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In the Bight

Language arts help for new homeschooler?

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Hello! I hope this is the best place to post. I’ve been reading these boards for the last few weeks and am so impressed by the level of knowledge and experience shared here.

My son is in 9 years old and in 4th grade, but is behind where he should be in most subjects. He has ADHD and has also been diagnosed with ASD. We’re seeking a second opinion on the ASD diagnosis, along with a full evaluation for other behavioural and learning disabilities, but can’t get in until October. He was evaluated through the school system last year and wasn’t diagnosed with any learning disabilities.

He has been in public school up until now, but has been going for partial days since December, taking English language arts and math at school and everything else at home. As of this week, I’m officially homeschooling full time.

I’ve been doing some extra math with him at home (Math-U-See), which has been going well so I plan to continue with that. Language arts is where I’m really at a loss and could use some direction. I’ve been afraid of doing it “wrong” or messing up what he’s been learning at school. We haven’t done anything at home with him except what his teachers have sent home (reading books at his level and some comprehension worksheets) and reading to him. He loves being read to, his listening comprehension is great, and he never has any trouble answering comprehension questions about what he reads. His actual reading doesn’t seem to have improved this year and his teacher’s evaluation says his reading is at Level K, which is 2nd grade level. He’s done very little writing because he is so resistant at school. I don’t believe he’s worked on much spelling or grammar at school, and we haven’t done any at home.

I’ve spent some time reading through language arts-related threads, but I have to admit that most here on the Learning Challenges board have gone way over my head. From some of the other threads, it seems like most people use multiple programs to cover the different aspects of language arts? I’m having trouble figuring out what that should look like for my son and which programs would be best for him, so could really use some help.

Reading/phonics is definitely going to be our major focus, but there are so many programs to choose from – I’m not sure whether to be looking at the $$$ special needs reading programs, ones that are recommended for kids with learning disabilities, etc. Can you recommend what type of program would be best or a specific program to start with?

In terms of the other areas of language arts, what should we focus on? I’m not requiring him to read or write in other subjects, so I would like for us to work up to about an hour of language arts per day. He works hard and can focus when he’s set up for success, so I do expect that he’ll make more progress at home than he has at school, I’m just really not sure where to focus our energy. For example, should I choose a writing program and scribe for him so he can learn how to compose paragraphs? Or is that something we wait on until he can write independently?

I really appreciate any advice or resources you can share about what language arts should look like, and any specific program recommendations are very welcome.

Thank you!

Beth 
 

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3 hours ago, In the Bight said:

We’re seeking a second opinion on the ASD diagnosis, along with a full evaluation for other behavioural and learning disabilities,

I've seen stats on % of kids who get their ps ASD diagnosis confirmed after private re-evals, and the stats are pretty high. Do you have reason to think the diagnosis is *incorrect* or incomplete? Was he given an IEP and what was his disabling condition on that and what was the support level (1-3) that they assigned?

The ps has the problem with ps diagnosis of SLDs is that they are asking what they have to INTERVENE on, not what's actually happening. And the tendency in the autism community is to put academic goals into the IEP but simply say the kid has ASD and need goals, rather than calling it a separate SLD. So how that is handled can vary, honestly. If they said ASD, it may or may not be necessary or useful to call things out as separate SLDs. Difficulties are already assumed. 

What language testing has he had? You're talking language arts, but you need to know his support level (which implies affect on language honestly) and THOROUGH LANGUAGE TESTING. So right now, if you want to change your ability to help him pronto, the best thing you could do is get really thorough language testing. You probably don't need the 2nd round of psych testing. Are you going to a pdoc for medication? Then that would be worth it. But it doesn't matter at this point if it's called SLD or not, if it's called ODD or not. If he's having anxiety and you want medication or biomedical, you could pursue that. 

The two things that will make the BIGGEST DIFFERENCE for you right now are:

-behavioral intervention with a BCBA or behaviorist, preferably one who is cool with homeschooling. Ours is a behaviorist, not BCBA, and she's great with homeschooling, services a lot of homeschoolers

-thorough language testing by SLP. You want expressive language, something like the SPELT, and narrative language, either dynamic or with the TNL. There's some other stuff they can do, sure. (TOPS, SLDT, blah blah)

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You have other kids you're teaching?

Did he do any form of echolalia or repeated language? If he did, that can be an indication he was learning language whole to parts instead of parts to whole, which will glitch so many things. And some kids have very little effect on language and some have significant effect. People *assumed* my ds didn't have language issues because he was using massive amounts of memorized language. 

paragraphs--->sentences--->phrases--->words--->bits of words

So if he memorized language this way, his brain might not have broken down all the steps. So it will look like lots of separate problems, when it's all a language learning problem. Spelling is the bits of words, but a kid won't notice them if his brain is processing on that more macro level.

So if you do the detailed language testing (not more general tests with low sensitivity like the CELF) you can catch these issues. I don't know if it's an issue for your dc, just saying that's what you're wanting to make sure is NOT an issue. If there is that language issue, you'll be working on tons of separate areas and never dealing with the key that would unlock everything. And with my ds we had no clue. He was listening to Great Courses lectures at age 5 and enjoying them. We had NO CLUE his language deficits were so significant, till he failed the SPELT at age 9. Even the SLP who was working with him on his apraxia had no clue. She was horrified. 

It will take some work to find an SLP who has these tests, honestly. Our state's autism center has a lending library, and the SLP can borrow them through a service like that. An SLP who will run this kind of detailed testing for expressive language, narrative language, etc. will give you much more ACTIONABLE information than the psych evals will. 

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3 hours ago, In the Bight said:

He works hard and can focus when he’s set up for success, so I do expect that he’ll make more progress at home than he has at school, I’m just really not sure where to focus our energy. For example, should I choose a writing program and scribe for him so he can learn how to compose paragraphs? Or is that something we wait on until he can write independently?

This is really good! Sometimes you just have to try something and see what works and what doesn't. Everybody has their gig and what they think will fit. There are your ASD1 kids who seemingly can use almost anything, don't have as much affect on language. You may be able to use Abeka, anything you want. With my ds, ASD2 and diagnosed language disability (among other things, haha), he has a long IEP and gets a lot of customization. I use workbooks that I buy from Evan Moor, Teacher Created Materials, etc. I go through them and find the exact things. 

I tend not to do isolated LA pages, because the instruction doesn't typically fit my ds. Once I've taught the skill another way, then I come in with workbooks to practice that skill. My ds enjoys science, so right now I have him doing several science workbooks from Evan Moor and Teacher Created. He's also doing geography and social studies workbooks from them. They're all Common Core correlated materials, and they really work that language to make sure he can understand and THINK. 

3 hours ago, In the Bight said:

His actual reading doesn’t seem to have improved this year and his teacher’s evaluation says his reading is at Level K, which is 2nd grade level.

You'd like a CTOPP and a quick test of reading achievement like the DAR to see where he's at. If you find an SLP who specializes in literacy, they should be able to do the CTOPP or the TILLS, something for narrative language, something for expressive language, etc. You really could use some data here. 

There's another test, name slips my mind. I did it earlier in the year. Technically he's pretty young for it but it was only $5. The name is so gone from my mind. It was online... 

3 hours ago, In the Bight said:

he never has any trouble answering comprehension questions about what he reads.

That's fabulous!! That gives you a lot to work with.

3 hours ago, In the Bight said:

He’s done very little writing because he is so resistant at school.

What happens if you scribe? And does his engagement with the material make a difference? A lot of ps writing is open-ended and a nightmare. You might have more success with narration or an approach with more structure like IEW, the progymnasta series from CAP, Writing Tales, whatever. If he has narrative language deficits, you'll back up further. So I guess get your testing and see what the data says.

3 hours ago, In the Bight said:

Reading/phonics is definitely going to be our major focus, but there are so many programs to choose from

You might do the Barton screening tool, just because it's free. Beyond that, I would not pay for any intervention program until you have that data from the SLP. If you get the right SLP and they actually run the things I listed, you'll learn MORE than if you use a psych. Now there are genius psychs who actually do better testing, lol, but good luck finding one. More often they just do the stupid CELF, which has poor sensitivity and misses kids. There's the CELF-Metalinguistics, and that would be worth doing if you want, sure. 

So anyways, you don't know how many factors are going into this. You could probably get into an SLP within a month once you find the right person. In the meantime, I would do basics like having him narrate, writing down his narrations, talking about your day, playing language games together, etc.

3 hours ago, In the Bight said:

I’m not requiring him to read or write in other subjects,

Like I said, I ramp up the science and social studies because it's a way to sneak in reading and language work without letting it get tedious. You want to stay high interest. There's amazing stuff out there, like a historical photo study, document based questions, all kinds of stuff.

3 hours ago, In the Bight said:

I do expect that he’ll make more progress at home than he has at school, I’m just really not sure where to focus our energy.

Absolutely! And we'll talk about the idea of pivotal response therapies and looking for things that are pivotal. What are his WORST issues right now, and what skill/area could you unlock that would make a bunch of things go better? IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE ACADEMICS. It could be self-regulation or working from a list or whatever, anything. For my ds it was calming, self-regulation, so we were prioritizing things that gave him language, helped him realize how his body felt, helped him have skills to do to calm (read comics, play cards...). 

Did we link you the Barton student screening? I'm being lazy, so you can google. It's NOT a dyslexia test or CTOPP or any such thing. It would be nice to have that data before deciding on the reading. In think if you want a free stopgap measure in the meantime, you could go to the library and get WRTR (Writing Road to Reading) or OPGTR and see how they do for him. And if you're like no, doing things where he fails is BAD, then I would kill time until you can get that data. You would need a reading tutor who does testing or an SLP who specializes in dyslexia. I would not wait for the psych, because you're likely to be disappointed. And without that data, you're kind of shooting in the dark. It's ok to try any normal reading program, but if failing or changing gears will be a problem than wait and get data.

In the meantime, look into Story Grammar Marker and see where you think he would fall in the stages of narrative development. That will tell you a lot.

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Wow, thank you for taking the time to respond and break all of that down! I really appreciate it!

1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

I've seen stats on % of kids who get their ps ASD diagnosis confirmed after private re-evals, and the stats are pretty high. Do you have reason to think the diagnosis is *incorrect* or incomplete? Was he given an IEP and what was his disabling condition on that and what was the support level (1-3) that they assigned?

 

My son was diagnosed through the public healthcare system (Canada) just over 3 years ago. The ASD team told us up front that they only assess for ASD and wouldn't diagnose any other issues, so we walked away feeling like we had a few pieces of the puzzle in place and still had more to figure out. Now, my husband is fairly convinced that our son doesn't have ASD, and I'm on the fence. Several professionals who've worked with our son feel the same way and are supportive of pursuing a more complete assessment. We adopted him just before he turned 3, and we want to at least be able to discuss the attachment/trauma piece with a professional who will take the time to help us sort it out. I think we'll feel much more comfortable knowing that someone has assessed all of his needs, rather than just looking at the pieces that fit ASD (or ADHD, or LD, etc.). 

