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SeaConquest

IEP Meeting Next Week: Need Help Interpreting Testing in 2E Kid

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So, S was dx with ADHD back in December, and we have been working with the developmental ped getting him on meds (30 mg Ritalin at present) and with his charter school on an IEP. Although they initially gave me some pushback, I was finally able to get his school to conduct some comprehensive testing since he has pretty severe test anxiety and I've had suspicions that he might also have working memory, slow processing, and fine motor issues going on.

He had the Woodcock Johnson Achievement testing done two years ago and he had issues with the fluency sections then. The tester suggested retesting him because it could be 1) maturity or 2) attention issues. 

So, the school redid the WJ, as well as conducted a WISC-V, and some other tests.

His WJ scores 2 years ago were:

Broad Math 140
Broad Reading 127
Broad Written Language 121

Overall Achievement 133

His scores this time:

Broad Math 127 (????)
Broad Reading 135
Broad Written Language 129

Overall Achievement (Not calculated)

I expected that his scores would go up, being on the ADHD meds, but that doesn't appear to have happened. And, his math scores actually went down. 😞 As far as the WISC, he is all over the place:

19    Similarities
19    Vocabulary
10    Block Design
13    Visual Puzzles
14    Matrix Reasoning
16    Figure Weights
13    Digit Span
11    Picture Span
10    Coding
8    Symbol Search

There is a 60 pts spread between Verbal Comprehension (155) and Processing Speed (95), which I think makes the FSIQ of 131 invalid. No GAI was calculated and I don't know how to do it myself. So, I am trying to interpret these scores, and want to get as many experts to help, going into the meeting, as I really have no experience with any of this. My main goal is to get him accommodations for testing because that is where I see this impacting him the most at present. I mean, he gets blue almost every week on his AoPS homework and then goes into the exams and completely chokes on the midterms. He wants to start taking DE science classes at our CCs in the next few years and he just can't continue on underperforming on exams. We have to get to the bottom of whatever is causing him these problems. I vacillate between thinking that he just isn't that smart and thinking that I'm not doing enough to help him overcome whatever is holding him back. 

Edited by SeaConquest

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Who did the original ADHD diagnosis? Ped or psych? And did the school do any other screening tools for anxiety, pragmatics, etc.? My concern would be what hasn't been found yet.

As far as IEP, I don't know, right now you're talking about a kid who is at least going to benefit from a 504. What are you trying to accomplish? I know I always HATED when the school, lawyers, etc. would ask me that, but it's still the right question. What are you trying to accomplish? I had to move from wanting them to tell me to me figuring it out for myself. The school is there to avoid giving services as much as possible, sorry. Everything costs them money, so they're not going to do every inch of testing that would show what is going on. Be cynical. And I'm not meaning to be nasty, just saying that's reality. If they don't happen to run the tests, then oh rats they don't need to do the services. Btdt, sigh. Federal law isn't much protection unless you have evidence or file for IEE or like going nuclear and fighting.

What was the spread between verbal and non-verbal/performance scores (the two biggees) on the WISC? The low processing speed is no shock. I'd be more worried about an NVLD profile, which often will go spectrum. I don't know your kid or the scores. I'm just saying that verbal is extremely high, in the profoundly gifted range, and it happens. Where is he with social, conversation, pragmatics? Are they running anything for that? Did they run anything besides IQ and achievement???

It's interesting that they gave you the results. So in our state that means you've had a team meeting to review the results and the next time you meet the entire team will convene to write the IEP. In our state you can ask for drafts but won't necessarily get them. They aren't supposed to collaborate outside the meeting either, but they'll basically come in with the IEP written and then read it to you as you fall asleep and sign. Or you modify. Or you refuse to sign and file a dispute and get independent 3rd party evals.

If there is a 2SD discrepancy between verbal and performance scores on that IQ and they did ZERO testing/screening besides IQ and achievement and you have more going on, then you'll want to file a dispute and get 3rd party evals to be able to advocate adequately. Or is he functioning fine? What are you wanting to make happen?

Your IEP means squat in college btw. The college will look at psych evals done in the last 3 years, submit that to their department, and you get accommodations under ADA law. So the most important thing is good evals, not so much the IEP, if that makes sense. Now I think they've said a 504 carries over under ADA. But again, incomplete evals screw you from the start.

Did they do OT? How are his language skills? Has the anxiety changed with the ADHD meds? He sounds like he's functional enough that he's looking at a 504. The IEP is only for needing individualized education, some kind of services. Since you wanted comprehensive evals, I'm wondering what you felt like ought to be happening through the school. Just with what you've got listed, he'll get extended time, limited distraction testing, maybe some EF supports. If he needs counseling for the anxiety or some kind of supports, that's IEP land. But are you asking for that? Many schools will not do an IEP for only OT. 

The anxiety is a really big deal. Even if they don't make it out to be, it is. As the parent you need to be asking what will hold him back in the future, and the anxiety will be a biggee. There are a lot of great strategies for that now, including mindfulness and increasing self-awarenes. Someone was just telling me about MBCBT (mindfulness based cognitive behavioral therapy). Just depends on where his starting point is and what's going on.

Just realized you said developmental ped there. So are developmental issues on the table? Spectrum was on the table? What is the ped saying about that?

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1 hour ago, SeaConquest said:

My main goal is to get him accommodations for testing because that is where I see this impacting him the most at present. I mean, he gets blue almost every week on his AoPS homework and then goes into the exams and completely chokes on the midterms.

Ok, well if you just want accommodations, you're already there. They'll 504 him, done. The CC will look at the paper trail and make it happen too, easy peasy.

What do you mean "gets blue" on weekly and then chokes on midterms? Is blue good or bad? You mean he's depressed or is blue a good score on his weekly work?

I don't see how they're getting to anxiety if they didn't run any screener tools. They can just say it, but a tool would have been nice. Some tools to discriminate various things would have been nice. Are you wanting services for the anxiety? There's counseling, intervention to improve awareness, supports in the classroom/school day where he would do check-ins and self-monitor, meds, all kinds of options.

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Maybe he was kind of checking out on the math? The testing can seem long, even though it's technically only an hour. Were the math scores radically discrepant from what he has covered or were they ballparking? The WJ achievement testing is open-ended, so the scores should have reflected where he is functioning absolutely, not relative to peers. He could have been uncomfortable or tired or bored or anything.

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Is he doing a foreign language? Just wondering. I was thinking about places that coding would show up. Definitely the low processing speed is going to pull that down. Is his decoding fine? Ability to get his thoughts onto screen? Paper?

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Is your main concern right now test anxiety, or anxiety related to schoolwork?  I am not sure this testing is where that is going to show up.  I don’t know!  But I think that might come from other testing and not this testing.  

I don’t think his math change is very significant.  His reading changed by almost the same amount.  I don’t think it’s very significant.  I think these are basically the same scores.  

I don’t know anything about the score difference between the processing speed and other scores.  I hope someone will respond on that who has been in the same situation.

This is my experience on anxiety screening..... one of my kids had the observation forms for ADHD and they came back showing some elevated things related to anxiety.  So whatever that observation form was.... it might have been the Connor?  But I think there are various ones.... anyway nothing from the testing you have right now was mentioned as far as showing anxiety.  That’s just my experience.  

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He is clearly very smart.  Can you avoid tests or change something about the tests?  Does he have to do the tests in his math class right now? Is there a way he could take science classes and you just not care about the grade and let him skip tests?  Just thoughts.  

