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Prepping for evals

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If anyone has recs for good evaluators in the NEPA area, please do share!


We have recognized symptoms of adhd, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and maybe dyscalcula in 8yo dd for quite a while. With adaptations and hard work, she's made progress in most areas (except attention), but I'm at the bottom of my bag of tricks and ready for professional help.


Having been through evals with my AS son, I know I want to sort my ideas out before meeting with a doctor and stumbling over Ummms and Uhhhs, lol. Maybe you can help me with one aspectbthat's been baffling us.


We're using MCT and AAS, which have been great changes for dd. BUT... one minute she knows all the answers. The next, she knows none. A while later, she knows them again.

If she's asked to slow down/stop/think/focus, she gets a blank look on her face, and not the kind where you can see the wheels turning, iykwim. Just. Blank.


Another thing - We had this convo. today. Pardon lack of punctuation -iPad typing.

What part of speech is 'and'?

A pronoun?

What does a pronoun do?

Replaces a noun.

Does 'and' replace a noun?


So can it be a pronoun?


What does 'and' do?

Joins the two words.

What part of speech joins two words?

A pronoun?


Stuff like this is every day. Yet she can recite the parts of speech and what they do.


Part of me thinks that's adhd-ish, and she's throwing whatever she can at the wall to see what sticks instead of having the focus to think it out. I'd love to get some thoughts though!

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I'm just laughing here, because I'm guessing it's your *dh* she got the dyslexia from, not you, right? LOL I mean mercy, you're asking a dyslexic child (someone who doesn't have proper language processing skills) to go through some dialogue about GRAMMAR (words, something she doesn't process well) and analyze it. That's just not her reality. If you want success, back off, use something like Shurley, do imitation, and let it slowly sink in via patterns. She might get it. At least she won't feel dumb, and at least you won't be asking her to do sophisticated analysis with her weakest subject.


Mercy, did I just tear up MCT and you? Didn't mean it that way. I'm just saying you have to jump into their shoes. You already do this, I'm sure. I live with 2 dyslexics (or whatever this np decides to label dd, getting the results next week). It's like my whole world. I'm the verbal whiz in the house where no one cracks spontaneous jokes, where foreign languages are impossible, where profundity in pauses to let the processing catch up is the norm, and where no one can understand my Russian friend's english. So no, I basically expect nothing language-wise. I don't expect them to do what I do, understand what I do, process language as quickly as I do, or anything else. And I basically apply it to all areas of language (written, oral, reading, grammar, you name it). They just aren't going to be like us.


And now that I've read "The Dyslexic Advantage" by the Eides, I realize I wasn't insane to think there were patterns to their *strengths* as well. (They're both artistic, inventive, and history lovers, none of which is me, sigh...)


With 5 kids and a 10 month old, I defer to you, definitely don't mean to be ribbing. Yes get the evals. I found ours by google dyslexia association and our state. Might be something to try. So far (with no results back obviously) I'm very happy with him. He has been very respectful and spent an appropriate amount of time (6 hours) to be thorough and do all the appropriate testing. So we'll see.


The reason their processing goes blank when you ask them to slow down is because that's not how they think. They JUMP from point A to point C, and they haven't a clue how they got there, let alone that there was a point B. And if you ask them how they got there, they can't tell you. And then you tax their working memory and communication so much they lock up and get frustrated. Or at least that's what happens in our house. That's why I don't do it that way. With grammar I teach by modeling rather than asking. You know, I think I'm suddenly realizing why she hates working with me for math!!! She's been loving Khan, and that's what they do. They model the math and then you do more. Well duh. See we all have more to learn. :)


So anyways, for grammar we always have a great time. I used Shurley with her for years, and it's the GREATEST THING EVER for a dyslexic, incommunicative, grammar-hater. Did I say that strongly enough? Watch someone else disagree. But what works is that it's simple, leads them into the answer, and gets the job done without making it hard. I know, you say she's gifted and you want her to work to her potential in spite of the dyslexia? Well we never had a problem taking her knowledge from Shurley and carting ourselves over to CW and doing the diagramming in CW Homer. I'm not saying she could do it by herself, but she could do it. She got the basics and could apply them.


