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Æthelthryth the Texan

Where to start- need a dyslexia eval

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I think I need to get my dd who just turned 7 an eval for dyslexia. I was hoping y'all could give me some tips of what to do and where to start. This is a mamma gut type of thing. 

We are seeing a new pediatrician in two weeks and I will address this with him,  but would like some things of what I can do in advance to be prepared with info, and possibly of how to just go ahead and seek out testing myself. I do NOT want to go through our school district. That's out of the question. We will just do private pay for whatever is required. 

Where do I start? How do I find the most qualified person I can in my area? 

Happy to answer any questions- just don't know what's pertinent to include info wise for y'all and what isn't. 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan

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ADHD is comorbid 60% of the time in dyslexia, so in addition to your evidence on phonological processing, also bring your concerns about attention, social, handwriting, etc. 

Around here peds usually refer to the children's hospital, which is only affordable if you have the type of insurance that covers that. It will usually bill 3X private evals, sigh. So yes, ask around, get word on the street. An exceptional psych is worth driving for, and you may need to drive to a big city.

If you call psychs and leave a message, they will call back and talk with you for 5-10 minutes. It's enough to get a sense of whether they're easy to talk with, whether they're arrogant farm animals, and so on. They'll usually give you a list of the types of things they might run and tell you how many hours and what they bill at. So to compare apples to apples, you look at the number of hours each psych will be testing and then compare. A 2 hour eval isn't the same as 4-6 hours of testing, kwim? 

Some people will say see a neuropsych. Just see what you can find within a 3 hour drive maybe. You definitely want to hear CTOPP, but SLPs now are running the TILLS, the TNL (test of narrative language) and some other really good stuff. Dyslexia is considered a language disability, so SLP + psych can work or neuropsych. I used a couple different neuropsychs with my kids, and they had some extra screeners for language that another psych wouldn't have. So like on my dd they ran some word retrieval, which definitely showed issues, and on ds they ran the (crappy, don't get me started, under-identifies, really don't get me started) CELF. So that's a reason people will us the neuropsych, to try to bridge and eliminate the need for the SLP. I don't think it completely eliminates the need or value.

If you find an SLP who specializes in literacy, you could ask them who they refer to. If you have a state dyslexia org, see who is on their advisory board. If there's a dyslexia school or an OG tutor, see who they refer to. 

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Wow, that sounds intimidating! I haven't had any concerns about ADHD tbh. She had handwriting issues, but they were remedied with a specific pencil grip and HWOT. Her attention seems good for her age. She does extremely well in all her outside classes/activities. She tends to be the other kids' favorite and the teachers/instructors' too- that's not just Mom brag. She's just kind, and helpful, and goes out of her way to make everyone feel comfortable and do what she can to help. People have stopped me in hallways to tell me how great she is. She's the kid that makes everyone a gift in her class, and is the first to volunteer to help. She pays attention and doesn't have any trouble following instructions. She is physically well coordinated. I am not seeing any other flags really. Well, except the math issues I had posted on K-8 a couple of weeks ago- with double digit addition. But people seemed to say that was an age thing rather than anything concerning? Idk. That's part of what plays into my Mom concerns though. She flips the numbers once you have two double digit numbers like that.

Overall I'll admit it's really hard to tell what is a maturity issue vs what is an actual learning issue like dyslexia. But we started with Phonics Pathways and she just didn't seem to progress. I moved her to Abeka with her brother, which worked amazingly for him.  But she's honestly back in the first two 1st grade readers after almost a year. The blends don't stick. I feel like Abeka is great, but I think she needs something even MORE incremental and I have no idea what that is. I don't want to do her a disservice. 

I can get to Houston in an hour, so I would hope I could find someone there. It's just insanely hard judging off the internet to even begin to figure where to go. I tried googling before i posted here and it was honestly overwhelming. I guess I might need to wait and just see what the pedi says? I did an online eval with her through Lexercise and have had people blow up my phone all evening. It's just a lot. 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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She sounds like a wonderful kid!  If she's just turning 7, then she's the age of a rising second grader.  Why would still needing second grade level books, or not being able to do second grade math, be concerning?

I'm not saying not to do an evaluation.  I think that they can almost always be helpful.  I'd go into it with an open question, rather than specifically looking for someone to test for dyslexia. 