Are you seeing it in other areas?  But they are less concrete and so the tests are a good example of something coming up more often?  Then I think, think of more examples for when you talk to people about it in the future.  

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I also don’t know if his current math tests are timed or untimed?  Maybe untimed would help, if they are timed?  

But you may not even need to have him take tests while he is young. 

Edited by Lecka

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http://everyday-learning.org/fast-but-slow-processing-speed-and-the-gifted-child/

If you google low (or slow) processing speed, you can find articles like that. Read enough of them, and some things will ring a bell and seem to apply to your son and hopefully help you understand him better and what he needs.

A couple of things. His processing speed is low but not low. What I mean is that if 100 is average statistically, 95 does not seem too bad, right? This may be an argument that the school presents, so be aware. They may say, look, he is still in the range of a typical student here and so does not qualify as a student with a learning disability. This happens!! And it's pretty frustrating. I sometimes get this kind of response from the school, even for my kids who already have IEPs and documented disabilities. So be prepared to advocate.

This is the key: That 60 point spread is statistically an extremely large gap. And that discrepancy is going to cause hardship for him. For HIM, the processing speed is very low.

DS14's processing speed has been in the first percentile. Extremely, very low. So I'll share a few thoughts.

First, a lower processing speed should trigger an accommodation of extra time on tests, and with the ADHD, also should give him tests taken in a smaller group and/or quiet room. It sounds like that is your main goal, and the scores should grant him that, but be prepared to advocate. They may say that he is so smart that he can do well enough without accommodations. You seem to say that he does well on classwork and understanding the material but then does poorly on tests. Bring anything you can with you to prove this to them. To show that his performance on tests is not representing his understanding of the material. The reason to be prepared to back up your request like this is, again, that the score is actually within range of typical students, even though it is super low for him personally. The IEP team may be very helpful and accommodating, or they may be resistant and not want to make accommodations. Hope for the former but prepare for the latter.

If extra time is the only accommodation he needs, a 504 will suffice for that, and he won't need an IEP. An IEP is for students who need some kind of services for intervention. I agree with PeterPan that someone with a low processing speed and fine motor issues might benefit from occupational therapy but that a school is unlikely to say they will provide it. I've found that schools will only provide OT for extreme issues. In our case, DS had an OT evaluation as part of the school evaluation process (did you ask for that? If not, the school probably did not do it), and he did not qualify for OT services, but the therapist did write a long list of suggested accommodations, and those did end up in his IEP. If you think your son would benefit from OT, you will likely have to pursue that privately, but the school can still provide accommodations.

Such as typing instead of writing, if handwriting is an issue due to the fine motor. The effect of DS's low processing was described by his neuropsych as "low processing with pen and paper tasks." In addition to typing, he got accommodations such as copies of teachers' notes from the board, study guides already filled in with answers, extra time on assignments, assignments chunked into smaller pieces, the use of graph paper in math, text to speech, and being able to show his understanding of material in alternate ways (for example, giving test answers verbally instead of having to write them out). He has not used all of these, but they were/are in his IEP. If your son needs these kinds of accommodations, you can google "IEP accommodations for low processing speed" and get a bunch of examples. You can then think about what your son needs and ask for those things specifically, always bringing evidence of the need with you to the meeting.

One of the things to know is that low processing speed means different things for different kids, so you need to have a handle on what it means for your son. That's tricky, I know. It's taken me awhile to figure my own son out. Sometimes the slow processing scores reflect actual slower thinking in the brain. Sometimes the low processing speed is not so much slower thinking but slower ability to get the thoughts from the brain down to the paper (that is the case with my son).

I suspect that is the case for your son, as well. Getting the information and thoughts from the brain to the paper is going to affect how well he does on testing. This goes hand in hand with the fine motor difficulties, and anxiety makes it worse. For my son, it made organizing his thoughts and getting them down in writing so difficult that he received a dysgraphia diagnosis (also called Specific Learning Disability in Written Expression), and he got help for writing in his IEP. You did not mention difficulty with writing in your OP, but if that is one of the issues, people may be able to give you specific ideas for how to address that.

 

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Low processing speed is by discrepancy, a relative disability, not absolute. So yes a kid with a 155 verbal and a 98 processing speed has a relative disability. Even my ds is considered to have a processing speed disability. I guess his spread is similar, come to think of it. It's just some kids have an astonishing spread. But yes, the dc should get the accommodation based on discrepancy.

The time accommodation is something they can actually demonstrate, and I think it's showing up in that coding too. Time is not a hard ask. It's not like asking for a scribe for a K5er or something where they're like he has a hand, no way. (Yes, that's what they told us.) Extended time does not statistically increase scores on people without the disability, so if the extra time makes a difference he can have it, boom, not a big deal. He also may not NEED it for every situation. It will just vary. Like my dd didn't use extended time on the ACT. It would have changed one score of the 6 which didn't change her overall score enough to be worth the effort to file. But in her university stuff, where she's writing essay tests, yes she has to have the whole enchilada.

Ok, so if he's going to be doing any talent search contests, which start around 7th, then yes you want that IEP to say extended time. But frankly, if they gave you the typed up psych report, it should already say the recommendations. In our state the forms feed each other, with the data and recs from the evals being pasted into the IEP as the substantiation for the goals. So you already know if they're recommending extended time, limited distraction testing, etc.

The first time through all this is really hard because it's sort of a mystery. You're learning your team, how generous/tight they are to deal with, etc. The thing you may not know yet is they're going to pressure you to sign right away. If you don't, they have to reconvene the entire team. So some people will ask for a draft of the IEP ahead, some teams will refuse. But this whole process is like a bowling ball, rolling along. If your evals were incomplete (which they were unless there was a lot more there), then are you signing on the IEP? That's what you need to be thinking through. I think any ps on the planet will nail extended time. It's such a small ask. You didn't really ask for anything significant. Had they done thorough evals and id'd anxiety, any developmental disabilities, pragmatics, or anything else possibly going on, then this would be a lot more complex. 

So I would assume the extended time and limited distraction accommodations will be given as a 504 and figure out what more you wanted and whether you're accepting or disputing the evals. Then, if you're pondering disputing, you need to look up your dept of ed regs for how that works to decide whether you should be signing anything the day of your meeting or not. 

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Okay, this is just me....

Is the processing score meaning that he needs some output or time type of things to fit his age more, and not his IQ?  You have other options than matching his IQ in a way that moves him up in overall age expectations too.  

His processing score is probably going to increase as he ages (to go along with rising age expectations — he can have the same number score but a higher level, as he gets older), is this something where he may get a little older and then his processing score/age will be a better fit?

It might be that in a few years, his natural development will be enough for him to do more as far as fitting into classes designed for the processing speeds of older students.  

I agree he needs some kind of accommodation to where he isn’t developing anxiety from being put in a situation where he can’t do well. There are a lot of ways for that to happen.  Or he may have anxiety separately, and the anxiety may be primary.  I don’t know. 

But I think it’s possible this isn’t a big problem, even while it’s something where he needs adjustments or accommodations or different choices right now.  

I wouldn’t want him to be held back either, but are there online science classes he can do that might work better for him if he’s not ready for in-person college?  Or, can he take classes where you just choose not to care about tests or grades, and don’t even have him do them, for a while?  That might not work for a community college class, but maybe there are other fish in the sea?

Things do need to fit him now, though.  But I don’t know if that is the same as saying “he has a slow processing speed for his IQ” as a permanent state.  It might be something where things do become workable as he gets older.

