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If you suspect dyslexia, do you begin remediation or testing first?


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My just turned 8 year old ds is still having a lot of trouble reading. He had speech articulation issues and did private therapy in K and private and public school speech in 1st grade before we moved last summer. We are on the list for testing at our local Scottish Rite language center (they said will probably be early fall before his name comes up to be evaluated, but they couldn't guarantee any time frame, just depends on how many others before him show up, need help, etc). So should I go ahead and buy Barton and start that with him? Or get a vision evaluation? Or just wait until after testing at SR to do anything? We have a hearing test scheduled for next month (SR said they would need that). We would like to get a full neuropsych eval, but it will have to wait because we just finished getting neuropsych eval for our oldest ds and it will take awhile to save up enough for another. Any advice on how to prioritize all of this would be very much appreciated.

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Testing first. I wasted so. much. money. for remediation of issues that ds didn't have. These kinds of difficulties often show up with similar symptoms and it can be very difficult to tease apart what exactly is the issue. Work on phonemic awareness, yes. But would I drop money on Barton before a fall eval? No.

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I am more on the side of getting started :)

 

I think it is up to you.   I don't think there is a clear right or wrong answer. 

 

Are you dying to get started?  Or do you want to get started knowing that you are going in the right direction? 

 

If you are dying to get started -- I think "go for it." 

 

To me the biggest drawback is the possibility of wasting the child's time and frustrating the child with a poor fit.  That is truly a possible drawback.  But you are wasting the child's time by just waiting, too. 

 

But either way -- it sounds like you are taking steps and getting ready! 

 

 

 

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First, I agree that evals would make the most sense if they were right around the corner.  They are not.  They are at least a couple of months out, probably much longer, through Scottish Rite.  That makes the decision tougher.  It is hard to know which will be the better path.  

 

Personally, right now I would get an eye exam through a COVD and ask for a developmental eye screening.  See if you can push that through early.  It won't hurt either way to rule this out or add it to the puzzle.

 

Second, I would give the Barton pre-screening.  Whether you choose to go with Barton right now or not, if you and your student cannot pass the pre-screening, which is free and not that hard to administer, you will again have a piece to the puzzle and it will also help you to know whether you can even use Barton at this time.  Just please do it when you are both rested and will not be interrupted or distracted for a period of time.  You both need to be focused.

 

Third, if you are eager to get started, your child and you passed the pre-screening of Barton and you have the money on hand, then you might go ahead and get Barton Level 1.  You could run him through it, see how he does and sell it for nearly the cost you paid.  Use the money you got from the sale to help purchase Level 2, but this time buy a second set of tiles.  You will need the tiles from Level 2 for the rest of the program.  Do Level 2 and see how he does.  Sell Level 2, including the spare tiles you bought, probably for about $200.  Again, use that money to cover part of the cost of Level 3.  And so on...

 

(Be forewarned that Level 1 seems really, really basic.  It may seem like you were ripped off.  Honestly, I was so disappointed when I got that level.  It was exactly what was needed, though.  It had basic building blocks that I didn't even know my kids were missing.  Level 2 is also pretty basic seeming.  Both are short compared to the rest of the program.  Some kids can get through each in about a week, although some will take longer.  They are absolutely essential for many kids, though.  They are the pieces that were not explicitly taught and that many dyslexics did not pick up on their own with any efficiency.  Level 3 has a lot more meat to it than the first two levels and will take much longer to complete (weeks, maybe 2-3 months, maybe longer depending on the child and how often you tutor.  Level 4 can be the hardest one to tackle for many kids.  Some will need months or a year to finish that one.)

 

Ideally, though, you would get evals first.  Since you don't really know when those evaluations through Scottish Rite will actually happen, I think I would at least begin trying remediation, though.  And press for the eye exam, if you can.

 

 

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Early fall isn't that far off.  You couldn't get him in with a good neuropsych that fast even if you had the money.  You also just got results back on kissing the spectrum (SCD) and other issues (needing VT, etc.) with your oldest, if I'm seeing the threads correctly.  

 

I like the advice to give him the Barton screening test.  Costs nothing and gives you some info.  What exactly is going on when you say "having a lot of trouble reading"?  What specifically is happening?  I agree that it would be frustrating to buy Barton if the real issue was, say, a developmental vision problem.  It would even be questionable on the Barton if it turned out it was a label you're not expecting.  Barton then might be appropriate or might not be, depending.  

