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Got our written neuropsych report last Thursday...


jujsky
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and I have to say, I'm less than impressed -- especially since it's from Boston Childrens Hospital and they're supposed to be one of the best places in the country. There were a couple things in there that were flat-out wrong (they said that we said he no longer spins, when what I said was that he stopped the behavior for awhile, but now he's back to doing it every day and sometimes several times each day). I can understand a couple of mistakes and I wouldn't be so bothered by that if the advice they gave us was actually...I dunno... helpful? Tailored to my child and our family situation? Not canned crap? Things we haven't already tried that failed to work?

 

I've read through all 23 pages of it twice. I sat on the information over the weekend. I plan to read it a couple more times before we meet with his pediatrician tomorrow. The report advises us to seek out an OT evaluation to address his Developmental Coordination Disorder. On it -- he's on a waiting list. The good place we used to use closed, so the waiting list is for a new place that will hopefully be decent. My expectations are pretty high after the other place we used, Kidz Play.

 

The few helpful suggestions they made were the same suggestions the school made when we met with them in December and January -- things like having a visual schedule and calendar available. We started to implement that yesterday. For the most part, their suggestions were along the lines of, "History Kid is currently in a homeschool program. He will require an IEP through the public school to target his educational needs." When we met with the public school, they told us based on his testing he would not qualify for an IEP -- his scores are too high. They told us even if the neuropsych came back as ADHD (which it did) he still probably wouldn't qualify. I think the most I could hope for is a 504 Plan, and honestly it doesn't matter anyway because he's HOME. The report also says, "Given History Kid's diagnosis of Learning Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified, and his challenges in mathematics, he should receive support from a certified Special Educator in the area of mathematics." We homeschool. They know we homeschool. It has already been established that he WON'T QUALIFY FOR SERVICES through the school even if we enrolled him. Where the $%&& am I supposed to get a certified special-ed math teacher to help him?

 

They also gave us a whole list of suggestions that were obviously geared towards kids in school, with the little caveat, "While we are aware that his home-based schooling may offer a different type of environment, these strategies are often helpful and indicated for children with ADHD:" and they they go on to list a bunch of things that are not applicable to our situation, like offering him preferential seating, and giving him a cue to get him to focus. It was all very canned.

 

What bothered me the most was their insistence in the report that a rewards-based chart system should be implemented and would work well for him because that worked well for him during testing. I'm so glad they know my child better than I do after 3 hours of testing! If rewards-based chart systems worked, I'd be using them. I've used them more times than I can count and they certainly do work beautifully in the beginning. They fall apart anywhere between the 1 and 3 week mark. I've found that any modification in our house needs the 1-month test. If it still work after 1 month, it will keep working. Most things don't work that long. He is totally apathetic when it comes to both rewards and punishments. I explained that to them. I wrote about it in our paperwork and told them in person that within 1-3 weeks those systems and charts no longer have any affect on him. Did they not listen to that? I can guarantee that any reward system they used for him in there would fall apart if he saw them a few times/week for a month. I would bet the $4,500 we spent on this underwhelming report on it :glare: Did they not listen to me at all?

 

They suggest that we go to a psychologist to work with us on a behavior modification plan. I though that's what THEY were supposed to do -- give us a behavior modification plan. In my experience, the child psychologists around here are either good and not taking new patients (you can't even get on a waiting list), or they suck. I don't want to waste time and money on a bunch of namby-pamby theoretical crap that's not going to help my kid -- I've already been down that road. We did that for over a year when he was 4 or 5 and it didn't help at all. The man was a total quack, none of his suggestions worked, and he tried to diagnose our son with autism (which he doesn't have) before he even met him. He'd play with him for 35 minutes, and spend 5-10 minutes talking to us at the end. He barely gave us any suggestions, and of those, none we tried passed the 1-month test.

 

Sigh. We're meeting with his pediatrician tomorrow to talk to him about the report to see if he can offer us any concrete suggestions, advice, and/or local resources. DH and I felt that would be the best place to start because we are so overwhelmed with the underwhelming suggestions offered. Maybe he'll know of a psychologist in the area who doesn't suck who will actually view our child as an individual, and who we can get in to see within the next 10 years. I think our next step if that doesn't help is to make the drive back down to Boston and make an appointment with the doctor and the psychologist who put this report together to tell them that for $4,500, I expect REAL advice tailored to my child that will actually help.

 

I know I harp on the money a lot here, but if you ladies knew how much debt we've accrued over the years to get him help, you'd understand. If I had the money on-hand and I knew the therapies would work, I would gladly spend the money. We've spent thousands of dollars on things that haven't worked. VT that didn't work. A psychologist that didn't work. Tests that didn't pan out. Paying out of pocket for him to keep seeing his psychologist and keep him in OT and Speech Therapy when DH was out of work and we didn't have decent enough insurance to cover those services. Out of everything we've tried for him, OT and ST have been the only things that gave us tangible results. Now we can add another $4,500 of debt to Debt Mountain for another report that didn't help. We at least have a diagnosis now, but few real suggestions on how to help our child succeed. Oh, and the kicker? They want us to come back in another 2-3 years to have another neuropsych done to measure his results! I say a big 'ole *( that! If things we're doing are working, I'm sure we'll see the results without paying another $4,500, and if we don't, then the advice they gave us was wrong so why would I pay more money to get more bad advice? I know people here have said that money doesn't matter and it's worth it if it might help your child. When do you call "shenanigans" on that? We can't keep throwing away money and getting no results. I know my experience differs from a lot of people here, but in my experience doctors, psychologists, and therapists offer you the moon, sun, and stars if you'll try this therapy or that one, and then don't deliver. I'm so tired of it all. I thought the neuropsych would give us the answers we need, and instead it just opened the door to more medical expenses and therapies that may not pan out. I've been crying off and on since Thursday when I got this stupid report in the mail.