A lot of things do improve naturally/developmentally with age and they probably will with him, too.  That is what is expected.  

It sounds like he is very smart, but not in a really linear way where you can just advance him into things that expect a higher development level.  So I think you really can have him be advanced and meet his needs, it just may not be in the form of — inflexible classes, or classes designed around much older students.  

But that could change in a short time, because kids do make big developmental leaps.  Then kids can even out more with their IQ matching their overall development, and then they can perform more.  

I think your concerns are legitimate and good to have, but at the same time, I don’t think it’s necessarily likely that 5 years from now you will be seeing the same problems.  Still it is important for now!  But just — for some mindset stuff, I think it’s worth keeping in mind.  He may need stuff really adapted now, and that might mean it’s very important to adapt as much as possible now, because it’s not like “well he has to get used to making do in things that aren’t a good fit,” because maybe they will be a good fit later.  I think it can help with thinking of current priorities. 

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https://www.smartkidswithld.org/first-steps/evaluating-your-child/understanding-iq-test-scores/

That's a good overview, though it doesn't address the significance of lower scores in certain areas. The FSIQ is not going to be accurate for a student with the score spread that your son shows. It's interesting to know what it is, but it will not represent the true picture. When FSIQ is not going to be accurate, the psych should calculate the GAI or General Ability Index, which calculates the IQ without considering the processing speed and working memory scores.

The FSIQ and GAI are interesting and can give you a general idea of intelligence, but with a big spread in scores, they may not be predictive of academic achievement.

People on the LC boards have said in the past to look at individual scores and think of your child with all of the strengths and all of the weaknesses.

So is your child as smart as you think he is? YES YES YES. His scores show him to be in the very high to extremely high range of intelligence in most categories.

Does he have weaknesses that are hindering him and "holding him back" as you say, and does he need additional support? YES!

Is it logical to think that his grades should reflect his high intelligence? Yes. But are the weaknesses causing real struggle that is reflected in his grades on tests, etc.? Also yes.

The idea behind providing accommodations is to remove the stumbling blocks that are preventing the child from accessing his education (that is the legal speak for not learning or performing as well as he should). When the child is putting forth effort and has ability but performs more poorly than expected, the accommodations are meant to help. The goal of the school will not be that "this is a student who should be getting all A's, so we will do all that we can to get him performing to that level." But to provide the support and help for the student to receive an adequate education. The federal legal benchmark is Free Appropriate Public Education or FAPE.

Your school might want to argue that he is getting his FAPE with things the way that they are, and that they do not need to provide accommodations. Part of the process is the teacher input, and a teacher is required to be at the meeting to present their point of view. Sometimes we as parents do not get all that we want into the IEP, because the teachers/school say that the student is doing well enough. It's frustrating, but true, and I just want you to be aware that it can happen, so you can be prepared.

The scores don't explain things; they are just numbers and have to be understood and interpreted. To be honest, some (maybe most) schools are just not great at this. They are required by law to run the tests and to decide if the scores show learning disabilities and provide accommodations and services. But they are not required to diagnose anything, and so they aren't always the greatest at being able to answer the question, "What does this score mean?"

You are right to think that you should figure out as much of that as you can before going into the meeting. The fact is that you aren't going to get a handle on it completely between now and then. I am still learning things about my son and how he thinks, five years after his neuropsych evaluation. You will keep learning along the way, but you can start figuring it out now.

To help you understand the processing speed thing a little bit, that score is calculated using the Coding and Symbol Search scores. You can google those subtests to learn more about them. The coding test is interesting. The student is given a line of boxes with abstract figures in them, and they have to copy those figures into the correct boxes. The test is timed, I think, but also they will look for mistakes. You can see what it looks like online if you search for "images" of the coding subtest.

A student with fine motor problems or vision problems or visual spatial problems is not going to do as well on that test, for obvious reasons. They are going to struggle with the skill of copying. Also, a student who thinks and works more slowly will do more poorly, because it will take them more time to do the task, even if they can copy successfully.

It can be a kind of chicken and egg question.... Does the student do poorly on the test because of the fine motor issues? OR are the fine motor issues actually just a symptom of the brain difference that makes that coding test difficult? Meaning that the fine motor issues are caused by the low processing.

You can think about this regarding your son. Some of it is speculation, but you might also be able to tell. If he thinks and speaks quickly, the slow processing is probably not the slow thinking kind. It's probably more the getting thoughts from brain to paper kind of slow processing.

I hope that makes sense and gives you some things to think about.

Also, processing speed is kind of set, in a way. It doesn't generally improve much for most people. But occupational therapy can help sometimes. My son's processing speed went from first percentile to seventh percentile. That still seems pretty bad, right? But it represented a huge, huge jump in his raw scores, so it was a victory for him. He did have OT, but I believe what gave him the improvement is intensive musical practice. He is a drummer and plays bass guitar, and he plays a lot, and there is no other explanation for his improvement. Some people use a program called Interactive Metronome for slow processing (expensive through a trained OT) and I think that DS's musical practice worked the same for him as IM might for people who try that.

Still, even though it is huge for him, it's a really small improvement on paper, right? So processing speed might improve with some therapy, but it's not likely to improve up to the norm. That's why I say that processing speed is usually kind of stable. It's something that is more likely to be accommodated than significantly improved. In other words, find ways to work around it, because it will always be there.

This chart might help show a little how the scoring works for the WISC. You can see how different subtests combine to generate the verbal and nonverbal scores, and understanding that and looking up the tests online can help you learn a bit about what the testing may be indicating, other than just producing a bunch of numbers that you don't really know how to interpret.

http://downloads.pearsonclinical.com/videos/WISC-V-020515/WISC-V-Advanced-Webinar-Handout-020515.pdf

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https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/information-processing-issues/at-a-glance-4-ways-brain-structure-and-chemistry-may-affect-processing-speed

I find this interesting, because it tries to describe why the brain may have lower processing speed. And a bit about how ADHD and processing speed can be related.

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Ha! As I was posting that processing speed doesn't change much, Lecka was posting that it is NOT static and may improve over time.

I thought I'd google it to see what the internet says, and it's obviously going to take me down a rabbit hole and not be able to give you an answer, so I don't have time to research it right now. But it's interesting, and I'll likely think more about it, since it's an issue for my son.

Anyway, I was peeking at an article which is not really relevant to this discussion, because it is about older adults having cognitive decline. But there is a definition of processing speed as "the rate at which people perform perceptual, motor, and decision making tasks."

The below article describes it as "the pace at which you take in information, make sense of it and begin to respond.'

https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/information-processing-issues/processing-speed-what-you-need-to-know

When you think about what needs to happen when a student is taking a test -- how they have to take in the information about what the test is asking and then think about what they have learned that is applicable, in order to PUT OUT information (or even worse, having to write a short answer, paragraph, or essay that needs to be organized before it comes out of the brain and gets onto the paper) in a response with limited time -- you can begin to see how it can be harder to do well on testing than on other assignments. And how it can be hard to get that information that one has learned back out of the brain and onto the paper, even if one knows it well.

Lecka brought up that this can trigger anxiety, which just makes it all worse. Or general anxiety can be a factor of its own and comes into play in higher pressure situations.

Edited by Storygirl

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Okay, I have to accomplish some other things this morning, but I will bring up something that PeterPan mentioned in her first response, which is NVLD or nonverbal learning disorder. There is not enough in your post to suggest that NVLD is definitely to be considered, but there are some suggestions that it could possibly be an issue for you to think about.

