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Thanks guys for your ideas. 

My plan at this moment is to work with him for a month while thinking about issues you guys brought up, and then decide how to approach the future. 

Edited by lewelma

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I didn't read the other thread, but I have kids with slow processing speeds. (My Aspie's processing speeds are in the single digit percentiles) 

The only time speed has EVER mattered for my kids was for the SAT and ACT or some college exams (though with that ds I think his anxiety impacts him worse than any speed issues.)

I only did 2 things to work with my kids on speed and one was 10 minutes of speed reading drills and the other was focused test prep (about 25mins to  1 section per day.)  Speed reading drills/learning pacing for those standardized tests has been more than sufficient.  (And for the speed reading, I start with 1 min, read as quickly as you can and still recall what you read, and then retell what you read, repeat 10x. Do that for however many days until word count has increased significantly. Then do 2 5 min speed reads for x number of days. Ultimately progress to 10 mins 1x. It is not a huge time commitment and it has really helped, even my severe dyslexic. Bc it isn't a huge focus, they can opt to read that way when they want or not. THey have said that they did start doing that in college even if they didn't at home.)

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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I knew someone a little bit who might have been this way.  

He worked as a baker, early in the morning, and basically by himself.  

He had a lot of time to think.  

He would say he wanted time to think, and to have his thoughts be his own.  

His wife was a schoolteacher.  

I was friends with their daughter.  

I think the Dad was very, very “March to the beat of your own drummer” in a way that made it hard for them sometimes, but overall I think things were very well for him.  

But — I think this was a lifestyle/value choice for them.  It’s hard to know, though.  

My other thought is — I have heard of people who can ha doe working part-time but can’t handle working full-time.  

You sound like you expect him to be in college in 4 years, though.  It’s hard to know what to say.  If he can take a full course load in college I wouldn’t have any concerns about him.  

If he can’t take a full course load in college, I think it depends on why, but this can be something to consider that he might be more successful working part-time.  

As someone who reads about autism — you don’t want to push him into having a mental health crisis because of stress.  It might be stressful to him to have to move faster than natural, or to try to fit himself to outside demands more than he can handle.  

I don’t think this is easy, but there’s certainly a place in the world.  

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 I have a late teenage son on the autistic spectrum. He also has auditory processing disorder, a mild reading disability, and severe anxiety. I learned long ago that there’s absolutely nothing I can do to speed him up. He is a slow and steady worker with an amazing work ethic. There are careers in which this is a positive trait. He may or may not make it through college in four years. That is not our goal. He receives time and a half accommodations for the SAT because the first time he took it, it was clear from the scoring sheet we received post-test that he ran out of time in several sections so I applied for extended time accommodations.

So my approach is acceptance, accommodation (easy as a homeschooler to design a courseload that is manageable for him), and slowly scaffolding his experiences and classes with a vision for his success. We also reclassified him due to a sport so he will have five years in high school. I take one year at a time and do not worry about the future. He is doing well academically in his dual credit classes and an online conceptual physics class this year  

As an example of his work speed, he takes an average of double  the amount of time most students would need to complete work, sometimes more. That is who he is, and I am not trying to change it but rather work with his unique giftings and believe that there is a place in the world for him. With his stellar work ethic and the honesty and rule following that comes with ASD, an employer will be fortunate to have him someday. His academic interest and college degree plan is in the environmental sciences field. 

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DS recieves extended test taking time at the uni and used extended test time on the ACT.  Since Aug/Sept at the uni, DS came to the realization that he can’t study like other people.  He has to start sooner, stay on top of things, and not cram.  

According to testing conducted last April, his dysgraphia is language and motor based.  His processing speed is low.  His uni history class testing was all essay.  He prepped ahead of time, completed the exams under time, and earned all As.  I never read the essays, so I have no idea of their quality.  I believe the WTM history type notebook that he kept (and typed) during grades 7-12 was the best prep for that type of test taking.  At uni, he types the exams in Word, and there is no Internet access. I am assuming that he uses spell check.  I’ll need to ask him to be certain.

Edited by Heathermomster
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4 hours ago, lewelma said:

He is allowed a writer for these exams, but he would rather do them on his own if he can, as he is not going to get a writer in university.

If he is allowed a writer in high school then he will be allowed one at Uni as well. My ds does not use a writer at Uni as he would rather type, but he is entitled to one if he wanted it. He does get 50% extra time on all his tests and exams because of his slow writing and has found that a huge help. The other thing we have done, that most people don't seem to consider as an option, is to take Uni at a slower pace. Ds is currently taking a half workload (straight A s) and we are hoping to get him to 3/4 but not sure how long that will take. We are also dealing with Autism and ADHD as well as the working slowly, so I would rather see him take it slowly and experience success than to attempt full time and crash and burn. 

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21 hours ago, lewelma said:

Most of the comments are about how to speed up a child - incentives, time pressure, outside classes, etc. I made a comment about honoring the nature of your child and it seemed to have fallen flat. The conversation *is* nuanced over there, but the goal still seems to be speed vs honoring that different people are different.

I hadn't read that thread, so I went over to read it. Maybe you'd like to reread it? Like maybe it caught you on a really raw point? Here are some things I saw there that caught what I would have said.

On January 7, 2019 at 10:52 AM, Farrar said:

I think it's a mix of factors.

As stated above, some of it is just habit. Most kids will adjust (though it'll take time... hehe) when they're in an institutional setting that requires faster paces.

Some of it is that I suspect that there are more homeschoolers with processing speed issues and other learning issues that mean they genuinely need extra time. A lot of people end up homeschooling because their kids "don't do well in school" and this is a big reason. So homeschooling is not the cause.

