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Everything posted by abrightmom

  1. The text DS and I are using is very streamlined and we need more depth. Will you recommend a chem text that has clear explanations for a novice chem student? We are also looking for an awesome You Tube channel with chemistry videos to supplement our learning. Any recommendations? ? Thanks.
  2. I'm not entirely sure WHAT the methylphenidate is targeting. I mean, it is for ADHD but it does something to his brain and that's what I want to figure out. Does he need it? It sounds like it might be just the thing for him. I'm still learning. :) If the lab results support using the methylphenidate then it makes sense to me to try it. It didn't make sense to ME to try it based on a doctor diagnosing my son with ADHD based on a paper questionnaire I filled out. *I* believe he has it based on my years with this kid but putting a pharmaceutical into play is more significant for me. I also don't believe the MEDS are going to fix the SCHOOL problems in terms of his writing issues. I believe we're looking at dysgraphia/written expression disorder and his EF issues. I do believe that if the meds are the right fit for him then it could EASE everything in a way that would allow him to remediate/learn/grow where he is at with written expression. The school stuff is so frustrating. He is flat out failing the CS Lewis class and English is going down. He is even losing steam with Biology; he was loving it when he's motivated by what he's learning he seems to perform better. Now they're learning about a topic he HATES and is frustrated with (he calls it tripe) and he rants about what a waste of time it all is. On a positive note they just finished their theater production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. It was performed in a beautiful park amphitheater and it was POURING. He was fantastic as Oberon and I saw so many social positives for him. It exhausted him and he has nothing left for homework. I don't have the drive to hold him to it. The school doesn't really give the kids room to turn things in late if they're in theater and it is dress rehearsal/performance week. That bites. I don't know. My head is spinning. THANKS for working it through with me. We didn't discuss depression or anxiety!!!! It would be weird for him to treat something we've not discussed or diagnosed. So, maybe there are other uses for those supplements? We did 23andme but the results won't be back for a few weeks yet.
  3. It does matter! He isn't interested in getting a permit yet. :) I'm paying attention to those stats and taking them seriously.
  4. Pen, What is a PEP Private type EP? I am investigating IEP and 504 here; our private school would heed them but they don't help us get one. I don't even know how it works! Our private school recommended that I talk to the public school district about an IEP. I think we need a more definitive diagnosis and I'm certain I'll get one. He's dealing with something in the arena of dysgraphia or written expression disorder or a specific learning disability. I think the specific learning disability is an umbrella for a variety of disabilities. I have contact info for the director of the special education services for our district. That's item number 1 on my to do list for Monday. :)
  5. Doctor and I have yet to chat; he'll be back Monday and has some questions that I relayed to the nurse. Hoping for some clarification on what these results mean and why he is recommending certain supplements. I also asked if the methylphenidate is appropriate according to these test results. The nurse told me the dr. recommends adult doses of Vitamin C, SamE, tyrosine and theanine. IDK why though :).
  6. The urine neurotransmitter lab results are in. I don't know what these markers or ranges mean yet. The doctor recommended some supplements. I asked him if the methylphenidate prescription is the right one based on these results (we have it but haven't filled it). They will send me a report and a copy of all of the results next week. Norepinephrine is low. His is 12.3. Their normal range is 17-90. It is implicated in ADHD. Epinephrine is low. His is 1.5. Their normal is 1.5-20. I read that people with ADHD have higher Epinephrine. ? Phenethylamine is low but I didn't catch the numbers. I DID research this and found that it is a biomarker for ADHD.