NVLD is diagnosed not just with IQ testing, but there is IQ profile that is the NVLD profile. The verbal scores (VCI score) will be significantly (20 points or more) higher than the visual spatial (VSI) and processing speed scores. Those nonverbal scores are lower; hence the name Nonverbal Learning Disability. Some of the scores you list indicate that he could have this spread, but you don't list the primary index spreads (VCI, VSI), so I don't know.

Those with NVLD also typically also have awkward to poor social skills and understanding. The social difficulty can range from mild to severe in various individuals. Those who on the severe end can cross over into an autism diagnosis, which PeterPan referenced.

If you think this might be an issue and want to delve into it more, I can talk more. DS14 has NVLD.

If you think it is not an issue but just shows up in academics, no need to go into discussing the possibility of NVLD.

One thing to note is that NVLD is commonly diagnosed later than autism, because the social skills start to lag moving from middle to high school as peers mature. And academics start to be affected more, as the cognitive demands and requirement for critical thinking increases. Upper level math becomes hard, when perhaps math came easily before. Reading comprehension is commonly an issue.

With NVLD, typically students can memorize information easily, and so in lower grades, they can excel. Once they are required to synthesize and understand and make connections in higher level work, academic performance can drop, and it seems unexpected, given the previous success. I mention this, so that you can be aware and watch for social and academic dips or crashes as he gets older. He may not show these things now but later. Or perhaps he is showing them now, which prompted you to get evaluations.

Someone can have that NVLD IQ profile with the verbal and nonverbal split and not have NVLD, which is why you can't diagnosis it based on IQ scores alone. Our NP did extra testing on DS before determining that he has NVLD. There is more to it than I have brought up in this post.

Also, NVLD is not in the DSM, so some psychs will not diagnose it. A school is not likely to diagnose it and may not understand it, but there are exceptions where a school psych will be aware.

Edited by Storygirl
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I think be really concrete or have more specific examples, as far as — are there things you are seeing.

Test anxiety is concrete.  Does he have anxiety around other things?  Is it only this class?  It is only when he runs out of time (or worries)? Is it only with math?  Is it only with a lot of writing?

Is this something where the teachers are seeing him as doing well overall but he doesn’t do well on tests?  Do they see more concerns?  

What kinds of mistakes is he making?  

Just for example — my older son last year had a math teacher who gave very, very little partial credit (basically — she gave no partial credit).  If I would see a quiz or test he got a low score on, and I saw that he had made one conceptual error, reversed two things, and then made several errors with adding instead of subtracting ————- I would be a little concerned about his understanding and performance.  

I have seen him get Ds with very good understanding and no conceptual errors, able to explain everything, but with a sign error in several problems leading him to get a D.

Okay — this is frustrating!  BUT it is something where he was getting a D because of “careless errors” and had a teacher who didn’t give partial credit.  

I also got feedback that the teacher thought he rushed and that he was resistant to checking his work when encouraged to by the teacher. 

Anyway — this year he is doing much better with a different teacher and greater maturity and — who knows.

But just to say — there is underperformance that is really concerning, and there is underperformance where I think a lot of people are really going to be very understanding of low grades that are associated with executive functioning issues more than with understanding.  It’s not uncommon.  

So — I think it really matters to give more details, and if you give details like “he was crying, he said he is stupid, he complained of stomach aches and said he was sick” — anything like that — that changes things.  That is showing an effect on him and it’s not okay. 

The details will matter.  The things you see that show his test anxiety will matter a lot.  

You may see things a teacher doesn’t see, or a teacher may see things you don’t see.  It can go either way.  

I think it also matters if the anxiety is spreading to other areas.  Edit:  or if you see it a lot but this is when it really, really comes out

It could be as simple as the class he is in being a poor fit for someone with executive functioning challenges because of the teacher or the way the class is set up.  That does happen.  Some teachers are also stressful and can stress kids out.  This is something also where expectations for how kids and teachers relate changes with age, and what could be very welcome with a slightly older child could be a poor fit with a younger child.  

It is really hard to know and it can take looking at more situations and seeing how changing some variables will help or hinder things.  

Edited by Lecka
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OP, your son’s numbers are amazing.  

In the world of accommodations, the official ADHD and anxiety diagnosis should be enough to get isolated, extended test taking time.  At least, that was my takeaway during son’s last np testing.  I was told by an EF coach that the large spread between processing speed to verbal comprehension is common with individuals diagnosed ADHD.  Basically, your son’s numbers seem to affirm the ADHD diagnosis and some sort of motor difficulty.  The WISC coding score indicates a motor issue relative to the other numbers.  I was also told by an OT that 50% of kids with ADHD have motor issues.  Does he struggle with handwriting?

I’m an armchair quarterback with no training, so take what I say with a grain of salt.  I’m not familiar with public high schools, only my son’s uni.

The following link will connect you to a board for patents of public schooled students seeking and using IEP;

http://millermom.proboards.com/

eta:  During the IEP meeting, you can request the tester be present by conference call to explain the numbers and overall report to the school.  

Edited by Heathermomster
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I am just chiming in with my recent experience with my newly diagnosed college kid -- she had a very similar spread on her WAIS.  FSIQ not possible, but they didn't do a GAI.  ( I didn't need it, we were just doing it to get the ADHD diagnosis.) . 

She had a 40 point spread between Verbal and Working Memory and a 20 point spread between Perceptual Reasoning and Working Memory -- those both invalidated the FSIQ.

A couple of things -- I'm not sure how the Math section was given, but with the Digit span and arithmetic test in the WAIS (working memory section) it was all given orally and she couldn't do something as simple as what is half of 99.  And this kid got a 4 on the AP Calc exam.  

Before starting meds just recently she spent a lot of time with the Psychiatrist going back and forth between addressing the ADHD vs addressing the anxiety. The Psych wanted to address the anxiety first, but she had a gut feeling the anxiety was created by the adhd and if that was treated the anxiety would subside.  So keep that in mind re: the test anxiety.  My dd started meds and then took her finals this past quarter. She said for the first time she answered all the questions in order, 1-20, rather than jumping around working on them out of order or even parts of problems and skipping other parts.  Most of her math classes she actually understood the material but made so many careless errors due to the adhd.  When she would write essays, she would do something similar -- write parts here and there, often leaving sentences half written.  

One other thing regarding the exams vs homework -- I don't know about other academically accelerated kids, but my (we think NT) son would have struggled in exams that were geared toward the attention level of older students.   He was in Intro to Algebra A as a fifth grader, with the attention span probably of a fourth grader, but if the exam was geared towards more typical 7th grade or 8th grade attention spans he probably would have struggled.  He loves AOPS, but he needs LOTS of time to work on the problems, and timed tests aren't really his thing even now.  And if he did poorly on the first test, it might cascade to doing poorly on the next just from lack of confidence.  He's finally recovered from the AMC 8 last year that he "bombed".  He was convinced he wasn't smart for days. 

Hopefully the meds do help. That is the dose my dd is on right now:) . She can focus so much better, and we noticed that at home her impulsivity was way down and her social interactions were much more, I don't know, mature? It has given her so much more confidence.  

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Oh boy, you ladies are awesome. So much gold in here. I will try to answer more questions.