Some of it is probably that homeschooled kids often actually care more about the work. Schooled kids are used to having to blow through a ton of stuff. They don't take time on any of it because they can't. Homeschooled kids are used to going deeper and taking their time and really trying to engage. Not all, that's for sure. But I've definitely seen homeschooled kids grappling with material in ways that schooled kids just don't try to because they expect the teacher will sort through it for them - if it's important, it'll come up again.

 

6 hours ago, Arcadia said:

Another thing is check eye tracking issues. My DS13 was a slow reader and had a mild tracking issue. I had vision therapy for vision tracking but DS13’s wasn’t serious enough. The eye doctor did ask him to do the typical home based tracking exercises and it helped him a lot. 

So I agree with Farrar and Acadia that this is making a whole discussion out of something that doesn't even have evidence and probably has obvious factors involved. 

-possibly higher rates of disability in the homeschooling community

-incomplete evals and diagnosis due to tendency to delay or not know how to interpret (discrepancy, not absolute low, defines the disability for processing speed)

-used to being allowed to do things completely to satisfaction

-other missed issues like developmental vision that affect reading speed, etc.

21 hours ago, lewelma said:

My younger boy has been tested with dysgraphia, but not with any processing speed problems.  This makes sense given that he can sight read very complicated music for the violin, which is clearly a processing speed issue.  He has tested 99.9th percentile across the board and 5th percentile in writing speed.

Don't you think this is kind of a contradiction? His processing speed defines his writing disability here. And you can have relatively high processing speed and have it be a *relative* disability when it's still significantly discrepant from IQ. So my ds' processing speed is 20+% discrepant from his IQ, and hence a disability, even though it's in the 70s.

21 hours ago, lewelma said:

But beyond these issues, my son is a dreamer - an expressive, intuitive, and deep thinker.

I'm all over the good things about brain differences, and with my dd especially it was really, really the right way to go to emphasize this. So I'm with you there.

21 hours ago, lewelma said:

But he is not speedy.

So then my dd went on ADHD meds in high school (her choice, very late) and she's faster now. She's still herself, but she's just faster. And she likes it that she's faster.

21 hours ago, lewelma said:

Is speed a trait worth pursuing?  Is it something that will develop with age? 

1. ability to get projects done without OCD perfection--This is a skill, flexibility, and it has to be worked on to keep them functional.

2. being fast in conversation, etc.--This is optional and a preference.

3. being fast for their school work--This is a choice. If they want to take meds (for diagnosed ADHD) to improve processing speed and decrease work fatigue and improve their ability to do what their brains cognitively can do, that's their choice. My dd would not be handling her (reduced) college load and keeping her scholarship without meds. That's her reality and her choice. We all make choices.

I've known people who were incredibly slow in conversation who didn't mind it. I can tell you OTHER people mind it.

It's all just choices. 

21 hours ago, lewelma said:

There is no way that my ds will currently break a 1000 on the SAT because he is SOOOO slow.

So does he qualify for extended time per current psych evals? My dd does, but once she had the meds she didn't need the time. It would have helped on the math, but because we were doing the ACT that component was so marginal that she didn't bother with the extended time. Give the sample, change ink colors at the time limit, score both ways. If it makes a difference, then you can decide whether to use documentation to get accommodations. My dd's ACT scores went up 30% with her ADHD meds. That was her choice and how she wanted to live and the doors she wanted to have open to her. I didn't feel like that was something I could choose FOR her, because that's pretty life-defining.

If you qualify for the meds and don't try the meds, you don't know what could be. That's a choice too, just saying you won't know what would happen. And I'm not such a super crazy lover of the meds, just saying that's how it rolled with dd. It would have been a very different life path without them. She wanted what she was inside to show, and it couldn't without the meds.

22 hours ago, lewelma said:

Can I honor this trait or do I need to carefully and slowly train him for a bit more speed so that he is more likely to achieve, especially in university?

Again, I go back to the categories. If the issue is mindset, EF, being rigid, not recognizing the social context of the task, then better instructions will help. But if the issue is the actual speed, sorry, that's a med thing. Now we've had some anecdotes of people doing IM (interactive metronome) and going from single digit processing speed to double digits. But that's about it. If you want evidence-based practices beyond that, I don't have them. A lot of the processing speed interventions pigeon-hole and don't generalize.

22 hours ago, lewelma said:

So the ultimate questions is: Does this world have space for those who are slow deep thinkers or does he really need pick up the pace in order to succeed?

Well obviously the world has room for him or he wouldn't exist. No matter what choices he makes, he's going to have a good life and a place in the world. The question is whether he can do what he WANTS to do and whether there are options to make that happen. No, the world does not appreciate slowness, just in general. We've had slow employees in our business, and it's a pain. They do beautiful work, you retain them, but you're constantly having to handle them, only putting them on jobs where that profile is useful, etc. Eventually those people get let go. It's also annoying, annoying, annoying in conversation for someone to be unusually slow, which then limits their social contexts for work. (better placed in a situation where they correspond by email, have jobs that involve reflecting or problem solving, etc.)

What's his definition of success? 

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We saw a little with my middle son who has dysgraphia..... when he was younger it was incredibly difficult, and then that became part of his self-image, and then it was hard to change his self-image.  

I don’t know how neat your son is or if neatness is important to him, but neatness is something that is part of the self-image issue here.  It’s very frustrating to my son to have things look so sloppy.  But if he is neat it is impossible for him to get things finished.  

Typing has helped him a lot, but learning to type was not easy and it took a very long time.  