 

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading. I don't know if I'm looking for advice, a shoulder to cry on, or both. I'm beyond frustrated and disheartened by this entire process. Searching for help and answers has been the better-part of the last 5 years of my life and I'm ready to throw the towel in, and give up.

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there is a fabulous OT in Sunapee NH...I don't know where you are in NH but this one is GREAT!!! and they don't have a waiting list.

 

ETA: now that I have read the whole thing...I agree it does seem ridiculous...we had the same thing happen...Neuro said thinks its High Functioning Autism but wants ADOS done....ADOS person gave module 1 (for nonverbal kids) and says she has no idea why neuro said HFA and its just ADHD...so we paid all that money to be back at square one with no information and a child who needs help but can't get it.

Edited by Murmer
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there is a fabulous OT in Sunapee NH...I don't know where you are in NH but this one is GREAT!!! and they don't have a waiting list.

 

ETA: now that I have read the whole thing...I agree it does seem ridiculous...we had the same thing happen...Neuro said thinks its High Functioning Autism but wants ADOS done....ADOS person gave module 1 (for nonverbal kids) and says she has no idea why neuro said HFA and its just ADHD...so we paid all that money to be back at square one with no information and a child who needs help but can't get it.

 

We're in Nashua, so Sunapee is pretty far. Thanks for throwing the idea out there though. We're on a waiting list to get him OT through the a new place affiliated with our local hospital. I'm so sad Kidz Play closed! They were wonderful.

 

I'm sorry you're in a similar situation. I at least feel fairly comfortable with their diagnosis (ADHD, Learning Disorder-NOS which from reading the description is NVLD only they're not calling it that, and Developmental Coordination Disorder). Their advice could be better though! It's awful that you weren't even given a diagnosis that made sense!

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:grouphug::grouphug:

 

This is why I continue waffling on the whole neuropsych thing - you are not the first person I've seen on this board to tell of a bad experience (although the good experiences are more vocal). The neuropsych is big $$$$$ upfront with no guarantee of getting something useful out of it. And yes I think VT is the same (lots of vocal good experiences on board & less vocal bad experiences)- but for us, the upfront cost was 10% of what a neuropscyh would be (exam + first few appts) & I was ready to pull DD too if there wasn't improvement - so I was willing to take that gamble.

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Julie, I am so sorry the report did not take your educational option into consideration. For what it's worth, last summer we had an evaluation at a university hospital & the experience was upsetting & frustrating. It was so opposite the experience we had with the neuropsychologist in private practice it's not even funny.

 

I am becoming aware of how important it is to get a handle on the philosophy of the professional who will actually do the evaluation. How often does he/she evaluate children from homeschooling families? How comfortable is he/she with making recommendations for the education of the child in the home setting? What books/authors/trademarked programs does this professional most often recommend to families? It's a lot of work to get that information but, after my experience with the university hospital, I would never again go to a mental health professional without being able to gather that information from their website, a phone call with the office staff, and/or a preliminary interview with the professional.

 

Hopefully your report has included all the scaled scores from the tests that were done and some discussion of the strengths and weaknesses that emerged in the testing. That's the real meat of the report that will be helpful, but it then requires you to do some more sleuthing to figure out how to apply it to help your son. It would be great if there were an educational consultant who is trained to take that information and help you come up with a plan for your school and family life. I have to say that I'm not entirely sure how you find such a person, but you could contact the the hospital and explain to them that you need help with translating the "canned" recommendations into something you can use for homeschool and do they maintain a list of consultants who are trained to help parents with this sort of thing. Maybe they do, maybe they don't. My neuropsychologist's office has a wide network of educational professionals, and at least 2 or 3 can fill that role.

 

I hope once your emotions settle a bit that you'll be able to find your way through the report to get the nuggets of information that likely will be helpful in the end.

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We got our report last weekend. We had the same recommendations - special ed at the school for math, OT, ST, and some other things.

 

It didn't really tell me anything to 'do' more than I already knew, but having a diagnosis has been enlightening to me ... not $4500 worth, though. Ouch!

 

Can I ask what issues are most disruptive/worrisome to you with your son that you are seeking the most direction with?

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:grouphug::grouphug:

 

This is why I continue waffling on the whole neuropsych thing - you are not the first person I've seen on this board to tell of a bad experience (although the good experiences are more vocal). The neuropsych is big $$$$$ upfront with no guarantee of getting something useful out of it. And yes I think VT is the same (lots of vocal good experiences on board & less vocal bad experiences)- but for us, the upfront cost was 10% of what a neuropscyh would be (exam + first few appts) & I was ready to pull DD too if there wasn't improvement - so I was willing to take that gamble.

 

:iagree:, although we cannot afford a neuropsych evaluation presently anyway! This is why I spend every possible moment of my day and night researching on my own!