Scores:

VCI 155, VSI 108, FRI 128, WMI 112, PSI 95

We homeschool, but he attends a California homeschool independent student program/charter school, which is a public school. He is assigned an educational facilitator (EF), who we meet with once per month, and he takes enrichment classes at the school's learning center twice per week (each class with different teachers -- all fun stuff like choir, tinkering, coding), but I am his primary instructor/facilitator of all core classes (or they are outsourced to AoPS, Online G3, etc.). He is accelerated across the board. He is in the 4th grade by age, but is in AoPS Pre-Algebra and Python Programming, Online G3 8th grade Lightning Lit, biology with me at home (next year high school school biology with Jetta), etc. He sucks at foreign languages because he has zero interest. He plays guitar, but puts in no effort, so just kinda does it for fun. He types all of his essays and does all of his math online through AoPS online program (and yes, turning the system "blue" means that he has mastered the lesson). The physical act of writing is what he finds difficult, so if he has to do it, it takes up so much of his mental bandwidth, that all of his other skills fall away (speed, spelling, grammar, structuring a paragraph, etc.) and what he churns out takes FOREVER and is just awful. Seriously. He could have dictated to me a better essay when he was 5.

Re anxiety and other assessments. The psych did perform the Beery Developmental Test Visual Motor Integration, BASC-3, Brief-2, Conners-3, RCMAS-2. He does not have clinical levels of anxiety apart from *timed* testing environments. He is fine when things are untimed or when the test is so easy for him that he does not perceive a time pressure (e.g. annual state testing). He is extremely extroverted, so I do not see any ASD-related issues. He loves to read and has an enormous vocab, but is primarily inclined toward science. He wants to be an astrogeneticist and to study both astrophysics and genetics. He enjoys math, but thus far, for the purpose of doing science vs. the pure math kids. Who knows once he gets exposed to higher level/more interesting math.  

Re the IEP. The draft eval report specifically recommends accommodations for extra time on tests and accommodations related to writing, even though they could find no deficits in his actual handwriting ability. The school is totally fine with giving him a 504 with accommodations. They know I am a lawyer and I doubt they are inclined to fight me, especially after I already got pissy with them for the testing (they tried to use the "your kid is hitting the ceiling on state testing, he couldn't possible qualify for SPED" excuse -- mama didn't play with her 2e kid). They just want to avoid having to pay for services. I am not even sure that he needs any services. That's why I wanted to do all of this testing. I didn't want to miss anything. I still don't know if I am missing anything.

He struggles with careless mistakes, executive functioning issues, slow processing, the physical act of writing, underperforming to ability (in my mind, but perhaps not -- this is where I struggle with expectations), and anxiety on testing. He takes out of level tests to qualify for things like Johns Hopkins CTY camps and for his AoPS classes. For example, next week he is taking the PSAT 8/9. He also wants to start taking science classes at our local community colleges in the next year or two, so he wants to pass the CA high school proficiency exam, so he can get around age minimums to enroll. So, this is why he is in these high-stakes testing environments at a young age and why I am hoping he can get some accommodations to help him to perform to what I think are his abilities on exams and in college classes. Otherwise, we don't do tests in our homeschool. I don't expect that he will want to graduate early, but if he stays on his current trajectory, I expect that he will be a part-time DE college student by 7th grade and a FT DE student by 9th grade, which is why I am trying to help him succeed under these circumstances.  

Edited by SeaConquest

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2 hours ago, Storygirl said:

the significance of lower scores in certain areas.

Fwiw, the Woodcock Johnson achievement scores were not significantly discrepant between the administrations. What is the standard deviation for that test? Probably 10 or 15. So they're not even 1.5SD. Yup, googlefu says 15. I'm even getting links to a pdf of the technical manual if op really needs it. https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=woodcock+johnson+achivement+standard+deviation&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8  This was the search I did. 

So if the SD is 15, then the scores were not significantly discrepant between the two years. To me the interesting part is where the shift down occurs in the IQ subtests. That visual stuff is all crazy strong and the similarities were awesome. So then I'm pairing the coding issue and the noticeably low writing scores relative to IQ and wondering how the kid is functioning in real life with writing and narrative language and ability to get his thoughts out. We could just make some kind of assumption about his expressive language based on those similarities (which wouldn't be accurate, but whatever), but that writing is still hanging out there as a question. I'm not an expert on the subtests. I'm just saying I would look for patterns.

When I got my dd's first round of testing like this it really worried me that she had some scores that were lower but still in that very average range. They weren't low enough to raise flags but it seemed logical to me that they would cause issues by simply not bringing in the strengths to match the caliber of what she was trying to do. I think that is the case, but not everything gets labels or interventions, if that makes sense. 

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I'm not going to quote you, Arcadia, but your boys and S are not even in the same mental league. I guarantee that the other scores you left out (visual spatial/fluid reasoning) are much higher than S's (Sadly, Sacha seems to have inherited my inability to put together Ikea furniture, as evidence by his VS score). So, even with no accommodations, the SAT is child's play for your boys. 😉

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I think maybe you could just not have him do the test in his outsourced math class, and then ignore the grade from the class, and give your own grade based on his performance.  

He doesn’t “have” to take the tests?  Will the charter allow this option?  

Kids in public school don’t all do the exact same thing especially when there is anxiety around timed tests.  Sometimes kids have an alternate assessment and aren’t even in the classroom during a timed test.  It exists!  

Edit:  I mean — the alternate assessment can be very informal or could be the teacher keeping track of skills demonstrated during homework or during discussion.  It doesn’t even have to be in the form of a test. 

Or you could just say — — you are following along and know he has the skills from seeing him get blue.  

Or you could give test questions in some low-stress way (not saying “it’s a test”) or more spread out (over days, done for review, etc).  

There are so many ways to get out of the “what score did you get on the test” box that are good fits for younger kids.  

Edit: what I mean is — sure, “extra time for the same thing” is one option.  But it’s not the only option.  What is the goal of taking the test?  I assume to demonstrate mastery.  There are other ways to demonstrate mastery, and that is just as valid.  If the goal is something different from “demonstrate mastery” — which it could be — and is fine — then there may be a specific reason to still do a test.  But it is not inherently something you have to do.  

Edit:  Also you are already doing things “out of the box” wrt his handwriting and seeing good results, so it sounds like “out of the box” is already working well and something you are already doing.  

Edited by Lecka

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So you had the WISC V. I *think* they might have done that on my ds last spring, but the results were so screwy as to be invalid. I think you should find a Hoagies' Gifted psych and get a 2nd opinion. Take the results and pay for 2 hours and just talk with them. That's going to be your best way to sort this out. You're somewhere close to significant discrepancy there, and I think getting a 2nd opinion from someone who specializes in gifted kids will be your best way to sort this out.

That sucks that he has to do that PSAT without accommodations. 

Yes, it sounds like he would benefit from some cognitive therapy and strategies for the anxiety. He would be a great candidate for mindfulness-based strategies.

Yes, his EF issues are affecting his ability to figure out the steps, initiate, and follow through. So yes it's somewhere between personality and disability on the things like the guitar. That's sort of suspicious to me on the foreign language. Difficulties with foreign language are infamous in ADHD (bordering on the difficulty in dyslexia but without the option of skipping), so I wouldn't *assume* it's just all personality. He may need more time or scaffolding and structuring to learn how to learn languages. He may have very widely spaced minicolumns that make learning the vocab hard. What strategies does he use now to learn science vocab? That may help him and carry over. 

Haha, I forgot you're a lawyer! Extroverted doesn't mean no social thinking deficits and they're so common in the gifted and ADHD populations. But you know, another day. Good job getting more thorough testing done.

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The processing speed is going to bog down his writing. So he may do well on bubble tests and struggle with tests requiring writing.

