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Neuropsych? Or other specialty?


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I need to have my 16 yo son evaluated for a learning disability. At least, I think that's what we are looking for. Maybe ADD, I don't know. He is really, really struggling with high school level work. Failing everything. He is smart, reads well, is very creative, an excellent artist. But he is crashing and burning with his school work. We have tried changing curricula, expectations, schedules, everything I can think of. Nothing is working. He just can't do it. Sometimes his attitude is bad, but most of the time he is really trying. We did basic testing a couple of years ago and it showed no major discrepancies. Who would I go to for something more in depth? He is quite depressed about it. He also has social anxiety and SPD. Help! Meg

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I also can't say enough in praise of our neuropsych and the full evaluation we did (eleven hours of testing over a few days, plus nearly six hours of discussions before and afterwards). This has been the foundation of my understanding of how my daughter learns, and therefore how to best work with her, and my general road map for over three years now. Sadly, our insurance did not cover this; but it was worth it many times over for the specific details of how dd's brain worked in so many areas, and the understanding I felt the neuropsych had of her personality and her issues.

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and in retrospect, I regret putting my 15 yo through it last month, and wouldn't subject another of my children to it unless there were no other options.


What prompted us to have him evaluated were concerns about his visual, motor and auditory processing.


But he was subjected to an intrusive and unnecessary psychological probing that had no relation to the questions that brought us there.


A sample of the type of questioning he received, repeatedly and in multiple ways:


Are you sexually active?

Have you committed armed robbery within the past month?

Is your playroom messy?

Why do you think people get married? Do you have plans to marry some day?

Do you torture animals?

Are you a rapist?

Do you like to set things on fire?

Do you have a police record?

Do you leave your toys around?

Etc. etc.


These were similar to the questions on 3 separate behavioral surveys I had to fill out before his appointment, and had nothing to do with any concerns of ours or his regarding his processing problems. He's a very ordinary kid from an ordinary background and he found these irrelevant questions both ridiculous and uncomfortable.


He has pes planus and hamstring problems which were interpreted as toe walking. When I explained this to the evalutor, she didn't seem to accept it, and said in some cases people walk on their toes for so long that they cause hamstring problems. Maybe so, but that's irrelevant in his case because the way his feet are structured, he's not even able to walk on his toes! :lol:.


So the supposed toe walking apparently triggered an autism alarm and he was given picture cards to describe. He told me afterward that the instructions didn't register until he was halfway through the pile (APD?) and he had been describing the pictures rather than making up stories. He has trouble with auditory processing, autism - no way. I really don't know how much of the testing regarding IQ and visual processing is accurate, since it is administered via oral questioning and instruction.


Based on this, I'm told he's autistic. It's funny - he's never been autistic anywhere else in his entire life - only the neuropsych was able to uncover his cleverly concealed disorder. :lol: My sense is that they are determined to be right even though they are wrong, and don't want to let any pesky facts get in the way. :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:


Needless to say, this wasn't very helpful, and I think we would have been better off going directly to a vision therapist, OT and audiologist rather than taking this unfortunate side trip.


Lesson learned - choose a neuropsych carefully. Be sure they are experienced and objective before you plunk down all that $$$. Their role is basically that of a middle man, and if you already have a good idea of what's going on, you may not need the neuropsych, and might be better off going straight to the therapist, psychiatrist, or whatever it is you need.

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Wow, Heidi, it sounds like your son had a GHASTLY experience. All I can say is I'm so sorry for both of you; our experience was nothing at all like that. It was all gentle, and extremely helpful.


But I do agree with you about looking at a neuropsych as critically as you can and getting a feel for how they will be with your child. I read the website of ours, looked at what she taught at the university medical school, interviewed her on the phone, and met with her for an hour and a bit before deciding to go ahead. Also, I'd been referred to her by a learning specialist/tutor who said the gap between dd's abilities and her written performance were larger than anything she'd ever seen, and she didn't feel competent to work with dd.


VinNY, if you want to take a look at her website and see the kinds of things that were all good for us, it's http://www.boswellneuro.com

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But I do agree with you about looking at a neuropsych as critically as you can and getting a feel for how they will be with your child. I read the website of ours, looked at what she taught at the university medical school, interviewed her on the phone, and met with her for an hour and a bit before deciding to go ahead.


That's the way to do it. :) Unfortunately, like so many people, if we hadn't gone where our insurance company dictated, we couldn't have paid for it at all.


Also, I think my expectations weren't in line with the reality of current testing practices.


I assumed that because of our observations of CAPD symptoms combined with a family history of CAPD, the mode of testing would take that into account. And from what I understand now, WISC, visual perceptual skills and other testing outcomes can be impacted by the presence of auditory problems but are administered in a prescribed manner with considerable oral input from the evaluator, so in the case of certain disorders such as CAPD, the test results aren't necessarily reliable.


According to Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide, CAPD symptoms can lead to misdiagnoses of Aspergers:


"Often they will be suspected of having -and in our experience be mistakenly diagnosed with - Asperger's Syndrome or autism spectrum disorders despite the fact that they are affectionate and caring and have no fundamental deficit in theory of mind".




I was flabbergasted when the neuropsych told me after the testing that she believed he has NLD. Fortunately he had taken an achievement test in the spring (normed for kids a year ahead of his grade level) and after a 2 year hiatus from math during which all he focused on were other subjects, he scored 84th percentile in the math section on material he had never studied. If not for that, I'm convinced he would be wearing the NLD label (and he may still - we haven't got the report yet). :ack2:


So, I can't help wondering how many other kids are being mislabeled in this way. :confused: Caution is definitely necessary when choosing a doctor. :tongue_smilie:

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Sounds like that neuropsych had their own agenda....

We did not have anything like that..... I have a feeling there are always bad apples in the bunch, but I'm sure with a few recommendations you can find one that will work well with you.


I'm glad that you and so many others have had a good experience. :)


Definitely an agenda with ours - seemed very intense, almost emotionally involved in her predetermined outcome, KWIM? And this after only a few hours of interaction with him. Weird.

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