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We got our report last weekend. We had the same recommendations - special ed at the school for math, OT, ST, and some other things.

 

It didn't really tell me anything to 'do' more than I already knew, but having a diagnosis has been enlightening to me ... not $4500 worth, though. Ouch!

 

Can I ask what issues are most disruptive/worrisome to you with your son that you are seeking the most direction with?

 

Our biggest issues are teasing all the diagnoses apart to see what is the ADHD, what is the NVLD, and how to deal with the issues stemming from both. He is a tough kid because we'll try something, it will work for a little while, and then it will stop working. Behavior and focus are huge issues. He's 8, very smart in many ways, but /socially/maturity/impulsivity wise it's like dealing with a child who is 5. I'm becoming worried about his self-esteem because he's starting to notice that he's different. It also doesn't help that my DD is only 13 months younger and is doing much better academically than he is. School is easy for her, and a real struggle for him. Math and handwriting are big problems. They say we should have a behavior modification plan prior to starting him on meds, and I do believe that, but finding a psychologist in our area that doesn't suck is going to be difficult. We don't want to wait too long before we medicate (we feel he will eventually need medication) but we also want to make those modifications before he's on meds so we'll know how much the behavior modifications are working vs. the medication.

Edited by jujsky
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:grouphug: jujsky, I'm so sorry that your evaluation wasn't more helpful to you. How disappointing.

 

 

:grouphug::grouphug:

 

This is why I continue waffling on the whole neuropsych thing - you are not the first person I've seen on this board to tell of a bad experience (although the good experiences are more vocal). The neuropsych is big $$$$$ upfront with no guarantee of getting something useful out of it. And yes I think VT is the same (lots of vocal good experiences on board & less vocal bad experiences)- but for us, the upfront cost was 10% of what a neuropscyh would be (exam + first few appts) & I was ready to pull DD too if there wasn't improvement - so I was willing to take that gamble.

:iagree:

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:grouphug:

 

I don't know what to say, except I'm so sorry you are going through this.

 

I have been on the fence about testing for years. Somehow we've managed up until now (my ds w/b 13 in April), but it's been a huge struggle. Several years ago, I looked into having a neuropsych evaluation done at Children's in Boston, but I nearly choked when I saw how much it would cost. My son already has a huge chart at Children's (neuro, cardiology, ophthalmology), and they are such a great hospital--it seemed to make sense to start there. The cost is a big part of why we didn't move forward, and so was how much my son had been going through with his other health issues--he had had it with doctors, tests, surgeries. It is hard for it not to be about the money, at some point, because you can only do so much when there is no help available and insurance won't pay. Don't get me started on vision therapy. I spent 6 months begging our insurance to cover it (there was no way we were going to pay thousands on therapy that we were hearing mixed reviews about), and then the doctor who owned the VT office would not agree to bill our insurance--he was private pay only. Our insurance would only accept the claim from the provider, so we were out of luck. Six months wasted. Turns out a pair of cheap reading glasses helped immensely (suggested by the ped. ophthalmologist @ Children's).

 

Guess I'll have to keep your experience in mind, as I continue to ponder whether we should seek a neuropsych eval or not. It is such a roller coaster ride, isn't it?

 

You mentioned you are in Nashua, right? We're right next door, in Hudson!

 

Julie, I would be upset, too, to be holding a report that doesn't offer the guidance you desire and desperately need. You are in my thoughts and prayers, and I'm here if you need to chat. Feel free to PM or email me anytime.

Nancy in NH

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Our biggest issues are teasing all the diagnoses apart to see what is the ADHD, what is the NVLD, and how to deal with the issues stemming from both. He is a tough kid because we'll try something, it will work for a little while, and then it will stop working. Behavior and focus are huge issues. He's 8, very smart in many ways, but maturity/impulsivity/maturity wise it's like dealing with a child who is 5. I'm becoming worried about his self-esteem because he's starting to notice that he's different. It also doesn't help that my DD is only 13 months younger and is doing much better academically than he is. School is easy for her, and a real struggle for him. Math and handwriting are big problems. They say we should have a behavior modification plan prior to starting him on meds, and I do believe that, but finding a psychologist in our area that doesn't suck is going to be difficult. We don't want to wait too long before we medicate (we feel he will eventually need medication) but we also want to make those modifications before he's on meds so we'll know how much the behavior modifications are working vs. the medication.

 

I was actually listening to a lecture this evening on ADHD and it mentioned how children with ADHD are emotionally only 2/3 to 3/4 their real age--their emotional age is much lower than their chronological age. That holds true in this house. :grouphug::grouphug: I'm not finished with the lecture yet, but the lecturer wrote a book, ADHD Without Drugs. It looks interesting and so far he seems eminently sensible about the whole thing.

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What I have always hated about these reports is that I spend 3 hours filling in their paperwork before hand, and then when they give me the report, much of it is my words, verbatim. MY WORDS! What help is that?!

 

YES! I was kind of annoyed by this, because I gave her a whole sheet (extra in addition to the questionnaire) just because I don't trust my memory and when DS did some of his 'things', I wanted to tell her about them, knowing that some of them were just little things that probably don't 'mean' anything - and the report had the ENTIRE list in it. Kind of embarrassing, actually! And to think I almost put in there that he's NEVER picked his nose (I thought this might go to executive function or something, lol) ... yeah, very thankful I didn't mention that, or that'd be right there in the report, "Mom is concerned because he has never picked his nose." :001_huh:

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:grouphug:

 

I don't know what to say, except I'm so sorry you are going through this.