Is the doc handling the medications able to test attention or possibly processing speed before/after? My dd says the meds help her processing speed. I can even see a scenario where the dc is struggling with anxiety precisely BECAUSE of the low processing speed. My dd says the improvement in function she gets with the meds lowers her anxiety. 

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I am going to quote some sections from the report:

Visual-Motor Integration

The Beery Developmental Test Visual Motor Integration (VMI) was administered. The VMI is developmental sequence of geometric forms to be copied with paper and pencil. Poor performance on the VMI can indicate poor visual perceptual and/or fine motor coordination problems. It may also indicate that the child has adequate visual perceptual and motor coordination but has not yet learned to integrate or coordinate these two domains.

Overall, S’s visual motor integration performance was within the average range (SS: 94). He performed the same as or better than 34% of his same age peers. Average performance on the VMI suggests that S does not have difficulty performing written work in class compared to peers his same age. Fine motor skills indicate that Sacha should not have any difficulty performing the necessary tasks of copying and writing expected in class and that is required for the completion of homework. This is different then what parent and EF has reported, but consistent with academic assessment. It is suggested that general education writing accommodations be put in place due to EF and parent concerns, not assessment.

The VMI Developmental Test of Visual Perception: This is a supplemental test of the VMI in which the individual is asked to choose the exact match of the presented stimulus. This is a non-motor test and is designed to assess visual-perceptual skills. Standard scores between 90 and 110 are in the average range. S received a standard score of 107, which is in the average range of functioning. This indicates that his ability to find a similar shape when asked will not be hindered.

The VMI Developmental Test of Motor Coordination: This is a supplemental test of the VMI in which the individual is asked to trace various shapes within a targeted area. This test is designed to assess the individual’s ability to control finger and hand movements. Standard scores between 90 and 110 are in the average range. S received a standard score of 95, which falls in the average range of functioning. This indicates that S does not have a difficult time with his motor coordination.

Edited by SeaConquest

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1 minute ago, Lecka said:

I think maybe you could just not have him do the test in his outsourced math class, and then ignore the grade from the class, and give your own grade based on his performance.  

He doesn’t “have” to take the tests?  Will the charter allow this option?  

Kids in public school don’t all do the exact same thing especially when there is anxiety around timed tests.  Sometimes kids have an alternate assessment and aren’t even in the classroom during a timed test.  It exists!  

Edit:  I mean — the alternate assessment can be very informal or could be the teacher keeping track of skills demonstrated during homework or during discussion.  It doesn’t even have to be in the form of a test. 

Or you could just say — — you are following along and know he has the skills from seeing him get blue.  

Or you could give test questions in some low-stress way (not saying “it’s a test”) or more spread out (over days, done for review, etc).  

There are so many ways to get out of the “what score did you get on the test” box that are good fits for younger kids.  

Edit: what I mean is — sure, “extra time for the same thing” is one option.  But it’s not the only option.  What is the goal of taking the test?  I assume to demonstrate mastery.  There are other ways to demonstrate mastery, and that is just as valid.  If the goal is something different from “demonstrate mastery” — which it could be — and is fine — then there may be a specific reason to still do a test.  But it is not inherently something you have to do.  

Edit:  Also you are already doing things “out of the box” wrt his handwriting and seeing good results, so it sounds like “out of the box” is already working well and something you are already doing.  

 

I really like these ideas. I will talk to his professor. It's hard because the AoPS crowd is the math competition crowd, which is all about SPEED!!!! And my kid just isn't part of that crowd at all. I will approach him after PA and see what he says about making some changes for Algebra next year, especially since by then I will have some sort of 504 in hand (not that AoPS has to honor it, but still, now I have a dx and a paper -- both of which I didn't have at the beginning of the year).

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If it works out with the teacher that is great.  But some teachers are not as understanding or just get more frustrated.  Personality comes into it a lot.  A LOT.

I think it sounds like his fine motor is fine for grade-level but he is wanting to be performing above his grade level. 

The Eides website has a lot about dysgraphia.  Whether he “really” has dysgraphia or just a mismatch between what he wants to do and his fine motor ———— the main thing is accommodating and avoiding having him be frustrated or dumb down (to his writing level).  It sounds like you are doing this.  You may need to watch for it when looking for outsourced classes.  Alternative assessments, scribing, typing are all options.  

If he’s getting average scores it’s reasonable to me to think this mismatch will get better as he gets older and his averagely developing fine motor isn’t such a mismatch with his advanced areas. 

I agree with others!  He has great scores!  Some outside class or test is never going to be a referendum on that.  

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Your son sounds like he has some ambitious goals. He is, by age, a fourth grader, but he wants to pass the tests needed to get into college very early, if I am reading correctly. On the one hand, I think that is admirable and awesome!! On the other hand, I think that forging ahead too quickly may create problems down the line. He wants to take college science classes, but can he write a college-level lab report, for example? I am not intending at all to throw cold water on plans. Just offering some things to think about, as you work toward figuring out what is best for him.

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4 minutes ago, Lecka said:

If it works out with the teacher that is great.  But some teachers are not as understanding or just get more frustrated.  Personality comes into it a lot.  A LOT.

I think it sounds like his fine motor is fine for grade-level but he is wanting to be performing above his grade level. 

The Eides website has a lot about dysgraphia.  Whether he “really” has dysgraphia or just a mismatch between what he wants to do and his fine motor ———— the main thing is accommodating and avoiding having him be frustrated or dumb down (to his writing level).  It sounds like you are doing this.  You may need to watch for it when looking for outsourced classes.  Alternative assessments, scribing, typing are all options.  

If he’s getting average scores it’s reasonable to me to think this mismatch will get better as he gets older and his averagely developing fine motor isn’t such a mismatch with his advanced areas. 

I agree with others!  He has great scores!  Some outside class or test is never going to be a referendum on that.  

I had this thought, as well.

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His scores do seem to show the verbal- nonverbal gap common with NVLD. Since he is still young, I would just keep an eye out; for many with NVLD the social issues don't seem evident until they are in their teens. This article explains some of the social skills gaps that you can be aware of. Someone can be an extrovert and still have NVLD.  https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/nonverbal-learning-disabilities/understanding-nonverbal-learning-disabilities

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 I’m sorry if you already mentioned this.  Was he tested by a licensed clinical psychologist, or did you go through the school?  The school system does not diagnose.  Since you are expecting him to DE, he will require specific testing through a np.  Look at the cc/uni’s testing requirements which should be available online.  

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11 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

Your son sounds like he has some ambitious goals. He is, by age, a fourth grader, but he wants to pass the tests needed to get into college very early, if I am reading correctly. On the one hand, I think that is admirable and awesome!! On the other hand, I think that forging ahead too quickly may create problems down the line. He wants to take college science classes, but can he write a college-level lab report, for example? I am not intending at all to throw cold water on plans. Just offering some things to think about, as you work toward figuring out what is best for him.

 

Could he do something like this now without a lot of scaffolding? No. Could he do it by 8th grade? Yes, I think he could. He will have two years of Ms. Jetta (5th Physics, after a 3 week physics camp at CTY this summer) and Ms. Connie (6th Chem) to help ease him into lab report writing before he starts CC science classes 7th (Chem), 8th (Bio). He wants to start the physics sequence at UCSD once he is finished with Calc (likely in 9th). Again, that assumes current trajectory, but if he struggles, we would of course find something else for him to do.

https://www.hamilton.edu/documents/Sample Bio Lab Report.pdf

Edited by SeaConquest
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Just now, Heathermomster said:

 I’m sorry if you already mentioned this.  Was he tested by a licensed clinical psychologist, or did you go through the school?  The school system does not diagnose.  Since you are expecting him to DE, he will require specific testing through a np.  Look at the cc/uni’s testing requirements which should be available online.  