Well I can't believe it has taken me this long to understand what was going well for us in Shurley and how it could translate into the way we do other subjects. It's hard, because you have your own notions of what the proper thought process should look like in a subject. It's hard to get away from that and figure out what they can really do. They're just so different from us. If you haven't read DA yet, check it out. It was this watershed moment for me, validating everything I had seen for years but not understood.


Hope you find someone you like to do the evals! :)

Edited by OhElizabeth
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Elizabeth, can you tell me more about your thoughts on MCT vs Shirley (the programs and the general methods)? I've never seen Shirley, so I'm not sure exactly what you mean by modeling.


FWIW, our conversation was taking place over the 4-level analysis worksheet, with a diagram of the parts of speech in front of us. We do a lot of sentences on the white board as a 'group' (both girls, ocassionally younger ds, and myself), and copy the MCT diagrams, though we haven't started actual sentence diagramming yet. Overall, yes, it's very verbal. It might help me to understand exactly how Shirley differs.


Dd definitely needs to be evaluated for dyslexia because she shows some of the subtler signs, but she is a fluent reader now, with decent comprehension, which is definitely the main reason we didn't seek an evaluation earlier. There's a little bit of guilt there, but I'm also surrounded by people who tell me I overanalyze my kids. :tongue_smilie:


If she does have dyslexia, it's a "mutation" of my or dh's issues. Because we sure have issues, lol, but her manifestations are beyond our experiences.


I'm definitely not doing the whole "she's gifted" thing. Yes, she has her strengths, but she struggles. A lot. I'm proud of the progress she HAS made, but I am worried about her, and I want to make sure we can give her the right kind of help.


Right now, I'm very upset about our location. When we lived in NJ, we had access to centers full of specialists who could work as a team to determine ds1's exact issues. Here, I can pick a SLP, or an adhd psych, or a neurologist, etc., and run from office to office and haul records around. I just really want to make sure I choose the right specialists in the "right" order, and I'm having trouble determining what that might be.


ETA - I will order that book, thanks!

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I wouldn't sweat the whole one office vs. separate offices things. You might just as easily have had a crummy experience with some of those practitioners and been locked in. This way you can shop around and get the best for each category. Although there's some logic to the order, they all screen and direct you to other people. Just start somewhere. Sounds like you should start with a neuropsych. Dd was having headaches from her eyes, so we started with a developmental optometrist. You just jump in and they tell you where to go next.


You can see samples of Shurley on the Shurley website. Just google. It will be called either Shurley Grammar or Shurley English.


Every kid is different. I'm just saying if I asked my dd the questions you're asking yours, she would lock up. She just can't process and spit out language in that way. Ditto for comprehension questions. The Shurley approach is pretty slick, because it makes the flow of the analysis of the sentence almost formulaic. MCT wants to do the opposite, giving them this definition that they apply and think through. Well my dd can think. She just can't think for very long. And if she thinks too hard on language things, you start to see steam coming out her ears. Then she melts. We've tried. We've done latin, french, chinese, you name it. I've basically given up. The methodology of Shurley is very similar to the Q&A approach we used to learn russian grammar when I was in college, so it's didactically sound. It just makes it so easy and pleasant people think it shouldn't be. It also has enough repetition to get it automatic. For my dd, it works.


Definitely get some evals. The worst part is not what happens if you pick the wrong person first (which I don't' think you can or will). To me the worst problem is what happens if you *don't* get the evals and realize you're missing something you could have done therapy to improve or have the wrong diagnosis in mind, ie. that it's really something you didn't anticipate. If you have no other kids with LDs, to me that makes the question even bigger.

