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I need help to sort through all of this.- Long


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I posted a while back about the issues we were having with dd and the eventual diagnosis of ADHD. Our doctor listened to our concerns about medication (dh had reactions to it as a child as did my brother) and gave us alternate route to follow (high doses of cod liver oil and minor diet restrictions).

 

These changes really helped her out. She was/is a very different child behaviorally (sp? its just to late to think tonight!!). However her school work was still horrible. After much debate we enrolled dd is PS to get anothers opinion. I have been concerned that school issues are more personality clashes between her and I than anything else. I wanted an outside influance to see if that would change to results.

 

DD brought home her spelling test, reading test, comprehension and math tests today. Everything she did is sitting in the 50% range. Her comprehension is poor, her writing is horrible, and apperently her reading level is 1.3 (on the AR scale, she is in 2nd grade). So I sat here looking at all of this work wondering where in the world she got some of these answers. I started to notice some consitencies through out the work. She is still forming letters backwards, her letters form all over the place, letters are misshapen or unidentifiable, numbers are backwards, etc.

The more I looked at this work the more a sinking feeling came over me.

 

Aren't these the signs of dyslexia?? I googled around and found the www.dys-add.com site that listed the symptoms of dyslexia by catagory and she fit all but a (very) small handful! And it wasn't just in the handwriting catagory, it was across the board! Really the only major things she didn't fit was learning to talk (she talked very early but did not walk until 2!) and handedness (she has always been right handed, to the extreme in fact!).

 

Dh sat down to do math homework with her this evening and said she struggled to remember simple addition facts from one row to the next. She has always struggled with math memorization so I never questioned it.

 

Anyway I meet with her teacher tomorrow to get an opinion and go over all her testing scores. No matter what there is an issue present above and beyond the ADHD and it breaks my heart. We have an appointment scheduled with a 3rd party tester to have her tested for whatever and another appointment with our family doc.

 

Does anyone have any advice on this? Does it sound like dyslexia? Another diagnosis? We have been concerned about aspergers (which was the original reason she was going to see our fam. doc) based on some of the behaviors we have seen. Anyone see these traits in their Aspie?

 

I am so sad right now that anything will be helpful. I feel like I have failed because I had this idea of what a perfect education and child were. I fear I have been blind to what was going on because we had to stay on schedule, meet these expectations, etc. Maybe she never learned anything and we were just getting by.......

Edited by caitlinsmom
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I have not had any experience with Asperger's, however, my children have struggled at various times with their facts.They have also, flipped their letters/numbers. My son, almost 9, has started flipping numbers when adding but I have noticed that he is improving now that we switched our math program. Each one of my kids learns differently, but one math game they all love and that helps them with retaining their facts is "Math Mat." If she has ADHD, she may love this game since she gets to hop around on the mat. Also, this (retention, low comprehension) could be just about her learning style not a disorder.

 

If her letter/number flipping is dyslexia, there are methods now to work through it, so be encouraged. My friend's son, was an avid reader, then in fourth grade he struggled with math and started having problems with his reading. He was eventually diagnosed with dyslexia, so she worked with him daily with different techniques. I'm not sure what all she did but last I talked with her, her son is doing great.

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I have a son who meets the diagnostic criteria for ADHD, dyslexia, APD, and Asperger's, PDD-NOS, or no ASD depending on who you talk to. He also had vision problems that were resolved with vision therapy.

 

I think these things are all related somehow. We have chosen to use the labels dyslexia and ADHD because for him they seem to describe everything we're seeing and interventions and accommodations for them seem to appropriately target his needs.

 

It took something like 6 or 7 professionals 5 years to finally arrive at this "answer".

 

I understand you have concerns about medication, but I have to tell you that we waited until our son was 12 to get the ADHD diagnosis and medication. It took a while to find the right medication and dose, but it truly made a huge difference for him. He had made amazing progress before, but the medication was the missing piece.