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49 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

She sounds like a wonderful kid!  If she's just turning 7, then she's the age of a rising second grader.  Why would still needing second grade level books, or not being able to do second grade math, be concerning?

I'm not saying not to do an evaluation.  I think that they can almost always be helpful.  I'd go into it with an open question, rather than specifically looking for someone to test for dyslexia. 

I’m not worried about the math at this point. Rather that the problems she’s having with math seem to be the same problems she’s having with reading if that makes sense? 

Im totally open to hearing it’s a maturity thing. That would clearly be my preference! I simply don’t know. She’s an outlier for my other kids. And also- to clarify - level 2 I don’t meant second grade. I mean she couldn’t get past the second 1st grade reader. She can blend beginning sounds, but not end sounds. She could  read “spat”, but say “pink” would cause a problem. It would become nipk or something.  

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Adding- I feel like something more incremental than Abeka would benefit her greatly. But I don’t know what that is. Open for suggestions! We tried Nessy as a supplement, but it’s gone too far too fast and ended up causing frustration. 

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Just now, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I’m not worried about the math at this point. Rather that the problems she’s having with math seem to be the same problems she’s having with reading if that makes sense? 

Im totally open to hearing it’s a maturity thing. That would clearly be my preference! I simply don’t know. She’s an outlier for my other kids. And also- to clarify - level 2 I don’t meant second grade. I mean she couldn’t get past the second 1st grade reader. She can blend beginning sounds, but not end sounds. She could  read “spat”, but say “pink” would cause a problem. It would become nipk or something.  


Got it, I misread the 1/2, thing. 

I think you should have her evaluated, but I would be open to a variety of explanations, including it being maturity, or also another kind of learning disability rather than specifically dyslexia.  In my experience, a good psychologist or neuropsychologist will cover everything, and follow whatever cues need to be followed.  So, if they do the writing portions, and it raises concerns about fine motor, they'll follow up.  Or if they have concerns about attention, they'll investigate further.  They'll also have questionnaires for you to fill out, that structure the information they want from you.  So, you don't need to know going in what you want them to look for, or what to remember to tell them.  

I think that suggestions for specific ways to proceed are so local.  @PeterPan talks about the cost of an eval at the hospital being much higher.  Here that's not the case.  Here the hospital takes all kinds of insurance, so they're often the cheapest, but they don't do a great job.  There are private people who are better, and worth the money.   But that doesn't mean that Houston is the same as either of our cities (unless Peter Pan is in Houston, I have no idea).  

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2 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

The blends don't stick. I feel like Abeka is great, but I think she needs something even MORE incremental and I have no idea what that is. I don't want to do her a disservice. 

So yes, that's your phonological processing piece, and you're right to be concerned. The psych can do a CTOPP and sort it out.

1 hour ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Adding- I feel like something more incremental than Abeka would benefit her greatly. But I don’t know what that is. Open for suggestions! We tried Nessy as a supplement, but it’s gone too far too fast and ended up causing frustration. 

https://bartonreading.com/students/#ss Start here by administering this screening. It's free. 

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Here is a possible resource for you. https://www.neuhaus.org/parents

The Neuhaus Center located in Houston trains teachers to work with Dyslexic students. I have taken some of their online and in person trainings over the years. While they do work mostly with public schools, they might be able to help you with private testing.

University of Houston also does educational testing. https://www.uh.edu/csd/documentation/learning_disabilities.html 

i don’t know anyone who has used UH, but I imagine that the testing is done by students with supervision.

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Suggest: High Noon reading program , start from the very beginning. 

Consider MUS for math.  Also from the beginning. 

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https://www.highnoonbooks.com/detailHNB.tpl?eqskudatarq=S8271-8

1 teacher book, 1 student book, 1 student workbook, and a first lowest level of Sound Out Chapter books .  The Red Cap was a particular favorite of my Ds, so set with it , would be my first choice.

If lap sitting not possible, such that you can read right with her (best if possible IMO), get a duplicate Sound Out set so you can see what she’s reading and be sure she’s not saying pail when word is pile - or whatever.  The teacher book includes the student book though so on that part you will have the “duplicate” already.

Read those levels until she has fluency and automaticity.  If it is a program that seems to work for her then add on Sound Out Chapter books for the next level (which will have the blends she’s having trouble with). 

Edited by Pen
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Actually maybe the second Sound Out level won’t have the blends she has trouble with— they may be considered digraphs and may come later than the simple blends. 