He's had an IEP since kindergarten, originally for "social/emotional developmental delay". It was updated when he was diagnosed with ADHD and then ASD. We never got a support level, but the report from the ASD team specifies "without accompanying intellectual or language impairment". 

1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

What language testing has he had? You're talking language arts, but you need to know his support level (which implies affect on language honestly) and THOROUGH LANGUAGE TESTING. So right now, if you want to change your ability to help him pronto, the best thing you could do is get really thorough language testing. You probably don't need the 2nd round of psych testing. Are you going to a pdoc for medication? Then that would be worth it. But it doesn't matter at this point if it's called SLD or not, if it's called ODD or not. If he's having anxiety and you want medication or biomedical, you could pursue that. 

The two things that will make the BIGGEST DIFFERENCE for you right now are:

-behavioral intervention with a BCBA or behaviorist, preferably one who is cool with homeschooling. Ours is a behaviorist, not BCBA, and she's great with homeschooling, services a lot of homeschoolers

-thorough language testing by SLP. You want expressive language, something like the SPELT, and narrative language, either dynamic or with the TNL. There's some other stuff they can do, sure. (TOPS, SLDT, blah blah)

 

Thank you for such thorough information on all this language stuff!  

Of all the issues associated with ASD, I have to admit that I've always thought of language as the least of our worries. He was below average in some areas when he was tested at 4 but didn't qualify for speech therapy, then scored average or above average on the language testing at age 6 & 8 - the CELF, PPVT, EVT, and some oral language from the academic assessment. There are definitely times when he shuts down and isn't able to use language, but I've felt like he has age-appropriate language skills in most situations. I've never noticed repetitive speech patterns, but they did check off that box on his ASD evaluation, so I may be a poor judge. 

Any tests that aren't part of a standard SLP assessment will likely be hard to track down in our area, and private SLPs tend to have long waiting lists. I can ask the elementary school SLP whether there's anything she can do to assess his expressive and narrative language skills or if she has any of the tools you mentioned. That would definitely be our fastest route because he's still technically a student there.  

And just now, I've found a private SLP about 2.5 hours away who "specializes in reading, writing and spelling difficulties/disorders and is an Associate with the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators and a Certified Dyslexia Practitioner with the International Dyslexia Association"! So I'll reach out to her as well to see when she's next available. Might as well get on a waiting list!

I have actually looked at Barton and thought about giving him the screening, but then thought that if he had dyslexia the educational psychologist would have caught it last year? I do have the report here and can see if one of the SLPs is able to advise me on that. Or I can do the screening because that will be faster. 😊

3 hours ago, PeterPan said:

This is really good! Sometimes you just have to try something and see what works and what doesn't. Everybody has their gig and what they think will fit. There are your ASD1 kids who seemingly can use almost anything, don't have as much affect on language. You may be able to use Abeka, anything you want. With my ds, ASD2 and diagnosed language disability (among other things, haha), he has a long IEP and gets a lot of customization. I use workbooks that I buy from Evan Moor, Teacher Created Materials, etc. I go through them and find the exact things. 

I tend not to do isolated LA pages, because the instruction doesn't typically fit my ds. Once I've taught the skill another way, then I come in with workbooks to practice that skill. My ds enjoys science, so right now I have him doing several science workbooks from Evan Moor and Teacher Created. He's also doing geography and social studies workbooks from them. They're all Common Core correlated materials, and they really work that language to make sure he can understand and THINK. 

 

Okay, this is great and a bit of a relief to hear. I was looking at some of those workbooks, and might even have them in my shopping cart. We've completed the local Grade 4 social studies curriculum, so I'm definitely going to go ahead and get the geography book, and might try a few others. He likes worksheets as long as they don't have too much writing, so I think we have a few options there. 

6 hours ago, PeterPan said:

What happens if you scribe? And does his engagement with the material make a difference? A lot of ps writing is open-ended and a nightmare. You might have more success with narration or an approach with more structure like IEW, the progymnasta series from CAP, Writing Tales, whatever. If he has narrative language deficits, you'll back up further. So I guess get your testing and see what the data says.

 

The only time I've scribed for him is on comprehension homework sheets that require 1-2 sentence responses, and he's done great with those. For writing at school, they've been trying to get him to use a voice-to-text app without any success. I think it's the open-ended nightmare that you described - he's faced with a completely blank page, or screen, he just shuts down. He did more writing last year because someone would scribe for him and prompt him for one idea or sentence at a time. He definitely does better with more direction, and being asked to come up with his own topic or to write about something he likes just stresses him out. 

5 hours ago, PeterPan said:

You have other kids you're teaching?

Thankfully, no! I just left my job in December to be home with him, and he's plenty of work on his own. 😂 My other school-aged kids are in public school, and the youngest starts in September. 

Thanks again! 

Beth

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1 hour ago, In the Bight said:

Now, my husband is fairly convinced that our son doesn't have ASD, and I'm on the fence. 

Not sure what to say about the Canada thing btw. It seems like some people in your country get great help and that people in other provinces get frustration. 

As far as your dh, is he on the spectrum? That would be a reason why he's missing it. Or he's got some male pride or something. It was already diagnosed, so it's illogical to try to undiagnose him. How old was he at the time of diagnosis? It's fine to get a 2nd opinion, but I'm just saying save yourself the grief and get off this whole believe, don't believe, disagree in the marriage train. Say somebody else decided to call it ADHD with social delay. IT WOULDN'T MATTER. The interventions are the same, the MRI scans show the same parts of the brain affected for social thinking, and the symptoms that got him the diagnosis are the same. 

ASD is a more global explanation that gets you better access to services and opens more doors. It would be FOOLISH to try to undo this by pursuing evals, withholding information (which he could conceivably do while filling out forms, since he now doesn't like the diagnosis), etc. Are you paying for this? If you are, then my advice, having btdt on this very issue, is to get a BCBA or someone with significant experience with autism. Let them come into your home and let them spend hours with him. Psychs see a kid for just a few hours. Bring that BCBA into your home and let them see it all, all the behaviors, how he really is. Then see what they say.

My ds had an initial diagnosis we thought was incomplete, but when I had professionals (administrators in social skills programs, etc.) saying it's clearly ASD, you need to get a 2nd opinion my dh started to say I was diagnosis shopping. The ps tried to say that. Well we now have 3 psychs in a row and a behaviorist all agreeing it's ASD and putting the support level at 2. Kinda makes you wonder how the first psych couldn't see it. He just wouldn't listen, didn't do the testing himself, on and on, don't get me started.

So why open yourself to that and make problems for your ds? What testing did they run the first time? Did they do an ADOS? Did you as parents fill out behavioral forms? Now the behaviorist brought development forms like the Vineland, scales for adaptive living, etc. There was all kinds of data in there that were were able to provide that made it SO clear it was autism. But it wasn't stuff typically a psych would do, because it's more kinda in the trenches.

1 hour ago, In the Bight said:

ASD team specifies "without accompanying intellectual or language impairment". 

Famous last words, lol, Really though, there are profiles that don't seem to have significant language impairment. The metalinguistics will typically be affected but not the rest. Google CELF Metalinguistics to see what is on that test.

1 hour ago, In the Bight said:

. I can ask the elementary school SLP whether there's anything she can do to assess his expressive and narrative language skills or if she has any of the tools you mentioned. That would definitely be our fastest route because he's still technically a student there.  

Ooo, that sounds like a good plan! 

1 hour ago, In the Bight said:

And just now, I've found a private SLP about 2.5 hours away who "specializes in reading, writing and spelling difficulties/disorders and is an Associate with the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators and a Certified Dyslexia Practitioner with the International Dyslexia Association"! So I'll reach out to her as well to see when she's next available. Might as well get on a waiting list!

That sounds promising.

1 hour ago, In the Bight said:

I have actually looked at Barton and thought about giving him the screening, but then thought that if he had dyslexia the educational psychologist would have caught it last year? I do have the report here and can see if one of the SLPs is able to advise me on that. Or I can do the screening because that will be faster.

The screening is NOT for dyslexia, only to see if he has the requisite skills in phonological processing and working memory even to do an OG program. As far as the ed psych, well I guess that depends on whether he actually ran a CTOPP or TILLS or something that would have given him some data to diagnose a reading disability, lol.

1 hour ago, In the Bight said:

Thankfully, no! I just left my job in December to be home with him, and he's plenty of work on his own. 😂 My other school-aged kids are in public school, and the youngest starts in September. 

Sounds like you're going to have a fun, busy year! 

Ok, let's just say his support level is 1 and his profile is that sort of Aspie, no significant language delay kinda thing. There are still going to be some patterns to watch out for, and I'm not the best one to speak to them. You can look at some of Kbutton's posts, but also just google aspergers reading comprehension, aspergers writing, that kind of thing and see what pops up. You're looking for things like understanding main point vs. details, how they're going to organize their argument, b&w thinking, getting stuck on one pet detail and missing the entire POINT of the text, that kind of thing. There are going to be some specific issues like that that are pretty common with his profile. Then you'll be able to target them in your assignments. There isn't going to be an autism writing curriculum, haha, but you can make sure you're working on those issues with whatever approach you us.

MindWing Concepts has an ASD kit. I'm not necessarily saying *buy* it, but I would definitely suggest you go over and LOOK at it, see everything you can learn for free, read their blog... You're going to have some trial and error where you try some tasks and go ok, why isn't this working, then back up and find a solution. 

Edited by PeterPan
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It can be really hard for parents to feel that they don't have a complete grasp of the issues their child faces and want additional evaluations. I get that. In fact, I have just been setting up additional evaluations for DS15 this very week, and for the exact reasons you mention -- we want someone who will look at his entire picture and not just investigate one particular problem.

But I am also in the opposite position than you are. DS15 already has a slew of individual labels, and we are having him evaluated for autism.

I'll be honest with you; I agree with PeterPan about accepting the autism evaluation. That diagnosis opens doors to services that can be closed when you don't have the diagnosis. We are seeking the autism screening for DS15 not because he needs that label right now (he gets a lot of help in his IEP at school), but for his benefit as he moves out of childhood into adult life. He will have access to many more supports as an ADULT with the ASD diagnosis than he will without it.

I would never want to undo an autism diagnosis, for that reason. We've lived in limbo land for all of these years so far and know what it is is like to try to get help and answers without the overaching diagnosis.

We are HOPING for an autism diagnosis, as crazy as that may sound. For someone in my position, knowing that someone else would like to have an autism diagnosis expunged ..... it's hard to comprehend the benefit of that.

When/if DS15 gets his diagnosis, it won't make the other labels he already has invalid. We still are glad to have the breakdown of all of his individual issues, because they need to be addressed as individual issues. But it will give him help and protections that he is not eligible for right now, without the diagnosis.

Don't just think about what seems comfortable to you and your DH. Think about what will best set your son up for his future as an adult, when he has to manage on his own without you, but still needs extra supports. Where will those supports come from? He is more likely to have access to them with the autism diagnosis.

I think it is appropriate to seek additional evaluations when more answers are needed. I think finding someone who can take a comprehensive look at everything is valuable.

