have never mentioned dyslexia or other learning issue to him, although I have referenced what I call a "learning bobble", such as why he can't remember left from right. I had not thought of ADHD being a possibility -- I will look into it.

 

Regarding getting accomodations for testing and college, that is also a dilemma.  He is doing "fine" in school, but I can see that accomodations would take some pressure off and probably improve his performance, but again I wonder how that would affect his perception of himself. His scores in fairly rigorous online high school classes have been in the A, A-, B+ range, but it takes him more time than average I think.

 

I do suspect him of being 2e, based on some of his test scores in certain areas.  This is hard, especially because his brother tests as gifted so there are always comparisons (not by me, but between themselves).  I am beginning to suspect stealth dyslexia or dysgraphia or something with that brother as well, because he struggled so much with Saxon Algebra 2 last year. He got an A but it took FOREVER to do his work.  Two years prior he had tested in the 60th percentile for algebra 2 and trig, without ever having taken it.  I have been looking at Susan Barton's videos analyzing handwriting for dyslexia and dysgraphia.

 

I wish that I could have them both tested, just to find out what the issues are and help them but somehow not have to tell them I am doing it!!! 



#5 OhElizabeth

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 12:42 PM

The left/right thing does not mean dyslexia. It actually means he has midline issues, something an OT would test. My dd had that and it responded well to the midline exercises we did in vision therapy. Have you had his eyes checked by an optometrist or developmental optometrist? Some kids with difficulty getting thoughts on paper turn out to have retained reflexes or developmental vision issues that respond well to therapy.

 

Yes, the IQ testing they do in a psych eval will include processing speed, and that's what can get him the accommodations for testing. 

 

For my dd, having the correct interventions for her disability was the difference between a significant scholarship and NOTHING. Her ACT scores went up dramatically.

 

I hear you on the responses. Really though, how you handle it matters. You're saying he reads well and wants to know why things take longer for him or are harder. Psychs are really good about talking to the kids at this age and explaining how their brains work. He might appreciate having the explanation of how his brain works. You could ask him.

 

And yes, he sounds very bright and very hard-working!


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#6 Legomom

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 12:55 PM

The left/right thing does not mean dyslexia. It actually means he has midline issues, something an OT would test. My dd had that and it responded well to the midline exercises we did in vision therapy. Have you had his eyes checked by an optometrist or developmental optometrist? Some kids with difficulty getting thoughts on paper turn out to have retained reflexes or developmental vision issues that respond well to therapy.

 

Yes, the IQ testing they do in a psych eval will include processing speed, and that's what can get him the accommodations for testing. 

 

For my dd, having the correct interventions for her disability was the difference between a significant scholarship and NOTHING. Her ACT scores went up dramatically.

 

I hear you on the responses. Really though, how you handle it matters. You're saying he reads well and wants to know why things take longer for him or are harder. Psychs are really good about talking to the kids at this age and explaining how their brains work. He might appreciate having the explanation of how his brain works. You could ask him.

 

And yes, he sounds very bright and very hard-working!

 

I really like the idea of presenting it as an opportunity to understand how his brain works -- I think that could appeal to him.  Also, I think that he would like the idea of potentially improving chances for scholarships -- he would appreciate the potential financial benefit. 
 



#7 OhElizabeth

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 01:34 PM

If you do evals, let us know how it goes! Some people here are real numbers and testing gurus, and people can help you apply the results.


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#8 Julie of KY

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 01:46 PM

I think that a lot of how kids respond to a diagnosis is how it is presented and how parents talk about it.

 

If you say we are going to find out what is wrong with you or why you can't do something, then it puts a negative spin on it.

If you say we are going to learn more about how your brain works and how it works differently than many others, then it is more of finding out facts about yourself.

If you say that you always suspected dyslexia, but simply did what was best for him at home and accommodated along the way, but now think a diagnosis would be helpful so that he is given the time or help needed in areas outside of home.


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#9 Heathermomster

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 07:43 AM

Remediating students this late in the game is a tricky business. Your DS will need to commit time to the efforts.

I suggest you gather information from local trade schools/universities and start examining their offerings and degrees. Look closely at entrance requirements and prerequisites. Discuss and have your son pick a few paths and aim for the hardest one. I would also start saving money now and plan on a full np eval within a year or so of graduation. Testing needs to be no more than 3 years old when establishing accommodations with universities and ccs.

My DS was diagnosed gifted with 3 SLDs on his 8th birthday. I read your posting to him and asked for a reaction. He replied that the extended test taking time helped considerably. He rolled his eyes when I asked if he felt bad about his diagnosis. My son told me yes and that he'd feel better about himself if I bought him a Toyota truck.

DS has many peers with dyslexia. Honestly, dyslexia is kind of a "whatever" diagnosis to us. EF issues are the big deal in my home.

Edited by Heathermomster, 13 August 2017 - 07:46 AM.

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#10 OhElizabeth

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 08:46 AM

LOL, Heather your toyota truck comment from your ds makes me laugh. Like yeah, how's it supposed to feel? They already KNOW something is up and hard and not right. It's not like you're telling them something they don't know. I think it's also possible to tell them it's x and it's actually y. 

