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Possible Stealth Dyslexia, or maybe dysgraphia?


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#1 dmmetler

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 10:16 AM

I am working with an 11 yr old, exclusively homeschooled, who reads above age/grade level and does well at group mathematical problem solving, but tested on a 2nd/3rd grade level equivalent on end of year state testing (her mother had her do it planning to have the girl apply to the Duke TIPS program for gifted kids, which requires a 95% grade level score. She was rather shocked to discover her extremely bright kid was testing so poorly).

 

I am strongly encouraging mom to get an evaluation done, because what I'm seeing seems pretty obvious that there's some sort of LD issue going on, and probably a 2e one given how smart the girl comes off in conversation and anything that doesn't involve putting pencil on paper.

 

Here's what I'm seeing, just in a couple of tutoring sessions:

 

Super slow at anything involving writing. Worksheets that should take a child that age only a few minutes can easily take her an hour, yet the same worksheet done orally with me scribing takes only a few minutes.

 

Still sometimes reverses letters/ numbers, especially J, 7, E, 3. Writing looks like a 6-7 yr old's and is very irregular in spacing and size. Draws letters very deliberately. She's an amazing artist, so I don't think the problem is motor control.

 

Spelling is quite poor for her age, and the same word can be spelled three different ways in the same paragraph. Writing content does not reflect her knowledge and understanding of the topics at all. Her written output, again, feels like that of a much younger child, while her oral output is above what would be expected of her age level.

 

Fluency on oral reading is really low-lots of starts and stops and miscues. Yet can silently read and do quite well on comprehension questions and discussion as long as it's not written down.

 

Seems to miss questions due to missed words that change the meaning on written comprehension tests.

 

Derives basic math facts each time she uses them.

 

 

The question is-what, if anything, can I do/suggest now? It may be awhile before the parent can get off a waiting list to get the child assessed, whether they go through the school district (which should be willing to assess based on her grade level test results) or privately.

 

 

 

 

 

 



#2 wapiti

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 10:21 AM

Among other things to do while waiting for evals, what I would do first:

 

- get a developmental vision eval to rule out issues or at least go see a COVD optometrist for an annual vision checkup and chat about the possibility of developmental vision issues.  Both these types of appts can usually be scheduled pretty quickly and I would jump on that ASAP.  Vision symptoms can include reversals, spacing, spelling, and missing words while reading.  Memory of math facts could possibly be a downstream effect of vision issues.

 

- teach typing (something an 11 y.o. should be learning anyway).  Use white boards for math (visually larger, plus there is less resistance than with paper).

 

- consider possible OT eval as well.


Edited by wapiti, 12 August 2017 - 10:33 AM.

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#3 kand

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 10:49 AM

Just wanted to say she sounds so very much like my 2e dd with dyslexia (stealth) and dysgraphia. Mine tests better than that on standardized tests, but otherwise sounds very similar, so you may be on the right track with what you think is going on.

A very tight math spiral helped (CLE, backing up a couple years, but doing a couple lessons a day by selecting only some of the problems).
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#4 Pen

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 03:55 PM

writing issues: Typing, and maybe a computer dictation system. Spell check.   If she scribes to you is her composition content better? That is, is it just physical writing or also a content problem?

 

reading fluency/comprehension: The program we used for reading intervention has a component available to work on just fluency  (plus some comprehension questions) which might help. I don't have an exact link, but it would be part of HighNoon.com and try a search for Fluency.

 

 


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#5 OhElizabeth

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 04:57 PM

If she is holding out for great psych evals, she might see if she can get some kind of ADHD eval, maybe with a ped, sooner. If there's ADHD, going on meds might bump those test scores. Could happen. Not saying it will, but given the low processing speed it might.

 

Yes on the developmental vision exam, if only to exclude it. Yes to screening for retained reflexes using videos freely available online. Yes to typing. 