For what it's worth, there are a lot of people who would be surprised that we think DS15 has autism, and there have been people who have outright told us that they don't think he has it, and there have been days and times when even I have thought, "No, he is not seeming autistic today," and I have suspected autism since he was a toddler. It's normal for kids with high functioning autism to often NOT seem autistic and to pass for neurotypical among peers. And there are plenty of people who are diagnosed with autism when they are teens or adults, whose parents are taken by surprise by the diagnosis, because the parents didn't recognize the signs.

Autism can be tricky that way, which is why it takes a professional to sift it out. You've had a professional evaluation, and unless you felt they did things wrong, I would trust it. It's possible that they missed things, and that there are other issues co-mingled, such as adoption trauma or attachment (my kids were adopted, too). But those extra issues wouldn't render the ASD diagnosis wrong.

I don't know. I am just a stranger on the internet who has never met you or your son and knows nothing about him other than what you posted, and you can feel free to disregard my opinion.

But just consider the value and protection of that diagnosis for your son's future needs as an adult, before you attempt to undo it while he is still very young.

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About the learning issues and language arts...

From what you write, I would suspect dysgraphia. DS15 and DD13 both have dysgraphia. For DD13, it is related to her dyslexia. For DS15, it is related to being able to get his thoughts onto paper. So my two kids with writing issues have two different root causes of the issues. Difficulty with writing can be tricky to sort out.

And when kids are young, sometimes schools don't recognize it, because they are at an age where there is a great spread of writing ability among the same aged peers who don't have an underlying learning disability.

But I see red flags for dysgraphia in your post. How is your son's handwriting? Difficulty with handwriting and difficulty getting thoughts onto paper often go hand in hand, but sometimes a student will have one or the other, instead of both troubles.

At age 9 and fourth grade, your son is just at the cusp of the time where remediation work on handwriting can still be beneficial, so I would jump on that, if you need to. There have been some people here on the LC boards who have posted about their work on handwriting in great detail, for example the poster exercise guru. You can sift through old posts on old threads, or maybe start a thread with the word "handwriting" in the title.  You can also google dysgraphia and see what others do to help.

Using different types of writing implements can help. Teaching a different handwriting style might help. Doing large motor arm exercises might help. And so on.

DS15 was evaluated by the school during fifth grade, and his evaluation acknowledged his difficulties, but they said he was too old (and his handwriting was mainly legible) to have an expectation for improvement in his handwriting. So they gave him a ton of accommodations to work around his difficulty with handwriting. It was a huge list of things the OT put in his IEP.

So you are just about to the age when there is a switch to accommodating the handwriting difficulty instead of trying to fix it.

That's why I say that if handwriting is an issue, I would work on it ASAP, either yourself or by hiring an OT to give him therapy and teach you what to do at home.

Then for getting thoughts onto paper, there are many other things that can be helpful, as well, such as using graphic organizers, teaching typing, breaking writing assignments into smaller chunks, allowing oral answers sometimes instead of written ones, scribing, speech to text software, and so on and so forth. Writing instruction will need to be very direct and specific and taken at a slow pace.

Once he can write a sentence, I recommend Writing Skills book A by Diana Hanbury King. This book offers incremental writing instruction, but you would still need to add in the extra supports that I mention in the previous paragraph, because all of that help is not built in. There are other writing programs you could try, as well, that others might recommend, but Writing Skills is what I used with DS15 in fourth grade, and I liked it's approach. I still had to modify it, and I needed to add in the editing process, because each lesson stops after the paragraph is written for the first time, and we needed to consider that a rough draft and revise it. It's a workbook, and you might find that some things are better written on separate paper or typed. In other words, it's not perfect and has to be tweaked for someone with dysgraphia, but it would give you a framework and a starting place to build from.

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I know you weren't asking for an opinion from anyone about the autism question.

It's just that it really hit home for me. We've been going around in circles for a dozen years with the does-he-or-does-he-not fit the autism profile merry go round, and so I know what it's like to have a kid on that border of the spectrum who also has other complicated issues and NOT have the diagnosis. And it has been a hard place to be, frankly. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

And I'm not the only one on the boards who has a kid in that in-between land without a diagnosis who finds it frustrating.

So I just see the value in the diagnosis, especially as we stare down the barrel at looming adulthood, when DS will no longer have available help in the form of the school, and in the form of parents overseeing his medical care, and in the form of parents providing all of his material support. Employment is a huge, huge, huge, huge, huge (did I say HUGE) issue for kids on the border of the spectrum, who don't qualify as being disabled yet can't hold down a job or can't get hired. Having the diagnosis can be key for getting help from outside the family. And I don't know about you, but I want DS to be able to be as independent as possible as an adult.

I worry about it daily. We've made deliberate and difficult decisions (we moved) to get him in position for getting the best help with employment as an adult, and he just turned 15.

So I am admitting that I am giving you a response based out of my personal reactions. Perhaps what I am saying won't ring bells with you. But I thought it might be helpful for you to hear from someone who is a little further down the path.

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Also, about comprehension. It's great that he is having no problems with it. But keep an eye on it.

DS15 seemed fine with comprehension until about age 9, as well. And then it became his most pressing academic problem (because comprehension affects every subject, even math and science).

I think it's partly because I was not aware of what to look for. DS15 could tell me all sorts of details from stories, so I thought he was understanding. But it turns out that he remembers details, but he has trouble connecting them together to make sense of the big picture. As books start to increase in complexity after third grade, it becomes trickier for someone to get what is going on, when they hear the details but don't know what they mean.

Comprehension quizzes and worksheets can be misleading, because they can be kind of fill in the blank or multiple choice, and a kid who remembers details can pass those.

So whatever you choose for reading instruction, make sure you are asking the "what does this mean" kind of questions. And "why did the character do that." DS15 struggled with figures of speech, any language that was inferential, understanding character motivations, understanding what was happening with flashbacks, vocabulary that has more than one meaning, figuring out who was talking when there is no attribution indicating who said what, knowing who the pronouns referred to, and background knowledge. he would also get stuck on little details, like when a character says something funny, and he remembered what the character said but couldn't tell you the importance of what was happening in the plot or to the characters. Understanding the story's theme or message requires being able to see the whole picture, so that was hard.

All of these things ramp up in books around the third and fourth grade level, so keep a close eye on the greater understanding.

This kind of comprehension problem is fairly common in kids with autism.

I liked CLE's reading program, because it works on learning how to think about things like figurative language. It comes with a workbook, but you could do the questions orally. The stories are in a reading textbook and feature rural Mennonite characters learning lessons about getting along with others, etc., so it's not great literature, but it gives a structure for the parent to work on reading and comprehension skills in small, incremental ways.

I used it in third and fourth grades, I think, and then DS15 went to school, so we stopped using it.

It may not be what your son needs, but I will throw it out there as an option to look at. You can see samples online at their website. www.clp.org  .

Some parents can take a novel and just read it and discuss it with their child and have that be the literature lesson. Some kids need more, and some homeschooling parents need more structure provided for them that that. I wanted to be able to take the read-good-books-and-discuss approach, because I was a lit major, and actually I have a master's degree in children's literature, so my vision was that my kids would thrive as I just shared my love of reading and books with them. But they didn't thrive with that approach, and I had to switch gears. I found CLE reading (NOT the language arts program, which is grammar and I wouldn't recommend, though we used it for my oldest) to be helpful.

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Love everything Story said, and she's really right in the trenches on that. As far as the handwriting, my ds has struggled and it turns out he has poor VMI (visual motor integration) despite several years of OT, sigh. That at least gives us something concrete to work on. I got that testing through a developmental optometrist, but apparently it's testing an OT could/should have done.

If you compare what the SLPs call vocabulary, concepts, attributes, etc. to your ASD language interventions (Verbal Behavior approach, VB-MAPP ,etc.) they're just using different words for the SAME THINGS. Data now saves heartbreak later.

I'm linking Rothstein below. It's oop and that's how I found it, as a pdf online. The version on Linguisystems right now is a different author, radically different text. I LOVE this book. I expanded each section with https://www.linguisystems.com/Products/31856/spotlight-on-vocabulary-level-1-6book-set.aspx

Remember, attributes=adjectives. Functions=verbs. Categories will drive his ability to pick up his room, realize what is relevant/extraneous in his paper, etc. etc. So holes at this level will drive heartbreak the rest of the way. Not all kids with ASD will need this, but given how much he's pushing back against writing and that he's struggling at the bits of words level, it would be good to check. This https://www.linguisystems.com/Products/31162/sparc-for-grammar.aspx  also pushed the window on how I saw these skills interconnecting, because he needed to use them in narratives, etc. Sometimes kids understand components but aren't using them independently, so it walks you through the process from understanding at the word level to using it in sentences to using it in narratives.

Anyways, here's Rothstein. 

http://www.e4thai.com/e4e/images/pdf2/100_vocabulary_primary.pdf

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https://www.cabarrus.k12.nc.us/cms/lib09/NC01910456/Centricity/Domain/2627/Leveled Comprehension Questions.pdf

This is a sample of the kinds of comprehension questions that go with Fountas and Pinnell levels.

I would ask the teacher, why is he in level K?  Is he in Level K because of how he reads out loud, or is he in Level K because of how he answers comprehension questions?

If it’s because of comprehension questions, what kind of questions does he miss? 

You can also ask what the answers need to include to be counted as correct. 

If the teacher says he does well on the comprehension questions for level K but it is the reading out loud, then that is good information also.  

You can also ask, because I get confused by this, but if he is in level K, is that his independent reading level, and his instructional level is higher?  

Whoever did his reading benchmark assessment can probably tell you more about this.  

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15 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Not sure what to say about the Canada thing btw. It seems like some people in your country get great help and that people in other provinces get frustration. 

As far as your dh, is he on the spectrum? That would be a reason why he's missing it. Or he's got some male pride or something. It was already diagnosed, so it's illogical to try to undiagnose him. How old was he at the time of diagnosis? It's fine to get a 2nd opinion, but I'm just saying save yourself the grief and get off this whole believe, don't believe, disagree in the marriage train. Say somebody else decided to call it ADHD with social delay. IT WOULDN'T MATTER. The interventions are the same, the MRI scans show the same parts of the brain affected for social thinking, and the symptoms that got him the diagnosis are the same. 

ASD is a more global explanation that gets you better access to services and opens more doors. It would be FOOLISH to try to undo this by pursuing evals, withholding information (which he could conceivably do while filling out forms, since he now doesn't like the diagnosis), etc. Are you paying for this? If you are, then my advice, having btdt on this very issue, is to get a BCBA or someone with significant experience with autism. Let them come into your home and let them spend hours with him. Psychs see a kid for just a few hours. Bring that BCBA into your home and let them see it all, all the behaviors, how he really is. Then see what they say.

My ds had an initial diagnosis we thought was incomplete, but when I had professionals (administrators in social skills programs, etc.) saying it's clearly ASD, you need to get a 2nd opinion my dh started to say I was diagnosis shopping. The ps tried to say that. Well we now have 3 psychs in a row and a behaviorist all agreeing it's ASD and putting the support level at 2. Kinda makes you wonder how the first psych couldn't see it. He just wouldn't listen, didn't do the testing himself, on and on, don't get me started.