 

So that's why I'm thinking if you start listing the symptoms you're having, something will become more obvious.  I can tell you if you do LIPS and begin Barton, the psych will still have no problem diagnosing your dc, never fear.  You can't even begin to make enough progress in 2-3 months to make him hard to diagnose, not if he's dyslexic.  

 

Is Scottish Rite going to do an APD screening?  I don't know how extensive their stuff is.  Have you thought about making your written request to the ps now, to get that going, so that by fall you could get that testing AND the SR testing?  Then you'd have a more multi-factored explanation.  The ps could do psych, OT, and SLP evals, including that APD screening.  They're not going to be the end all on certain questions nor super thorough, but for anything where they administer a standardized tool and you get the results, you have more info than when you started.  

 

I'm saying when your pricepoint is free, milk what you can get for free.  You'd get a lot of info there.  I wouldn't let it exclude anything in your mind, but at least you'd be building up info.  Yes, I'd give the Barton pretest.  Why don't you do that, see what the results are, and post them here?  Then people aren't advising you merely in the theoretical.  And describe the symptoms you're seeing so people can put them in context.  

 

Fwiw, I began Barton with ds right after his $$$ private neuropsych eval (the first one), because I felt it was more important to begin remediation than it was to work on the IEP process and our state disability scholarship even.  We intervened with Barton and LIPS very aggressively, and several months later when we decided we really needed to go for an IEP the school psych had NO problem identifying the reading disorder.  And if a school psych, which is typically a hostile sort of thing for getting SLD labels, can see it, surely a private neuropsych who is there to help, not exclude, will.  In fact, in our case it made it all the more dramatic, because they could tell I had intervened AGGRESSIVELY and that he was STILL struggling.  They know how to handle this and what it looks like.  They can sort it out.   :)

 

So if the question is are you guessing right, that's hard to say.  If he fails the pretest, I think you can't go wrong trying LIPS, unless there's an undiagnosed hearing problem.  I took my ds in and others here have.  It's definitely a wise thing to do.  In our area we can get it done at the university for $35.  Seriously.  It's a miracle, because it's 10X that for private, ouch.  But if he passes the screening test, then you're getting more iffy.  Then you're going to get into the weeds on *what* is going wrong with his reading, whether it's visual memory or whether he was maybe hyperlexic with some quirks or if you're seeing comprehension issues or whatever.  

 

Fall seems like a long way off, but it's not.  Only 2 months till everything will be back to school.  Who knows, they may have a cancellation and move you up!  

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I gave him the Barton screening test and he passed. I looked at lists of symptoms of dyslexia and he meets a lot of them. Trouble sounding out words, reversing letters like b and d, q and p. Saying saw for was, no for on, and home for house. Really poor speller. Bad at foreign languages (attended an immersion school and still had a LOT of trouble saying anything in the language by the end of the year, compared to his older brother who could almost completely communicate in the foreign language by the end of his first year). Really bad at sequencing. Still has trouble remembering months and days in order (will sing a song of them in order to remember).

 

We didn't have a good experience with public school speech therapy. He scored in the 3rd percentile for articulation (this was after 8 months of private speech therapy) when he started 1st grade and the evaluator seriously tried to tell us he didn't need services because it was just articulation and shouldn't interfere with learning since he had friends and the teachers could understand him (he was considered to be 50-60% intelligible to strangers). Thankfully he had an nice and experienced English teacher who agreed with us that it was impacting his reading because he couldn't sound out some words well if they included blends that he was still struggling with, so he got services. But he only got 30 minutes of speech therapy with 2 other kids 3 times per month. The SLP seemed annoyed when I would email and ask how he was doing or what we could be working on at home to help support him. We also had him in private speech therapy for 30 minutes each week and it was like night and day. They always gave us homework, would tell me exactly which things he was improving on and which still needed work. By the end of his 1st grade year the private therapy place said he was meeting the goals they set for him with 95% accuracy, so they recommended we take a wait and see approach and continue to practice the things he had learned and correct him when he made mistakes (mostly when he is tired or talking fast because he is excited) and then if we started seeing other issues or regression then we could look for an SLP in our new state (we moved last summer). 

 

I'm not concerned about APD for this kid. When the school did their testing he scored 97th percentile on a test where they would say a sentence and he had to pick the correct picture (there were 4 choices). The tester said she had never seen anyone score that highly on that test in her 15 years of working in schools. He loves audio books. He's my best listener. Scottish Rite said they need a recent hearing test (including tympanogram) to make sure there are no hearing issues or structural issues that could be causing the reading or speech difficulties.