  7. Okay, so the educational therapist has a great reputation in our community and I have no worries about their motivations. I'm not set on anything at this point! Just taking it in, weighing it out, and continuing to look around for the right PERSON whether that is a neuropsych or not. My health insurance is slightly whacked and even with a billing code could not tell me whether or not the services I desire are covered (the educational testing that psychologists perform). I do not have any personal recommendations from anybody that I know or from any circles we run in so I'm flying blind. There ARE people I can go see; some of the pediatric neuropsych groups have a minimum 6 month wait here. I haven't called the one my pediatrician recommended. He did NOT bring up ASD and neither did I. The appt. was fast/furious and focused on ADHD and how to manage it in the classroom. The answer was low dose meds so he wrote a prescription which I have. He also recommended the genetic testing and we did both tests. Results take several weeks and we are 2-3 weeks into the wait. We did a urine neurotransmitter test and the 23andme. 23andme has to be run through some sort of website .... we will have a follow up with the doctor after the results come in for both of those. He was NOT a stellar student before. In 8th he had a TERRIBLE time with schoolwork at home. We dropped all of his classes except for his English class through Wilson Hill Academy and his Algebra class. He needed a lot of help/input with both. It was during that time that I first sought an appt. to have him evaluated for ADHD. I called in the fall of 8th grade and wasn't able to get in with the pediatrician who evaluates for ADHD until several months later. Even then, I didn't leave understanding what I was dealing with. I understand it much better now. Admittedly, I was very ignorant. I hear you on the social thinking (and there IS a social thinking trained gal in our area who is also an autism specialist). It's not off of my mind or a lower priority!! I DO hear the concern about future employment and the need for the social skills to improve. I AGREE with you on that. While I'm trying to figure out who can do an evaluation (and then waiting around the months to get in) I do have access to some helps locally. His school recommended the educational therapist; her little group of ladies services our community here and they come highly recommended. I only had to pay $5 for the testing materials and she spent a lot of her time with us in the testing and in the follow up to discuss the results. His working memory is extremely low and that IS a concern and fits well into the ADHD diagnosis. So, it makes sense to me to address THAT if I can although I agree with you that it's a lot of $$ that could be better spent elsewhere. Here's the thing though! If it improve his working memory is that worthwhile?!? It's such a critical thing and I've watched it plague him his entire life (I didn't realize what I was dealing with; I feel horrible about it). CogMed seems to be expensive and it doesn't have good reviews so I took that off of my list. Her recommendation for rhythmic writing is similar (or perhaps the same) to what Dianne Craft models on her Smart Kids who Hate to Write DVD; it address visual motor learning which my son is LOW on and has been for years (showed up on two other tests when he was 8 and 11). ADHD has social stuff with as well as difficulties with written expression. The more I'm learning the more I see that ADHD is the bucket into which everything can be tossed. I've been desirous of a neuropsych evaluation for a long time; it frustrates me that it I can't get a straight answer from the insurance company! I've had some decision paralysis due to not knowing WHO to go to! Our insurance is also changing in the next month or so. I am NOT off the trail though and I am confident that we'll end up with someone somewhere. I have a lead on a group here that MIGHT open a door for us (and was recommended by the pediatrician); also considering our local university. The behavioral health clinic offers testing but I don't know that we'd see someone with a lot of experience. Price is right but if I don't have that expert who can pick apart the little things then it might not be worth it. Type of AssessmentCost Assessments that take 2-4 hours to complete, such as: Intelligence testing (i.e. IQ only) Single personality assessment (i.e. MMPI only) Dementia Screening ADHD screening (only useful to RULE OUT ADHD) $125 Assessments that take 4-8 hours to complete, such as: ADHD evaluation Learning Disability assessment Comprehensive Personality assessment $200 Assessments that take 8-12 hours to complete, such as: Combination Learning Disability, ADHD assessment Neuropsychological assessment Comprehensive Personality and Intelligence assessment $350
  8. I love the stuff on the social thinking site. I did read through that entire article and I believe he fits their Weak Interactive Social Communicator (WISC) group to a "T". The gal I met with who performed the PACE testing IS an educational therapist and she has been through the certification process. They're crazy busy here! Her cost is $40/hr and we're discussing options. She needs to meet with him 3-4x a week and I do the other 2-3 hours of work. The goal is 60 hours inside of 12 weeks (according to the PACE program). Is an SLP a speech-language pathologist? Maybe I already asked this; I'll scroll up.
  9. Thanks for the insight and cautions! They are worthy of consideration. Pen, ASD was on MY mind for some time due to his social difficulties and a suggestion made by his grandma. The more I have studied ADHD and learned about it I think that he is dealing with that plus social anxiety. I do doubt myself though and at times wonder if there is more (ASD, giftedness, etc.). I don't think he's gifted because I don't see any area of giftedness. However, I don't know what I'm looking for and I've been told that if he is 2E then his giftedness is masked. Clearly, he has some learning and brain development issues. This compels me to want more evaluations that could uncover some clue. I just want to do the right things to help him manage! :) He hasn't had any thorough evaluation yet! He's been seen by the pediatrician twice and tested by this educational center that serves the schools in our community. I *think* he would benefit from some type of cognitive therapy (not sure if that is the name), occupational therapy (retained reflexes), nutritional/medical interventions and social thinking counseling/training. My confidence wavers though. THANKS for connecting me to the Gibson test information! I haven't purchased Lavoie's book but I started looking at his You Tube videos yesterday. It's on my list :). You all have been incredibly kind and helpful! Thanks so much.