So why open yourself to that and make problems for your ds? What testing did they run the first time? Did they do an ADOS? Did you as parents fill out behavioral forms? Now the behaviorist brought development forms like the Vineland, scales for adaptive living, etc. There was all kinds of data in there that were were able to provide that made it SO clear it was autism. But it wasn't stuff typically a psych would do, because it's more kinda in the trenches.

 

I'm sorry if this sounds a little defensive, because I really do appreciate the time you've taken and all the experience you've shared here. 

We aren't trying to undiagnose our son, shop for a diagnosis that we like better, or make things harder for him. Our son has struggled so much this year that we truly feel it's necessary. The school district's autism specialist and psychologist have gotten to know him very well this year (never a good sign!), and both are supportive of us going outside the system to get this evaluation. My husband is not on the spectrum and isn't ignoring or denying our son's issues. He was on parental leave for most of this son's kindergarten year, so he took the lead on getting an IEP, the initial assessments, etc. and has stayed very involved. I probably shouldn't have spoken for him because it's been a while since we've really had a conversation about the diagnosis or evaluation so I'm not sure exactly where he is with it now. We are entirely in agreement about getting the evaluation and just waiting now, so we've mostly put it out of our minds and focused on more immediate issues. 

I should say that we have no plans to walk into the evaluation and make an argument against ASD, but will provide all the information and let the psychologist decide whether to repeat the ASD portion of the assessment. When we spoke with him on the phone, he explained that he'll review all of our documentation before the first appointment and decide which tools to use when he meets with us. We could ask him *not* to reassess for ASD, because he does assess for other issues in kids with ASD, but that seems like a wasted opportunity to get some more information and put our concerns to rest. Our son was 6 when he was diagnosed initially and that evaluation included the WISC, CELF, ADOS, and ADI-R. He didn't score in the ASD range on the ADOS, but did on the ADI-R. So, I can see how there may be some value in repeating them. Even if the psychologist sees it differently and just tells us to accept the diagnosis, I'll feel much more comfortable getting the rest of the assessment from someone who has so much experience with ASD. 

 

15 hours ago, Storygirl said:

I know you weren't asking for an opinion from anyone about the autism question.

I wasn't really prepared to discuss the autism issue, but I am glad you responded to it. I do appreciate hearing your experience as someone who's been on the other side of the diagnosis question and as a parent a little ahead of where we are. 

When we were waiting for the ASD evaluation three years ago (we spent a year on the waiting list), we absolutely hoped he would be diagnosed and felt a sense of relief when he was. Within the last year or so, I've started to feel like the diagnosis is actually making it harder to break down his individual issues because everything is attributed to autism. We've had several parents tell us how lucky we were to get the ADHD diagnosis first, because they've had such a hard time finding someone who will assess their child with ASD for anything else.

In terms of making sure he has access to services as an adult - the evaluation will be with a private psychologist, so if we did come away without an ASD diagnosis we wouldn't  be under any obligation to share that information with the school or health systems. Right now, the ASD diagnosis doesn't provide our son with access to many services, but I know more will become available as he gets older and wouldn't want to do anything to prevent him from getting supports he needs. I think that's something to work through if we end up in that situation, because it's not our most likely result and still at least six months away. 

16 hours ago, Storygirl said:

About the learning issues and language arts...

 

I have wondered about dysgraphia. His writing is not easy to read and he complains about everything (I forget how to make a G, my hand hurts, can I use a marker, how do you spell it, etc.), so I know it's a lot harder for him than it should be. I've been reading through some of the handwriting threads and decided to get started with Handwriting Without Tears. I'll look for other dysgraphia-specific recommendations and some other activities we can do. Thanks for the Writing Skills recommendation as well - it's helpful to hear how and when you used it with your son, and seems like something we could work up to over the next couple months. 

13 hours ago, Storygirl said:

Also, about comprehension. It's great that he is having no problems with it. But keep an eye on it.

 

Thank you! The comprehension work that was sent home was just the basic worksheets you described. They do cover things like sequencing, making predictions, and making inferences, but it's very simple stuff that he could do without any real thought, so it's possible that we're CLE sounds more thorough and I'll take a look. 

12 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Love everything Story said, and she's really right in the trenches on that. As far as the handwriting, my ds has struggled and it turns out he has poor VMI (visual motor integration) despite several years of OT, sigh. That at least gives us something concrete to work on. I got that testing through a developmental optometrist, but apparently it's testing an OT could/should have done.

If you compare what the SLPs call vocabulary, concepts, attributes, etc. to your ASD language interventions (Verbal Behavior approach, VB-MAPP ,etc.) they're just using different words for the SAME THINGS. Data now saves heartbreak later.

I'm linking Rothstein below. It's oop and that's how I found it, as a pdf online. The version on Linguisystems right now is a different author, radically different text. I LOVE this book. I expanded each section with https://www.linguisystems.com/Products/31856/spotlight-on-vocabulary-level-1-6book-set.aspx

Remember, attributes=adjectives. Functions=verbs. Categories will drive his ability to pick up his room, realize what is relevant/extraneous in his paper, etc. etc. So holes at this level will drive heartbreak the rest of the way. Not all kids with ASD will need this, but given how much he's pushing back against writing and that he's struggling at the bits of words level, it would be good to check. This https://www.linguisystems.com/Products/31162/sparc-for-grammar.aspx  also pushed the window on how I saw these skills interconnecting, because he needed to use them in narratives, etc. Sometimes kids understand components but aren't using them independently, so it walks you through the process from understanding at the word level to using it in sentences to using it in narratives.

Anyways, here's Rothstein. 

http://www.e4thai.com/e4e/images/pdf2/100_vocabulary_primary.pdf

Thank you! I'll have to take some time to run through this stuff tomorrow, and look back through his testing to see if VMI has ever been tested. We don't have access to an OT, but have a friend who is a developmental optometrist I can ask. 

12 hours ago, Lecka said:

https://www.cabarrus.k12.nc.us/cms/lib09/NC01910456/Centricity/Domain/2627/Leveled Comprehension Questions.pdf

This is a sample of the kinds of comprehension questions that go with Fountas and Pinnell levels.

I would ask the teacher, why is he in level K?  Is he in Level K because of how he reads out loud, or is he in Level K because of how he answers comprehension questions?

If it’s because of comprehension questions, what kind of questions does he miss? 

You can also ask what the answers need to include to be counted as correct. 

If the teacher says he does well on the comprehension questions for level K but it is the reading out loud, then that is good information also.  

You can also ask, because I get confused by this, but if he is in level K, is that his independent reading level, and his instructional level is higher?  

Whoever did his reading benchmark assessment can probably tell you more about this.  

 

I believe that level K is his instructional level, because he was still bringing home level I/J books for practice. His teacher said that some kids are at a higher level for reading than they are for comprehension, but that he was at level K for both. I took that to mean that he's not moving forward from level K because of how he reads out loud, but can check with her to confirm both of these. 

Thank you all!
 

Beth

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7 hours ago, In the Bight said:

Our son was 6 when he was diagnosed initially and that evaluation included the WISC, CELF, ADOS, and ADI-R. He didn't score in the ASD range on the ADOS, but did on the ADI-R.

The ADOS is a funny thing. Someone else here on the boards has shared widely ranging scores, same kid, from test to test. It sounds like your team made a considered decision looking at all the evidence, which is what private psychs do also. If you think the private psych will add something to the conversation, I can see what you're wanting that. Unfortunately, most psychs tend to use very brief materials (like the CELF) for language screening.

What has your ps SLP run? I'd be wanting something for expressive language, narrative language, pragmatics, metalinguistics, etc. All this would be done by an SLP. Also some SLPs will do the CTOPP (phonological processing) and writing tests to screen for SLD writing. And an SLP typically has a much shorter waiting list, meaning you could get this information much sooner. 

I think pragmatics testing would be very interesting to you and might flesh out some of the social thinking and autism deficit questions you're possibly having. Here's an article that explores different patterns of social thinking and how they correspond to strengths/deficits, outcomes, needed interventions, what types of settings they do well in, etc. https://www.socialthinking.com/Articles?name=Social Thinking Social Communication Profile  

Edited by PeterPan
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7 hours ago, In the Bight said:

We don't have access to an OT, but have a friend who is a developmental optometrist I can ask. 

Oh there's a sharp resource! For real you don't have access to OTs in your ps??? Wow. Anyways, on the developmental optometrist, she *may* have a CTOPP. You can just talk with her. They're funny and sometimes have more tools than we expect. It would be really nice to get a CTOPP and get a baseline before you begin intervention. Fwiw I've had both my kids checked by developmental optometrists. Just seems a good thing to me. My dd, not dyslexic, needed VT, while my ds, diagnosed dyslexic, didn't. Go figure, lol.

The TILLS is another up and coming test right now SLPs will run, and it hits a bunch of language areas with one test with MUCH BETTER sensitivity and specificity than the CELF (spit spit).

Edited by PeterPan
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13 hours ago, In the Bight said:

When we were waiting for the ASD evaluation three years ago (we spent a year on the waiting list), we absolutely hoped he would be diagnosed and felt a sense of relief when he was. Within the last year or so, I've started to feel like the diagnosis is actually making it harder to break down his individual issues because everything is attributed to autism. We've had several parents tell us how lucky we were to get the ADHD diagnosis first, because they've had such a hard time finding someone who will assess their child with ASD for anything else.

That's frustrating! I know that over time, the thinking on dumping everything under one diagnostic umbrella vs. giving multiple labels has been shifting. It used to be not okay to give multiple labels. Now it's more accepted. I think that if you can get better answers, it sounds like you need them. I know I did some careful looking for a psychologist who wouldn't look at my son, see ADHD + gifted, and then stop. We knew something was off even if we ASD was not on our radar!

We've never had an ADOS run, but our psych has a lot of experience with kids who are borderline, and other questionnaires for autism do show issues.

I agree with the others about the subtle language stuff. It's really tricky, and my son looked great at 9 (which is when he was diagnosed). He was reading at a beginning high school level. Any issues with reading comprehension were either just tiny glitches (and better than his age mates), or they could be attributed to some crazy materials (some of the reading comprehension stuff he had was very weird--once when he was doing homework in the car while family was visiting, we polled four or five adults and couldn't get a consensus on some of the questions!). Fast forward several years, he was still reading at early high school level, and nothing was improving. Anything open-ended was really difficult. 

My son's issues seem to be more about narrative language than anything else, and those narrative language glitches carry over into non-fiction with making connections, prioritizing information, understanding the whole. Basically what's been discussed is what we saw, though he doesn't seem to have some of the parts to whole issues with syntax and such that Peter Pan mentioned. 

I am really glad to hear that your DH has been highly involved in this process. For many families, that's not the case, or if the DH is involved, it's still in a way that isn't in the trenches, at least not for a long time. That's awesome for all of you!

