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Is something wrong with my kid?


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I'm formerly ThursdayNext, but haven't gotten in to my old account yet.

I have a 9 1/2 year old daughter in 3rd grade. She is the oldest of 3, ages 9,7,& 5. She has always been homeschooled. I feel like we are failing with her education. She is behind in math and spelling and not retaining much.  She is in the beginning of AAS3, the first pages of Singapore 3b, and near the end of ELTL2. We also do SOTW and Science in the Beginning.

She likes to read, and reads long chapter books, but still struggles to pronounce unfamiliar words that are phonetic. It took 2 years to teach her to read. Now she's always looking for a chance to get away with a book. I find it odd that she has about 15 different books that she is partway through reading.  Currently she's reading Stowaway by Karen Hesse, The Runaway Princess, Goose Girl, Jed and the Junkyard War, something by Chris Colfer, Ben and Me, Calvin and Hobbes and more.

She has always had a hard time with spelling. We have spent an entire month on the same spelling lesson, 5 days a week. If I teach her something one day, I have to reteach it again as if it's all new the next day and the next week.

She's always struggled understanding math concepts, but it's worse than ever. We've been working on multiplication tables for a year, and skip counting 2 years. For the amount of work we put in, it seems like so little retention. Even when she can remember, it takes what feels like years before she says the answer in a questioning voice. And it takes her so so long to do the math even when she knows how to do it. Such a hard time focusing. I'm not kidding when I tell you she got 2 wrong answers to 8 - 6 a couple weeks ago. I feeling like we are moving backward. My husband, who manages the kids Prodigy accounts, says my 7 year old is doing 4th grade math, and my 3rd grader is doing 2nd grade in the game.

We visited the cemetery and I asked the kids how many years ago 1884 was. I had to remind her what year it was now, and repeat the year 1884 eight times. Long pause.... "What year was it again?" Repeat, repeat, repeat.

When we tell her something, she only hear 2 words out of the sentence. I can tell her exactly where to find her hairbrush. An hour later she is still looking. It's right where I said it was. "Well, I didn't hear you."

Today she listened to her Story of the world chapter 7 times. Still couldnt answer most of the questions. This is a frequent problem, but when she did history with her brother, answering half the questions, she got a higher percentage correct. (Her brother, on the spectrum, is trying out public school for the rest of the year so I can give her more attention.)

We've been doing memory work on nouns, verbs, adjectives Etc for a year. She still can't remember what an adjective is, and gets nouns and verbs mixed up. I was teaching her articles yesterday (a new concept). She underlined sun and gleaming as articles. I want to cry.

When she was a preschooler she seemed so bright and willing. She could memorize whole psalms, and listen to me read for 45 minutes straight. Now it's like she's lost memory ability and focus. My husband thinks it's because she doesn't want to do the work. She loves to daydream, and has trained her brain to shut off when it comes to math and parents asking her to do things. Does this sound like an unwilling child, or something more? Is it a phase kids go through? We have ADHD in the extended family, but she showed no signs when she was small. Also dyslexia in the family tree, but she reads so well now.

 

 

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I got in to my old account be registering. I just used my original email address and it acted as if I were making a new account, but then once done, and I signed in with my "new" account. My new/old account was back to my original user name, even though it had given me notice of a new user name. So if you try that, it might work.

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Well what can you make happen? Given what you've described, I see no reason NOT to pursue evals. They would answer the question. You don't know what is attending, what is an SLD, what is APD, and some well-placed evals could clear that up nicely. For instance, at our state university you can get the screening for APD and it's FREE. It used to be $35, but now it's free. Makes it an easy recommend if you live near me, kwim? 

Clearly you've got some attention issues. Is she showing signs of puberty? That also drains their brains to nothing. Some girls are precocious and showing puberty brain fog by 4th grade. 

You definitely want to sort it out. My dd18, straight ADHD, didn't get evals till 10, almost 11, for vision therapy and then 12 for neuropsych and OT. It was a huge mistake waiting so long. My ds, 9 1/2 like your dd, had evals at newly 6, BAM, and I keep getting them to make sure we're answering everything. To me, you've got enough warrant to get evals, and it's only a question of what you can make happen (funding, insurance, all that). That's what evals do, helping you discriminate whether it's attention or APD or a language deficit or what. You could do a lot under one roof with a neuropsych. You could go to an audiologist who specializes in APD and get them to do a basic eval and run the SCAN3 screening portion. It can be pricy privately, but it's possible it will turn up something. How is she with background noise? What happens if you take her in a noisy place or turn on the kitchen exhaust fan while talking to her?

The good thing is that the interventions for a lot of these things are things you can do on your own, once you know what the issues are. You're not describing things out of your league to help, but you don't know what you're dealing with. So evals will help you sort that out, and then when you get the right terms for what is going on you can begin your interventions. She clearly AT LEAST needs help with working memory and for ADHD meds to be on the table. She may also need work on APD, or some cognitive therapies to help her process visual and auditory inputs. She may need some work with an SLP. Just depends on what's going on. Evals will get you there. 