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There’saso a transition I have struggled with — going from a younger child where it is appropriate to be very accommodating, to an older child where it is appropriate to be less accommodating.  

This has not been an easy transition for me or my older son and it is still rocky and is probably going to continue to be rocky.  

I can also have big emotional swings from being very negative to positive, or going from thinking the world is unfair, to just being frustrated he is not getting with the program.  

It is hard for me to have anything like a stable keel but my son picks up on anything where I am frustrated or where I may not think he can rise to an expectation.  

It’s very hard to manage.  

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I have a kid with slower processing and 8's comment that the only time this has mattered was for those sorts of tests rings almost true for us. It does slow him down sometimes with schoolwork, but it's nowhere near as noticeable and it's something we can always accommodate. But when it's a standardized test and you throw anxiety into the mix, it becomes nigh on impossible and it's extremely noticeable. I think this is probably incredibly individual. For ds, it's really about the fact that it takes a long time for things to sink in. So he can do the reading/listening/doing part and he's mildly slower. But then the turnaround to then do the written or oral response part is really long - and can be anxiety inducing for him. But then again, once he starts, he writes or works pretty quickly. So... yeah... very individual.

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8 hours ago, lewelma said:

I went back to the original assessment from 3 years ago and he did test at 30th percentile in processing speed.

Well there you go.

8 hours ago, lewelma said:

I think that at this point I need to have a good long talk with him and have him decide what his goals are and how he plans to approach them.

I had my dd do career testing through the university. If he's in high school, a thorough psych might run it for you also to help do some career counseling. That's a really hard thing to ask someone of 17 or whatever to be introspective. We need to give them information to work with. The career testing (STRONG Interest Inventory) was useful especially with another adult looking at it to help her realize what it meant. Also there's a terrific book Do What You Are. I also liked the book Dyslexic Advantage that has fit my dd (ADHD straight) better than my actually diagnosed dyslexic (and hyperlexic with autism) ds, go figure. It would be some of that positive, strength-based you're wanting.

8 hours ago, lewelma said:

He is getting more motivated as he gets older but I have allowed him to mature at his own pace as he is very like his father who was not very motivated until the age of 30.

Again, update your evals. It would be nice to get some correct words on this and know what CAN improve with intervention and what has to wait. There are considered to be EF delays and sometimes social delays with an ADHD straight diagnosis. It also starts to get fuzzy at some point. I'm NOT hinting anything at all, but this article might be thought-provoking to you. It's important that you and he read it and just be honest about where he falls in there. https://www.socialthinking.com/Articles?name=Social Thinking Social Communication Profile  Then I would read about EF (executive function), because that's something that doesn't need to be waited on but can just plain be intervened on. There's nothing immoral or disrespectful about intervening about EF (or social thinking for that matter, but especially EF). The EF intervention would be about TOOLS to let him do and be what he wants to be. If he's highly intelligent and has EF deficits, then intervening on that is giving him tools to do what his brain wants to do. My dd sometimes has these moments like oh you want to "fix" me, blah blah, and I'm like no I'm giving you TOOLS. And I think now that she's at the university and doing well she realizes how many tools she was given. It's not a process we have to let happen randomly.

If you want a little jumpstart, the other thing in that equation (just off the top of my head) is self-awareness. You want to figure out where he is with that, because it will vary with the person. Self-awareness of his state of arousal, his emotions (affective and I forget the other kind because I'm thinking about cruises instead), physical response, sense of TIME, etc. I'm mixing here OT issues and stuff a psych would hit with CBT or an person (SLP, whatever) who specializes in social thinking or EF would hit. 360 Thinking is good, the Interoception Awareness Assessment is good. Also just go through the issues and use your own sense of where he is, as it will be pretty on. If he has no sense of time, for example, then it's really hard to use time management strategies. So it's much more helpful to start getting specific terms on those deficits and decide what can be done, what he wants done, what would give him more tools to do what he wants to do, rather than standing back and saying well it all comes eventually. Technically it doesn't all come together eventually. They remind behind their peers and are improving relative to themselves. It doesn't mean they're not amazing, because my dd is amazing. It's just saying if you have a bright kid who wants to do things, than amping that self-awareness, harnessing the meta-cognitive, helping them think about thinking and giving them the right terms and tools is pretty helpful, jet fuel.

8 hours ago, lewelma said:

In addition, I am aware of mental illness including anxiety and clinical OCD in my family, so I have been unwilling to push.

Sorry to make it like I'm attacking every line, lol. You just packed a lot in here. :biggrin: Ok, this is my take. I'm not a fan of the DSM, mental health terminology, anything voodoo, anything not concrete. I'm all for religion, but I like my medicine and diagnostic stuff concrete. So yes you can say well they have this or that diagnosis (and you need to), but you can also run GENETICS and actually get a concrete explanation. And if you get that concrete explanation, then you can make a decision grounded in reality, not fears. My dd has anxiety and there are physical explanations for it. She's also an under-methylator (MTHFR defects), so the methyls in the meds are good voodoo for her and not exacerbating the anxiety. We've had to hit the comorbid stuff BECAUSE IT WAS THERE ANYWAY. 

Now you can run genetics and predict the other way too, because you can see the genes affecting how they process methyls and go ok, put this kid on a med with methyls and his levels will go high and he'll get aggressive. That's my ds. COULD we do it? I don't know. It's actually so dangerous the ped won't try. But I don't have to GUESS. I ran genetics, I see it, and I know what would need to balance out to keep it safe if we made that choice. I like genetics and having that info.

8 hours ago, lewelma said:

But I think that my problem is taking a top down approach. I need to find out what *he* wants to accomplish and try to support him in his goals.