 

I have been on the fence about testing for years. Somehow we've managed up until now (my ds w/b 13 in April), but it's been a huge struggle. Several years ago, I looked into having a neuropsych evaluation done at Children's in Boston, but I nearly choked when I saw how much it would cost. My son already has a huge chart at Children's (neuro, cardiology, ophthalmology), and they are such a great hospital--it seemed to make sense to start there. The cost is a big part of why we didn't move forward, and so was how much my son had been going through with his other health issues--he had had it with doctors, tests, surgeries. It is hard for it not to be about the money, at some point, because you can only do so much when there is no help available and insurance won't pay. Don't get me started on vision therapy. I spent 6 months begging our insurance to cover it (there was no way we were going to pay thousands on therapy that we were hearing mixed reviews about), and then the doctor who owned the VT office would not agree to bill our insurance--he was private pay only. Our insurance would only accept the claim from the provider, so we were out of luck. Six months wasted. Turns out a pair of cheap reading glasses helped immensely (suggested by the ped. ophthalmologist @ Children's).

 

Guess I'll have to keep your experience in mind, as I continue to ponder whether we should seek a neuropsych eval or not. It is such a roller coaster ride, isn't it?

 

You mentioned you are in Nashua, right? We're right next door, in Hudson!

 

Julie, I would be upset, too, to be holding a report that doesn't offer the guidance you desire and desperately need. You are in my thoughts and prayers, and I'm here if you need to chat. Feel free to PM or email me anytime.

Nancy in NH

 

You didn't happen to seek out VT in Merrimack, did you? The name of the place escapes me, but it's a big, yellow building. That's where we went. I won't post the doctor's name, but it began with a C. I'm curious if it's the same place. There aren't many in this area. He also wouldn't direct-bill insurance. Did you end up using them or not because you couldn't get insurance to pay? If you didn't use them and it's the same place, you dodged a HUGE bullet!!!!!

Edited by jujsky
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I was actually listening to a lecture this evening on ADHD and it mentioned how children with ADHD are emotionally only 2/3 to 3/4 their real age--their emotional age is much lower than their chronological age. That holds true in this house. :grouphug::grouphug: I'm not finished with the lecture yet, but the lecturer wrote a book, ADHD Without Drugs. It looks interesting and so far he seems eminently sensible about the whole thing.

 

I read something about that on a link that was on a thread Nakia cross-posted here and on the general board, and that made a lot of sense. It was a lightbulb moment because it's EXACTLY what we've been experiencing. I didn't know there was a lecture. I'll have to listen to than tonight. Thanks!

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That's just horrible, absolutely horrible. But you know? I think that's the norm that they wouldn't be helpful, honestly. They just take your money, give you a quick label, and leave you with no clue what to DO with it. I got a really nice neuropsych who took time with me and had his head screwed on straight, but that doesn't seem to be common. I wouldn't pay a single dime to another psych for more evals, honest. I would use your library system and amazon and buy all the books you can find (books that people recommend here on the boards) on ADHD. Your main thing was to make sure it was ADHD and a LD and not something *more* kwim? As long as you know that, stop seeing them. They're obviously too in their system to give you the help you want. Some of the books people recommend in ADHD threads here are extremely good. Put your money there or see if your library has them.

 

This is all going to settle in your mind with time, but I think you know inside that the help you need, the changes you need to make, are going to come as you watch him. Now you have the labels to figure out stuff. You'll get there. You can even post all your questions here on the boards for free. The Hive makes an awesome psych consult. We'll give you advice, chocolate, and help you lose weight, all at the same time. :)

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:grouphug::grouphug:

 

I'm so sorry that this process has been so discouraging. $4,500 is a LOT more than the amount we were charged. I don't know if' it's any consolation, but our own neuropsych experience probably yielded the same amount of information as yours. We did not get the rich level of information that OhElizabeth got from hers. The only recommendations that ours gave us was to see an OT and an ST for ds's issues, and he referred us to the ones that we eventually used (and we loved them). I guess at the time, I didn't know enough to expect that a neuropsychologist would know enough about educational methods to offer much more than information about basic accommodations and services. I still felt the evaluation was worth it for us because I needed to understand ds's learning profile. That information alone was worth the cost of the evaluation for us. We are also planning to retest this fall, three years after his initial evaluation. I think this schedule is pretty typical (or, at least, this was the schedule that my dh went through when he was school-aged and requiring services).

 

Bingo. I've only seen a few people post with neuropsych experiences where the guy was actually helpful on a practical level, not just diagnostic. I guess our kids are just guinea pigs and experiences to them. I don't know, that's terrible to say. I'm just saying that's how it feels. Insert quarter, pick up diagnosis at the bottom of the machine.

 

I don't know much about this LD-NOS label. You're saying it's basically another form of PDD-NOS? Well just run with it. You are the magic. The best thing our neuropsych said was to just take it out of the box. Every time I asked him a question and had 3 options, his answer was always to take it out of the box. The more the better. He advised no guilt over what others do, no pressure to conform to some standard progression or anything else. But there, I've just given you the rest in a nutshell. That IS the application. You are going to take it out of the box every time, stick your fingers in your ears when people decry your choices, and just make it work. And it will turn out FINE.