Come over to LC and bone up. We don't bite. :)

PS. I like your new username! It's cute, a definite keeper. :)

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If she is missing verbal stories...maybe she is just toning out, or maybe she has CAPD (check out the book "When the Brain Can't Hear"), or even ADD (I cannot stand the new calling all ADD and ADHD just ADHD. ADD is ADHD without the hyper part). These are just some ideas and not conclusive. But I would seriously look at the CAPD option. Central Auditory Processing Disorder. I am assuming you already ruled out that she is just being a toot, LOL. Ok...hope I have helped!

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It sounds like there may be something going wrong in hearing or converting those sounds to meaning.  I would try evals rule out things there.  It doesn’t sound like inattention if it is happening when she is self-motivated, such as looking for the hairbrush.  It also sounds like there might not be a lot of working memory available for the tasks she needs to do.  I would probably try out a more traditional math with a heavy spiral, such as CLE or Saxon.

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Couple observations. The fact that she was listening to the read alouds for 45 minutes doesn't tell you what she was comprehending. She could actually have significant language issues and just be really bright and masking it. You said she would memorize whole Psalms, so she's clearly got some strengths there. My ds memorized and recited whole paragraphs and passages out of audiobooks he was listening to at that age. So he'd come up to us and quote a paragraph from The Chronicles of Narnia or a tv show he was watching, and we thought he was fine.

The challenge with these gestalt language processors is that they're getting the whole and not breaking it down to the parts. So when you say grammar is not clicking, it literally might be that she doesn't really comprehend it. For instance, the example I read was the kid hears "Comesitatthetable" and that gets connected to table. If his brain doesn't break it down to the individual parts, if it can't get from whole to parts, they don't realize the parts and can't manipulate the parts. So it can be the grammatical parts, the spelling parts, etc., but that can be the issue with an extremely whole to parts language processor, someone who was memorizing language to get there rather than building from parts to whole.

A neuropsych will have the CELF, which is a really basic language screening tool. It can miss these kids, but it might show something. We just ran the TNL (test of narrative language) and the SPELT (structured photographic expressive language test) on my ds, and they were mind-boggling. 

And maybe it will turn out to be she just has a bunch of ear wax or some really simple explanation, kwim? It could be. But definitely, it's time to be checking it out.

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You need an evaluation.

Right now, it pings to me as some combination of ADHD, dyslexia, and/or auditory processing disorder - but I'm hardly an expert! I'll note, however, that "reads well, if it's a story, but can't always sound out unfamiliar (yet short/easy) words and can't spell" is exactly how my dyslexic kiddo presents.

And, you know, these things run in your family, plus another child of yours is on the spectrum. All these conditions are linked. You gotta get this checked out, and the sooner, the better.

I'm sure your husband is right that she doesn't want to do the work. I wouldn't want to do it either if I'd always fail.

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Yes, I agree. I hear traces of dyslexia and of ADHD (non hyperactive, like what used to be called ADD, like PP said.) which I have in my household, with some very similar things going on here that you describe. A diagnosis or two, and some outside helps and therapies has been helpful. 

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This is the OP.

So, I've been thinking, stressing, getting teary, reading all your responses, talking with my husband. Then I reread an article I've looked at before, about stealth dyslexia in girls. Then on to inattentive ADHD in girls. Both these articles sounded so much like my girl.

i haven't let myself go here before, because I needed her to be the "normal" child. All the testing, therapy etc for our ASD middle child has been so much for us, mentally, emotionally, financially. And we love our boy and his quirks, but I can't say that living with him hasn't caused a huge amount of stress for all of us. 

Also, it really sucks to have people judge you as the crazy mom who wants something to be wrong with her kids. It's so hard for me to push for information, when people think I'm just making this stuff up. So many friends, school teacher friends, people who have taught my kid, and even the pediatrician and professional speech therapists and learning disability professionals thought I was imagining problems. I hate hate hate being treated like I'm stupid and crazy. And I know my daughter is sweet and smart, tries hard, and doesn't look at all like the boys we know with ADHD and dyslexia. 

Evaluations to try: dyslexia, particularly "stealth" dyslexia, ADD, dysgraphia and dyscalculia. What I read about CAPD didn't really sound like my girl.

What other evals do you all recommend? 

How can I find somebody who has experience with girls?!! I don't want to get a false negative. 

I'm in Georgia, so if any of you are in GA and have recommendations, PM me!

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21 hours ago, PeterPan said:

 

The challenge with these gestalt language processors is that they're getting the whole and not breaking it down to the parts. So when you say grammar is not clicking, it literally might be that she doesn't really comprehend it. For instance, the example I read was the kid hears "Comesitatthetable" and that gets connected to table. If his brain doesn't break it down to the individual parts, if it can't get from whole to parts, they don't realize the parts and can't manipulate the parts. So it can be the grammatical parts, the spelling parts, etc., but that can be the issue with an extremely whole to parts language processor, someone who was memorizing language to get there rather than building from parts to whole.