That's a really good transition to be making, to collaboration and ownership. There's no way this works without that. But he needs DATA. Good data for us has come through psych evals, other kinds of evals and testing, genetics, counseling sessions with good psychs and licensed counselors (I cannot over-emphasize the value of this), etc. Not so much a fan of info from the dc's peers. The dc is going to want to get his info that way, and it's dangerous. I can tell you that the first thing the psychs, counselors, etc. go into is self-advocacy, which of course pairs then with responsibility. It's a really important lesson, because there are a lot of services, accommodations, etc. they can access IF they are willing to ask. If they won't use it, no one is going to "make" them do it. Once they hit 18, the coddling is over. You have to be willing to show up, say what you need, and advocate for it. Every time, every way, all day. In spite of bullying, people looking at you funny, people saying you're a whiner and ought to try harder or that it's not fair, etc. This was a BIG DEAL in our house and something I put a lot of effort into over a fair number of years, instilling in her the RIGHTNESS of having access to accommodations and services. Her university is kind of stick in the mud (putting it politely) and they've done things for her they had never done for anyone else. And she's had to fend off their pushback and know it's RIGHT, it's good, it's fair, it's just, that she has legitimate disabilities and this is the LAW and that it's right for them to follow the law and do these things. 

So then let's flip this. My ds does NOT yet maybe explicitly have a list of his diagnoses. He's honestly pretty unstable to handle that information. What I've done with him is to expose him to terms sideways. We read books about the terms, talk about people with the terms, are honest about the consequences of the terms. I think eventually we'll pair his reality and the terms, but I want the terms to mean something REAL, not some willy nilly thing that he decides they mean in his anger and pre-pubescent immaturity. I'm not sure the age of your dc, but remember you're going into really unstable years. I would be PRO-ACTIVE on things that promote mental health, self-advocacy, ability to problem solve in health ways. What I find is my dc have questions/struggles I wouldn't have anticipated. I think relationships to problem solve are good. Randomly chosen adults that ought to be good in theory but aren't trained aren't necessarily safe or prepared to handle really challenging questions, and frankly any high IQ kid IS going to be challenging, simply because they're thinking harder. So with my ds, I've set up those relationships pro-actively. The psych wants to know if she's accomplishing anything, and I'm like I DON'T CARE; the reason he's there is so he knows in the future, when HE knows why he's there, that he has that relationship and comfort accessing those services and problem solving. And I have no clue if your kid will have problems and questions and things to think through like that. I'm just saying having those safe relationships developed to problem solve with and that comfort in using those professionals is a good thing.

8 hours ago, lewelma said:

I am also genuinely fearful of comparing him to his older brother. I do not know what normal looks like, and this is a huge problem for me.

Someone was talking about normal in another place, and I was cracking up. I keep this sign in my laundry that says "Normal is a setting on the washer machine" LOLOLOL Here's the thing. You're saying you would only give him access to professionals to develop problem solving skills (for EF, for social thinking, for anxiety, for whatever) IF he has a diagnosis? I know you're not saying this. You don't need a diagnosis to do that. It's always back to basics. Look at him exactly where he is and give him what he needs. I agree with you that the comparison thing makes it really hard. It's super super easy to say someone doesn't have problems (and therefore doesn't need services) because they compare a certain way. And if you're saying he *seems* clinical compared to a sibling, I get it. My ds' IQ is, by the testing, higher than my dd's, but she functions at such a higher level that we really wondered if he was ID. I mean seriously, he can't write, he can't read books, he can't this and that. It's CRAZY.

You always meet them right where they are. You put up little mental windows and you throw out the idiotic DSM. The DSM *used* to be based on clinical observation, which they tried to categorize. Now it's based on terms some committee makes up and foists on the world, totally without evidence base. Seriously people do NOT REALIZE this. It's whole cloth, just made up. (hyperbole here, exaggeration for the sake of effect) The new SCD (social communication disorder) diagnosis is whole cloth, out of the blue, totally disputed, without evidence AT ALL. So I'm not a fan of the DSM, because it leads you on rabbit trails and leaves you making assumptions. It's a starting point, but a lot of these issues cross over labels. You'll see that in the article I linked. So put on your blinders and meet him right where he is. He needs all the basics (self-awareness, self-advocacy, skills to problem solve, self-regulation, etc.). All the rest will fall into place.

And see maybe that's where you and I resonate, because you're saying honor him and I'm saying the next step is EMPOWER him. Not leaving him on his own, but just empowering him to begin a safe process of transference. My dd had to go away to college to realize how RIGHT I was. Well that and how wrong, haha, but also how right. It blew her mind.

8 hours ago, lewelma said:

I definitely think it is a mindset/ EF issue. The processing speed problem is NOT global. He can play his violin to a metronome set at 200 while sight reading. He is *super fast*, but has developed this speed over many years. He talks ridiculously fast and listens to audiobooks and documentaries at 1.5 speed. He makes huge leaps of insight in a blink of an eye, and is crazy quick to understand math concepts. He also does improv at drama.  But... I think that he *chooses* not to work quickly on his written school work. I think that he has chosen to deal with his slow writing by luxuriating in slowness to *embrace* his difference.

I need to think about this. ADHD is considered a disorder of *misplaced* attention, not inattention. Sometimes what happens is they're having a hard time seeing the path forward (EF, how to organize) or having language retrieval issues (using both sides of the brains, connecting that content and getting it into language) and it just bogs down. My dd finally did some research in the last couple years and realizes she has synesthesia. Ie. there was a WORD for why her writing specifically was so slow. She was actually going from imagery for the concepts (so colors, that kind of thing) and having to translate it into words which she then had to get out somehow (paper/screen). So she has the EF issues (how to organize thoughts and think clearly), but the first hurdle was could she get the thoughts from being COLORS to being WORDS. And how in the WORLD was I supposed to know that was happening??? I had no clue.