 

Are you sure he needs a math tutor? That could be fine, but there's a lot of computer stuff that is just as patient as a computer, sometimes better, and more affordable. Go crazy and look at the Teaching Textbooks samples. Go way out of the box in ways you hadn't considered before.

 

You don't need an expensive psych to tell you all that, and you'll know in your gut, just by knowing your kid, whether it will work. Trust your gut.

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I don't know much about this LD-NOS label. You're saying it's basically another form of PDD-NOS? Well just run with it. You are the magic. The best thing our neuropsych said was to just take it out of the box. Every time I asked him a question and had 3 options, his answer was always to take it out of the box. The more the better. He advised no guilt over what others do, no pressure to conform to some standard progression or anything else. But there, I've just given you the rest in a nutshell. That IS the application. You are going to take it out of the box every time, stick your fingers in your ears when people decry your choices, and just make it work. And it will turn out FINE.

 

Are you sure he needs a math tutor? That could be fine, but there's a lot of computer stuff that is just as patient as a computer, sometimes better, and more affordable. Go crazy and look at the Teaching Textbooks samples. Go way out of the box in ways you hadn't considered before.

 

You don't need an expensive psych to tell you all that, and you'll know in your gut, just by knowing your kid, whether it will work. Trust your gut.

 

 

The LD-NOS is what I believe to be Non-Verbal Learning Disorder. They can't call it that since it's not in the DSM, but the description sounds spot-on.

 

We met with his pediatrician today. I love that man. We're on the same page when it comes to medication -- we want it to be a last resort. He pointed us in the direction of some good resources. He recommended 1 behaviorist and a good counseling center. I think we're going to try the counseling center. We do want to put a behavior modification plan in place, but we need to make sure we have someone who knows what they're doing. The intake form at the counseling center lets you list what you're looking for specifically, so I'm going to specify someone who has experience with ADHD and is pro-homeschool. I wonder if a person like that even exists?

 

I'm going to read some more books on ADHD and NVLD to see what I can find out and what I can modify myself. He's on the waiting list to get into the OT and insurance covers 60 visits/year so we're set there once we get in.

 

I'm going to contact the people at the school who did his testing. They were really nice and said that even though they can't offer him services, they'll offer advice and resources. I do think he might need a math tutor, but I'm holding off on that for now.

 

It's funny you mentioned Teaching Textbooks. I just did a demo of TT this week, and I'm thinking of switching to that next year. I've already decided I'm holding him back in math next year. I like K12 for the humanities, but I'm also thinking of switching to something else for science to make it more hands-on. I'm looking at NOEO, Elemental Science, and REAL Science Odyssey.

 

And not to put the cart before the horse and get my hopes up, but DH looked online at insurance claims, and our insurance just paid out a huge sum to Boston Childrens Hospital. We haven't received our explanation of benefits yet, but I think insurance covered most of it. I don't know how or why, but I'll take it!

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Oh that would be amazing if your insurance would cover! That price was horrible, and sometimes, even if the insurance doesn't cover it, just the fact that it went through gets the price down.

 

The science that worked best for us at that age was the stuff from the ACS. They have some wonderful, easy to implement books. I'm forgetting the titles, but google american chemical society and look in their education books and you'll find them. I don't think a curriculum is quite as good as just lots of experiences.

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We recently switched to TT and DS really likes it so far! :) There are some thing about it that bug me a bit (for example, right now they keep giving these certain problems that don't vary enough and I think DS is just memorizing the 'formula' for the problem but not actually thinking through the problem, but they keep giving the SAME problem over and over (if you want a better example, I'd be happy to give it).

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That's just horrible, absolutely horrible. But you know? I think that's the norm that they wouldn't be helpful, honestly. They just take your money, give you a quick label, and leave you with no clue what to DO with it.

 

:iagree:, not from experience but from what I have been reading. And to take it a step further, how's this, from a doctor's mouth! The quote is from Dr. Bock's book Healing the New Childhood Epidemics. I have put in bold what is in bold in the book:

 

Here is my perspective on ADHD: ADHD is a catchall diagnosis, into which the medical system too often tosses children who suffer from complex, metabolic disorders.

 

ADHD has many diverse causes.

ADHD has many diverse remedies.

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Smaller price tag, but very similar diagnoses, though to be honest, after observing my son, I'd bet he is dyspraxic, but our guy totally missed that. Oh, and VT worked wonders for my boy, though neuropsych told me it was unproven.

 

What I did want to offer, instead of just empathy, was a suggestion for a math program: Rightstart. I started it in the middle of first grade after Singapore was a total flop. I can't say enough good about RS. It was NOT easy for my son. We really struggled at times, particularly in the earlier levels. But what kept me sticking with it was the real understanding I saw dawning in my son. Now, at 10, we are on the last level and he's made huge strides in all areas, and truly understands math.

 

FWIW, given my experience with his older brother, we decided to start meds this year (he's 10-waited until almost 16 and major trouble with brother). I hate the idea of it, but love the result. I was seeing significant oppositionality starting and I don't want to go down that road again.