Anyway it divides things up sequentially.

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13 hours ago, PeterPan said:

So yes, that's your phonological processing piece, and you're right to be concerned. The psych can do a CTOPP and sort it out.

https://bartonreading.com/students/#ss Start here by administering this screening. It's free. 

Did Barton screen this morning. She tanked B & C. 

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Did you see the results page? If she *only* failed part B, you'd click the tiny link on the page and go to some free activities. However because she failed C, that's telling you she doesn't have the BASIC level of phonemic awareness necessary to succeed with ANY OG-type program. Doesn't matter if you pick Barton, AAS, Wilson, whatever, she needs some really foundational work.

This also tells you she's going to show deficits on the CTOPP. So what you should do is go ahead and get that baseline CTOPP done. You can get a psych eval if it only takes a month to get in. If it's going to be a 6 month wait, then try to find an SLP who specializes in literacy and get them to do the testing. Or find a Barton or OG tutor who can do the CTOPP for you. You just want that data as a baseline.

So after you get that baseline, then you start LIPS or FIS. You can do exactly what Barton says for students who fail part C. I used LIPS, but really FIS is open and go, boom. Then you can decide what you want to do next. (Barton, Wilson, OG with a tutor, whatever) Hiring a tutor can work too, as they could do all this for you. 

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There are some really good intro books on dyslexia like the book by Sally Shaywitz. But as far as what to do next, your next step is getting some evals and a baseline so you can begin intervention. If you go intervening with therapy level materials and move that line, it can delay her diagnosis. So get the baseline.

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5 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Is there a book(s) anyone can recommend for me to read on the auditory issues, since that's what Barton is saying her issue is with how she did on the test? 

My girls both tanked part C (the oldest also tanked on part B, while the middle tanked on part A).  I got LiPS, the rec'd intervention program for that, and while I only did the beginning portion with the girls (consonants), I applied what I learned from the rest of it to how I taught them - it informed everything else I've done.  (And, interestingly, *I* strongly improved my auditory processing through learning and teaching it.)

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LiPS if auditory is a problem

but also Www.talkingfingers.com can help because it has sound cues of what type.

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Oh my word. I feel like calling people about this is equivalent to holding up a sign that says rob me when I say we are private pay. How do people afford this? We do fine, but this is insane. 

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36 minutes ago, forty-two said:

My girls both tanked part C (the oldest also tanked on part B, while the middle tanked on part A).  I got LiPS, the rec'd intervention program for that, and while I only did the beginning portion with the girls (consonants), I applied what I learned from the rest of it to how I taught them - it informed everything else I've done.  (And, interestingly, *I* strongly improved my auditory processing through learning and teaching it.)

Is this what you purchased? http://ganderpublishing.com/product/lips-kit.asp

The Barton site says this is easier for parents to implement??  https://www.foundationinsounds.com/online-store

Thoughts on which? 

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I don’t know the Barton screening, so maybe I am wrong, but I think it is helpful to keep in mind that dyslexia is about one very specific piece of auditory processing which is the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds in words.  I say this because if you google auditory processing you might get suggestions for things like CAPD, or receptive language issues, which are totally different conditions that need different interventions.  

I think a good analogy is color blindness.  It involves one specific piece of visual processing.  But if you had a color blind kid and looked generally for visual processing support you’d get all kinds of suggestions for things like glasses for nearsightedness, and therapy for convergence issues, and putting a patch on the stronger eye.  Great strategies, but not things that impact color blindness.

Also, of course, you can be color blind and nearsighted, and you can have dyslexia and CAPD.  I am not saying you can’t. I am just throwing a thought out there in case you are googling auditory processing and coming up with an overwhelming number of interventions.

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This is maddening and overwhelming. These women I'm talking to, calling local SLPs already have me in for thousands and they haven't even met her. How can you even begin to estimate what type of therapy someone is in for without even conducting a test? It feel so scammy. I am trying not to go into head in the sand mode. I feel like crying. We went from "she just turned 7 and is having trouble reading 4 letter and longer words" to these women acting like she's a step away from a special school with all the therapy needs. 

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12 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Oh my word. I feel like calling people about this is equivalent to holding up a sign that says rob me when I say we are private pay. How do people afford this? We do fine, but this is insane. 

 

Yes, the evaluations are very expensive, but a good evaluator is also going to spend a long time on them.  