 

We've been using AAS to practice phonics and reading. We tried reading books they had assigned him at school last year but he was guessing and rushing too much so we backed up and started BOB books from the beginning and Nora Gaydos Now I'm Reading books. I have to cover the pictures or else he will just guess (and be pretty close to right, but clearly not sounding out the words). We build short sentences on the whiteboard. We practice rhyming by erasing one letter and replacing it with another.

 

It's not that our budget is zero for his testing, it's more like we realize our oldest is in need of VT and most likely OT, our youngest ds is impulsive and most likely has ADHD and will eventually need a full neuropsych eval, so we don't want to spend more than we have to to test middle ds right now to figure out what to do for this upcoming school year (since he will probably need some kind of therapy as well). We chose Scottish Rite because a friend recommended them after getting good evals and then therapy for her kid. Free therapy if they find anything sounds really nice at this point. The person on the phone for SR couldn't tell me exactly which tests they would run, said it would depend on his symptoms/needs. She did say based on his history of speech services at public school they will have a SLP test his language and then most likely reading too. She said if the school didn't terminate his speech therapy then he would probably qualify for services at SR (but again no guarantees, they won't know for sure until after testing, etc). She said if he does end up qualifying for reading help he would be required to come in for one hour 2 times per week for OG tutoring. If you don't show up for your appointments then they will give your spot to someone else. So if a lot of people don't show up (or only show up sporadically) then he could move up the list faster.

 

We are hoping to be able to afford a full neuropsych eval for him in the spring 2016. If we can get him free services through SR in the meantime that would be great. We will schedule a COVD vision eval to rule out possible vision processing issues that could effect reading.

 

I was wondering if I should start Barton because I am planning for the next school year. We school year round. Our last day was on Thursday and we are visiting grandparents and cousins over the next few weeks. We're planning to start back the monday after 4th of July for the 2015-2016 school year. That should give us more of a buffer for therapy appointments and whatever else comes up over the year. Plus it is super hot here in the summer so nobody wants to be outside after 10 or 11 in the morning anyway. I'm trying to decide what to do with ds8 for reading and writing. We're going to do Aurora Lippor's online science stuff and some BFSU, SOTW, some state history stuff and field trips, Miquon, MM and lots of manipulatives, music appreciation (listening to classical music, going to high school choir and theater performances), art (visiting art museums and doing the mark kistler online drawing classes that are free this summer through HSBC). He is on book 3 of explode the code. I think that has been good for him and plan to continue it for next year, but I'm really not sure what else to use for him for ELA. I still have to sit with him when he does ETC or else he will make a lot of mistakes (because he still has trouble reading the directions and will rush through it without me there). We've been using AAS because I had that from when ds9 was in K. My oldest learned to read before K and it was mostly easy. It's feels crazy to have been working with ds8 for the past 3 years and still be about where my oldest was before K. I'd love suggestions for curriculum options or things we can be working on over the summer before his name comes up on the SR list. Thanks!

 

 

 

 

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Honestly, for me, if I were in your shoes and had the money I think I would just go ahead and do Level 1 and 2 of Barton.  Resell them if you don't think you will need them for your other children.  

 

Or you could keep them and become a Barton tutor for extra money on the side.  I think I read that some charge $35 per 1 hour lesson for the first 3 levels until they get the certification from Barton.  She requires you to tutor (I think) 3 kids (you can include your own in this) in Level 1-3 then do an assessment or certification program of some kind.  After that you can charge a higher rate and show that you are a Barton certified tutor.  There may be various levels of certification.  Most tutors around here with any specialized training charge $50 an hour or more so you could easily recoup your losses tutoring just a couple of kids beyond your own children.  

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We did a COVD eye exam first, because insurance covered it. DS did not have eye issues, but the doctor pointed us in the right direction: visualization skills. So we did Visualizing and Verbalizing, then floundered a while until DS could finally blend, then started Dancing Bears. So we did one evaluation/test, I did a LOT of reading, and we used a doesn't-break-the-bank program for fluency, which was what DS needed at that point.

 

Oh, we did the Barton pre-screening too, I'm not sure if that counts as a "test". :)

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http://www.abcdrp.com/supplements.asp

 

On this -- the price is right, b/c it is free.  There is a Level A Blending/Segmenting Supplement thing that is free.  It might be a nice thing to go along with your AAS practice.  It has "word chains" that might go along very well with your AAS tiles. 

 

I think going ahead with Barton is a great option, too. 

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