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9 hours ago, PeterPan said:

The ADOS is a funny thing. Someone else here on the boards has shared widely ranging scores, same kid, from test to test. It sounds like your team made a considered decision looking at all the evidence, which is what private psychs do also. If you think the private psych will add something to the conversation, I can see what you're wanting that. Unfortunately, most psychs tend to use very brief materials (like the CELF) for language screening.

What has your ps SLP run? I'd be wanting something for expressive language, narrative language, pragmatics, metalinguistics, etc. All this would be done by an SLP. Also some SLPs will do the CTOPP (phonological processing) and writing tests to screen for SLD writing. And an SLP typically has a much shorter waiting list, meaning you could get this information much sooner. 

I think pragmatics testing would be very interesting to you and might flesh out some of the social thinking and autism deficit questions you're possibly having. Here's an article that explores different patterns of social thinking and how they correspond to strengths/deficits, outcomes, needed interventions, what types of settings they do well in, etc. https://www.socialthinking.com/Articles?name=Social Thinking Social Communication Profile  

 

The only testing we've had from the school SLP was the CELF when he was 6. Last year, the school psych evaluation included the PPVT, EVT, and an academic assessment that had some oral language subtests. I'm waiting to hear back from both SLPs, but you've convinced me that we need to get more info about his language - both the phonological processing / reading side, and the expressive/narrative/pragmatics side - so I'm really hoping the private SLP is able to evaluate those areas and can get us in reasonably soon.  

Okay, that social thinking article is seriously interesting. I'll have to come back to it this weekend when I have a bit more time.

9 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Oh there's a sharp resource! For real you don't have access to OTs in your ps??? Wow. Anyways, on the developmental optometrist, she *may* have a CTOPP. You can just talk with her. They're funny and sometimes have more tools than we expect. It would be really nice to get a CTOPP and get a baseline before you begin intervention. Fwiw I've had both my kids checked by developmental optometrists. Just seems a good thing to me. My dd, not dyslexic, needed VT, while my ds, diagnosed dyslexic, didn't. Go figure, lol.

The TILLS is another up and coming test right now SLPs will run, and it hits a bunch of language areas with one test with MUCH BETTER sensitivity and specificity than the CELF (spit spit).

The developmental optometrist isn't local, but she has convinced me to bring my youngest to her this summer so I may go ahead and have her test this son as well. Looking back through our reports, the school psych did test his VMI last year - VMI 25th percentile, Visual Perception 73rd, Motor Coordination 12th. "Mild difficulties with tasks that require fine motor coordination".  

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You'll want to screen for retained reflexes. If he has any, you can get them worked on and integrated before that dev. optom appt. 

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Most of my students who come from schools who are behind in reading are behind from balanced literacy teaching and sight words and remediate quickly with my free syllables program and other free and cheap resources.  If you give him the reading grade level test and either the MWIA 3 or MWIA 1 depending on his score on the reading grade level test. Also, give the nonsense word test.

Students scoring at the 1st grade level or below on the 40L QST should take the MWIA 1 short. Students scoring above 1st grade level (a score of 1.1 or higher on the 40L QST) should take the MWIA version 3.  

The nonsense word test WPM scores compared to the MWIA scores give me an idea of what he is struggling with and how to fix it.

The tests are linked at the end of my syllables page:

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Reading/syllablesspellsu.html

For active children, you can do a lot of things to hold their interest.  This video has some ideas:

You can print out every word from Blend Phonics on a card and use them in a variety of games where you have to run somewhere to get each card before you sound it out.  I use a subset of the Blend Phonics words in my syllables lessons.

http://www.donpotter.net/pdf/blend_phonics_decoding_card.pdf

 

 

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7 hours ago, ElizabethB said:

Most of my students who come from schools who are behind in reading are behind from balanced literacy teaching and sight words and remediate quickly with my free syllables program and other free and cheap resources.  If you give him the reading grade level test and either the MWIA 3 or MWIA 1 depending on his score on the reading grade level test. Also, give the nonsense word test.

 Students scoring at the 1st grade level or below on the 40L QST should take the MWIA 1 short. Students scoring above 1st grade level (a score of 1.1 or higher on the 40L QST) should take the MWIA version 3.  

 The nonsense word test WPM scores compared to the MWIA scores give me an idea of what he is struggling with and how to fix it.

The tests are linked at the end of my syllables page:

 http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Reading/syllablesspellsu.html

For active children, you can do a lot of things to hold their interest.  This video has some ideas:

You can print out every word from Blend Phonics on a card and use them in a variety of games where you have to run somewhere to get each card before you sound it out.  I use a subset of the Blend Phonics words in my syllables lessons.

http://www.donpotter.net/pdf/blend_phonics_decoding_card.pdf

 

Thank you! I had seen a few of your other posts and saved the website to come back to. There is so much there, I really appreciate this direction for where to start. 

I've printed out the tests and am playing around with them now with my (much more patient) older son. For the MWIA and nonsense word tests, should I have him do Version A, B, and C, or is the intention to use Version A now and the others to retest later? 

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5 hours ago, In the Bight said:

 

Thank you! I had seen a few of your other posts and saved the website to come back to. There is so much there, I really appreciate this direction for where to start. 

I've printed out the tests and am playing around with them now with my (much more patient) older son. For the MWIA and nonsense word tests, should I have him do Version A, B, and C, or is the intention to use Version A now and the others to retest later? 

You're welcome! Use version A now.  The others are for later, but I actually have 20 pages worth of 25 word lists that you can use too, for practice and testing.

 

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In the US we have RTI=Response to Intervention. Did your school do this? It would be important to realize what tiers of intervention have already been done and not duplicate them, losing valuable time. 

Intervention materials and methodologies in the US will have a "tier" assigned. So programs like Barton, Wilson, OG, etc. will be tier 3. I would HOPE he already had some kind of tier 1 or tier 2 intervention through his ps given they're acknowledging how poor his reading is. You could dig also dig through the testing the school has done to see if there's anything on language, working memory, etc. that you should know.

Here's a link to completely free OG. http://www.marooneyfoundation.org/professional-learning.aspx  

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36 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

In the US we have RTI=Response to Intervention. Did your school do this? It would be important to realize what tiers of intervention have already been done and not duplicate them, losing valuable time. 

 Intervention materials and methodologies in the US will have a "tier" assigned. So programs like Barton, Wilson, OG, etc. will be tier 3. I would HOPE he already had some kind of tier 1 or tier 2 intervention through his ps given they're acknowledging how poor his reading is. You could dig also dig through the testing the school has done to see if there's anything on language, working memory, etc. that you should know.

 Here's a link to completely free OG. http://www.marooneyfoundation.org/professional-learning.aspx  

 

His school introduced RTI last year, when he was in 3rd grade, but he was actually getting more/better intervention before they brought it in. I'm not sure whether it's poorly designed or they just don't have the resources to implement it well, but parents are very unhappy with the change and I know a few teachers who are beyond frustrated.  

As for my kid - He started getting pulled out for reading with 1-2 other kids halfway through 1st grade. In 2nd grade, it was for reading, writing, and math. He had an amazing resource teacher that year and made a lot of progress. In 3rd, he did RTI for reading and didn't get pulled out for writing or math. This year, he qualified for RTI in both reading and math. They use Leveled Literacy Intervention for reading, and I know the school doesn't offer anything like Barton or Wilson. 

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Wow, that's sad that he had SO MUCH intervention from the system and still tests so poorly. :sad: It's like there's this constant fight in the system where they keep wanting to revert back to whole language, making it sound like there's some huge dichotomy between OG and reading for meaning. So they end up focusing on meaning so much and not being strong enough on the explicit side. 

 

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On 5/1/2019 at 8:18 PM, In the Bight said:

Wow, thank you for taking the time to respond and break all of that down! I really appreciate it!

 

My son was diagnosed through the public healthcare system (Canada) just over 3 years ago. The ASD team told us up front that they only assess for ASD and wouldn't diagnose any other issues, so we walked away feeling like we had a few pieces of the puzzle in place and still had more to figure out. Now, my husband is fairly convinced that our son doesn't have ASD, and I'm on the fence. Several professionals who've worked with our son feel the same way and are supportive of pursuing a more complete assessment. We adopted him just before he turned 3, and we want to at least be able to discuss the attachment/trauma piece with a professional who will take the time to help us sort it out. I think we'll feel much more comfortable knowing that someone has assessed all of his needs, rather than just looking at the pieces that fit ASD (or ADHD, or LD, etc.). 

He's had an IEP since kindergarten, originally for "social/emotional developmental delay". It was updated when he was diagnosed with ADHD and then ASD. We never got a support level, but the report from the ASD team specifies "without accompanying intellectual or language impairment". 

 

Thank you for such thorough information on all this language stuff!  

Of all the issues associated with ASD, I have to admit that I've always thought of language as the least of our worries. He was below average in some areas when he was tested at 4 but didn't qualify for speech therapy, then scored average or above average on the language testing at age 6 & 8 - the CELF, PPVT, EVT, and some oral language from the academic assessment. There are definitely times when he shuts down and isn't able to use language, but I've felt like he has age-appropriate language skills in most situations. I've never noticed repetitive speech patterns, but they did check off that box on his ASD evaluation, so I may be a poor judge. 

Any tests that aren't part of a standard SLP assessment will likely be hard to track down in our area, and private SLPs tend to have long waiting lists. I can ask the elementary school SLP whether there's anything she can do to assess his expressive and narrative language skills or if she has any of the tools you mentioned. That would definitely be our fastest route because he's still technically a student there.  

And just now, I've found a private SLP about 2.5 hours away who "specializes in reading, writing and spelling difficulties/disorders and is an Associate with the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators and a Certified Dyslexia Practitioner with the International Dyslexia Association"! So I'll reach out to her as well to see when she's next available. Might as well get on a waiting list!

I have actually looked at Barton and thought about giving him the screening, but then thought that if he had dyslexia the educational psychologist would have caught it last year? I do have the report here and can see if one of the SLPs is able to advise me on that. Or I can do the screening because that will be faster. 😊

 

Okay, this is great and a bit of a relief to hear. I was looking at some of those workbooks, and might even have them in my shopping cart. We've completed the local Grade 4 social studies curriculum, so I'm definitely going to go ahead and get the geography book, and might try a few others. He likes worksheets as long as they don't have too much writing, so I think we have a few options there. 

 

The only time I've scribed for him is on comprehension homework sheets that require 1-2 sentence responses, and he's done great with those. For writing at school, they've been trying to get him to use a voice-to-text app without any success. I think it's the open-ended nightmare that you described - he's faced with a completely blank page, or screen, he just shuts down. He did more writing last year because someone would scribe for him and prompt him for one idea or sentence at a time. He definitely does better with more direction, and being asked to come up with his own topic or to write about something he likes just stresses him out. 

Thankfully, no! I just left my job in December to be home with him, and he's plenty of work on his own. 😂 My other school-aged kids are in public school, and the youngest starts in September. 

Thanks again! 

