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Sugarfoot

Dyslexia, Speech Therapy, Asperger's...Advice, Please..

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My DS15 was diagnosed with moderate to severe dyslexia at age 8. Recently, I took him to be evaluated for what I suspected might be some sort of expressive speech disorder. Also, the psychologist who did his educational testing recommended that we do this at some point in the future, once he was reading.

 

Today, I got the results. They weren't good.:sad: He definitely needs speech therapy for several delays in pragmatic speech, and they're also recommending a developmental assessment, as they think he might have Asperger's.

 

Now, this really isn't totally shocking to me. But here's my question: Is there really a compelling reason to seek a diagnosis at this point? It won't change his speech therapy, his learning disabilities have already been assessed, he's completed vision therapy, we deal with his sensory issues, or rather, we've taught him to deal with them. Is there an important reason to label him?

 

And my next question is: Who diagnoses this sort of thing? Can it be just one person? The children's hospital closest to us doesn't want to see anyone new in this department. They have a developmental "team," but they're overwhelmed. There are a couple of developmental pediatricians fairly close--one has a really good reputation among Asperger's parents. Can a single physician give a diagnosis?

 

I'm really not sure I even want to pursue it. I feel so overwhelmed right now. His learning disabilities are so hard to deal with, speech therapy will be twice a week, DD4 has SPD that requires weekly therapy, and DD12 is having a health issue that will be taking us to the children's hospital mentioned above tomorrow. It's a 2 1/2 hour drive each way. I'm tired...

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Gina, this is just out there a bit, but verbal apraxia (motor control) can occur with autism/apsie. In fact, I've even seen video of a child who you would have thought was aspie who totally changed after they got the speech cleared up. Apparently that's not at all uncommon. I'm not saying it will be in your case, and certainly there are kids with both. It's just something to check into. The most innovative treatment for apraxia (verbal, oral, etc.) is PROMPT http://www.promptinstitute.org It is only once a week and something you can follow up with at home. I understand your weariness with therapies and trips. I'd suggest getting the best speech evaluation you can and then see where you're at. If it's motor control, the therapy is different from regular speech therapy. It's even possible with PROMPT to do a week of intensive therapy and then follow up after that at home.

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:grouphug::grouphug:I know how difficult it is to juggle more than one child with special needs. It is exhausting and overwhelming at times. I don't have any particular advice about therapies and such. Although after reding Elizabeth's post I would probably do speech therapy for a while before looking for further diagnosis.

 

That being said, sometimes diagnosis is helpful. Someone with autism/aspergers is going to automatically qualify for more therapies insurance wise than someone with no official diagnosis. Or it is easier to qualify for state insurance in some states. If your child needs services after age 18, you will need again some sort of official diagnosis and history of services. Since this is the oldest child, it may be helpful to have diagnosis for college sooner than later. Some learning disabilities, with letters from Rehabilitation Services (in our state anyway), will allow for 6-9 hours of classes to count as full time rather than the full 12-15 hours, for example. To get those accommodations however there must be official diagnosis somewhere.

 

I have 2 special needs children. To make it all work I have had to ask for a lot of help. My parents have been able to help quite a bit thankfully but if they weren't able to, I would have to occassionally find a friend or hire someone to help.

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The speech eval might take a month to get into, but it's a one day thing. So you can have that eval and the answers from it before you'd ever get into a neuropsych or developmental ped or whatever.

 

And yes, I begged my dh to find, pay, anything someone else to take dd to her appointments, because I was getting burnt out. My MIL did it. You can keep up by email with the therapist, so it's not such a biggee not to be there. With speech you want to be there to learn the techniques and implement them at home, but that's not the case with everything.

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My DS15 was diagnosed with moderate to severe dyslexia at age 8. Recently, I took him to be evaluated for what I suspected might be some sort of expressive speech disorder. Also, the psychologist who did his educational testing recommended that we do this at some point in the future, once he was reading.

 

Today, I got the results. They weren't good.:sad: He definitely needs speech therapy for several delays in pragmatic speech, and they're also recommending a developmental assessment, as they think he might have Asperger's.

 

Now, this really isn't totally shocking to me. But here's my question: Is there really a compelling reason to seek a diagnosis at this point? It won't change his speech therapy, his learning disabilities have already been assessed, he's completed vision therapy, we deal with his sensory issues, or rather, we've taught him to deal with them. Is there an important reason to label him?

 

And my next question is: Who diagnoses this sort of thing? Can it be just one person? The children's hospital closest to us doesn't want to see anyone new in this department. They have a developmental "team," but they're overwhelmed. There are a couple of developmental pediatricians fairly close--one has a really good reputation among Asperger's parents. Can a single physician give a diagnosis?

 

I'm really not sure I even want to pursue it. I feel so overwhelmed right now. His learning disabilities are so hard to deal with, speech therapy will be twice a week, DD4 has SPD that requires weekly therapy, and DD12 is having a health issue that will be taking us to the children's hospital mentioned above tomorrow. It's a 2 1/2 hour drive each way. I'm tired...