 

 

These kids who present with symptoms of several different things really seem to confuse professionals. The ADHD doctor will diagnose ADHD, the dyslexia doctor will diagnose dyslexia, the audiologist will diagnose APD, the developmental optometrist will diagnose vision problems, and the autism doctor will diagnose autism. Seriously.

 

Just from what you describe here, I'd get her a developmental vision exam as well as an occupational therapy evaluation with a therapist who has expertise in sensory processing issues. I would teach her as though she has dyslexia and at some point you may want to get a formal evaluation for that. However, I do know that some kids have their terrible handwriting respond beautifully to ADHD meds.

 

As for the math facts, how are you teaching her? I found that with my son I was constantly tweaking and changing what we were doing to find a way to reach him.

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When you say the "50% range," do you mean the 50th percentile? Or she gets 50% correct on her work? There's a big difference.

 

Agreeing with Shari - she is still quite young, BUT it's something to keep an eye on. I'm about to have my 10yo tested for dyslexia, and when I expressed concerns about my 8yo, the tester said to wait because he's still so young - it'd be hard to tell what is dyslexia and what is just from him being young.

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First - my son has dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia - and he is thriving. Yes - we have to make som accomodations - but he is working above grade level now. I honestly would be more upset at an ADD or ADHD diagnosis. Nothing to fear with the dys's. It is hard, yes, but it is manageable.

 

Second, ADHD and ADD seem to be "catch-all" diagnosis anymore. Although those tendencies and the subsequent diagnosis end up masking the true issues - so you probably need to do more digging and evaluating. I do think that by the end of 1st grade, most of the problems you have mentioned would have been resolved - but not always. Can she read a clock? Can she tie her shoes? Does she know left from right? Those are some good things to start looking at.

 

Lastly - until 3rd grade, kids can be all over the board in achievement and still be normal. It is the school system that is out of whack - expecting all 7th graders to be at the level they want them at. This has nothing to do with intelligence - some childrens' brains just do not mature at the same rate.

 

Relax- it will be ok :grouphug:

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First -

 

Can she read a clock? Can she tie her shoes? Does she know left from right? Those are some good things to start looking at.

 

Lastly - until 3rd grade, kids can be all over the board in achievement and still be normal. It is the school system that is out of whack - expecting all 7th graders to be at the level they want them at. This has nothing to do with intelligence - some childrens' brains just do not mature at the same rate.

 

Relax- it will be ok :grouphug:

 

She can not read a clock with out major prompting, analog or digital. Most times she sees things mixed up, ex. It is 10:54 on a digital and she will say answers like 5:14, 50:4, 4:10, etc. She has just mastered tying her shoes but will still ask us to help from time to time. She does not know right or left no matter what fun tricks I have come up with. She can not follow simple directions that are more 2 part or more, so following directions for an assignment is nearly impossible. Everything must be given one step at a time (this is most likely the ADHD since she has both they hyperactivity and the inattention).

 

Her maturity level is definately lower than her peers. She prefers to crawl around playing games like horse (where she pretends to be a wild horse) than play kick ball or the like. She gets along with her peers to an extent but she is often overly silly and it makes it hard for them to relate to her I think.

 

She has always been behind in her fine motor skills, never mastering the pincher grasp until closer to 18 mo. I know this could effect her handwriting as it may be painful to her. However we have done a lot of different things to help her with handwriting. So far her writing has not improved over the last 2 years. In fact ds who is in Kindergarted has more legible handwriting than she does with few mistakes present. I know, I know, don't compare, they are different people.

 

The thing of it is I know there is something different about my dd. Most people can see it within moments of meeting her, we just don't know what it is. To say she is quirky is an understatement. The ADHD feels right based on symptoms however I agree that it is such a catch all and possibly symptoms are presenting because of another issue (one of the reasons we have been looking at aspergers).

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I have a dyslexic son. I knew in my heart of hearts that he was dyslexic by end of second grade. I would say that if the symptom list resonates with you, likely this is what you are dealing with, also given what you have just described.