 

The junior year isn't too soon for evals btw. Like she said, it's just 3 years, so you could have done them a year ago and still been in the window. Definitely now. My dd's last eval and paperwork was during her junior year, and colleges aren't blinking an eye. So you're good to go on that.

 

On the EF (this is just a total rabbit trail), I'm really keen on 360 Thinking stuff right now. I'm getting ready to have my dd watch the webinar, so we'll see what she learns. 


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#11 Legomom

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 12:52 PM

Thanks for everyone's responses!  I have been looking into testing and I have a few questions.  First, regarding the type of testing, it sounds like it should be an IQ test, a CTOPP and a RAN/RAS test?  Does that sound adequate?  I took ds to a pediatric opthamologist when he was little and there were no findings regarding his vision.

 

Also, we live on the west coast of the U.S. in a mid-sized city and I am not finding anywhere immediately close by for testing.  It sounds like there is a university department a few hours away that has graduate students that do some testing. I have asked around in my area and a few people have recommended the Gifted Center for Development in Colorado because one of their specialties is 2e testing and there isn't much available in our area.  What I am wondering is, how important is the skill/experience of the tester(s)? 

 

I am going to post a spinoff to this thread with some questions regarding my other son.  I think that he may need testing as well, so I am hopng to take them to the same place. 



#12 OhElizabeth

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 01:45 PM

There's some controversy with GCD. Honestly, this doesn't seem so hard to sort out. Learning Ally has a list of self-referring providers (tutors, psychs, etc.), and anybody who maybe speaks at your state dyslexia association or is on the board would be a good lead. 

 

RAN/RAS is a component of the CTOPP. I've even had the CTOPP done through a reading tutor. Seriously, you should be able to get this testing done without an extreme drive or hassle, unless you're in like Wyoming or something. I can get it done in 5 minutes from my podunk town. You want ADHD screening, IQ, and testing for the SLDs. If you go to a neuropsych, they'll throw in visual motor and some more complex stuff. Sometimes you'll find an ed psych or clinical psych who is magical. Paying a ton sometimes just nets you a really expensive donkey.


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#13 Ivey

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 06:02 PM

I think you're on track with thinking that it's better to have an assessment done now, so that your Ds can be set up for success in college, rather than to wait and see how things go when he gets there. My oldest son knows of a number of students who've undergone psychoeducational testing while in college, and it honestly sounds like a nightmare.  

 

In terms of how to present it to your son, I think focus on wanting to learn more about how his brain works and how to make things easier for him. I think he will agree that writing is difficult for him, and will be open to finding ways to make it easier. 

 

Thanks for everyone's responses!  I have been looking into testing and I have a few questions.  First, regarding the type of testing, it sounds like it should be an IQ test, a CTOPP and a RAN/RAS test?  Does that sound adequate?  I took ds to a pediatric opthamologist when he was little and there were no findings regarding his vision.

 

Also, we live on the west coast of the U.S. in a mid-sized city and I am not finding anywhere immediately close by for testing.  It sounds like there is a university department a few hours away that has graduate students that do some testing. I have asked around in my area and a few people have recommended the Gifted Center for Development in Colorado because one of their specialties is 2e testing and there isn't much available in our area.  What I am wondering is, how important is the skill/experience of the tester(s)? 

 

I am going to post a spinoff to this thread with some questions regarding my other son.  I think that he may need testing as well, so I am hopng to take them to the same place. 

 

They will very likely include some academic testing. Probably either the WIAT-III or WJ-IV Achievement, and potentially some tests or parts of tests to further investigate specific academic areas. In order to qualify for an LD diagnosis, they'll want to see evidence that he's performing below the level expected for his age, or that he's performing at an appropriate level only due to extreme effort or support. 


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#14 Heathermomster

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 06:44 PM

ACT, the College Board, universities, and ccs want to see specific tests run by a certified tester to determine eligibility for accommodations. If you are looking for accommodations through any specific organization, follow their guidelines.
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#15 Legomom

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 12:15 PM

Update:  I talked to ds and he sounds fine about the testing. I presented it as testing that would help to learn how his brain works and that it would potentially helpful in fine tuning the rest of high school and possibly benefit him in college.  Since he always does standardized testing every year anyway he doesn't think that it is a big deal.  Also, I have a line on a potential tester in our area.  She has limited office hours, so I am waiting to hear back from her to see if they offer all of the testing that we will need.  She works in private practice and is a certified school psychologist. I'll plan on updating the thread with the results.  Thanks again for everyone's input.  It been very helpful as I am going through this process!


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#16 OhElizabeth

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 06:17 PM

Talk to her first and don't rush. It's something you'll probably only do once, so you want to be happy with the person you chose.


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#17 AlyssaJJ

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 08:41 AM

Talk to her first and don't rush. It's something you'll probably only do once, so you want to be happy with the person you chose.

Agreed on this! Wise advice



#18 EKS

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 10:15 AM

If at all possible, you're going to want to find a person to evaluate him who has extensive experience with gifted individuals with dyslexia.  A school psychologist or former school psychologist may not be the best choice for a gifted dyslexic (both of my son's incorrect diagnoses--"just slow" and Asperger's--came from people with backgrounds in school psychology) since most of their caseload will have been with average/low performing students.  


Edited by EKS, 17 August 2017 - 11:14 AM.

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