:grouphug:

 

I don't know the answer of what's right for you and your family. Sometimes I wonder if I should even be sharing my opinion on this board because I don't have a formal diagosis of a learning disability for my child.

 

My own opinion on formal diagosis is that while it geneally helps to call things by their proper name, I am much more interested in fixing problems than naming problems. Naming the problem may or maynot be helpful, depending on the circumstance. I work with my child on the assumption that if I shelled out a lot of money, I would get a diagnosis of dyslexia. Most of what I've ready about dyslexia says that it's not uncommon for people with dyslexia to struggle in other areas of language too.

 

So I guess that I would suggest you ask more question of the speech therapist who recommended this to you--and maybe call back the psychologist who gave your son the diagnosis of dyslexia to ask similar questions. What are the advantages or disadvantages in pursuing another diagnosis? Does she think your child's problems far outside the norm of some of the additional language problems fairly common for people with dyslexia? Would she do anything different if she had (or didn't have) a diagnosis of Aspergers? Would she expect a different level of achievement from your child?

 

And would another diagnosis change the level of achievement that you expect from your child?

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Gina, this is just out there a bit, but verbal apraxia (motor control) can occur with autism/apsie. In fact, I've even seen video of a child who you would have thought was aspie who totally changed after they got the speech cleared up. Apparently that's not at all uncommon. I'm not saying it will be in your case, and certainly there are kids with both. It's just something to check into. The most innovative treatment for apraxia (verbal, oral, etc.) is PROMPT http://www.promptinstitute.org It is only once a week and something you can follow up with at home. I understand your weariness with therapies and trips. I'd suggest getting the best speech evaluation you can and then see where you're at. If it's motor control, the therapy is different from regular speech therapy. It's even possible with PROMPT to do a week of intensive therapy and then follow up after that at home.

 

Is this something that wouldn't be seen in a regular speech evaluation? We just fininshed a VERY thorough eval. with the speech pathology department at the local university. Those were the results that I got yesterday. Sorry, I wasn't very clear about that. They checked the mechanical aspects of his speech, as well as every other aspect. His testing seemed very complete, but it's possible there's something I'm not aware of. His testing took about 6 weeks, going twice a week for 1 hour at a time, to complete.

 

I'll have to research PROMPT, thank you!

 

 

:grouphug::grouphug:I know how difficult it is to juggle more than one child with special needs. It is exhausting and overwhelming at times. I don't have any particular advice about therapies and such. Although after reding Elizabeth's post I would probably do speech therapy for a while before looking for further diagnosis.

 

That being said, sometimes diagnosis is helpful. Someone with autism/aspergers is going to automatically qualify for more therapies insurance wise than someone with no official diagnosis. Or it is easier to qualify for state insurance in some states. If your child needs services after age 18, you will need again some sort of official diagnosis and history of services. Since this is the oldest child, it may be helpful to have diagnosis for college sooner than later. Some learning disabilities, with letters from Rehabilitation Services (in our state anyway), will allow for 6-9 hours of classes to count as full time rather than the full 12-15 hours, for example. To get those accommodations however there must be official diagnosis somewhere.

 

I have 2 special needs children. To make it all work I have had to ask for a lot of help. My parents have been able to help quite a bit thankfully but if they weren't able to, I would have to occassionally find a friend or hire someone to help.

 

Thanks, I've wondered about college. I know that he'll need accommodations for the dyslexia, which he'll qualify for, but I'm not sure how the Asperger's diagnosis would fit into everything. It's all so confusing! He definitely needs the speech therapy, and getting another diagnosis won't change what or how they would go about that, so we'll start there.

 

And yes, the multiple therapies thing is exhausting! Thankfully, today went pretty well with DD12. Unless something unforeseen comes back with her labs, she doesn't have to go back to the specialist for 4 months. And she definitely doesn't have any form of arthritis, so that was good, although something is going on. We spent 5 1/2 hours in the car and 2 in the hospital, so I'm very hopeful that we won't have to do that too often.

 

 

:grouphug:

 

I don't know the answer of what's right for you and your family. Sometimes I wonder if I should even be sharing my opinion on this board because I don't have a formal diagosis of a learning disability for my child.

 

My own opinion on formal diagosis is that while it geneally helps to call things by their proper name, I am much more interested in fixing problems than naming problems. Naming the problem may or maynot be helpful, depending on the circumstance. I work with my child on the assumption that if I shelled out a lot of money, I would get a diagnosis of dyslexia. Most of what I've ready about dyslexia says that it's not uncommon for people with dyslexia to struggle in other areas of language too.

 

So I guess that I would suggest you ask more question of the speech therapist who recommended this to you--and maybe call back the psychologist who gave your son the diagnosis of dyslexia to ask similar questions. What are the advantages or disadvantages in pursuing another diagnosis? Does she think your child's problems far outside the norm of some of the additional language problems fairly common for people with dyslexia? Would she do anything different if she had (or didn't have) a diagnosis of Aspergers? Would she expect a different level of achievement from your child?

 

And would another diagnosis change the level of achievement that you expect from your child?