 

I also understand the feelings of sadness that life for your child will possibly be different, and sometimes difficult, especially compared to what you, the parent, have experienced. However, growing up is challenging and difficult, regardless, and, as the parent, you can help your child celebrate their gifts, help them work through the challenges, and love them unconditionally.

 

Personally, although the dyslexia can be challenging, often I am amazed what an incredibly unique, fascinating and creative thinker my ds is. I am also grateful for how I have been stretched to think differently to teach him.

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She can not read a clock with out major prompting, analog or digital. Most times she sees things mixed up, ex. It is 10:54 on a digital and she will say answers like 5:14, 50:4, 4:10, etc. She has just mastered tying her shoes but will still ask us to help from time to time. She does not know right or left no matter what fun tricks I have come up with. She can not follow simple directions that are more 2 part or more, so following directions for an assignment is nearly impossible. Everything must be given one step at a time (this is most likely the ADHD since she has both they hyperactivity and the inattention).

 

Her maturity level is definately lower than her peers. She prefers to crawl around playing games like horse (where she pretends to be a wild horse) than play kick ball or the like. She gets along with her peers to an extent but she is often overly silly and it makes it hard for them to relate to her I think.

 

She has always been behind in her fine motor skills, never mastering the pincher grasp until closer to 18 mo. I know this could effect her handwriting as it may be painful to her. However we have done a lot of different things to help her with handwriting. So far her writing has not improved over the last 2 years. In fact ds who is in Kindergarted has more legible handwriting than she does with few mistakes present. I know, I know, don't compare, they are different people.

 

The thing of it is I know there is something different about my dd. Most people can see it within moments of meeting her, we just don't know what it is. To say she is quirky is an understatement. The ADHD feels right based on symptoms however I agree that it is such a catch all and possibly symptoms are presenting because of another issue (one of the reasons we have been looking at aspergers).

 

From what you've written here, I really think a vision exam and OT evaluation would be a good place to start.

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Trust your gut and start pursuing it. Because it sometimes takes months to get appointments, and to actually see professionals, I would start now. Ask your doctor for referrals. Start a notebook documenting any thing you find unusual or that would help a professional get a better picture of your child. Sometimes, if you can get one propfessional to help they can help you find others, and gie more credibility to your concerns.

 

For fine motor, an occupational therapist is who you will want to see. By her age if she is not writing well, there is a good chance her handwriting alone may qualify her. It was enough for my son anyway.

 

For visual motor issues, find a behavioral optometrist. Covd.org is one place to find one. Also check out their signs and symptoms page. My son was thought to be dyslexic but for him it was in reality a severe vision issue. His eyes were not tracking together, he didn't see in 3D, he had convergence issues... When he looked at anything, he never saw it the same way twice. The vision issues also effected his fine motor skills - in particular handwriting and even tying shoes. If you can't accurately find the lines or see where the strings are then those will be difficult tasks. He couldn't learn facts with flash cards. He couldn't read or do math. While your child may very well have dyslexia, I believe that you need to have a specialized eye exam to rule out any other issues that could be contributing to her difficulties.

 

Sometimes the immature behavior may be a way the child acts to distract others from the other issues. It could also be a sign of aspergers, or not.

 

:grouphug:

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From what you've written here, I really think a vision exam and OT evaluation would be a good place to start.

 

Is this test part of the normal dyslexia testing? We have a Mason sponsored learning center 30 min from us. When I called to talk to her she said the dyslexia testing was 3 part. We have an consultation in a few weeks where we can spell out all the issues and they can help us figure out exactly what testing we should do and possible diagnosis.

 

I meet with her teacher tonight so go over everything. I want to get her opinion on the matter since she does have the experience of dealing with more kids. Once we have everything nailed down better I do plan on bringing her back home for school.

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I agree with the others - a vision eval, possibly an OT eval and, depending on what happened with the vision eval, most likely a full-blown neuropsych eval would shed a whole lot of light here. Good luck putting the pieces of the puzzle together!

 

By the way, can you share the high dose of cod liver oil that you found helpful?