One thing I think is important is not to have the evaluation done by someone who has a financial interest, or other interest, in your kid’s diagnosis.  It is hard to know when someone recommends a certain therapy, that they offer for an additional charge, whether that therapy is the best, or if the evaluator just has a bias.

I have seen a number of kids get “evaluated” by providers who specialize in one kind of dyslexia therapy, and somehow every kid needs that therapy.  Like Lindamood Bell has never once told a family “Wilson would be better for your kid” or “Clearly he works well with mom, try Barton at home!”, and similarly, the Wilson people in my city don’t send people to Lindamood Bell.  

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

This is maddening and overwhelming. These women I'm talking to, calling local SLPs already have me in for thousands and they haven't even met her. How can you even begin to estimate what type of therapy someone is in for without even conducting a test? It feel so scammy. I am trying not to go into head in the sand mode. I feel like crying. We went from "she just turned 7 and is having trouble reading 4 letter and longer words" to these women acting like she's a step away from a special school with all the therapy needs. 

You don’t need an SLP yet, unless you are seeing other problems not here.  Dyslexia is a language problem, but it is one diagnosed by psychologists.  

Get that testing, from someone who doesn’t also do therapy.  Meanwhile learn about various intervention options, including ones you can do yourself at home, so that when the report comes back you can get the psychologist’s advice and sort through options.  

You might end up deciding that you want an SLP to do some intervention, but right now talking to interventionists is putting the cart before the horse.

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30 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Oh my word. I feel like calling people about this is equivalent to holding up a sign that says rob me when I say we are private pay. How do people afford this? We do fine, but this is insane. 

A local OG tutor here will do that baseline CTOPP as part of their intake eval for $70. SLP might be covered by your insurance and typically bills at $100 an hour around here, (plus or minus). A neuropsych bills at $250 an hour last I heard and several years ago when I was trying to get ds an eval through the hospital psychs were billing at $350 an hour. 

So no matter what, you've got a pricepoint and a way. The SLP or tutor testing won't be the end of the road, but it would be a start while you make the rest happen.

On the plus side, once you have the diagnosis, you can apply for the National Library Service, which could save you tons of money on audiobooks.

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36 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Is this what you purchased? http://ganderpublishing.com/product/lips-kit.asp

The Barton site says this is easier for parents to implement??  https://www.foundationinsounds.com/online-store

Thoughts on which? 

I didn't get the whole LiPS kit, but bought a used, older edition manual off Amazon for ~$90 (this one, from 1998, which has apparently come down in price on the used market) and made all the manipulatives from blackline masters in the manual, though I purchased the lip pictures directly from the publisher.  At the time I purchased it Foundation in Sounds didn't exist, but I figure a lot of things are easier for parents to implement than LiPS ;).  The manual was extremely clear and thorough, but it took serious study to wrap my brain around it - like studying for a college class.  It took two go-throughs before I understood the big picture and how the various pieces fit it.  Once I figured it out, though, it was very clear - quite logical and fairly intuitive; I just needed time and effort to learn enough to *have* helpful intuitions about the topic. 
(Once I figured out what was going on, I did use the sample dialogues as a mostly open-and-go script, which is not how you are supposed to do it.  You are supposed to practice the scripts enough to internalize them, so that with your actual students, you are "closed-book".  If I were paying the big bucks for a therapist to do it, I super would expect that of them.  But as a parent doing it with my kids, I thought it worked well enough with me looking and paraphrasing, though I did have to know what I was doing well enough to handle the kids' particular errors on the fly.  LiPS's error-handling technique is a big part of the program.)

As I understand it, LiPS goes further than FiS.  FiS just gets you what you need to be able to start Barton, while LiPS done all the way through could be an alternative to Barton, in that it's a complete reading program.

~*~

Here's the big picture outline I made of LiPS once I figured out how it worked:

Part 1: Setting the Climate for Learning:  This is a short step, but important - is basically explaining the point of the program to the student.  Focus is on teaching the students to be able to distinguish sounds for themselves, instead of having to rely on the teacher to tell them if they are right or wrong.


Part 2: Identifying and Classifying Speech Sounds:  This is one of the unique foundations for LiPS.  Instead of sounds being taught as a series of unrelated units, the LiPS program makes the underlying structure of the English sound system apparent as the students categorize the sounds on the basis of similarities and differences in the place and manner in which they are produced.  This provides tool students can use later in identifying and tracking speech sounds in syllables.  