Like I said, psych testing, DSM, it's sort of useful and crap all at the same time. They are running "processing" speed and yet what in the world are they measuring? Look at the differences in processing required (parts of the brain, language involvement, etc.) for violin vs. writing. I personally don't ascribe motive. To me it just is. He's faster at violin than he is at writing. Why? That's an interesting question. On the question of why he talks fast, that's really interesting. I can tell you my dd talks too fast without her meds and slows down to a normal pace with them. I don't make a lot of assumptions from the audiobook speed. My ds has listened to GC/TC lectures since he was 5, but there's probably a gab between his ability to listen and his readiness to comprehend/apply. I was reading about that in a book last night, and it has always been such a curiosity to me. He is considered to have a language disability as part of his mix, but he was listening to and ENJOYING these college lectures! Totally, totally crazy. So honestly it's not usually helpful to make assumptions based on extrapolations like that. There are too many factors involved.

So I think you have obvious ADHD questions and the question of where he would get with meds. I would want narrative language testing (TNL or dynamic), the TOPS (test of problem solving), maybe a CELF-Metalinguistics if you can make it happen, a pragmatics tool (SLDT), and some screeners for emotional/behavioral health. The psych will know that last thing and problem not even own the rest, meaning an SLP eval would give you more interesting data than the psych, even though you have to have the psych. If the SLP *owns* those tests, they're worth doing and would give you interesting, actionable data. 

Also, I'm not hinting anything cuz I don't know your kid, but the more complex the case the more possible it is it starts to merge from ADHD into ASD. It's something to be discussing honestly. It's a good reason to be running those social thinking tools and looking at self-awareness. The IAA is pretty cheap through AAPC Publishing, if you can get it in New Zealand. Fascinating stuff. Or don't run it and just roll with your gut. But it was really interesting. I assume you've read Bright, Not Broken? I'm not a super huge fan of the book, because I think diagnosis is a construct that helps the person. At some point the person needs answers and explanations that work and help him make sense of his world. But it's interesting data and worth reading, definitely. 

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13 minutes ago, Farrar said:

For ds, it's really about the fact that it takes a long time for things to sink in. So he can do the reading/listening/doing part and he's mildly slower. But then the turnaround to then do the written or oral response part is really long - and can be anxiety inducing for him.

Ok, so when we did testing on my dd (neuropsych, years ago), she had a clinical low word retrieval. In fact, her word retrieval scores were typical of dyslexia and apraxia, both of which are diagnoses her brother has. She is a carrier for them (heterozygous on some, iirc) where he is homozygous. So there are ways to quantify this. We then explored paths like is there something we can DO for this. It's something SLPs work on and there are a few books on word retrieval.

So op mentioned meds and the concern about whether they increase anxiety, but for dd they DECREASED the anxiety for exactly the reason you're describing. By increasing COMPETENCY and ability to DO the task, they decreased the anxiety associated with the struggle over the task. Now that doesn't address TPH2/5HTP issues, GABA/magnesium, or other issues going on. Like I totally cede the anxiety can have an actual, identifiable, physical basis that can be acknowledged and intervened on. But meds for the ADHD, bumping the processing speed, improving her ability to retrieve and process and get it out and not have things drop, did help, definitely. 

I need to research the GABA thing and genetics btw. It's just this never-ending pit, with the raw data and trying to figure out what else is in there. She's hard to just give her 5HTP, which I know she needs (from the genetics, from her symptoms) because it drops her methyl levels and tanks her (MTHFR defect). I can take it, even with my MTHFR defect, because I have some other things going on that keep my methyl levels high. But she can't, so we're having to back door and go other ways to work on tamping down that anxiety.

So like you can read books like Helping Your Anxious Child: A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents and you're like dude, that doesn't apply, that's not what is going on. With neither of my kids has that book fit, even though I've got like tripled down psychs on them saying anxiety, anxiety, anxiety. It's not just one thing. We've sorta been peeling back layers to get to a better place. When you're CBT/metacognitive approaches aren't getting you there, you're like ok ditch the asinine system and give me explanations that actually make sense.

20 minutes ago, Farrar said:

once he starts, he writes or works pretty quickly.

I'm going to say this again. it's so easy to look at the strengths on these kids and miss the disability. You already saw it (low processing speed, EF/organization, initiation hump, word retrieval, etc.) and then you're like BUT WHEN HE DOES IT HE'S FINE! Well NO JOKE. Gifted IQ, super smart kid, and he can do amazing stuff. 

I'm not commenting on other people's kids, because I don't know them. For my dd, because she is THAT BRIGHT she has that contradiction. And she's BOTH super fast and amazing AND super slow. Like a Thanksgiving meal. You've never seen anyone cook a meal for 20, from scratch, as fast as my dd. I kid you not. She is like a BLUR in the kitchen. She can run tons of people or get it all done by herself. She's AMAZING. When she turns it on, she's fast! But she also has that clinically low processing speed and poor word retrieval and the difficulties with organization/EF and initiation. She's not one or the other. We can admire the strengths and not let that deny the weaknesses. She's BOTH, all in the same body.

I mean, just to play around, what are you expecting, that the kid HAS to be homogenous, processing the same way for everything, in order for it to be legit? I know you don't mean this. I think it's more the marvel, seeing this unique person and seeing what their mix looks like. I don't have explanations and terms, but I can tell you that for my dd the contradictions were caused by the contrast in her IQ-driven abilities and her disabilities. 