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Ok Yllek, you can't open up such a juicy topic and not do some explaining!! :) So what is cognitive load? I know I can google. I'm getting where you're going with it, but how did you even FIND OUT about this? Is it in another book I haven't read? LOL


And yes, I'm hoping our np results (coming next week, yes I'm DYING waiting) will shed light on this. That's what I think is going on with us (and what I see in the op), but we'll see. And yes, the way you describe it is the way we do our math together. She cannot do the math and get the words out at the same time. I write them all onto a card so she can look at them. Now that she's doing Khan Academy math, I see her making notes like that onto a separate word processor page and keeping it open while she works. We call it our external RAM. She was just KILLING me with her inability to talk through even the simplest of things in her pre-algebra until I started doing this. To her it was like going fishing in the sea to find the words. It never occurred to her that there were only 4 short phrases I needed to come out of her mouth and that we could quantify them, practice them, and put them to where it would be easy for her to get at them. Helped immensely. Whew. And yes, if you ask her certain questions directly, she entirely locks up. Otherwise she seems very normal. It's just at those points where they need to thing, chew gum, and dance at the same time. (just joking) Your phrase cognitive load describes it well. She needs time ahead to think about it, and THEN she can talk about it.


We took a break from grammar this semester btw. I think we may do this really cool diagramming book starting in January. I don't know if the np eval will change anything I have tentative in my mind or not. We'll see. Shurley was always very easy for her, because it used the visual gate to get out the grammar label rather than the verbal. You go through the Q&A flow where I ask the question to elicit the word from the sentence, and she writes the part. She never has to think through the sentence, say a word, and then say a label. And when she writes the label, you almost have this visual memory trick, sort of a direct connect (answers this question, write PN, answers that question, write V). It's not quite as complicated as saying or even writing the *words*. When we were doing Shurley, I would stop occasionally and make sure she remembered what all the letters stood for, lol.

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Thanks for sharing all that Yllek! It's definitely fascinating. :) And yes, it seems like stuff that you start to intuit just by watching your own dc. Yes, my dd would be all over Sweller and his ideas, at least on the modeling part. That's why she's liking Khan so much. I've tended to try to be open-ended with her in math, and it wigs her out. You know it occurs to me though, our grammar (Shurley) was very sequential, very predictable, totally modeled and almost mindless, and yet she has been able to apply that adequately to novel situations. There might be something to what you're saying, that she'd be able to do the same thing with math. I'll have to chew on that. Sometimes we don't even realize how much ASSUMPTIONS we go into teaching with. I think that superiority of Constructivism thing would be one of them.


Yeah, you're probably not going to get some blow-by-blow report on the boards here of her scores and what turns up. I know for a fact multiple people local to me read these boards, and I feel like her scores are her business. But it will be nice to have some validation on my part and the right terms. I don't need her thinking of herself incorrectly if I've been wrong, and we need to know how to go forward. There's a lot of rubber meeting the road stuff where you can't cover over it or work around it like you could in elementary. Newest one is the co-op writing teacher wanting her to do timed essays, joy. I gave her the compromise, but I still don't have any back-up on that, kwim? So we're getting into territory where I need to know I'm right. The compromise I gave her was a trick from spelling, where she'll get longer for the timed essay but mark where she was at 30 minutes and at 45 and at an hour if necessary. We'll see what happens. Should be enough to keep the teacher happy.

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regarding what yylek was saying and her suggestions, this is exactly what my dtr's special ed teacher, speech therapist and OT do at the public school where I get resource help through.


At first I thought it was too much of a crutch, but now I am seeing her blossom socially and has less anxiety. At home I still do drill work to help stretch her memory and I use the digit, letter and word span exercises by Addie Cusimano. Also at her last VT eval he suggested I have her do digit spans backwards to increase her visual memory (hmmm didn't I hear that from this board??? you guys are always on the cutting edge!). Also he gave her this neat exercise called the funny alphabet. My dtr for example is to spell CAT but use the next letter in the alphabet, so in funny alphabet spelling, CAT would be DBU. It is important that the student is given lots of time to figure this out.

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