 

Sounds like they're gonna need some help to sort it out. And it's one more reason why the homeschool community saying not to bother with standardized testing is so off. This woman thought her kid was going to Duke TIP and she was, um, 4+ grades behind? Standardized testing would have told her that. I have no doubt the girl really is super crazy bright, but they have to figure out what's causing the discrepancy. And bummer is it's probably a bunch of things. Could be some ADHD with very poor visual memory. Could be SLDs plus other stuff. Could be anything.

 

Maybe call around to more psychs to see if she can get in somewhere sooner? That is really frustrating if she's going to have to wait a long time for evals. Can she use the law and get the school to act sooner? They'll flub something, but still she could try.


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#6 kbutton

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 05:03 PM

I would recommend some language testing on top of the other stuff. CASL, TOPS (2 or 3, depending on the cutoff), Test of Narrative Language (or some kind of test that assesses the ability to tell stories from pictures, etc.), and check her ability to tell things back with a main idea, characters, summary vs. a complete retelling, etc. My son is great in a Socratic discussion sometimes, but less so in writing. In some cases a total non-starter. He has some language issues that showed up on the TOPS-2, in particular. He also has major, major fluency issues with any and all tasks, and while he's faster than he used to be, it's INSANE how long things take. Can she identify key information on her own vs. what strikes her fancy? Can she sort, label, categorize information? Can she answer straightforward questions as well as inferencing questions when she's asked in an open-ended manner vs. with multiple choice or a word bank? 

 

You might also suggest testing that looks at how she does with things presented orally vs. in writing, and whether she's doing something (writing, reading) while being read to. My son can't listen and do anything at the same time--his comprehension tanks. And listening is a lot better for him.

 

BTW, if she is tested with any Woodcock Johnson batteries (there are several), the WJ subtests all map back to types Cattell Horn Carroll Learning theory definitions. You can find presentations by Kevin McGrew on this. Those definitions really help piece together subtle differences in cognitive tasks--like some of those concepts measure the same thing from different angles. With my son, the angle makes ALL the difference.


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#7 dmmetler

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 10:25 PM

Yeah, the fact that my state has a loophole that lets you avoid testing by simply signing up for a cover school that doesn't require it really came back to bite this poor kid badly. Because lack of testing, plus a homeschooling community that tends to the unschooling side may work for some kids-but in this case, it led to falling through the cracks in ways far worse than would have happened in PS.

Truthfully, I've seen this kid in my homeschool clubs for years, and didn't realize she was so far behind, either-because I set up the clubs to focus on oral presentation skills-so a child who can read and then talk about what they've read (or, in the case of a couple of other kids I've had who had documented reading disabilities, listen to audio books or watch videos) doesn't stand out. If anything, she seemed more capable than some of the others because it was obvious she understood what she was talking about.

I'll suggest the developmental optometrist and ADHD and OT for now, and getting her on the waiting lists for the school system and a full eval. If her pediatrician will recommend testing,that may speed things up at least for some of the bits and pieces. I have Nessy Fingers typing, which is designed for kids with LD issues and is very very gentle.

And, honestly, I'm torn-she would get tested much faster were she in PS. But they would probably do a very, very poor job of actually teaching her, and she would have a miserable time in the meantime, because she would be unable to keep up with the workload expected of a 6th grader. I'm willing and able to tutor, and to work with mom, but I can't provide the testing and resources the school has to offer.

#8 laundrycrisis

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 10:34 PM

Eval by a COVD optometrist *very specifically* for visual processing issues- this is different from the visual motor issues, and not all COVD listed doctors test/treat visual processing.

She sounds a lot like our son before his visual processing issues were addressed- specifically form constancy and visual memory were very poor.

#9 Pen

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 10:35 PM

If she were in ps, problem might have been noticed and she might have been tested sooner. But from time of request it should be around 30 days till testing happens whether in or out of the school.  A ps evaluation will probably not be "full" however.