Each sound has distinct characteristics that differentiate it from other speech sounds, and these characteristics can be heard, seen, and felt as the sound is produced, for a multi sensory experience with the sounds.  In this level of the program, students learn to use information from the eye, ear, and mouth to identify, classify, and label individual consonant vowel sounds, and to associate the sound they hear themselves say, the appearance of the mouth action when the sound is made, and the physical sensation of making the sound.

There's a big emphasis on distinguishing via comparison - first you start the sounds that are the most different from each other, and learn to feel the differences, and then you learn to make smaller and smaller distinctions.  The mouth pictures are used extensively here.


Part 3: Tracking Speech Sounds:  The ability to track sounds in sequences and conceptualize them visually is a critical factor in reading and spelling.  In spelling (encoding), sequences of sounds are translated into sequences of letters; in reading (decoding), sequences of letters are translated into sequences of sounds.  Either task involves two important skills: tracking sounds in sequences, and associating sounds and symbols with those sequences.  The LiPS program develops these two skills separately before asking the student to combine them in spelling and reading tasks.

The LiPS program offers two unique and important features here:
1) A progression of smaller steps than is ordinarily given in beginning reading programs, and
2) experiences with tracking and representing sequences of sounds with *concrete objects* (mouth pictures and colored tiles) *before* the student is asked to associate and represent with sequences of letters symbols in spelling and reading.

The tracking sequences starts with tracking sounds in single, simple syllables (VC, CV, CVC) and then moves to tracking sounds in single complex syllables (CCV, VCC, CCVC, CVCC, CCVCC) and simple multisyllables.  From there it moves to tracking sounds in complex multisyllables.

Here's how it works:
You start by saying a syllable - /at/, for example - and the student models it with mouth pictures or colored tiles (same color for same sounds, different colors for different sounds).  In this case, let's use a blue tile for /a/ and a red tile for /t/.

Then you change just *one* sound and the student changes the tiles to match what they heard.  There are five types of changes:
*adding a sound
*omitting a sound
*substituting one sound for a new one
*shifting a sound to a new place
*repeating a sound
And with each change, the student shows the change they heard with the tiles.

The manual has lots of these sequences already done - you just move through them one by one - and it has lots of teaching suggestions and sample scripts.


Part 4: Associating Sounds and Symbols:  the other half of the reading/spelling task.   You can teach them in part 2 or wait and teach them here, just before moving to spelling activities.  Spelling and reading overlap with tracking - as soon as you've mastered tracking single simple syllables, you add in spelling single simple syllables as you also move on to tracking simple multisyllables and complex single syllables.


Part 5: Spelling (encoding) and Reading (decoding):  Spelling and Reading follow the same progression as Tracking: start with simple one syllable words (pseudo and real) and then move to complex one syllable words and simple multisyllable words, and then move to complex multisyllable words.

Spelling starts with using letter tiles to build words, and later moves to writing the words; Reading likewise starts with the teacher building words (real and pseudo) from letter tiles before moving to reading print.  Both use the same sort of "change one sound" sequences as tracking does.  And you overlap spelling and reading in the same way you overlap tracking and spelling - as you master spelling simple one syllable words, you move to reading simple one syllable words as you also move on to spelling complex one syllable words and simple multisyllable words.

Spelling emphasizes consciously integrating the sound-symbol cues previously established.  For example, consciously considering whether you can spell the Lip Popper /p/ using 't' - does that match?  The focus is on consciously using sensory feedback to check whether what they *see*  matches what they *hear* and *feel*.

When reading for meaning, if a word doesn't make sense in context, it's a sign to go back and check your decoding.

Error handling focuses on asking questions that help the student *discover* their error, instead of the teacher just telling the student the right answer.

~*~

Also, in case it is useful, here was my list of things to be copied and laminated and have magnets added to:

Things to copy out of the LiPS manual (I actually scanned them and cropped the edges and then printed all of them on white cardstock and then laminated them):

*Mouth pictures (1 page)
*consonant symbols and vowel symbols (1 page each)
*bingo cards (optional-ish, 3 pages)
*vowel mat (1 page)
*tracking mat (1 page)
*sets of simple syllables and words for reading (6 pages)
*sets of complex syllables and words for reading (3 pages)
*syllable cards (3 pages, and it's possible/probable that making more cards with other syllables you come up with would be good/necessary - I haven't read that chapter closely yet)
*grid endings (2 pages)

Additional things to make:
*colored tiles: 24, in four groups of six colors, and an additional nine more, each in a different color (and different from the six colors in the first set).  I made squares and colored them in with sharpies on the edges of the other pages (the ones where stuff was getting cut out)
*little line drawings of an ear and a nose (or pictures), on small squares (maybe 2 or 3 each?)

