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blessedmom3

Is it possible to reach a 2 year college with a struggling learner / low IQ

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Just to clarify my post about the right brain differences...

I was NOT at all saying that autism or NVLD is caused by brain injury.

I was saying that NVLD is a right brain disorder, and it (in my son's case) manifests in some of the same patterns as a TBI. Not because there was a TBI, but because the actual structure of the brain in someone with NVLD is thought to be different. More white matter, less pruning, less connection between the two halves of the brain, and so on, with the result that the functions typically performed by the right side of the brain are inhibited, as they can be hindered in someone with a right brain injury.

I'm not saying that is the case for those with autism. I was speaking specifically about NVLD.

For someone with a right brain dysfunction, these are interesting connections. Understanding the function of the right brain -- and what it can look like when those functions are not working typically --  is important to our family's situation, because we know that NVLD is thought to be a right brain disorder. I'm not saying this information applies to everyone, people with autism, or the OP. Just that it is interesting and helps my own understanding of how DS's brain works. Which then lets me help him more effectively.

 

Edited by Storygirl

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I have some thoughts on friends.

One, seeing the same kids every day can help some kids.  Would this be the case at the private school?

Two, that’s not always enough.  

Three, for my situation my son has more in common with kids his age who are in his autism classroom.  They are more on his level, for one thing.  And they are around each other all day and they all have social skills support in their IEP.  For kids not in an autism classroom, maybe they can be in a social group which might be a way to make friends.  

Four, you can ask about this at the private school. 

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There are other ideas for friends, but, it is really important.  I read somewhere it is even protective of mental health.  

Some ideas are:  be open to younger kids or a club with adults or older kids (interest-based), try to look for something maybe smaller, maybe try to invite people over for a regular game night, etc.  

It is fine to try more to help or set up opportunities.  He’s not too old.  

Maybe there is a private (aka therapy) social skills group he would like.  

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My son switched schools this year, and we were worried about him making friends. But he connected to others through sports. He joined the cross country team, which began practicing about three weeks before school began, so by the time classes started, he knew some of the guys in his class. If your new school has a cross country team or something else that practices in the summer, your son might think about joining. You don't need to be a good or fast runner to do cross country; it's open to everyone.

DS also has picked up some ways to mask his social difficulties. He said that he would stand on the edges of the group and laugh when they laughed, even when he didn't quite get the jokes. He did that on his own, which impressed me.

DS is blending in more with peers now than he used to. But he has a lot more trouble communicating with adults. This is an area where school is good for him, personally, because he has to interact with adults other than me. Interacting more with adults is now a goal in his IEP, so the teachers are aware that this is an area of difficulty for him and is not just because he is shy (he's not really shy but comes across as quiet, because he shuts down around adults. He is not really a quiet person AT ALL).

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4 hours ago, Storygirl said:

So the simliarities are interesting. But DS's processing speed has always been below 1st percentile. Yup. Below. We were all celebrating in his IEP meeting this fall, because his new psych testing by the school showed his processing speed is now 6th percentile. That doesn't sound like a big improvement, but in raw scores, his score leaped by something like 30 points.

Oh wow, that's a big jump!! We've had some people do metronome work and get a processing speed jump. If he's doing music or something, maybe like you're saying it had that effect. There's the lengths things have to go in the brain (spacings of the mini-columns) and sometimes I think it's just flat making wires, like making them across the midline or from one place to another. And when they get more wires, then the next transmission goes faster. At least that's my theory, lol.

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17 hours ago, blessedmom3 said:

The psychologist was not sure if he is in the ASD, because he didn’t score high enough, but he had a lot of symptoms. The only recommendation she gave was to start speech therapy and enroll him in school to practice social skills. She also said there is a discrepancy between his IQ score (low average- all four sub tests were about the same) and his last academic test scores, which were mostly above average or very high. 

My husband thinks that it is impossible to perform so well if his IQ was accurate. He just doesn’t see that it is because I have been working with him all those years.

So, others have chimed in on the accuracy of IQ, but these kids vary SO much--my kids' IQ scores have gone up inexplicably (though I think being medicated for ADHD and having had vision therapy helped them both). 

On the symptoms--depending on when he was tested, some of the tests might be more sensitive now with the changes to DSM V, and/or a psych that has done some self-study might see more nuance than previously. Also, sometimes parents and others who are filling out surveys might interpret the questions more restrictively than intended without knowing it, or a non-parent might be trying not to say something negative about your kid. Finally, the norms shift with age--what is within normal range at 9, for instance, is no longer normal at age 12. So, if you kiddo didn't progress, but other kids did, that later testing is where you go from just a few symptoms to something diagnostically significant. Just some thoughts on how ONE round of testing can be limited.