  10. A bit of an update: (THANK-YOU for the incredible feedback! What a blessing to me!) The test results for the "cognitive test" show that my son's working memory is low. The learning center that serves the schools in our community used a test called PACE. The tests are from the Gibson Cognitive Test Battery. I have no idea what that is! His working memory was -4.3 below his age. He also showed a lower than average logic and reasoning score but I don't know what this is. The descriptor says: to reason and solve spatially defined problems which require high level conceptual abilities. ?? He was high in visual processing, word attack and auditory analysis and "on age level" for processing speed, selective attention and spelling. The results are unsurprising and do confirm the ADHD issues. They recommend the PACE program; it's some sort of brain therapy that is intensive. The cost is $300 for the kit plus $40/hr for a 60 hour program (and some at home work). That's about $2700. They also recommend he follow that up with something called Rhythmic Writer (still need more info on this) and then Cog Med for a year. I know nothing about Cog Med however I've noticed that some say there isn't evidence that these brain training therapies do much for kids. DO THEY? Are they worthwhile? Life changing? Helpful? I don't know what to think or do at the moment. He is getting an F in the C.S. Lewis class; it's possible we can squeak by with a C- in English but it could become a D without the research paper project. The school wants him to stay and I don't want to homeschool him. However, my son needs time to right the ship! He may need therapies that take time, energy and money. He won't have all of his 9th grade credits. He isn't going to be any more skilled in English and it will be the same teacher throughout the years. Despite his struggles and the apparent Honors level work being assigned the majority of the freshman class (15 students) are doing very well (this is what I was told and I believe the teachers!). He has an appt. with a PT who, if I'm understanding correctly, works with kids with ADHD and other developmental disorders. I want to investigate retained reflexes with the therapist so that is what we will do. I don't yet have any other testing scheduled but I'm working on that. We live in a university town and there is a Behavioral Health Clinic that does a battery of tests for a low cost. I don't know how skilled or experienced they are but for the price and location I will try this route FIRST. Finding an available and specifically skilled psychologist is proving difficult. My mind and heart is telling me that he needs an unconventional year; a gap year of sorts in which he finishes freshman work and does some of his 10th grade work. He can focus on therapies, testing as needed (depending on our timeline for getting to it), some personal pursuits (to fill his heart tank), counseling (he needs this), social thinking (hoping to find this) and life skills (I need margin in my life to help him; he is almost completely dependent on me and I'm spread so thin with all of the kids and a husband who is away a lot). I read SWB's new book "Rethinking School" and it has challenged me to rethink school. ;) I am not very courageous but no matter what I do this son cannot stay on the traditional track. :) I am so tired. :) I have no idea how to edit my Signature since the update :).
  11. This fascinates me!! I'm going to look into it. No, he's never seen an OT but I'm curious. THANKS! ETA: Looked this up. Wow! There is something to this ... he didn't crawl. He has all of the symptoms associated with Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex, which is connected to crawling on the hands/knees: poor posture tendency to slump when sitting, particularly at a desk poor hand-eye coordination messy eating clumsy problem catching balls slow at copying from blackboard
  12. Required. He asked me about that. He was concerned about not being able to do the writing in future years. It is a concern which is why I'm HOPING they will allow us to rock the boat and be part time enrolled. I'd like him there for several classes. We live half a mile away so the drive is 6 minutes round trip. It would be a cinch to drop off/pick up at intervals if needed and that is FAR easier than homeschooling him and having him home all day. I don't know if they'll do it though; currently they don't. ;) He NEVER has Spanish homework and is pulling an A, he has a solid A-/B+ in Geometry (says it's too easy) and has occasional homework, no homework in Bible (A), occasional homework in Biology (A-/B+), PE is an A (he likes their PE; gets a good workout), English was a B 2nd quarter and he survived the writing; the assignments have been harder this quarter (linked to literature and the research project); the C.S. Lewis class is required by their school. I think it should be a junior or senior class though! I think the research paper thing is a monstrous project for 9th graders who are still in puberty. The requirements are heavy and the data packets/notes they are giving him is an overload. Credible/Non-credible sources, plagiarizing, MLA format, research proposal, outline, 8 sources (two books, 1 database through library, others are your choice), in text citations, footnotes, bibliography, minimum 25 notecards, 4-6 pages. The topics were tough too! It's hard to have a challenging topic and then wade through so much data looking for quotes or research that you understand and then know should go into your paper!! *I* would have a TOUGH time with this assignment. I'd be stressed the entire time. STRESSED. The Symposium, which follows the research paper (and presents the findings), has stringent requirements; extremely detailed. I didn't do anything like it in college. I won't bore you with the details but I felt like I was reading a college syllabus. ??? The teacher is lovely but maybe asking too much of freshman. I think it is a fabulous school and an amazing community. I'm so so so sad. My next kid in line, DS13, would LOVE to be in school but he would literally DIE in this English class no matter how hard we work on literature and writing in the next year.