Adding: You did notice I said my dd didn't use accommodations for the ACT? It would have made a difference on the math, but not the rest. She never used extended time on other standardized testing, iirc. I gave her lots of *breaks* but she didn't use extended time. She's always been crazy fast on certain things, in spite of her low processing speed.

I think the stupidity of the DSM and this whole processing speed discussion is that they aren't specifying what they're looking at. Like say the Eides and their MRIs of spacing of mini-columns applies to some of these kids. (read DA) Then is processing speed merely telling us they have widely-spaced mini-columns? It might. But some kids can also have a brain structure with less pruning and more hyperconnectivity as a result. Is it possible to have some combinations like this? Is it a reflection of the impulsivity? Poor regulation.  I don't know. I just know we've got this umbrella term that is being affected by a lot of factors.

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GeneSight is doing genetic testing to screen for various medications. Heathermomster is the one who informed us on this. You can use their sample reports and run the SNPs backward if you have the raw data from other genetic testing (23andme, whatever).

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2 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Ok, so when we did testing on my dd...

Just clipping your excellent response.

Yeah, we have a specific breakdown on this - which is recent, but helpful for me to see exactly where the issue is. He's up closer to the advanced strata for most stuff, which makes the processing and word retrieval type stuff all the more frustrating for him, I think.

It's so true about how well kids mask it. Ds does not present like a kid who has any issues. Convincing people he does is likely to be a hurdle for him going into college or any DE classes we do in the next couple of years, I suspect.

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17 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Convincing people he does is likely to be a hurdle for him going into college or any DE classes we do in the next couple of years, I suspect.

For colleges, it's going to be pretty straightforward. If your psych documentation says they get the accommodations, they get the accommodations. So like the limited distraction testing environment, extended time, access to services, etc., your psych paper trail opens that door. Now you have the question of whether the school takes gov't money and complies with ADA laws, sure. So some of the popular private colleges people talk about don't take gov't money and don't comply with the laws. She was plenty smart enough to go there but we walked. We're not screwing around with people like that. So yeah, it's the law, bring your paper, done. The only question there is whether the dc will USE their accommodations and offered services. And of course there are schools that are better at it than others. Small college in big university or small university, various things work. Dd's school put in a major renovation a few years ago, took out a whole floor in a building, made a big deal of NORMALIZING use of it. Southern Methodist (not dd's school) put in a $1million renovation. Seriously. So it varies and you have to tour and see what set-up will work.

For DE, some popular christian universities offering them have crap little (zero, no) services, despite what is on paper. The instruction was crap and it was nothing more than a digital syllabus with slow feedback. Academic expectations were strong but not really a supportive place to learn. So you're looking for things that meet their needs. My dd really struggles with online, even though she did it quite a bit. She does better with a live component, herd effect. What DID work really well was the online paper tutorial service one university provided. It's a campus-wide thing where you submit the paper and a tutor gives you feedback in 24 hours. And it's really basic stuff (is my thesis clear, is my outline clear, are my points supported, etc), but for her, needing to be independent and maybe pushing the envelope, it's a really great thing and gets her out of a lot of pickles and stuck points. That's online, reply in 24 hours, not waiting to access a lab with student workers. 

Others have said this in other places, but some components, like dorm accommodations, will require a doctor letter as well or a form the doctor completes for the university. It's a big win, but it just has those extra hoops and takes extra people on the team to make it happen.

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11 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

For colleges, it's going to be pretty straightforward.

Yeah, I'm thinking more in the less formal way. I'm familiar with how colleges do accommodations. But I'm also familiar with how the reality on the ground doesn't always perfectly match the legal requirements or intentions on the university level.

This kid at a Christian college would be hilariously incongruous. He's an outspoken atheist. I'm not sure where he's headed long term.

This is really one of those things... Both when I was in the classroom and with my kids... it's so individual.

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14 minutes ago, Farrar said:

I'm also familiar with how the reality on the ground doesn't always perfectly match the legal requirements or intentions on the university level.

Yeah talked at OCALICON (autism convention) with a guy who had worked in the dept at Purdue and basically they were just understaffed. 

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I think you might want to look at perfection vs excellence.  The creativity and life experience required for perfection and sometimes excellence can show as slow processing when they use their mind rather than the rough draft/edit/etc that a linear thinker wants to see produced quickly.  I found my son taking hours on essays that peers dash out in fifteen minutes in college...he's right, his are very very good -- but he didn't have enough time to spend on them  and then arrange everything for a linear thinker to understand while keeping the beauty and getting his coursework done.  We eventually settled on A versus A+ quality. It was the same way with high school AP Lit...they have the brainpower to catch an awful lot of literary elements, and tracking down just the name for what they observed took hours and then they had the discussion to write up, again for a linear thinker looking for just formulaic high school writing skills (no inmplied thesis, x number of details must be mentioned etc, word count valued higher than content). Its a skill to balance the desire for excellent output with the time available while on the learning curve.  His college experience is similar to high school...he figures the level the instructor wants for the A or A+, and then goes on to the level he wants . You'll see him sitting with the text and supplemental texts grokking the details while the instructor is elaborating what to him is the obvious, then he's got his questions ready for after class or office hours.  That frees up his study time to produce output that he is satisfied with...but of course still has to cut a bit since a social life and some art life is necessary and it really necessitated not doing undergrad research or as much creative art as he desired (music composition). What has been helpful in college is his undergrad thesis advisor..also PG, and knows how to cut a project down to the size needed for the time given without feeling that excellence is lost...so I'd also suggest a mentor. 