 

Thank you, I really appreciate you sharing your experience. I have thought about calling the ed. psychologist who did DS's testing the first time to get her opinion. She was very helpful with his dyslexia diagnosis.

After seeing all of his scores on written language, grammar, etc., I'm thinking that we may need to go back and work through some basic language things again. It's so hard to know what to do with him!

 

And yes, I went in to the speech eval. thinking that most of his issues were due to the dyslexia, but in the back of my mind, I've always had a sneaking suspicion that there's something else, as well, most likely Asperger's. And the speech pathologist isn't the first professional to mention it. His scores on various parts of the testing were indicative of something else going on, as well. But I also agree that it won't really change what we do. She did mention accommodations at the post secondary level, though. DS is a gifted filmmaker. I really don't understand what he does with the editing process and everything, but apparently it is truly amazing. He has a visual sense that is just beyond what anyone expects of a 15 year old. It is truly amazing. It's like part of his brain is somehow "bigger" than the rest.

 

I don't know...these kids...they keep us hoppin...:D

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Is this something that wouldn't be seen in a regular speech evaluation? We just fininshed a VERY thorough eval. with the speech pathology department at the local university. Those were the results that I got yesterday. Sorry, I wasn't very clear about that. They checked the mechanical aspects of his speech, as well as every other aspect. His testing seemed very complete, but it's possible there's something I'm not aware of. His testing took about 6 weeks, going twice a week for 1 hour at a time, to complete.

 

I'll have to research PROMPT, thank you!

 

 

You're quickly getting out of my league, as I don't have an aspie. From my reading, aspie's often have some dyspraxia (motor control problems). The praxis can occur anywhere. Yes, I've seen plenty of stories in print of kids who actually have apraxia (motor control) problems causing the speech who were told it was developmental. To me, the words you were using were something that would make me ask that question, so I was throwing it out. The connection between apraxia and autism/aspie is EXTREMELY strong unfortunately. At our SLP's practice I met a mom whose 15 yo aspie was beginning PROMPT because he couldn't speak at all. He communicated using boards and whatnot.

 

Regular speech methods are not extremely effective for apraxia, so it's kind of like they skirt the issue by not diagnosing it. You get someone who treats a lot of apraxia, and they can distinguish it from other causes and can get right to the root. So yes, you could go through three SLP's and still miss it.

 

I'm not trying to send you on a wild goose chase, just giving you another thought to pursue.

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You're quickly getting out of my league, as I don't have an aspie. From my reading, aspie's often have some dyspraxia (motor control problems). The praxis can occur anywhere. Yes, I've seen plenty of stories in print of kids who actually have apraxia (motor control) problems causing the speech who were told it was developmental. To me, the words you were using were something that would make me ask that question, so I was throwing it out. The connection between apraxia and autism/aspie is EXTREMELY strong unfortunately. At our SLP's practice I met a mom whose 15 yo aspie was beginning PROMPT because he couldn't speak at all. He communicated using boards and whatnot.

 

Regular speech methods are not extremely effective for apraxia, so it's kind of like they skirt the issue by not diagnosing it. You get someone who treats a lot of apraxia, and they can distinguish it from other causes and can get right to the root. So yes, you could go through three SLP's and still miss it.

 

I'm not trying to send you on a wild goose chase, just giving you another thought to pursue.

 

Thank you. I'll look into it and see what fits. I observed him at ST today, and there's definitely "something else" there.

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Hi, my first post here...

 

We had my son go through a formal diagnostic for autism spectrum because his school was having so many problems with him - one of our local universities did it. It was really cost effective and he loved the experience.

 

We are now homeschooling him because, despite the aspergers diagnosis, he was still miserable in the school and actually regressed - almost like the teachers took this "well, he is aspergers so - just let him slide by" approach. They were really nice, just ineffective with him academically. So, at first I thought - wow, this diagnosis hurt us.

 

However, now that he is almost 11, it has become very apparent to him that others regard him differently - the diagnosis has become part of his ability to cope and pinpoint what he needs to learn to be better in social situations. It also helped us discover valuable things like social stories that we may not have found if we didn't know exactly what was going on with our son.

 

So, I went from thinking we shouldn't have bothered to really appreciating having the language and context for my son to move forward in his development.

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Hi, my first post here...

 

We had my son go through a formal diagnostic for autism spectrum because his school was having so many problems with him - one of our local universities did it. It was really cost effective and he loved the experience.

 

We are now homeschooling him because, despite the aspergers diagnosis, he was still miserable in the school and actually regressed - almost like the teachers took this "well, he is aspergers so - just let him slide by" approach. They were really nice, just ineffective with him academically. So, at first I thought - wow, this diagnosis hurt us.

 

However, now that he is almost 11, it has become very apparent to him that others regard him differently - the diagnosis has become part of his ability to cope and pinpoint what he needs to learn to be better in social situations. It also helped us discover valuable things like social stories that we may not have found if we didn't know exactly what was going on with our son.

 

So, I went from thinking we shouldn't have bothered to really appreciating having the language and context for my son to move forward in his development.

 

Thanks for this. I really appreciate you sharing your experience. Congratulations on your decision to homeschool!

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