Beth

 

I made some comments and gav e links on this thread related to adoption trauma issues that might also be applicable with regard to your child.  Your child could certainly have ASD.  Mostly adoption/ foster / disruption of care backgrounds kids I have had experience withhave post adoption issues, however, which can look a lot like ASD (or other problems) but may be its own unique issues that respond better to post adoption type therapy (which has been improving as more is learned)

 

If your child is having adoption trauma issues, MCT (Michael Clay Thomas) materials starting with Sentence Island might be nice to read to him with him sitting on your lap—thus working attachment and LA at same time.  

Making up stories sentence by sentence coallaboratively could also be useful (if it can be fun not stressful and if you scribe)

Bravewriter online Kids Write done with my son , again with a lot of togetherness worked well for my son.

 

How is his reading?  My experience was that writing wasn’t all that useful to work on till reading was remediated

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On 5/1/2019 at 8:18 PM, In the Bight said:

Wow, thank you for taking the time to respond and break all of that down! I really appreciate it!

 

My son was diagnosed through the public healthcare system (Canada) just over 3 years ago. The ASD team told us up front that they only assess for ASD and wouldn't diagnose any other issues, so we walked away feeling like we had a few pieces of the puzzle in place and still had more to figure out. Now, my husband is fairly convinced that our son doesn't have ASD, and I'm on the fence. Several professionals who've worked with our son feel the same way and are supportive of pursuing a more complete assessment. We adopted him just before he turned 3, and we want to at least be able to discuss the attachment/trauma piece with a professional who will take the time to help us sort it out. I think we'll feel much more comfortable knowing that someone has assessed all of his needs, rather than just looking at the pieces that fit ASD (or ADHD, or LD, etc.). 

He's had an IEP since kindergarten, originally for "social/emotional developmental delay". It was updated when he was diagnosed with ADHD and then ASD. We never got a support level, but the report from the ASD team specifies "without accompanying intellectual or language impairment". 

 

Thank you for such thorough information on all this language stuff!  

Of all the issues associated with ASD, I have to admit that I've always thought of language as the least of our worries. He was below average in some areas when he was tested at 4 but didn't qualify for speech therapy, then scored average or above average on the language testing at age 6 & 8 - the CELF, PPVT, EVT, and some oral language from the academic assessment. There are definitely times when he shuts down and isn't able to use language, but I've felt like he has age-appropriate language skills in most situations. I've never noticed repetitive speech patterns, but they did check off that box on his ASD evaluation, so I may be a poor judge. 

Any tests that aren't part of a standard SLP assessment will likely be hard to track down in our area, and private SLPs tend to have long waiting lists. I can ask the elementary school SLP whether there's anything she can do to assess his expressive and narrative language skills or if she has any of the tools you mentioned. That would definitely be our fastest route because he's still technically a student there.  

And just now, I've found a private SLP about 2.5 hours away who "specializes in reading, writing and spelling difficulties/disorders and is an Associate with the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators and a Certified Dyslexia Practitioner with the International Dyslexia Association"! So I'll reach out to her as well to see when she's next available. Might as well get on a waiting list!

I have actually looked at Barton and thought about giving him the screening, but then thought that if he had dyslexia the educational psychologist would have caught it last year? I do have the report here and can see if one of the SLPs is able to advise me on that. Or I can do the screening because that will be faster. 😊

 

Okay, this is great and a bit of a relief to hear. I was looking at some of those workbooks, and might even have them in my shopping cart. We've completed the local Grade 4 social studies curriculum, so I'm definitely going to go ahead and get the geography book, and might try a few others. He likes worksheets as long as they don't have too much writing, so I think we have a few options there. 

 

The only time I've scribed for him is on comprehension homework sheets that require 1-2 sentence responses, and he's done great with those. For writing at school, they've been trying to get him to use a voice-to-text app without any success. I think it's the open-ended nightmare that you described - he's faced with a completely blank page, or screen, he just shuts down. He did more writing last year because someone would scribe for him and prompt him for one idea or sentence at a time. He definitely does better with more direction, and being asked to come up with his own topic or to write about something he likes just stresses him out. 

Thankfully, no! I just left my job in December to be home with him, and he's plenty of work on his own. 😂 My other school-aged kids are in public school, and the youngest starts in September. 

Thanks again! 

Beth

 

I made some comments and gav e links on this thread related to adoption trauma issues that might also be applicable with regard to your child.  Your child could certainly have ASD.  Mostly adoption/ foster / disruption of care backgrounds kids I have had experience withhave post adoption issues, however, which can look a lot like ASD (or other problems) but may be its own unique issues that respond better to post adoption type therapy (which has been improving as more is learned)

 

If your child is having adoption trauma issues, MCT (Michael Clay Thomas) materials starting with Sentence Island might be nice to read to him with him sitting on your lap—thus working attachment and LA at same time.  

Making up stories sentence by sentence coallaboratively could also be useful (if it can be fun not stressful and if you scribe)

Bravewriter online Kids Write done with my son , again with a lot of togetherness worked well for my son.

 

How is his reading?  My experience was that writing wasn’t all that useful to work on till reading was remediated

 

ETA by level K reading is this what you mean?

https://cms.instructure.com/courses/130361/pages/Reading Level K

(alas I am not familiar with any book it mentions as Level K!)

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1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

Wow, that's sad that he had SO MUCH intervention from the system and still tests so poorly. :sad: It's like there's this constant fight in the system where they keep wanting to revert back to whole language, making it sound like there's some huge dichotomy between OG and reading for meaning. So they end up focusing on meaning so much and not being strong enough on the explicit side. 

 

The Leveled Literacy Intervention is just more whole word, not phonics let alone OG phonics.  I have had a ton of remedial students who remediated quickly and had no underlying issues, they were just taught with sight words, balanced literacy, and leveled readers (the A-Z leveled reader system is based on sight words, not phonics) and then got LLI, just more of the same.  All they needed was phonics and some nonsense words to un-train the guessing habits caused by sight words and multi-cueing teaching.  Very few of my remedial students coming from the schools have had an underlying issue in addition to the problems caused by poor teaching, although a few have also had underlying speech or language problems or true dyslexia.

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49 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

ETA by level K reading is this what you mean?

https://cms.instructure.com/courses/130361/pages/Reading Level K

(alas I am not familiar with any book it mentions as Level K!)

Most schools have Fountas and Pinnell readers, the system is based on sight words and whole language, each level adds a few more sight words.  The repetitive nature of the readers and the use of guided reading only exacerbates the guessing problem.  

I have found that I can remediate inner city kids faster because they are exposed to less sight word drilling, and my fastest students to date were formerly homeless minority students who spent so little time in school they had no guessing habits to overcome.  My middle class students take longer to un-train the guessing habits, but daily nonsense word work shortens the process.

Here is the Fountas and Pinnell explanation of their leveled readers:

https://www.fountasandpinnell.com/textlevelgradient/

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On May 1, 2019 at 11:18 PM, In the Bight said:

I have actually looked at Barton and thought about giving him the screening, but then thought that if he had dyslexia the educational psychologist would have caught it last year?

The Barton screening is not a dyslexia test. It's a screening tool to see if he has the foundational phonological processing skills and adequate working memory to succeed at any OG-based program. It's definitely worth doing because it gives you quick, free information you can use right away. If he's failing that test, you'll want to know because those skills will glitch ANY program he's trying to do. https://bartonreading.com/students/#ss

Did you end up getting that SLP literacy specialist scheduled?

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21 minutes ago, ElizabethB said:

I have had a ton of remedial students who remediated quickly and had no underlying issues, they were just taught with sight words, balanced literacy, and leveled readers (the A-Z leveled reader system is based on sight words, not phonics) and then got LLI, just more of the same.  

I should update an old thread, but the RTI people at my school are now using High Noon, along with some other phonics-focused materials (like Megawords), and lo and behold, the kids are learning to read! I wouldn't say the teachers have been converted, but at least they don't think that systematic phonics is awful anymore.

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52 minutes ago, Mainer said:

I should update an old thread, but the RTI people at my school are now using High Noon, along with some other phonics-focused materials (like Megawords), and lo and behold, the kids are learning to read! I wouldn't say the teachers have been converted, but at least they don't think that systematic phonics is awful anymore.

 

I’m , of course, very pro-High Noon since it’s what worked for my Ds.  And worked even with some auditory etc type glitches.  In addition, I think it too was good for post adoption attachment as it too lended itself to sitting with child touching or on lap for a lot of it .

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4 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Wow, that's sad that he had SO MUCH intervention from the system and still tests so poorly. :sad: It's like there's this constant fight in the system where they keep wanting to revert back to whole language, making it sound like there's some huge dichotomy between OG and reading for meaning. So they end up focusing on meaning so much and not being strong enough on the explicit side.

 

Looking back now and compared to what I see about RTI online now, he has had quite a bit of intervention. Which is possibly why he didn't score low enough last year to be diagnosed with a learning disability? At the same time, he's had such a hard time with attention, anxiety, and behaviour that it's hard to know how much of that intervention time has actually been spent on task.  

2 hours ago, PeterPan said:

The Barton screening is not a dyslexia test. It's a screening tool to see if he has the foundational phonological processing skills and adequate working memory to succeed at any OG-based program. It's definitely worth doing because it gives you quick, free information you can use right away. If he's failing that test, you'll want to know because those skills will glitch ANY program he's trying to do. https://bartonreading.com/students/#ss

Did you end up getting that SLP literacy specialist scheduled?

 

I do understand what the Barton screening tests, but I think I was assuming that he would pass? Looking at it more closely now (as in actually watching the video...) I'm not so sure. I'll give it to him in the morning now that I've gone through the trouble of figuring out how it works!

I left a message for the SLP on Friday and expect to hear back tomorrow. I did find out that she works part time from her home 2.5 hours away and part-time from a clinic that's much closer, so I'm really hoping she'll be able to get us in. 

3 hours ago, Pen said:

 

I made some comments and gav e links on this thread related to adoption trauma issues that might also be applicable with regard to your child.  Your child could certainly have ASD.  Mostly adoption/ foster / disruption of care backgrounds kids I have had experience withhave post adoption issues, however, which can look a lot like ASD (or other problems) but may be its own unique issues that respond better to post adoption type therapy (which has been improving as more is learned)

 

If your child is having adoption trauma issues, MCT (Michael Clay Thomas) materials starting with Sentence Island might be nice to read to him with him sitting on your lap—thus working attachment and LA at same time.  

Making up stories sentence by sentence coallaboratively could also be useful (if it can be fun not stressful and if you scribe)

Bravewriter online Kids Write done with my son , again with a lot of togetherness worked well for my son.

 

How is his reading?  My experience was that writing wasn’t all that useful to work on till reading was remediated

 

ETA by level K reading is this what you mean?

https://cms.instructure.com/courses/130361/pages/Reading Level K

(alas I am not familiar with any book it mentions as Level K!)

 

Thanks! I hadn't read that thread and was probably subconsciously avoiding it, but will give it a read now. We have educated ourselves about adoption-related trauma and attachment and worked with different counselors over the years. Neither of our adopted sons have any of the major RAD or DSED symptoms, but both are definitely affected in different ways. 