With my dysgraphia kid, who gave up excellence when he couldn't get the output fast enough, numbers were helpful.  We sat down with the school district OT in 8th grade and had her do an age appropriate handwriting speed test, with grade level content.  He could then see that he had an issue that needed help. Interestingly, he wasn't low enough to qualify for help; he was low normal...but the teachers couldn't control the class if they allowed enough time for low normal to copy notes off the board, so he shifted to using his camera for notes. They also had such poor class control that they assigned so much hw that he couldn't get it all done in the allotted time without someone scribing.    The remediation for dysgraphia is penmanship lessons.  The OT could not admit on record that the true problem for my kiddo was not just dysteachia but that part of the dysteachia was that the students were still drawing the letters like kinders, rather than having been moved on to being fluent writers.  He wasn't the only gifted kid with the issue, most of the boys had been tossed out of honors because of it.  And he wasn't the only kid who really needed bifocals. He did remediate and find legible cursive, but by then he was a good typer (we had remediated spelling at that time) and stuck with his laptop or phone. It did take some demo to show him the difference between writing and drawing, and what he was supposed to be doing with his arm, wrist, and fingers to achieve the buy-in to develop fluent age appropriate penmanship.  His whole-to-part needs did not work with the spotty part-to-whole teaching one bit in this topic...once he saw the objective and how to get there, progress was made.

 

Edited by HeighHo
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On 1/7/2019 at 11:58 PM, lewelma said:

 Does this world have space for those who are slow deep thinkers or does he really need pick up the pace in order to succeed? 

 

My husband was in military operations, manufacturing and R&D.  His current R&D job is great for slow thinkers. His upper level bosses handle the fast thinking marketing crap. My husband was happy doing his postgraduate because his PhD project took three years and he gets a nice monthly stipend. It really comes down to personality as well as speed. My DS14 doesn’t want to work in a fast paced environment despite getting bored easily because he thinks that would just result in garbage out. I was in technical marketing because what is correct today is not tomorrow and everyone knew that in the technology field so it was fast paced enough for me.

If your son’s preference is similar to your husband, that might be a starting point to a discussion on career matching. 

24 minutes ago, Heathermomster said:

Whenever I refer to processing speed, my convo is based on WISC-IV numbers.  The following link describes the subtests for the WISC's Processing subtests.

https://www.helloq.com/overview/the-q-interactive-library/wisc-iv.html

 

Both my kids flop on coding which could be because they can’t draw imperfect diagrams. Older kid scored high for symbol search while younger kid scored low, probably due to tracking issues younger had at that time.

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We probably have a different situation with my older son, but there has been a big emphasis on him not needing extra help as he has gotten older, and I think it’s good for him.  

But background for him is he was in a lot of speech and OT when he was younger, and with OT, he wanted to stop.  With speech — fortunately he was able to stop around the time he *really* wanted to stop.  

He has been in a resource room for parts of the day (which was a very low level of support — I have found with moving that they label things very differently here and that would be a high level of support here), in 4th-6th, and it was great for him, but he wanted to not be in it anymore.  

It is a big factor with his self-esteem.  It is a big factor with how much he will try to do independently.  

But he is also very borderline for needing help now, and so it’s not something where it’s clear he needs to have help.  

But — I think a lot of this is specific for him and with having to do therapy when he was younger.  

 

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My son has accommodations at the CC for his dual credit courses but has not used them. He does not want to be viewed as different. Thus far, in three semesters and five courses, he has made A’s and one B (which occurred during a semester when he was recovering from a concussion). He shines next to most of the students there (many who are truly remedial). I choose professors carefully based on advisor recs after checking ratemyprofessor online. My son is a very skilled writer and has picked up my love of literature analysis.

My son is not gifted. He is an average learner with LD’s and ASD. He is all work ethic with a solid academic preparation, many years of speech and OT services, daily physical activity geared toward his sport, and scaffolding to be successful at this level. 

A small university close to home with low academic entry requirements (he already exceeds the average SAT score by a fair margin) in a small town with the goal of getting him a mentor/advisor who understands his needs and his giftings and takes a personal interest in him is the current plan.  If he can play his sport there, it will be more challenging, as it is a Division 2 program.  If not, he can work at his own pace through college and I have no doubt he will be successful. There are other things I’ve put in place to lead to his success and will continue to before he enters the four year college world. He has had the very best I could provide in terms of academic preparation tailored to him and has been enriched in all ways by playing his sport year-round for years. My job is mostly done in terms of preparation, though I believe he may need my continued support for some time, TBD. He is 18, and this college and career path has just recently become more clear. It has been one step at a time in the dark for his entire life, trusting the process.

None of this may be relevant to many others, but I don’t get much opportunity to talk to folks in similar positions so I have taken this one. 🙂

Edited by texasmama
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3 hours ago, texasmama said:

Thus far, in three semesters and five courses, he has made A’s and one B (which occurred during a semester when he was recovering from a concussion). He shines next to most of the students there (many who are truly remedial).

I love hearing how well this is working out for him!!!

3 hours ago, texasmama said:

There are other things I’ve put in place to lead to his success and will continue to before he enters the four year college world. He has had the very best I could provide in terms of academic preparation tailored to him and has been enriched in all ways by playing his sport year-round for years.

Absolutely!!

3 hours ago, texasmama said:

He does not want to be viewed as different.