 

He was diagnosed with ADHD by a Kaiser developmental ped. That, in tandem with other concerns, prompted me to ask for the testing from the school psych. I will take the testing reports to his developmental ped when I see her next.

Edited by SeaConquest
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11 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

His scores do seem to show the verbal- nonverbal gap common with NVLD.

Another good reason to get that 2nd opinion with a private psych. 

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1 hour ago, SeaConquest said:

 He wants to be an astrogeneticist and to study both astrophysics and genetics. He enjoys math, but thus far, for the purpose of doing science vs. the pure math kids. Who knows once he gets exposed to higher level/more interesting math.  

He struggles with careless mistakes, executive functioning issues, slow processing, the physical act of writing, underperforming to ability (in my mind, but perhaps not -- this is where I struggle with expectation

 

I just bolded the areas that overlapped somewhat with my kid's experience -- With adhd and giftedness they can go so far in the areas that interest them. The ability to hyperfocus is amazing. BUT if it doesn't interest them (or, possibly in the math area if it interests them in a certain way - science related - but not math competition related), then all of those EF issues will crop up. They just can't focus,  and the fact that they are gifted and you feel like they SHOULD be doing well makes it even harder to understand the WHY.  I spent a lot of years thinking of my kid as lazy, messy, disorganized, not caring about school -- she didn't really start to shine until SHE got to choose what she studied.  

The physical act of writing I don't have any experience with, though I will say that my oldest was always public schooled and expected to write non-stop, while the youngers started homeschooling in 2nd and by 4th still had barely progressed past writing a paragraph. I commonly scribed for them -- my daughter in particular hated the physical act of writing. They learned early to type because it was so uncomfortable, though now in 7th there isn't as much an issue. 

 

Edited by SanDiegoMom in VA

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I think for his planned outsourced classes, especially the ones while he is younger, check up on if they will allow the same things you do right now for his handwriting.  You can ask if they have timed tests at all.  

You also can ask around if other parents of kids who are gifted/ADHD have found them a good fit.

You can ask the teachers if they have had students in the past with ADHD. 

These are fair things to ask and can help set up good situations.  

Like — now that you know some more things about him — maybe you won’t choose something that is more focused on speed.

You might have some new information now than you did when you looked into outsourced classes before.

I think it may matter less when he is older and he catches up with himself more.  

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10 minutes ago, SeaConquest said:

 I will approach him after PA and see what he says about making some changes for Algebra next year, especially since by then I will have some sort of 504 in hand (not that AoPS has to honor it, but still, now I have a dx and a paper -- both of which I didn't have at the beginning of the year).

 

Yours is a public charter and we have very similar public charter here in NorCal. The charter school ES doesn’t need to take the test scores from AoPS Academy. If you are using charter school funds to pay, AoPS as the vendor is obliged to provide a progress report. The charter schools decide what they want to do with vendors’ progress reports. Just saying you have room/flexibility there on what accommodations to ask for from both AoPS and the public charter.

My kid with the higher processing speed score was the one with trouble writing fast enough. His writing speed increased with age so all we needed was public school teachers accommodating typed homework until his writing speed caught up with age peers.  I don’t know if Sacha needs PT/OT for writing or it is purely a mismatch of him thinking faster than he could write. I had VT and PT for writing because my writing issue was both a vision and motor skills issue. 

The coding score and block design score are affected by both visual and motor skills. They are also timed tests.

36 minutes ago, SeaConquest said:

I'm not going to quote you, Arcadia, but your boys and S are not even in the same mental league. 

 

What I meant to say is that those WISC-V scores are not crave in stone. It is just scores for that moment in time. Even the WISC test admistrator would tell you that. Since a child can’t do WISC again until some time has passed, if your son does a different IQ test, he might get a totally different profile. 

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Yeah, I would be curious about the CTY if they are expecting him to write a lot.  It’s easy to ask!  If it’s set up to be advanced but also a fit for his age group, that could be all he needs.  You can find out.  But I think it is still worth it to inquire.  

If a lot of writing is expected, or if they expect most kids to be advanced in executive functioning type things, that could be a poor fit and lead to anxiety.

You hear a lot to expect executive functioning to be 2 years (or whatever) behind with ADHD, so if the CTY is geared towards kids who are advanced in their executive functioning, that could be a big mismatch.

It will depend on attitudes and how it is set up.  These are things you can ask, though.  

Keep in mind too, at this age (4th?) girls may be developing earlier and may be ahead in executive functioning compared to boys, even without ADHD.  It is an age like that. I have boy/girl twins who are in 4th grade right now, and my daughter is already tall and heading into that “older kid” stage and a lot of boys are not yet.  Plenty are, but — not the boys who have ever been “immature.”  

There may also be redshirting that make him younger, and this is an age where there is a big difference between slightly older and slightly younger kids.

But I think it could definitely be a great fit!  It’s just unknown I think, without checking into some things you may need to check on in the short term.

 

 

 

 

 

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He has been to CTY camp the past 2 years and it is geared to high-end public/private/international school kids, so there is a lot of writing involved compared to our homeschool. He has loved the camp and has asked to go back each year, but his evaluations have been the same each time (he is hit or miss on EF issues/completing homework assignments, but is a super enthusiastic science student who grasps the concepts). Now, that I know all of this, it makes sense. I just thought he was being lazy. 😞 I will talk to his CTY teacher this year about making some modifications, but honestly, S doesn't care if he doesn't get his all work done, or if his notes look like crap. It was me who cared! If I don't make a big deal out of it, and I talk to his professor about understanding the situation when writing his evals, then I doubt S will care one iota about the class demands. Sad to say, but he is probably picking up on some of the anxiety from yours truly (who does have a dx anxiety disorder). As much as I try to chill out around him, I will never be as much of a cool customer as my kid. Mea culpa! 

Please know that I am reading all of these comments and taking them all in. Thank you so much!!

Edited by SeaConquest

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I think there ARE a lot of teachers who have seen kids this way and are very patient and not too concerned, because they also see older kids who were the same way when they were younger.

That sounds good 🙂. It sounds like a real positive for him!  

A secret is.... teachers have different personalities and backgrounds etc, and some will find him very endearing because he reminds them of someone they know, or someone in their family, or they like very creative kids, is kids who are enthusiastic..... the same way some teachers may be more frustrated with him.  

But when you have had two go well in a row — I think it’s really likely that they hire looking for teachers who are going to be this way, to some extent.  

I have to say too, he may not even be frustrating to a teacher.  He may be completely fine and then just don’t take his written work or things like that personally, they might be more holistic about everything.  

I also think — maybe he isn’t doing anything that frustrates teachers at all, maybe it is the kind of things that will frustrate parents but not teachers.  

My oldest son has frustrated teachers sometimes, but with things you have not mentioned at all.  

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Really those are very good teacher comments 🙂

Edit — not to take things lightly, though — but still, those are very good comments.  

 

Edited by Lecka

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To be one the safe side, you might ask or look at materials, to see if there is any difference between the previous age groups and the current age groups.  

Sometimes there is a jump between 3rd and 4th.

And personally, for mixed age groups, watch out for being in the youngest age of an age group, especially if they might not divide groups by age (like if there is one group for 4th-6th — some things are set up that way).  