Things to be cut out:
Basically everything *but* the vowel mat and the tracking mat

Things to have magnets added:
*consonant and vowel symbols
*colored tiles
*ear/nose pictures

Eta:  other thing to have - magnetic whiteboard.  It actually calls for a custom magnetic trifold whiteboard (which can only be bought from them, as far as I can tell), but I used 15"x15" square boards (with a 2'x3' board in reserve), and it was fine.

Edited by forty-two
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Yes, Foundations in Sound= FIS is fully scripted. Every single line, everything you need to say, open and go. LIPS is NOT. It has loose scripting to introduce concepts, but it's a more open-ended tool aimed at therapists, SLPs. 

I used LIPS because I needed to weave in my ds' very specific, hands-on speech therapy methodology to help him feel the sounds. We continued to use LIPS methodologies and the magnets all the way through Barton 2. 

If you want open and go, you want FIS. If you have a typical dyslexia, no complications, no severe speech problems, etc. situation, FIS will probably get you there. We've had one person on the boards (caedym) use it and she seemed happy. Since Barton is endorsing it, the content should be fine. 

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24 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

This is maddening and overwhelming. These women I'm talking to, calling local SLPs already have me in for thousands and they haven't even met her. How can you even begin to estimate what type of therapy someone is in for without even conducting a test? It feel so scammy. I am trying not to go into head in the sand mode. I feel like crying. We went from "she just turned 7 and is having trouble reading 4 letter and longer words" to these women acting like she's a step away from a special school with all the therapy needs. 

You need some chocolate. :smile: If the person is overwhelming you, move on to someone else. Or just say I WANT TO START WITH AN EVALUATION. That's it, what will it cost. 

You have no data to know how far this goes. I'm with you not to assume the worst. It's also normal to grieve once you start grappling with the idea of there being a SN of some kind. But just take one step at a time. If you can get a psych eval with a psych who specializes in dyslexia, do it. If the wait on that is long, get a CTOPP from someone faster/cheaper so you can begin intervention sooner. That is what I would do. 

Remember, even if you do the SLP eval, you still need that psych testing. 

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I agree with 42 that you can get by with the manual for LIPS (any copy, older editions seem to have no complaints) and the face magnets.

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1. You don't HAVE to have a dyslexia diagnosis.  You can work on FiS/LIPS and then move onto an OG-based reading program and see where that gets you.

2. Some Barton tutors offer dyslexia screenings (not a diagnosis).  Barton will send you a list of them if you email her.  It depends on what you want to know...but if you just want to know "is my child likely dyslexic and needing a reading program for dyslexia?" the screenings will tell you that.  I called around a few places in a couple of different states and was quoted prices between $300 and $500 for a screening. 

3. If you're wanting a diagnosis and more info about her specific weaknesses than a screening will give you, call local Barton tutors and ask if there's anyone they can recommend for evaluations.

 

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14 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

You don't HAVE to have a dyslexia diagnosis.  You can work on FiS/LIPS and then move onto an OG-based reading program and see where that gets you.

For better or worse, this is what I did.  (Actually, I did even "worse", in that I blended together a bunch of stuff - LiPS and OG and Dekodiphukan - and used those approaches to teach the program I had (Let's Read: A Linguistic Approach).  It worked in that LR was basically a giant book of practice material, arranged in a linguistically-sensible way (so meshed well with LiPS and OG progressions), that moved extremely slowly and incrementally, skipping nothing and practicing everything, so it lent itself nicely to being used with those methods.)