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Is this test part of the normal dyslexia testing? We have a Mason sponsored learning center 30 min from us. When I called to talk to her she said the dyslexia testing was 3 part. We have an consultation in a few weeks where we can spell out all the issues and they can help us figure out exactly what testing we should do and possible diagnosis.

 

I meet with her teacher tonight so go over everything. I want to get her opinion on the matter since she does have the experience of dealing with more kids. Once we have everything nailed down better I do plan on bringing her back home for school.

No, these are not part of the dyslexia testing. They are separate, but important, components to finding out exactly how your child is learning. And to rule out anything that may be causing more difficulty than just dyslexia. Dyslexia doesn't often present itself with nothing else adding to the mix.

 

My son learned to read using the Scottish Rite Taking Flight reading program designed for dyslexics. I can't say enough good about it. The the Masons clinic is a Scottish Rite one, you will be in good hands. They are recognized as having developed one of the best programs for dyslexics available.

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I have a dd, now fourteen, with Asperger's, and she had, or still has, all of the symptoms you describe: inability to read clocks, problems tying shoes, inability to figure out left from right, letter and number reversals, poor hand strength, early talking compared to physical skills, computation lagging behind other math skills that are more abstract or logical.

 

She had full neuropsych testing at age eleven -- eleven hours of testing over several days, plus five or so hours of interviews and discussions involving me -- and dyslexia was never even mentioned. These difficulties were considered part and parcel of her larger neurological profile and in her case, were largely based on vision problems and poor body awareness.

 

She's since had a long stint of vision therapy, which worked wonders though it did not solve every teeny problem. She also had a year of OT as a younger child and now is doing really well riding and working with horses, which I consider a brilliant form of OT as well as social therapy and fine motor skills work (and fun).

 

The other posters have given you great advice; I just wanted to throw in an Aspie view. Dd has also been diagnosed with Nonverbal Learning Disorder, which overlaps with Asperger's some 80% but generally involves more visual-spatial issues, so that is something to consider too. Many of the books coming out these days on Asperger's also include discussions of NLD, the two are so closely related.

 

To end on a note of reassurance: kids like this can do incredibly well with intervention and lots of help aimed specifically at their issues. Some of it straightens out or lessens with time; many people on these boards have noted in the past that their kids with Asperger's-related writing issues suddenly make a gigantic leap forwards around age twelve -- which was also the case with us. Today dd has remaining spelling and punctuation problems, but she just finished writing two enormous stories, over 20 pages each, and they're perfectly legible. She did well in Algebra last year and is doing Geometry entirely on her own this year. She can tell time, although she has to work at it -- can't just glance at the clock. She still can't tell left from right, EXCEPT when it involves a horse. For some reason, then she knows.

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I have a dd, now fourteen, with Asperger's, and she had, or still has, all of the symptoms you describe: inability to read clocks, problems tying shoes, inability to figure out left from right, letter and number reversals, poor hand strength, early talking compared to physical skills, computation lagging behind other math skills that are more abstract or logical.

 

can't just glance at the clock. She still can't tell left from right, EXCEPT when it involves a horse. For some reason, then she knows.

 

My dd is obssessed with horses, in fact I have her do math problems in the car using horses I see in the fields. Horses she gets, numbers not so much! We have considered getting her a horse as a way to encourage her to have responsibility, help with fine motor skills, and as a way to boost her self esteem. She does incredible with them and I notice some of her obbssessive behaviors diminish when dealing with horses. It is also the one time she can memorize things at the drop of a hat (like muscle names), yet recall months later.

 

Thank you for the post, I dont think I would ahave considered horses as a form of therapy even though they work for her.

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By the way, can you share the high dose of cod liver oil that you found helpful?

 

For a reference point, DD is nearly 8 and weighs about 38 lbs or so. She takes 1000mg (I think that is the unit of measurement) at least, every morning. At lunch she takes a smaller dose. I can not tell you what a difference it has made!! If she is have a rough day with multiple outbursts and breakdowns, I will make wild alaskan salmon as a way to help.

 

I buy the Child Life brand oil from vitacost. I use the oil in the morning and pack 4 soft gels in her lunch to get her through the afternoon.