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Jujsky, I found a math tutor who also has a special ed credential in my area. She's a hser and tutors part time for very reasonable rates. You might ask around in your local groups and see if you can find someone like that. She's vastly less $$$$ than VT or OT or a psychologist and she's actually helped Geezle progress in math. It's taken our worst, most conflict ridden subject off my plate and made it something that G actually looks forward to doing.

 

I'd agree about the lack of practical help in the written reports. In our case, they were golden because the boys got an Autism diagnosis that qualifies them for an IEP if they attend ps, insurance coverage for therapy and, eventually services for disabled adults. If they hadn't received a severe enough diagnosis to qualify for services, it would have been a total waste of time and money.

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Jujsky, I found a math tutor who also has a special ed credential in my area. She's a hser and tutors part time for very reasonable rates. You might ask around in your local groups and see if you can find someone like that. She's vastly less $$$$ than VT or OT or a psychologist and she's actually helped Geezle progress in math. It's taken our worst, most conflict ridden subject off my plate and made it something that G actually looks forward to doing.

 

I'd agree about the lack of practical help in the written reports. In our case, they were golden because the boys got an Autism diagnosis that qualifies them for an IEP if they attend ps, insurance coverage for therapy and, eventually services for disabled adults. If they hadn't received a severe enough diagnosis to qualify for services, it would have been a total waste of time and money.

 

I'm considering a math tutor. I'll probably wait until next year, but I'm going to start asking around. A friend of a friend is a special ed teacher in our district and has a lot of contacts. I'm going to see if she knows of any elementary teachers with strong math backgrounds who are looking for some extra money. I'm hopeful that switching our math program and repeating 3rd grade math will get him on the right track. Math is my worst subject so that also doesn't help matters.

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I've used MUS and Semple with good results (and many, many others with not so good results). Geezle just had his 3 year evals with the school district and they included curriculum recommendations (amazing, but true). They suggested Stern Math which turned out to be very, very similar in concept to MUS. The rods and step by step progression are a big plus. Semple has lots of memory tricks to learn math facts. No every kid needs this level of intervention, but if you do, it really worked for us.

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I've used MUS and Semple with good results (and many, many others with not so good results). Geezle just had his 3 year evals with the school district and they included curriculum recommendations (amazing, but true). They suggested Stern Math which turned out to be very, very similar in concept to MUS. The rods and step by step progression are a big plus. Semple has lots of memory tricks to learn math facts. No every kid needs this level of intervention, but if you do, it really worked for us.

 

Thanks for the recommendations -- I'll look into them. Right now I'm leaning towards TT, but I haven't really looked at many other programs either. As I said, it's not my best subject, so that makes evaluating curriculum more difficult as I'm not sure what I'm looking for.

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If it makes any difference, I think some experience with manipulatives is a good thing. If you do that for a year or two and then go into the written only of TT, that might be good. That's a big step to go totally abstract if he hasn't done math with manipulatives. Of course I don't know what you've done to this point. We did RightStart, but I think MUS is probably fine too.

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:grouphug: I know EXACTLY how you feel going thorugh testing to have crap reports written up with lies in them that leave you with no help and no way to access services even when you know your child needs them. THe only difference is I don't pay for a lot of what you do (though I have to pay for certain therapies, I have not yet had to pay for testing)

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I was actually listening to a lecture this evening on ADHD and it mentioned how children with ADHD are emotionally only 2/3 to 3/4 their real age--their emotional age is much lower than their chronological age. That holds true in this house. :grouphug::grouphug: I'm not finished with the lecture yet, but the lecturer wrote a book, ADHD Without Drugs. It looks interesting and so far he seems eminently sensible about the whole thing.

 

This I believe 100% Especially with my boys. At 8 and 13 they do not act 8 and 13. At 2/3 their ages that would be 5 and 8, or 6& 9 if 3/4 and I can see that being completely true

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If it makes any difference, I think some experience with manipulatives is a good thing. If you do that for a year or two and then go into the written only of TT, that might be good. That's a big step to go totally abstract if he hasn't done math with manipulatives. Of course I don't know what you've done to this point. We did RightStart, but I think MUS is probably fine too.

 

Not an expert on math curriculum or NVLD or ADHD, as it's still new to me, but my son (his recent diagnosis was NVLD and in parentheses it said he meets diagnostic criteria for ADHD in attentive type) did MUS for 2-3 years and I don't believe he got much out of it. Not saying you shouldn't still try for some conceptual 'understanding' in math, but our doctor said rote memorization and verbally explaining how to do things was the way to go. Just throwing that out there just to say I wouldn't spend 'too' much time on manipulatives if you don't see it's helping.

Edited by javafinch
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Not an expert on math curriculum or NVLD or ADHD, as it's still new to me, but my son (his recent diagnosis was NVLD and in parentheses it said he meets diagnostic criteria for ADHD in attentive type) did MUS for 2-3 years and I don't believe he got much out of it. Not saying you shouldn't still try for some conceptual 'understanding' in math, but our doctor said rote memorization and verbally explaining how to do things was the way to go. Just throwing that out there just to say I wouldn't spend 'too' much time on manipulatives if you don't see it's helping.