Yup, I think this is pretty common. And if it's working out for him, it's working out. If at some point it's not, he has the paper trail. I think dd uses her accommodations selectively, depending on the class, the requirements, the noise in the classroom, the whole scenario. Because it's a christian university, they had some requirements that were really killing her, like writing Bible verses from memory in a time limit. She had to work with her person and stand up for ALWAYS having access to her ADA accommodations. And because she's living in the dorm, she has accommodations there. 

Anyways, I'm so, so excited that it's going well for him, and you must be too!!!

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34 minutes ago, lewelma said:

he does tend to some anxiety and non-clinical OCD, but way below that threshold to medicate when considering benefits he might gain vs side effects of the meds. However, my sister is a registered counselor who is on meds for anxiety and I will talk to her. 

Again, look at genetics. You might find a non-medication answer.

 

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1 hour ago, lewelma said:

Thanks guys for so many thoughts and comments.  

Lecka, sounds very much like you have walked my shoes. 

 

This is where I am at. DS and I need to be on the same page. I'm planning for the school year (we are Feb to Dec) and lots of questions are coming up.

 

I continue to walk.....  it is nice to hear from others!

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It is hard!  I don’t know.  I think we are going to have some standards but not high standards, to let my son develop some more sense of “doing it on my own.”  But there is need for this to develop with him.  

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I’m going to add — it is getting to be more executive functioning and some social cluelessness at this point.  His typing is up and his “work completion” is up.  But he doesn’t have to do particularly much.  

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I also can panic, or just go from high to low.  I try to recognize when I am starting to do it!  But it is hard.  

I got advice from a good, good-with-him teacher (the resource teacher) to focus on ownership for him.  He does better with it, but also needs to develop it!

I feel like — maybe it would be this way anyway, but after so much scribing/oral stuff, it is hard to adjust that to being more independent.  

And he’s better now, but with dysgraphia struggled with not being proud of how his work would turn out when he was on his own.  Now he will actually do things on his own, and he has a sense that he did it on his own, but I don’t think he knows what kind of quality to aim for.  

I also think — scribing/oral has a way of being a lot less independent than a lot of other kinds of support.  Or else it has just worked out that way here.  

We plan on his attending a local, non-competitive university, in general.  It seems like a good idea right now, and in general for us.  

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Another problem here is often he has to fail or have some negative consequence before he sees the point in a lot of things.  I say I am done with forcing help on him for things where he doesn’t see the point.  But this is hard.  

He is much better, but previously struggled with having an attitude towards me while at the same time feeling entitled to my help.  This is a main reason to focus on ownership here!!!!!!   He does feel better since he has been more independent.  

It has just been a lot of hard adjustments.  

 

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It is hard, because scribing/oral are so good!  They really are!

The resource teacher helped my son to transition.  

I had a breaking point where I could not scribe for him in the evenings anymore, and very fortunately the resource teacher was so good with him.  

She said a lot of it was building his self-esteem up.  There was more than that, but she thought that was a lot of it overall.  

Even in regular class he would trade with other kids to help them with their work if they would write for him, and then a couple of times when he did this the classroom teacher would write him a nice note about his effort with his handwriting.  

His handwriting has had some improvement, too, it is not as bad as it used to be.  It is much easier for him to write, too.  I think this is improvement with age.  

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It is really hard because it is hard, and I want to acknowledge that, but he needs to do what he is able to do, too.  I think that is about the hardest part.  

This doesn’t come up anymore, but it has also been frustrating a few times when he was younger and a few people would assume he was very high-achieving from having conversations with him, but then at the time he was getting Cs and Ds and starting into the resource room.  It’s hard to know if I could have handled things differently, but he had 3 semesters of Cs and Ds before he went in the resource room.  

He exited his IEP at the end of 6th grade, though, and that was something the resource teacher thought was very appropriate for him.  She thought it would be better for him mentally to get a little lower grades but be more independent, and I think she had a good sense of him.

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4 hours ago, lewelma said:

How do you differentiate between motivation/drive and struggle/frustration due to dysgraphia? I often feel like my ds just doesn't really want to do his school work. He would rather read and play with his friends. I think in his ideal world he would do about 2 hours of school work to keep his mind active and fill the rest of his day with activities. There are a lot of unschoolers around here who do exactly this. Some go to university. I'm back to wondering how much of this is about remediating a problem vs teaching discipline. They are clearly connected, but I'm definitely more understanding with the dysgraphia than the lack of drive.

 

the dysgraphia struggle won't impact the motivation in the nonwritten portions, but it will tire him out if the written load is first and long. If you havent experimented with stylus choice you should.  For us, we went to bic flair markers with widelined yellow legal pad..gave good feedback to the fingers and good contrast/little eyestrain for work while penmanship lessons were going on.

also check vision

Edited by HeighHo
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Lewelma, is your son taking any outside classes, and does he manage any hard deadlines on a weekly basis with someone other than yourself? 

Eta:  Since there is a ton of chem, math, and advanced science in your son’s future, have you started teaching him LaTex or how to insert math symbols using a word processor?  We quit typing instruction at 30 wpm and spent that time on core subjects.

 

Edited by Heathermomster

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On January 9, 2019 at 5:01 PM, lewelma said:

How do you differentiate between motivation/drive and struggle/frustration due to dysgraphia? I often feel like my ds just doesn't really want to do his school work. He would rather read and play with his friends. I think in his ideal world he would do about 2 hours of school work to keep his mind active and fill the rest of his day with activities. There are a lot of unschoolers around here who do exactly this. Some go to university. I'm back to wondering how much of this is about remediating a problem vs teaching discipline. They are clearly connected, but I'm definitely more understanding with the dysgraphia than the lack of drive.

Do you think if you have undiagnosed disabilities that it would de-motivate you to work in those areas?

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