A neuropsych will have the CELF, which is a really basic language screening tool. It can miss these kids, but it might show something. We just ran the TNL (test of narrative language) and the SPELT (structured photographic expressive language test) on my ds, and they were mind-boggling. 

What test would I ask for?

As a 2 year old, she had excellent vocabulary and was as clear as a bell. She is able to infer the meaning of new words in context. Above average vocabulary for her age and good at picking up new words, just not pronouncing them when she hasn't heard them. I don't see major problems in her reading or listening comprehension, but it could still be there. 

It's surprising what seems normal or goes unnoticed.

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I'm sorry it's hard. I wish we had our emoticons back on the boards, so we could all send you hugs. We KNOW it's hard. You're doing the right thing to open your mind. It's basically unreasonable to assume that the siblings of someone on the spectrum will be unaffected. Life happens, genes happen. There are so many genes involved in this stuff. I've run genetics on my two kids, and if you'd like to get freakish, I'll just tell you that my ADHD (definitely not on the spectrum) dc only has a few genes different (on the major, key things you look at) from my ASD dc. There are going to be similarities and bits and just a lot of crunchiness. You're right to open your mind.

And yes, it's hard to get diagnoses. Every time I get told something else about my ds, it still kills me. It STILL kills me. Bad test scores coming back kill me. Disability is the gift that keeps on giving. It just hurts, every time, every child, every test. And if it hurts, that's ok. Go to the gym and punch a bag and throw a slamball or cry in the steam room. Whatever you do to grieve and process. It's ok. 

Don't eat junk food and gain weight. That won't help. But anything else to grieve, yeah go ahead. :)

Ok, now nitty gritty. You've said a lot that flags for auditory, and hearing evals are comparatively cheap. It would be something good to eliminate as part of the explanation. You're looking for a basic eval plus the screening portion of the SCAN which is the test for auditory processing disorder. It's ideally done with a full booth set-up, so you're looking for an audiologist who specializes in APD who has a full booth set up. That's what you ask as you call places. Our university will run that on the cheap or even free. If you can get that done, that would be a good thing to do soon. You don't know what layers are here, and you want to eliminate things. A psych eval, as you know, can be $2-3k, but that audiology work can be had pretty inexpensively. I would definitely get that done. 

You're probably going to need psych evals to get this sorted out. I would begin seeing who your options would be. The place that eval'd your ds6 might work. If you can't make the psych eval happen, then you start going through the options. You could do ps evals and advocate hard to make sure enough gets done. You could go with an SLP if your insurance would cover it. 

Just start making calls and taking steps. 

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I agree with others that you need an eval. You want to start with your pediatrician and see if your insurance will pay - some will, some won't, but your ped will know who the good people are in your area for a full eval. You want a neuro-psych eval with a licensed psychologist who can diagnose learning disabilities.

I don't think it has to turn out terrible... Ds had some of those behaviors at that age sometimes - he's just always been a super spacy kid. But other times he'd be really on the ball so it's not quite what you're describing. Still, he grew out of a lot of it... and he's a solid writer, reader, etc. now. That is, when he's not saying something super weird because he wasn't paying any attention. I mean, spacy people are always a little spacy...

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Update: We are for sure going to do a full neuro eval. Don't know where yet. Hoping to get in sometime this summer.

I had already scheduled her first standarized test for the first week of May. I'm sure the evaluators will want to see test results and grades. Thank you all so much for your help!

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7 hours ago, ThursdayNext said:

T

Also, it really sucks to have people judge you as the crazy mom who wants something to be wrong with her kids. It's so hard for me to push for information, when people think I'm just making this stuff up. So many friends, school teacher friends, people who have taught my kid, and even the pediatrician and professional speech therapists and learning disability professionals thought I was imagining problems. I hate hate hate being treated like I'm stupid and crazy. And I know my daughter is sweet and smart, tries hard, and doesn't look at all like the boys we know with ADHD and dyslexia. 

 

This really struck me. It is hard to have multiple kids with learning issues. I have three dyslexics. All three! Sometimes I still wonder how that is possible. I so wanted my middle DD to not be dyslexic. She was my easiest early on. I taught her to read on a relatively normal schedule. But, by middle school I could not deny that she was the classic stealth dyslexic. Her spelling and handwriting and comprehension issues were impossible to ignore. And she too is the dreamy, inattentive ADD type. Love these types of kids though. She has the highest tested IQ of all my kids, but you would never know it because she is often in her own little world. 

Forget worrying about being the crazy mom and just focus on helping her as best you can. Nobody else is going to do it, so I guess we have to be a bit crazy. I think you will learn much from the neuropsych exam.

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I wanted you to know this post was the push to take my 10 year old son in to be evaluated as well.

I've thought for a while his spaciness was "More than normal" but just kept figuring it was a discipline problem -- us not being consistent enough, etc.  Even while also seeing how hard he tries when he's "ON" (Not all the time, he's still a kid).  But your posts, etc. let me realize i need to look into it. Even if we don't want to jump right to medicine, maybe we can figure out other strategies to use that will help.

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