 

My concern with MUS (if it's the program I'm thinking about) is it covers one thing a year. Doesn't it cover addition one year, subtraction the next -- that sort of thing? Where he's a 3rd grader, still hasn't mastered addition and subtraction, and is struggling like crazy with multiplication and division, I wouldn't even know where to start him out on MUS. I think if I had used that program with him from the beginning it might have been a good fit, but it doesn't seem to be the type of thing you can jump into later.

 

He's an auditory learner, which is why I'm thinking TT for math, with some manipulatives thrown in. I think they help somewhat, but not a ton. He absorbs anything he sees on TV and loves documentaries. He can spit all that information back to me. I'm hoping where TT is both auditory and visual, that might work for him.

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Does he do the wrong operation a lot (accidentally)? Like my son will be doing an addition problem and then half way through will subtract or even multiply. Or during a multiplication problem when he's adding up lines he'll forget what he's doing and start multiplying .... Drives me crazy. I think his problem often is just focus ... He's usually thinking about what he wants to do when he's done.

 

We used a lot of tricks for the multiplication tables ... Pneumonic devices and things like that. He still does the double-double for the 4's, which I was just thinking today that I should make some flash cards for those and see if we can break that habit ... Then again, it only slows him down a bit.

 

We just started our second disk (of 4) today in TT Math 5 today. We're doing 2 lessons most days since it's pretty easy so far. It's not totally hands off for me - I watch him do it and help a bit here and there with extra explanations, but I'm so glad we got it!

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If you go to the MUS website, you can view a scope and even look at some practice worksheets for the various levels.

 

My ADHD kid does very well with concept math but bogs down on memorization of facts.

 

We started with MUS but I've now switched to a computer based program b/c DS really doesn't do well with lots of handwriting or worksheets.

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Where he's a 3rd grader, still hasn't mastered addition and subtraction, and is struggling like crazy with multiplication and division, I wouldn't even know where to start him out on MUS. I think if I had used that program with him from the beginning it might have been a good fit, but it doesn't seem to be the type of thing you can jump into later.

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You would start MUS at level Alpha, addition. We did it with a 4th grader, and it only took a few months, then Beta. At 12mo since we started, we're in Gamma.

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This author wrote a practical book about behavior (The Explosive Child) which talked some about NVLD and ADHD, and it appears he is around Boston somewhere. He's got a couple websites. http://www.amazon.com/Ross-W.-Greene/e/B001I9OL3O/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1330666655&sr=8-1 Ross Greene

 

Another comment...some of that report language sounds like standard jargon to me in terms of defining your rights. You sound committed to homeschooling (and *I* believe you, but a doctor has to cover his rear by accounting for the possiblity of you giving up on homeschooling, since you are there telling him that schooling is hard for your son...). Anyhow, as far as the doctor protecting your rights, if you change your mind, you could get a special ed math tutor in the public schools because you now have a doctor's report saying that you need one. NOT saying that you ARE going to jump into public school now, but the doctor puts that standard phrase in there to protect your ability to qualify, if you were to decide to enroll anytime over the next several years. Generally those kinds of letters are only valid for 3yrs without the school needing to re-do testing themselves, but even in college with an old letter a decade later, showing that a real LD existed in childhood could make the difference between having an untimed math final versus timed exam, or access to a tutoring lab, etc., because they like some sort of proof that an adult isn't making up an LD just to get an unfair advantage. So, in other words, even though the psych was informed that your son isn't in public school, he would be remiss to leave all those public school recommendations out, because trying to compell a school district to offer anything is like beating your head against the wall, even for college, without having that stuff in the original neuropsych report. Those useless IEP-like phrases cut through a lot of red tape and stalling by the schools; the schools have to honor the authority of the doctor...to a degree.

Edited by Love_to_Read
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Love_to_Read does have a point about the reason for school-based recommendations to be included. Our report also included school-based recommendations, but they were written in "should your child enter school at some point, these recommendations will be helpful" language.

 

One thing to remember about independent testing, however, is that schools are required to consider the results and recommendations but they are not required, necessarily, to implement those recommendations. They still get to make the decisions about what they will & won't provide, based on the recommendations of their own professionals- that is, for students who are enrolled. Schools also will generally not put in place any services prior to the time when a student is actually occupying a seat in the classroom. If a parent chooses to enroll a child in public school based on recommendations in a report, trying ahead of time to get an IEP or 504 in place to begin on the first day of school is fruitless. The clock only begins ticking once the child is in the classroom. And, just a general reminder that in many states, homeschooled students are not eligible for any special ed services other than testing.

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Does he do the wrong operation a lot (accidentally)? Like my son will be doing an addition problem and then half way through will subtract or even multiply. Or during a multiplication problem when he's adding up lines he'll forget what he's doing and start multiplying .... Drives me crazy. I think his problem often is just focus ... He's usually thinking about what he wants to do when he's done.

 

We used a lot of tricks for the multiplication tables ... Pneumonic devices and things like that. He still does the double-double for the 4's, which I was just thinking today that I should make some flash cards for those and see if we can break that habit ... Then again, it only slows him down a bit.

 

We just started our second disk (of 4) today in TT Math 5 today. We're doing 2 lessons most days since it's pretty easy so far. It's not totally hands off for me - I watch him do it and help a bit here and there with extra explanations, but I'm so glad we got it!

