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Talk to me about SLDs with ADHD

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So I've been mulling some comments on another of my threads about possibility of a specific learning disability coexisting with my daughter's ADHD due to her fits over aspects of school. (8 yrs old) Today I allowed her to dictate her history answers to me and I was amazed at how much better her answers were - thorough, on target, and given with alacrity. 


We have testing from a psych for the ADHD - he didn't test for anything but IQ and ADHD, and this was almost 2 years ago now. There was very little in the test report other than categories and numbers. 


Since that original diagnosis we spent one school year on meds, then went off meds and spent a summer doing an intense OT program. We now maintain our "normal" through a sensory diet and not through meds. 


The psych blew off our academic questions because her IQ was "normal" and she tested extremely high on the ADHD tests.


Academically she's advanced - she will move along at what is a "normal" pace and then shoot way ahead in abilities. This tendency seems to take turns among subjects. I noticed it first when she went from K level reading to 3rd grade level reading in 1 month's time. She's also done it in math and writing. 


I apologize for all the rambling talk, I'm still thinking it out and don't know what info is important. I don't have money for more testing right now, so I'm trying to feel it out without test scores. (Unless there is a way for me to test her myself?)


If I suspect a writing disability, how would I separate that from the ADHD? A lot of the "lists" for dysgraphia seem to really fit what I'm seeing (aside from handwriting) from mixing capital letters, spacing and size issues, and her output when I write for her being much more on target than her output when she writes for herself. She complains about writing across all subjects.


What strategies have you used that work? I have her practicing her typing daily with a typing program that she loves, but she's not fluent yet. 

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The main portion was a lot of heavy work, Gross motor planning, swinging, playing around with fine motor activities etc. to see how she responded both with focus, impulsive and hyperactivity. We also did How does your engine run and we did the Listening Program. She did teach her how to tie her shoes when I'd failed to do so myself.


For example, she'd have her set up all these heavy mats and then get in a swing and do some challenge activity in the swing, throwing beanbags into specific spots while answering math questions. Then afterwards she had to put all the mats back away without help. She was specifically looking for behavior and emotional regulation. 



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My dd was super crunchy for years and never got an SLD label.  For now, you could choose to do the interventions and accommodations that are appropriate and re-eval in 3-4 years.  With my dd, yes, at that age I was scribing for writing.  Her writing never got really comfortable until we did metronome work around 7th/8th, I forget.  And we finally got typing to work by going to Dvorak, an alternate keyboard.  


You can have it be really, really crunchy and still not get an SLD label.  For as frustrating as it was for her, with ds, it's really in the impossible camp.  Like I don't know if that makes sense, but it's the difference between crunchy because of ADHD and all the way to SLD.  With ds, I spent a couple years going I hope the school doesn't blame me, but they just DON'T UNDERSTAND how bad it is, how much it's not working.  LIke 45 minutes to write a sentence when all he's doing is unscrambling the words of the sentence and copying them in the correct order.  That's like 5 words, 45 minutes.  


I don't know the full spread of what gets diagnosed SLD writing.  I'm just saying there really is how much worse it can get and a difference.  But the accommodations? Basically the same.  It's just how long and the degree.  Teach her to type, scribe scribe scribe.  We're going to start tracing handwriting (KatW's idea!) to see if that can work for him.  My dd had just enough motor planning problems for it to make it hard without getting her a DCD label.  When you pair a little motor planning with a little EF/working memory issues plus low word retrieval plus low processing speed, yeah, things get really crunchy!  But it's still ADHD, just ADHD.  


I would go with anything your gut says is good that builds confidence, separates the physical act from the composition, and empowers her.  Empowering is good.  You can work on the physical act separately, at it's own pace.  Definitely scribe, definitely work on typing.

Edited by OhElizabeth
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The accommodations for dysgraphia are fairly standard. Scribe for your child, teach them to type, and/or use speech to text sw. Right now, I scribe for DD and she uses Evernote with speech to text on her IPod 6. We use the LOE whiteboard, and she is transitioning to pencil and paper. Last year, I started teaching her NAC, and we use StartWrite sw so that I can print up any copywork sheets. There is the option to change the font size and print up the work in a dotted format so that it can be traced. Besides the physical handwriting portion of dysgraphia, there can be an organizational aspect to writing that affects word retrieval and actual processing of the output. Dr. Charles Haynes provided an excellent webinar that specifically addresses dyslexia and paragraph writing. You must join the Dyslexic Advantage website and pay for their web membership to see the webinar. Anyhoo..


Maybe call the OT that worked with your child and discover whether they wrote a report of the initial assessment. A one hour OT evaluation should look at handedness, core/pincer strength, motor planning, vestibular, static/dynamic balance, visual perceptual, and developmental motor aka prim reflexes. Both of my kiddos required prim reflex integration exercises, and DS completed Interactive Metronome and several exercises to address posture, agility, and strength. DS was diagnosed with dysgraphia on his 8th birthday. The psych looked at WISC-IV subtest scores, achievement testing, and performed a specific test to evaluate his ability to copy designs. (I'm sorry that I don't know the name.) I am actually seeing improvement with my DD. I am holding off geting her tested because expenses are too much with other therapies, and as a homeschooler, it's easy to accommodate.

Edited by Heathermomster
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