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But really I do think it sounds like a great fit!  It just puts my mind at ease, lol, to check on things, and these can be good things to check on.  

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7 hours ago, PeterPan said:

The processing speed is going to bog down his writing. So he may do well on bubble tests and struggle with tests requiring writing.

Is the doc handling the medications able to test attention or possibly processing speed before/after? My dd says the meds help her processing speed. I can even see a scenario where the dc is struggling with anxiety precisely BECAUSE of the low processing speed. My dd says the improvement in function she gets with the meds lowers her anxiety. 

We have issues in our home with anxiety being lower on ADHD meds, though it's not processing so much as general ability to pay attention. It really stinks to know what you need to do and not be able to make yourself do it! Meds help with that here.

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8 hours ago, SeaConquest said:

He struggles with careless mistakes, executive functioning issues, slow processing, the physical act of writing, underperforming to ability (in my mind, but perhaps not -- this is where I struggle with expectations), and anxiety on testing.

Do you have specifics of where you think he is underperforming? I know you mentioned something about writing stuff (below), but it really sounded to me like you were more worried about test anxiety. Other than writing falling apart without accommodations, did you have other underperformance concerns? I'm definitely not thinking he's underperforming at this point. I am more stunned at what he's accomplished and feeling like I should be more worried about the fact that my own 2e kids aren't accelerated. 😉 Mine are definitely underperforming for IQ, but they do have identifiable challenges that create havoc. 

8 hours ago, SeaConquest said:

The physical act of writing is what he finds difficult, so if he has to do it, it takes up so much of his mental bandwidth, that all of his other skills fall away (speed, spelling, grammar, structuring a paragraph, etc.) and what he churns out takes FOREVER and is just awful. Seriously. He could have dictated to me a better essay when he was 5.

6 hours ago, SeaConquest said:

Now, that I know all of this, it makes sense. I just thought he was being lazy. 😞

Could he be doing things like messy notes due to the fact that the writing is difficult--it doesn't have to be just one thing, like motor skills to be difficult. It can be a death of a thousand cuts sort of thing. The fact that it takes forever, the skills fall apart, and is not the caliber of what he could do verbally IS basically the definition of dysgraphia!!! 

Does he type well? Can he use dictation software? (I might have missed this part--sorry.) It really helps my kids to do some by hand and some by typing. Both of my kids have dysgraphia, and typing helps a lot. It took a LOT of frustration and work for my kids to have functional hand writing at all. For note-taking, could he learn to use a Livescribe pen? That might offload some of the handwriting--capturing some barebones notes by hand during the activity and then spending a few minutes listening and getting the rest down.

7 hours ago, SeaConquest said:

Overall, S’s visual motor integration performance was within the average range (SS: 94). He performed the same as or better than 34% of his same age peers. Average performance on the VMI suggests that S does not have difficulty performing written work in class compared to peers his same age. Fine motor skills indicate that Sacha should not have any difficulty performing the necessary tasks of copying and writing expected in class and that is required for the completion of homework. This is different then what parent and EF has reported, but consistent with academic assessment. It is suggested that general education writing accommodations be put in place due to EF and parent concerns, not assessment.

I unbolded your boldface so that I could bold my own portions. I feel like this statement could be more nuanced and generous than it is. It's not at all unusual, even with small hits to executive functioning, WM, motor skills, and processing (even if it's only a relative difference) to produce difficulties with these skills. I see that writing accommodations are still recommended, but it seems like the psych could've been more supportive in stating this. 

If you can find some descriptions online of different ways dysgraphia presents, I would ask to have that referenced in the 504. If your district will let you include your own observations in the report that leads to a 504 or IEP (504 sounds appropriate to me, FWIW), that might be a great place to note this and to bring in samples. 

One of the reasons psychs give reports is that the scores are not the whole story. The way this is phrased suggests that the psych isn't interested in using anecdotal information as part of the assessment, which kind of bugs me! 

I could be reading into this wrong though.

Sounds like your kiddo is going great places!

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Re underperforming, I don't know if it is just a mismatch between expectations and ability, or if he just sucks on tests or what. Examples: Math Kangaroo -- every.damn.year.year, I'm like WTF kid. He loves it, but he never does well. The SCAT for CTY -- he made seriously stupid mistakes. His AoPS tests -- he is just a ball of anxiety because of time pressure. And even his Woodcock Johnson scores seem crappy to me. The lady who tested him commented that he topped out in the math section at the point where he didn't know the cube root of 1000. I'm like, whaaaaat? He knows the cube root of 1000. I asked him in the car and he's like, of course I know that, 10. I'm like, so why did you miss it? He argued with me about whether he actually missed it. He didn't believe me. Same with slope of a line, which he also knows. He also misses a stupid word that he knows how to spell during the spelling bee. I don't know if he just spaces out or what. But yeah, underperformance. You can almost set your watch to it. But then, that sounds ludicrous because he is ahead, so I can't be upset about it. And yet, it bugs me because I'm a Hermione Granger ubercompetitive type myself (while my kid is not; he just likes to participate, which does not compute for me).

He types well, so that is what we've been doing. I am not sure if he has dysgraphia because he seems to be doing well enough on the WJ writing fluency and those other tests. But yeah, I agree with you. I want her to phrase the report differently to support accommodations. I just don't know how to tell a school psych what to write. I wish I had some examples.

 

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15 minutes ago, SeaConquest said:

And even his Woodcock Johnson scores seem crappy to me. The lady who tested him commented that he topped out in the math section at the point where he didn't know the cube root of 1000. I'm like, whaaaaat? He knows the cube root of 1000. I asked him in the car and he's like, of course I know that, 10. I'm like, so why did you miss it? He argued with me about whether he actually missed it. He didn't believe me. Same with slope of a line, which he also knows. He also misses a stupid word that he knows how to spell during the spelling bee. I don't know if he just spaces out or what.

You just described ADHD with low processing speed. So yes, as he fatigues, he's going to lose attention and make errors and under-perform. A better tester could have broken up the sections, done breaks, etc. 

So again, you could get a 2nd opinion with a psych who specializes in gifted. You know his IQ his is high, basically in the profoundly gifted range, but you don't know how all these other issues come together. That psych might be cheaper than you think, maybe even $100-ish an hour for some clinical psychs. They aren't always neuropsychs. Here's the link https://www.hoagiesgifted.org/psychologists.htm

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3 hours ago, kbutton said:

Fine motor skills indicate that Sacha should not have any difficulty performing the necessary tasks of copying and writing expected in class and that is required for the completion of homework. This is different then what parent and EF has reported, but consistent with academic assessment. It is suggested that general education writing accommodations be put in place due to EF and parent concerns, not assessment.

I lifted this from kbutton's post, but it is actually from the report. I am reading that last sentence to be saying that the school SHOULD provide accommodations, based on parent observation. Instead of deciding that accommodations are not needed, due to the assessment.

So it seems that the report IS advocating that the student be provided accommodations. Right?

I agree that it could be worded more clearly, though.

Edited by Storygirl

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I have had wording like that and it has been fine — but we have already had an IEP.  

Basically — they write their report and they go in order from test results, to teacher observations, to parent observations.

Its like they have 3 pieces of paper in front of them and they go through and say what each piece of paper said.

I have had one where the teacher and parent observations matched on everything, except for one thing, and they put that same kind of wording.  

I think if this is how a lot of IEP stuff is written, everyone will understand.  

I hope so!  

 

 

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