 

Yes! He gets signs mixed up all the time, but I think it goes beyond that. He doesn't understand the process. I went over division with him yesterday (not for the first time) and showed him with cubes how to divide numbers into equal parts. We did the workbook together, and then I let him do the assessment on his own since he seemed to have a handle on it. He got the entire assessment wrong because instead of dividing everything, he subtracted everything. He mixes up columns and has no sense of place-value. We've tried lots of different tricks.

 

I'm glad to hear TT is working for your son. I don't intend to be totally hands-off with it, but I need some program that will explain the bulk of it. I'm a visual learner, so when I did the demo I liked how they showed step-by-step how to solve the problems.

Edited by jujsky
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Love_to_Read does have a point about the reason for school-based recommendations to be included. Our report also included school-based recommendations, but they were written in "should your child enter school at some point, these recommendations will be helpful" language.

 

One thing to remember about independent testing, however, is that schools are required to consider the results and recommendations but they are not required, necessarily, to implement those recommendations. They still get to make the decisions about what they will & won't provide, based on the recommendations of their own professionals- that is, for students who are enrolled. Schools also will generally not put in place any services prior to the time when a student is actually occupying a seat in the classroom. If a parent chooses to enroll a child in public school based on recommendations in a report, trying ahead of time to get an IEP or 504 in place to begin on the first day of school is fruitless. The clock only begins ticking once the child is in the classroom. And, just a general reminder that in many states, homeschooled students are not eligible for any special ed services other than testing.

 

I hadn't considered it from the psych's POV. It would have been nice if the team had included advice that would help a homeschooler in addition to the school jargon.

 

And you're right -- in my state, he's only eligible for testing. The school told me even if he comes back with an ADHD diagnosis, he probably would not qualify for an IEP if we enrolled him because his test scores were too high. They said they used to have to do IEPs if there was a large discrepancy between the Verbal IQ and Processing IQ, but that is no longer the case.

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I hadn't considered it from the psych's POV. It would have been nice if the team had included advice that would help a homeschooler in addition to the school jargon.

 

And you're right -- in my state, he's only eligible for testing. The school told me even if he comes back with an ADHD diagnosis, he probably would not qualify for an IEP if we enrolled him because his test scores were too high. They said they used to have to do IEPs if there was a large discrepancy between the Verbal IQ and Processing IQ, but that is no longer the case.

 

I still think if you can find an educational consultant who is trained to generate curriculum & teaching style recommendations based on test results & interpretations contained in the report, that this person could be really helpful. Question is how to find such a person within a reasonable drive.

 

OTOH, if you are willing to share some of the strengths and weaknesses the neuropsych identified- which should be contained in the narrative summaries for each cognitive function- the hive may find it useful for helping you to take that information & turn it into something that can be turned into informed curriculum suggestions.

 

For instance, there should be some summary information about the various aspects of memory- working memory, short-term memory, long-term memory, visual versus auditory learning & memory. What does the report say about executive function strengths and weaknesses?

 

What are his strongest & weakest areas of academics? For instance, even within the realm of math, my son is strong on concepts but weaker on automatic functions- such as math facts fluency. His weakness in executive functions such as planning & organization makes it harder for him to work a set of unrelated problems, such as are found on the SAT/ACT because it takes time to think through the problem and call up which procedure needs to be used. OTOH, he'll work somewhat faster on a homework problem set of all similar style problems.

 

These kinds of observations are things that took me a long time to sort through. I have lived with my son's report at my side for nearly 2 years! and I still find aha moments when I re-read it with a certain situation in mind. It took me several months to sort through the information thoroughly and implement changes in our life and schooling- and that's even with a supportive neuropsych who is willing to meet with me on occasion (for his usual hourly fee, of course!) to discuss specific questions. Over the last 2 years, I have met with him on maybe 3 or 4 occasions, especially when we have made a major change. After getting the report- which included a 1 hr. consultation with parents to discuss the report verbally & answer immediate questions- I spent a month or so digesting it and then paid for another 1 hour consultation to ask all the questions I had after thinking it through for awhile.

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Jujsky, when I read your description of how his math is going, it struck me that maybe he needs his eyes checked. Are you one of the VT-haters? I couldn't remember if you are or not. If you aren't opposed, I would get his eyes checked by a developmental optometrist, just to make sure it's not part of the problem. COVD is where you find them. Get as good a one as you can find obviously, not just the first on the list. They can do a regular eye exam and screen for things, or they can do a full developmental eval (more money obviously). Even just that regular exam would do. The dev. optometrist will check some extra things a regular optometrist misses.

 

Definitely do this. When you start talking about problems with columns, wrong signs, that can be eyes. It's an easy thing to eliminate. $60-100 and you're there.

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Jujsky, when I read your description of how his math is going, it struck me that maybe he needs his eyes checked. Are you one of the VT-haters? I couldn't remember if you are or not. If you aren't opposed, I would get his eyes checked by a developmental optometrist, just to make sure it's not part of the problem. COVD is where you find them.

 

Julie stated up thread, and has said elsewhere, that her son has had VT and it wasn't helpful.

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Well that's what I thought, then I saw her positive response in the other thread. If there were indications of problems and the doc wasn't able to help them, then maybe the eye problems are still there? Maybe think about finding another doc? It's not like *all* docs flop. I'm just observing that the things she is describing could very well be eyes.

 

Not meaning to rub a sore point, just saying what I see.

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