  13. So helpful! Thanks. It actually makes me feel a little better as a Mom and it helps my son to know these are especially challenging assignments! I do wonder what other students are turning in. I really do wonder. He has Spanish, Geometry, English, C.S. Lewis (first semester was Freshman Seminar; they did study skills, which he missed, and then a quarter on public speaking which he survived), Biology, OT Survey and PE.
  14. I've not considered anxiety. But rigid thinking certainly sounds familiar!! He does shut down and it's just as you describe. Pushing accomplishes nothing but a melt down. He becomes distraught. He can't come back to it though; he's done as far as these writing projects are concerned. The decision has been made by him. He says there is no way he can do them and even if he made an attempt it would be so poorly done it wouldn't be worth the work or stress to get such a bad grade. His thinking makes sense! I mean, I really really get it.
  15. No speech delay! Highly verbal; precocious. He didn't crawl. He did a weird thing we called a 'hitch' and he drug himself army style. But he never crawled. I don't know if that matters.
  16. The urine neurotransmitter thing is a Neurotransmitter analysis that is done from a urine sample. It looks at Serotonin, GABA, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Epinephrine, Glutamate, Glycine, Histamine and Phenethylamine. NO CLUE about most of those but he showed me a colorful chart and talked about the neurotransmitters that are not working right in ADHD and the ones that aren't working right in depression. He said this test can help eliminate guesswork with meds. It's $191 which isn't bad. We collect a urine sample. Prior to the sample he takes no meds or supplements and avoids certain foods (some produce, cheese, wine, nuts). It's a morning sample. You freeze it and Fed Ex picks it up after we pack it all up according to their directions. We fill out paperwork and then we'll get the test results in a few weeks. I think we get the fancy colorful chart with my son's neurotransmitter profile. I'll have the doctor help me sort it out. We did the prep today and he won't eat any of the offending foods. :) He is going to pee in the cup Sunday morning! LOL. 23andme is in the mail. I don't know anything about 5HTP.
  17. Well, this encourages me to follow through. I have a few phone calls to make. They are hard for me! It's out of my comfort zone but I am learning to advocate for my family. It's been a good school for me. I will update! It's wonderful to have people to talk with.
  18. I ordered that for him. We're also doing a urinary neurotransmitter thing. It might help us determine if meds will help.
  19. There is a practitioner on that list who is less than an hour from us. She is a licensed professional counselor. I don't know how that is different from a psychologist or psychiatrist. She is also an autism specialist. :) I really really don't think my son is on the spectrum. I did for awhile ... but I think there are other answers for his struggles. I can call that woman's number and ask about what she does with her Social Thinking training.
  20. He has liked writing in the past. I don't want him to hate it or to think he's a failure. He now does think he can't write. It's been a huge downer. What did you do with your DD in the writing area in high school? Before she was out of her funk ... How did she do in 9th if she was still really struggling? Did you work with her struggles so she could survive? Do you really think those are tough 9th grade assignments? I was thinking that but doubted myself. They overwhelm me. I can't imagine being in school all day and then having to work on those at home. Thankfully, they don't bring home gobs of homework in this school! He almost never has math homework (2x a week maybe) and he never studies for math tests. In fact, he rarely studies for any tests. My guy just won't study. ?? He'd rather just "wing it". Sigh. He tends to do well on tests and is content with A-/B+ on tests.
  21. What is an SLP? Social Thinking has been on my radar for awhile. I'm working on it ... I wanted to attend the conference! They are sold out. I know I already said that but I'm miffed. I really wanted to go!!!
  22. He hasn't had any EF support as of yet! Unless I'm not clear on what that would be. He's not being medicated and we haven't made any accommodations like shorter assignments, more time, etc. We are going to work on that. I'm also thinking that the assignments ARE especially challenging which adds to the overwhelm. They are just too advanced.
  23. Storygirl, thank-you for sharing your children's strengths and weaknesses with writing. It's quite helpful! Analyzing and filtering and processing takes a lot of time! The discussion is giving shape to my thoughts about what is going on with my son in English. I think the writing expectations are STRONG in my son's school and I've wondered what they do in the middle school years to prepare them for high school. Thanks again for sharing all of that and helping me think through pieces of the puzzle.
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