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On 11/29/2018 at 4:28 AM, Storygirl said:

In preparation for DS's recent IEP meetings, I was researching some new ways to explain to them what NVLD looks like. Because he is at a new school, and some of his holes are hard for the teachers to see, because he can do the daily work via rote memorization but lacks understanding of the foundational concepts. To the teachers, it can look like he is doing well at the work, and we sometimes have to advocate for them to "see" the underlying problems. (This is why your post about your son getting decent grades in math but having struggles resonated with me). His new school is proving to be really good at listening, even though they don't see for themselves all of the things that we have learned about DS over the years.

After our IEP meeting, I had to do some thinking about whether DS is doing better than we thought because his previous intervention has made a big difference (probably yes -- some of his scores on testing have gone up) or whether his teachers have an impression of him doing well, but there being root difficulties they have not spotted yet that will come back to cause issues later (I think probably also yes). With NVLD, students can seem to be doing well, but then crash in high school level work when they have to employ critical thinking skills they lack, and when rote memorization is not enough to get them through. I am on alert for that downward trajectory, even though his teacher see him as on an upward trajectory.

Anyway, my point here is that in preparation for his IEP meeting, I did some research on right-brain hemisphere disability, because NVLD is thought to be a disability of the right side of the brain. And I was completely shocked at how well a description of what a right brain injury looks like corresponds to the learning difficulties DS faces. It stopped me in my tracks. This article sounds like DS, even though it is describing people with traumatic brain injury and stroke.

Side note: One of the interesting problems DS has is that he loves humor and jokes but does not really understand them. So he will laugh at jokes and repeat them, and then after he tells them to us, he will ask, "What does that mean?" This is a big concern for us, because he doesn't understand the social line with the "acceptabiity" of telling crude and inappropriate among his friends but that repeating them to us (or to girls, because a lot of these middle school jokes are sexual, sadly) is unacceptable, and we are worried he will get himself unintentionally into trouble. This difficulty with jokes is one of the things addressed in this article.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_hemisphere_brain_damage

The information about NVLD on the web is kind of piecemeal. Meaning I have not found one website that adequately describes all of the ways NVLD affects my son, so I can't just provide people/teachers with a link when I am trying to explain what NVLD is. Lots of good stuff out there, but I'm always looking for that one comprehensive source that can be my go-to resource, and I haven't found it yet. I tend to cobble descriptions together for myself. This right brain article added an important piece to my cache of information.

You all may or may not find it interesting, since you may not be dealing with NVLD, but I wanted to share it, in case you find it helpful.

 

We went down this rabbit trail with ds.  You can see right hemispheric issues in ds even with a clear MRI scan. (We pursued this rabbit trail because dd had a brain tumor, and we needed to do a rule out.) There is tremendous overlap between a lot of ASD, NVLD, DCD, etc. markers. At some point, a specific label may not ever be assigned because you don't see the right constellation of checkboxes, but you just start addressing the issues that you do see. 

We're questioning now in 7th grade where ds is going to end up.  He's very strongly 2E.  I don't think anybody knows. Are there kids that make it to Algebra 2? Yes. Are there kids that don't? Yes.    We ended up enrolling ds part-time in public school because we wanted a strong paper trail because there is a possibility that he's going to need extended services. They are a lot harder to access when you come into the system late in the game (late in the high school years). We wanted a paper trail history of IEPs to justify the need for services.  Outside of having specific labels, you need the paper trail.

 

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I would not rule it out just yet. I know some people think of IQ tests as set in stone but they were not originally intended that way. I think they are like anything else there can be growth and change and results can vary over time. Some people can hit brain spurts later then others. I think the more recent score would be closer then the lower score from when he was younger. I think with younger kids especially they just might not engage and put their best effort in. I would not use one test to assume what he will be capable of in the future. I know you do see some struggles besides that and those struggles may make it hard to do higher or make college hard but I do not think it is impossible. Time will tell but I think it is good that he is doing well academically with just some weaknesses.

Edited by MistyMountain
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Have not read whole thread since I last posted. Sorry if this is not relevant and discussed already, however if he wants to be programmer or accountant (or similar thing like bookkeeper) I suggest finding ways for him to start learning in those areas now.

maybe a class, maybe something like raspberry pi, maybe getting tax forms and record keeping materials and looking them over together. ...

 

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I just had a conversation today with my niece, who has a degree in accounting. She is SAHM right now (about to turn 30). She was a typical student without learning issues. She said she found accounting classes really hard. She would have changed her major but couldn't decide on what to switch to and decided to stay the course.

So there is one fairly recent grad's opinion that accounting is a difficult major.

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