I was actually looking at MCT and am thinking about getting the Island level. My other kids will love it, even if it's too advanced or challenging for this one. I got a smile out of the idea of having him sit on my lap while we work - he's just about an inch shorter than I am. 😊

His reading Level K is in the Fountas and Pinnell readers that ElizabethB linked. They use these levels to track all the kids' reading until 3rd grade, then just for the kids who get intervention. I googled to find real books at Level K to give as an example, but saw that the books he's reading aloud at home are considered Level M - O? So all of these reading levels and assessments are probably just a very rough estimate...

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3 minutes ago, In the Bight said:

I was actually looking at MCT and am thinking about getting the Island level. My other kids will love it, even if it's too advanced or challenging for this one. I got a smile out of the idea of having him sit on my lap while we work - he's just about an inch shorter than I am. 😊

 

Sitting close touching with arm around then maybe 🙂. My son did not do the workbooks but got a lot out of the basic Mud story and a good feeling for sentences and poetry of language.  

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4 hours ago, Mainer said:

I should update an old thread, but the RTI people at my school are now using High Noon, along with some other phonics-focused materials (like Megawords), and lo and behold, the kids are learning to read! I wouldn't say the teachers have been converted, but at least they don't think that systematic phonics is awful anymore.

Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm SO excited to hear this. Over the moon for you. You kinda went out on a limb pushing hard to get materials that would work and that would fit your staff's need for open and go. Like I see some of these programs that are pretty involved (SPELL-links, Wilson, etc.) and they're like oh just use us for all the tiers! But it makes sense that some kids should be fine with open and go.

Kinda makes you wonder why they stick with all this whole language (by many names) jibberish. I was watching a video this afternoon on math circles, and they were like yeah, we require our kids to SLED their math. I kid you not. It's an acryonym and they take the word problem and do it in 4 large quadrants. And I'm like what happens to the kids who are just boom done? Oh they're the ones with behaviors and bored with your SLED, lol. And it seemed like logical stuff in a way but overthought, like trying so hard they forget it could be simple. If they actually TAUGHT the kids, instead of dancing around it, most of this stuff is SIMPLE.

I watched another two videos where both teachers (different states, different youtubers), wanted their students to respond to "a question" with post-its ON THEIR NUMBER. I'm like, hello, the only thing you taught them was that they are COGS in a system, a number, and that nobody personally cares about your answer just post it somewhere to be seen. My lands. Like the whole thought process, the other layers of intent behind these educational methodologies, that tell kids they are numbers, that tell kids they're broken if they can't sit at a table and talk and collaborate over a math problem, I don't know. I just think there's more going on than the content because the content was SIMPLE.

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16 minutes ago, In the Bight said:

I do understand what the Barton screening tests, but I think I was assuming that he would pass? Looking at it more closely now (as in actually watching the video...) I'm not so sure. I'll give it to him in the morning now that I've gone through the trouble of figuring out how it works!

Let us know! Obviously we hope he passes and that would be awesome. But if he doesn't, then you've got super important data and a path you can go on right away that will be going in the right direction.

See in the US, some states have disability scholarships, so then we have these IEP fights over whether there has been RTI, what the diagnosis is, blah blah. But you don't have anything holding you back. You can get that data and have at it.

18 minutes ago, In the Bight said:

I was actually looking at MCT

If I could just suggest, I would fill out your SLP testing before you buy stuff. It's expensive to ship stuff to Canada, and if he has a language disability as part of his mix (which a lot of kids with ASD do, sigh), then it may or may not be appropriate. And you can look at the samples and tell a lot. Or just plain try the samples on him. 

19 minutes ago, In the Bight said:

His reading Level K is in the Fountas and Pinnell readers that ElizabethB linked. They use these levels to track all the kids' reading until 3rd grade, then just for the kids who get intervention. I googled to find real books at Level K to give as an example, but saw that the books he's reading aloud at home are considered Level M - O? So all of these reading levels and assessments are probably just a very rough estimate...

That's a pretty big jump from K to O, so that's interesting. You might look for patterns there, like which books have pictures, whether there's a pattern with font sizes, whatever. 

You can also look for where his level of engagement changes. Lecka linked you to the F&P comprehension questions for each level, and they're pretty normal. You can also just see where he laughs, where he can tell you what his favorite thing in the book was or what he thought was wrong vs. where he fades out and can't interact like that. You can see if there's a difference between his read aloud level where you read vs. when he reads or his level with pictures vs. without, etc.

Not to flood you with ideas, lol. It's just the kind of stuff I watch with my ds, because then I can use a lexile index finder (or F&P or whatever, but I use lexiles because I'm lazy and it was handy) to find more books that will work once you know what is working and why. It's one of the challenges, bulking up on language and keeping kids in books who are staying at levels longer, sigh.

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17 minutes ago, Pen said:

Sitting close touching with arm around then maybe 🙂.

If op is having some mom guilt, could I say up until we started K2 (something we take along with vitamin D to make it work better), that would not really have been reality with my ds? So don't have a lot of mom guilt there if it's not working. It's nice and great stuff, but sometimes near, not touching, is what you get. 

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44 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Let us know! Obviously we hope he passes and that would be awesome. But if he doesn't, then you've got super important data and a path you can go on right away that will be going in the right direction.

See in the US, some states have disability scholarships, so then we have these IEP fights over whether there has been RTI, what the diagnosis is, blah blah. But you don't have anything holding you back. You can get that data and have at it.

If I could just suggest, I would fill out your SLP testing before you buy stuff. It's expensive to ship stuff to Canada, and if he has a language disability as part of his mix (which a lot of kids with ASD do, sigh), then it may or may not be appropriate. And you can look at the samples and tell a lot. Or just plain try the samples on him. 

That's a pretty big jump from K to O, so that's interesting. You might look for patterns there, like which books have pictures, whether there's a pattern with font sizes, whatever. 

You can also look for where his level of engagement changes. Lecka linked you to the F&P comprehension questions for each level, and they're pretty normal. You can also just see where he laughs, where he can tell you what his favorite thing in the book was or what he thought was wrong vs. where he fades out and can't interact like that. You can see if there's a difference between his read aloud level where you read vs. when he reads or his level with pictures vs. without, etc.

Not to flood you with ideas, lol. It's just the kind of stuff I watch with my ds, because then I can use a lexile index finder (or F&P or whatever, but I use lexiles because I'm lazy and it was handy) to find more books that will work once you know what is working and why. It's one of the challenges, bulking up on language and keeping kids in books who are staying at levels longer, sigh.

 

I'm totally okay with being flooded with ideas! I keep lists, and don't mind having things to come back to later on.  

For MCT, I was thinking of trying it with him in the fall, or possibly getting it this summer and having my older kids try it, rather than jumping in now. I'm going to get him started with Handwriting Without Tears and hold off on any other writing, spelling, grammar, etc. until I get reading sorted out. 

When I look at the difference in reading levels, my first thought is that he's more relaxed and focused at home, versus reading in front of peers or in a testing situation at school. Probably even a bigger difference is that he chooses books for himself at home or I choose books that he'll like, whereas at school he was given books to read that could be on any topic. I'm sure he's much more motivated by the books he chooses about baseball or pokemon or that he knows his big brother recommended, and he's so familiar with the topics and vocabulary that it has to be easier. 

When you say his read aloud level, do you mean the level of books that he can understand when someone reads aloud to him? That probably sounds like a silly question, but I'm just wondering if there's more to it. He understands when age-appropriate books are read aloud and we discuss them, but I haven't asked him all the types of questions that are in the F & P comprehension guide. We just finished Number the Stars because his teacher had been reading it aloud in school, and I'm wondering if there's a specific reading level I should choose for our next book. 

55 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

If op is having some mom guilt, could I say up until we started K2 (something we take along with vitamin D to make it work better), that would not really have been reality with my ds? So don't have a lot of mom guilt there if it's not working. It's nice and great stuff, but sometimes near, not touching, is what you get. 

 

Oh, there is no mom guilt about that. 😊 We cuddle up each morning to watch the YouTube videos he's saved for me and maybe a science video, but I can't see us doing any other school work like that. Though who knows, we're still figuring out what works!  

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47 minutes ago, In the Bight said:

When you say his read aloud level, do you mean the level of books that he can understand when someone reads aloud to him?

Yup, that's what I meant. And it might not be a problem for him, just one of those things you can notice. My ds was listening to anything, tons of audiobooks, even Great Courses, but he was basically just memorizing them. He couldn't talk about them and presumably had comprehension gaps. On the CELF, his comprehension went up as the source went up. So it wasn't like he wasn't comprehending, but there was definitely a gap in his comprehension at the word level. 

So when we started TALKING about our books, narrating our books, expecting him to interact heavily, then you could see the comprehension issues. And I think our read aloud time really pushed his own expectation of his ability to comprehend what he's listening to, so that he doesn't like to be snowed so much anymore. 

So yeah, just play with it. It's all data. If you go to that fab.lexile.com site you can put in books and see the lexiles. Then you can search for other books by topics, etc. at those lexiles. I just punched it in, and it's saying 670. So there you go. I'm just playing with this, and I'm kind of excited, because that means my ds SHOULD be about ready to go into some nice lit now! We've been using 530 in the search engine, which cranks out books 430-580. He's just starting to push back like he's ready to go up, so I'm excited.

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Also, when he is at home, reading books at a higher level, is he reading them silently to himself? Or out loud to you?

DD13 (dyslexic) can definitely read things to herself silently that she cannot read well out loud. Of course, I am not inside her head. But I think that when she reads silently, she jumps over the words that she can't decode easily. She has great comprehension, so she gets the gist of the sentence and just keeps moving along. When she reads out loud, she has to go slower and work harder at decoding, because she (and whoever is listening) can hear when she is not getting a word right.

When she was in third grade, she could read a third grade novel silently to herself, but it was too laborious to do it out loud.

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In the Bight — I think you need to ask at school

about his F and P level, since — somebody did an assessment and decided on a level, for some reason.  And then you need to know why it’s lower.

It could be decoding, or it could be comprehension.  From what I understand — they look at two parts, one reading out loud and one answering questions.

For most kids these two things track together.  

For some kids comprehension can be ahead of decoding, and that probably means decoding is where to focus.

For other kids decoding can be ahead of comprehension, and that probably means comprehension is where to focus.

ElizabethB — for autism, it can happen that kids are given an F and P level based on their comprehension level, when they are reading well in higher level books and don’t have a problem with decoding.  Some kids this way can even have been early readers.  The F and P comprehension questions can require a lot of expressive language depending on how the school/teacher does the assessments.  It can also require summarizing and making inferences, both of which are common issues for autism.  It’s not that it is that way for everyone, but I definitely talk to parents whose kids were early readers and read stuff that is a higher level at home, and at school they want to work with them on summarizing and inferencing at a lower F and P level. 

It doesn’t happen that way that often overall, I think, but OP’s child does have an autism diagnosis, even though it seems it may not be accurate.  It makes it worth wondering why the F and P level is lower and I think that just means asking why.  

I am not a defender of F and P levels and definitely use phonics at home, but my younger son is primarily placed by his ability to answer comprehension questions, not his decoding level, and that is not uncommon with autism.  