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For a reference point, DD is nearly 8 and weighs about 38 lbs or so. She takes 1000mg (I think that is the unit of measurement) at least, every morning. At lunch she takes a smaller dose. I can not tell you what a difference it has made!! If she is have a rough day with multiple outbursts and breakdowns, I will make wild alaskan salmon as a way to help.

 

I buy the Child Life brand oil from vitacost. I use the oil in the morning and pack 4 soft gels in her lunch to get her through the afternoon.

 

Thanks so much. She sounds a similar size to ds7, just a smitch smaller (he's 7y9m, about 45 lbs). He's been having the Nording Naturals fish oil strawberry chewables for quite some time with no noticable improvemement in attention (we continue it anyway, since I'm sure it's good for him generally). Maybe it's dose. I saw a slight improvement when I added a liquid cal/mag/zinc last summer, but things are really going downhill now. For a bunch of reasons, I keep feeling as though I'm missing some key nutritional issue with him. Today I ordered Coromega fish oil (I'll have to check how that compares with the amounts you are using) and Attentive Child. This is frustrating, but I'd so much rather do nutritional supplements than meds (his medical history is complicated). Thank you!

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Have you looked into the possibility of a visual processing disorder? Sounds strikingly similar to my DD...I originally posted here asking if she was dyslexic as well! Someone suggested I get an eval with an optometrist...turns out, DD had a raging visual processing problem and we later discovered additional sensory integration issues that we've addressed through OT.

 

Start with a good evaluation with an optometrist experienced in offering vision therapy (http://www.covd.org is a good place to look for one). They can also tell you if dyslexia or visual processing is the issue and whether VT will benefit your daughter. Also be on the lookout for other sensory issues...often, kids with visual processing or sensory integration problems (SID or SPD) are mis-diagnosed as ADHD kids and/or have co-morbid ADHD and sensory issues. A good evaluation by an occupational therapist who specializes in sensory integration might be worth your while! OT won't help with ADHD if that's what it really is, but if it is sensory in nature or has a sensory component, OT can make all the difference in the world.

 

DD has done both VT and is still in OT...a totally different kid today than she was when we started! VT brought her up to grade level within a year...she gained around 2 years in reading level in just the summer that we did intensive VT, then the rest came with time. I have two other kids with SPD...I put them all in OT and the boys' ADHD look-alike symptoms began to abate! No meds for them! It's been a long road, but everyone is getting there now!

 

Don't be too hard on yourself...you have not failed your daughter. Special needs are like peeling back layers of an onion...you just have to keep going until you've peeled through all the layers and gotten to the root of things (or, in my case, of multiple things! Each layer brought a new need for treatment as we figured it all out.) A loving parent doesn't fail a child until she stops trying. :grouphug:

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Thanks so much. She sounds a similar size to ds7, just a smitch smaller (he's 7y9m, about 45 lbs). He's been having the Nording Naturals fish oil strawberry chewables for quite some time with no noticable improvemement in attention (we continue it anyway, since I'm sure it's good for him generally). Maybe it's dose. I saw a slight improvement when I added a liquid cal/mag/zinc last summer, but things are really going downhill now. For a bunch of reasons, I keep feeling as though I'm missing some key nutritional issue with him. Today I ordered Coromega fish oil (I'll have to check how that compares with the amounts you are using) and Attentive Child. This is frustrating, but I'd so much rather do nutritional supplements than meds (his medical history is complicated). Thank you!

 

I read months ago that kids who have difficulties like my dd (ocd, anxiety, adhd, and whatever else) are chronically low on zinc and magnesium. For whatever reason their bodies utilize these quicker and differently than others. Whether or not that is true I dont know, however I do see a marked improvement when I supplement also.

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Something I've just learned (and one reason the 'dys' get misdiagnosed as ADD...) kids with any of the 'dys' issues frequently have a difficult time processing multi-step directions and it has nothing to do with attention. It is simply the way their brain works. Do not take that as a sure sign of ADD or ADHD.....

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