#10 OhElizabeth

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 10:42 PM

Yeah, I'm not sure why you're saying waiting lists. There is no difference in timetable, legally, by what school you're in. The ps, in the US, has the responsibility, under federal law, to identify children with disabilities. Her mother needs to make a written request stating that based on recent standardized testing she suspects learning disabilities in multiple areas and requests evaluations. She dates it, signs, hands/emails/delivers it somehow. That becomes a legal document to start the timeline. They then have the legal responsibility to reply within the timeline, up/down on down evals, and then follow the law on doing them.

 

This is the slow season for the school for evals. If she makes her formal written request Monday, she might have evals going much sooner than she suspects. 

 

Personally, I would not tell her what labels you suspect. My reason is you're not the professional, and because you don't want to increase resistance on her part. I would just agree that there's stuff going on, that it's significant, and that she'd have much better information to make decisions on how to approach it if she got evals. 



#11 OhElizabeth

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 10:46 PM

Hmm, ps evals not full. Technically you can get a shocking amount done, but you have to know what you need and be really persistent. I paid $$$$$$ for a private neuropsych for my ds. There are some things he did that the ps never would have gotten done in a million years, but not really a ton, not enough to make up the difference between free and $$$$$. Now the ps goes blisteringly fast, is not an objective 3rd party in the evals, and can turn out results that are mind-numbingly, GLARINGLY incorrect. That can happen.

 

But just on the face of things, when you look at the most essential parts of the $$$$ testing my ds received, when you're saying ok you really, really, really need ASD screening, language testing, ADHD screening, IQ, achievement, pragmatics, blah blah, honestly our ps can do all that. I don't trust them farther than I can throw circus elephants, but they CAN get it done. And sometimes they (ps in general) do an ok job. 

 

Main problem, as I see it, in ps evals is that the system is just so overworked. It's another great reason to make the request NOW, because they're finishing up stragglers from last spring and aren't backlogged so badly. They can really slow down. It's very awkward for them to eval someone not in the system. They're used to having observation time there in the school, contact time, all that information that comes by being around the kid so much. When I kid just walks in off the street, that's not how they're used to evaling, so sometimes they have to scramble to figure out how.



#12 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 07:21 AM

I agree with the suggestions of what is probably going on. I do wonder what was going on in the home educationally, however. To blame it on not testing seems bizarre to me. Did the mother not know the spelling was poor, that letters were sometimes reversed, that the paragraphs were not representing her dd's knowledge and were only on level of a student several yrs younger, that her speed was slow, etc? If a parent is actively interacting her child as teacher, I cannot fathom how those are revelations.

You have spotted them in a few tutoring sessions. An actively teaching parent would also know.

#13 OhElizabeth

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 08:49 AM

She already said they're in an unschooling community and tend to do things in alternative ways. 

 

Lots of people find the rubber meets the road and that disabilities become undeniable around this age. There's such a big wait and see, they'll outgrow it, oh it's just late bloomer... So advice to wait until 10 on worry about ANYTHING not clicking academic is pretty common. People getting evals and diagnoses at 6, like I did with my ds, are not the norm.



#14 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 08:56 AM

She already said they're in an unschooling community and tend to do things in alternative ways.

Lots of people find the rubber meets the road and that disabilities become undeniable around this age. There's such a big wait and see, they'll outgrow it, oh it's just late bloomer... So advice to wait until 10 on worry about ANYTHING not clicking academic is pretty common. People getting evals and diagnoses at 6, like I did with my ds, are not the norm.


That is a completely different argument than blaming it on lack of state law testing requirements.

#15 dmmetler

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 11:35 AM

I'm the one thinking that if she'd just tested, it would have been caught earlier. Unschooling being basically the only game in town if you want a non-seriously religious homeschooling community and "oh, don't worry about that, my kid did that too, and caught on overnight" leads to actual problems getting missed. We were at a "not back to school" party last week and she was STILL getting advice not to worry about the low test score, because her DD was so smart that she'd be just fine.
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#16 MistyMountain

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 01:49 PM

Those issues could potentially be vision related. I would have a screening with an eye doctor on the COVD website.