So — if the OP asks and the teacher says the F and P level is from how the child read, then — I agree with everything.

But if the teacher says “well the comprehension questions aren’t being answered with enough detail, or aren’t being answered with the right sentence structure, and they have to grade on those things,” then — it is possible and worth asking about.  And then that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with decoding.  Or it could be decoding causing the comprehension issues.  But it could also just be comprehension or it could be expressive language or whatever.  

 

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I think too, it’s not even exactly comprehension necessarily, because it’s really easy to get into “the child really does understand.”  It’s about being able to answer certain kinds of questions in certain ways.  

Or it could be about having a summary that includes certain information.  

The teacher should know if anything like this is the case.  

Edit:  I think a lot of the time kids do understand, but have trouble saying it.  

Edited by Lecka
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26 minutes ago, Lecka said:

ElizabethB — for autism, it can happen that kids are given an F and P level based on their comprehension level, when they are reading well in higher level books and don’t have a problem with decoding.  Some kids this way can even have been early readers.  The F and P comprehension questions can require a lot of expressive language depending on how the school/teacher does the assessments.  It can also require summarizing and making inferences, both of which are common issues for autism.  It’s not that it is that way for everyone, but I definitely talk to parents whose kids were early readers and read stuff that is a higher level at home, and at school they want to work with them on summarizing and inferencing at a lower F and P level. 

Bingo. 

Here's something, if you haven't seen the concept before. They call it the Simple View of Reading. https://ortongillinghamonlinetutor.com/the-simple-view-of-reading-svr-part-1/  Then there's the simple view of writing. They aren't ALL the factors that affect the reading (or writing) because they're trying to create a simple view. But it gets you the sense. So in the simple view, reading = decoding + language comprehension. If either of those is affected, it affects the reading. 

It's actually the logic behind the whole F&P, balanced literacy stuff, because they want to make sure kids are getting both comprehension work and decoding. They just get a little screwy and leave to inference stuff that should be taught explicitly. That's why it's not easy for us, as laypeople, to look at what F&P is calling "phonics" and figure out why it's not working. They could be using implicit phonics instead of explicit. It just really gets in the weeds. 

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I think a lot is left to individual teachers, and a lot of individual teachers barely do any phonics, and what they do might be all word families.  

For my younger son, I will feel like -- they are doing wonderful comprehension stuff with him, and then for decoding, once in a while he highlights words from the same word family on a worksheet???????????  

I have worked with him at home a lot, and other kids in his class seem to be either kids who read very early, or else they still don't know how to sound out words.

It's pretty frustrating, but I am able to supplement at home so I think it works out for him.  

 

 

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34 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

Also, when he is at home, reading books at a higher level, is he reading them silently to himself? Or out loud to you?

DD13 (dyslexic) can definitely read things to herself silently that she cannot read well out loud. Of course, I am not inside her head. But I think that when she reads silently, she jumps over the words that she can't decode easily. She has great comprehension, so she gets the gist of the sentence and just keeps moving along. When she reads out loud, she has to go slower and work harder at decoding, because she (and whoever is listening) can hear when she is not getting a word right.

 When she was in third grade, she could read a third grade novel silently to herself, but it was too laborous to do it out loud.

 

I'm just referring to books he reads out loud. He does read some books listed as having even higher reading levels silently to himself, but they're always full of pictures and often books he's read before, so it's hard to know how much he's really reading. I know he does find it easier and faster to read silently - when he brought home comprehension worksheets, we negotiated reading some aloud and some silently because there was such a big difference for him. I haven't really encouraged silent reading, because I think he can still use so much practice reading aloud.  

 

1 hour ago, Lecka said:

I think too, it’s not even exactly comprehension necessarily, because it’s really easy to get into “the child really does understand.”  It’s about being able to answer certain kinds of questions in certain ways.  

Or it could be about having a summary that includes certain information.  

The teacher should know if anything like this is the case.  

 

Thanks, I will have to check in with the teacher to find out. 

 

I gave him the Barton screening today and he passed all the sections. He didn't have any errors on Part A or B, but had to repeat four in Part C before he got them right on the second try. The ones he missed were all vowel sounds and he said they were harder. 

On the tests that ElizabethB linked, he scored a 2.3 on the grade level test and slowed down 21% on the MWIA 3. On the nonsense word test, he read 9/25 correctly the first time. When I slowed him down and got him to sound one out at a time, he figured out 17/25. 

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25 minutes ago, In the Bight said:

I gave him the Barton screening today and he passed all the sections. He didn't have any errors on Part A or B, but had to repeat four in Part C before he got them right on the second try. The ones he missed were all vowel sounds and he said they were harder. 

So did *he* say the words aloud to identify the sounds or did you? Vowels are a pretty big deal. https://bartonreading.com/student-result/  You might give Barton herself a call and see what she suggests. She might say to go right into Barton 1 or she might say you would be wise to go through FIS/LIPS to build that foundation. Vowels are super, super important, and these phonological processing programs  like FIS/LIPS are going to do a STELLAR job helping him discriminate them better. You can also do something simple like the Attention Good Listeners worksheets. They're your cheapest option (around $30 if you can find a copy) and they might be just enough.

But seriously, give Barton a call. She's a lovely person and she'll probably have some good advice for you.

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I do think it sounds like he needs work on decoding (sounding out and reading words).  

Elizabeth B's stuff is great, you can look into Barton, you can look into other explicit reading instruction or review.  

I think -- still ask about the comprehension side.  If his teacher says he does well on comprehension at school and with the reading benchmark, then that is great!  

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29 minutes ago, In the Bight said:

but they're always full of pictures and often books he's read before, so it's hard to know how much he's really reading.

Yes, pictures are improving comprehension and visualization. The problem is, the F&P stuff is pushing pictures, whole language, meaning over decoding SO MUCH that he really be imbalanced. He could be skipping words, guessing, assuming, or making generalizations instead of understanding every word. For my ds, that was a thing, to make sure he understood EVERY WORD. He's super bright, so he could understand at the larger level. He just wasn't necessarily understanding at the word level.

What you could do is back off on asking him to read independently and read aloud to him more. Read the picture books, but read aloud and sit beside him so he's seeing it. You could even popcorn read if you wanted, with him reading a line, you reading a line. But back it up to where he can do that and where he can STOP and discuss and make predictions and talk about what the character's problem is and what their plan is and how it's like something they've gone through and all that. 

33 minutes ago, In the Bight said:

When I slowed him down and got him to sound one out at a time, he figured out 17/25. 

Did you say he's diagnosed with ADHD as well? Are meds on the table? You're getting his eyes checked. You just want to make that as easy as possible but supporting all the components. (attention, impulsivity, visual tracking, phonemic awareness, etc.)

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3 hours ago, In the Bight said:

 

On the tests that ElizabethB linked, he scored a 2.3 on the grade level test and slowed down 21% on the MWIA 3. On the nonsense word test, he read 9/25 correctly the first time. When I slowed him down and got him to sound one out at a time, he figured out 17/25. 

That is around normal for my remedial students, they CAN read phonetically when they slow down but have been trained to guess, and they guess more often when reading faster.  My average student has a slowdown between 15 and 30%.  For my students with a slowdown 30% or above, they really need to stop all outside reading for a month or two while remediating.  A slowdown of 20%, it helps to limit or stop outside reading and will make progress faster but is not mandatory.

I would work through my syllables lessons and work on over-learning the sounds in my chart, do the charts daily for a few weeks, then just the vowels.  

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Reading/syllablesspellsu.html

These charts daily, across and down:

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Reading/Resources/40LChartsCombined.pdf

After a few weeks, you can probably just do the vowels.

Then, after lesson 6, add in the vowel team charts, I am working on a video about which sounds you need to drill and how to do them, it should be out this week.

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Reading/Resources/OnePageVowelChart.pdf

I would do daily nonsense words, either my game or the nonsense word homework from the syllables lessons.

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Phonics/concentrationgam.html

The nonsense words help un-train the guessing habits and build new left to right sounding out habits, and the lessons help learn the phonics that have not been taught.  For someone taught with balanced literacy, you have to both learn the skills and really work hard on changing the habits so that you can read fluently; you have to learn new habits while un-training the old ones.

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1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

So did *he* say the words aloud to identify the sounds or did you? Vowels are a pretty big deal. https://bartonreading.com/student-result/  You might give Barton herself a call and see what she suggests. She might say to go right into Barton 1 or she might say you would be wise to go through FIS/LIPS to build that foundation. Vowels are super, super important, and these phonological processing programs  like FIS/LIPS are going to do a STELLAR job helping him discriminate them better. You can also do something simple like the Attention Good Listeners worksheets. They're your cheapest option (around $30 if you can find a copy) and they might be just enough.

But seriously, give Barton a call. She's a lovely person and she'll probably have some good advice for you.

I'm not sure what words you mean?

Three of his four mistakes were repeating the sounds back in the first place. Like for /o/ /a/ /u/, he said "/o/ /u/ ... /u/ was last. I forget the rest".  For /i/ /e/ /i/, he pulled down three different colours, then realized he'd made a mistake somewhere when he started to "touch and say". After he got it right on the second try, he said it was the hardest one and most of the others were really easy. I asked what other sounds were hard and he said /o/ and /u/. 

2 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Yes, pictures are improving comprehension and visualization. The problem is, the F&P stuff is pushing pictures, whole language, meaning over decoding SO MUCH that he really be imbalanced. He could be skipping words, guessing, assuming, or making generalizations instead of understanding every word. For my ds, that was a thing, to make sure he understood EVERY WORD. He's super bright, so he could understand at the larger level. He just wasn't necessarily understanding at the word level.

What you could do is back off on asking him to read independently and read aloud to him more. Read the picture books, but read aloud and sit beside him so he's seeing it. You could even popcorn read if you wanted, with him reading a line, you reading a line. But back it up to where he can do that and where he can STOP and discuss and make predictions and talk about what the character's problem is and what their plan is and how it's like something they've gone through and all that. 

Did you say he's diagnosed with ADHD as well? Are meds on the table? You're getting his eyes checked. You just want to make that as easy as possible but supporting all the components. (attention, impulsivity, visual tracking, phonemic awareness, etc.)

 

He does have severe ADHD and started medication in kindergarten. 

This is all good stuff, I'm just going to have to think about how to try some new things without messing up what's going well! I don't ask him to read anything on his own, but he does read aloud to someone for 20 minutes/day. It took a long time to build up to that, so I think we'll keep that routine until we have something concrete to replace it with. I'll start reading another novel to him in the next couple days. It probably makes sense to back up to something easier than Number the Stars so he and I can both practice the kind of discussion you're talking about, but maybe it makes sense to back way up and share the reading. 

I CC'd the school psych on my email to the school SLP, and he let me know that she's out this week and doesn't have a CTOPP. He's not sure about other language testing, so I'll have to wait on that. Also still waiting on the other SLP. 

The school psych recommended the Phonological Awareness Screening Test and sent it to me in PDF. So my kid is going to be very sick of testing very soon. 😄

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