Some of it was that my oldest was actually fluently reading when she flunked the pre-screening, while my middle was 5, so, idk, I didn't feel a huge urgency to get a formal diagnosis right then.  (Plus I'm not even sure it was financially possible at the time - used LiPS done on the cheap was about where we were - in fact, I'm pretty sure that $90 used LiPS manual was by far the most I spent on any one item until probably last year.)  I just read a ton and found lots of resources and sallied forth and put things together as I went, and managed to make it work.  Probably not as good as the right experts using the right materials could have done - we had some bumbling and dead ends - but no more than tons of people on this board have had *while* using expert guidance.  My oldest is going into 8th grade, and I'm pretty happy with what we accomplished with our remediation; I don't *know* that she's stealth dyslexic, but she checked all the boxes and I treated her like one and remediated her like one, and she built up a lot of her missing skills.  (There's a few things that I know she's still weak on, but she can do everything she needs to do despite them and I think I'm calling it good.)  I think she's in good position to be hitting high school next year.

I will say that having functionally non-reading kids past the "usual" age without any nice, official diagnosis to point to (my middle and youngest didn't manage to learn to read in spite of their auditory deficiencies like oldest, but learned slowly, oh-so-slowly, as we remediated; heck, youngest is *still* in the middle of learning) - well, that can feel a little rough.  Both for the kids and for me as their teacher.  (Especially right now, in a new place, where I just learned that I am *definitely* being judged for ds's lack of reading :sigh.)

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I agree that you may not need a dyslexia diagnosis. 

Dyslexia is a continuum disorder, meaning that there isn't a clear line or difference between people with mild dyslexia, and people who missed the cut off, and the cut off varies.  If the public schools are testing, each state uses a different worksheet or criteria.  Psychologists might use slightly different criteria too.  So, there are kids who in one state, or with one evaluator might test as "mild dyslexia" and in the next town over might be considered to be "a weak reader, but within normal limits".  

But being on one side or the other of that threshold doesn't make a real difference in what kids need.  Yes, a kid with severe dyslexia needs very structured phonics, and a kid who decodes really well early on doesn't, but if you have two kids one of whom has dyslexia and one of who isn't a great reader but didn't make the dyslexia cut off, and you taught them both from a solid structured phonics curriculum like Wilson, or LiPs, or OG, or Barton (I assume, I've had more experience with the others), you wouldn't be doing anything wrong by the officially non-dyslexic kid.  Worst case you spent a little more money than you might have on another program, but probably not as much as you saved by not having her evaluated.

Testing is useful if you hope to get services from public schools.  At some point you might need it for something like SAT accommodations.  And it can help if you're concerned that there's something else that you're missing, or guide your search for solutions.  It can also help yo measure progress.  But there's also not a lot of harm in trying an intervention, and you'll probably get better suggestions here on homeschool friendly ones than I can offer, and deciding if it's a tool that works for you kid, before you have a diagnosis. 

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So helpful reasons for a homeschool to get full psych evals? 

-identify comorbid things that aren't yet on your radar (more SLDs, ADHD, anxiety, low processing speed, language issues)

-get paper trail that makes it easy to show to your ped for NLS (saves you $$$$ on audiobooks)

-screen for other things not on your radar (visual motor problems, vision/hearing, dyspraxia, etc.)

-get parents on the same page

-get advice about strengths and how to work to them

-qualify for state disability funding (some states have this)

Our state has extremely good disability funding, so it motivates people to get their kids diagnosed and get intervention. In our state SLDs would net you $10k a year to use to fund the intervention, so of course people are going to get their kids identified.

Things that happened for me *beyond the label* with evals? With dd there were surprises like the low processing speed and the word retrieval, things that continue to affect her even in college. We would not have known about those had we made assumptions and moved forward. In fact, I was thinking dyslexia and she ended up with different labels. You don't know till you eval.

Another thing was that I got sound advice based on someone who was looking at her objectively. Board advice is awesome, but they haven't met your kid, sat with him for 6-8 hours. All the psychs who have worked with my dd especially (my ds not so much, because they're just trying not to get hit, haha) have made a lot of effort to discuss with me ways to teach her, long-term outcomes, what to worry about and what not to worry about. This was SOLID ADVICE that we used OVER AND OVER to make decisions.

If you get a good psych, someone who is not a donkey's butt, someone who actually listens, you'll probably learn some things. I ask a lot of questions and they give a lot of answers. Sure you can choose not to. There also comes a point where kids like having the right words. Having the right words for their issues helps you avoid negative conclusions and assumptions like LAZY, etc. etc. 

47 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

Testing is useful if you hope to get services from public schools.

Testing is HIGHLY USEFUL to homeschoolers, because it gives them information that experienced classroom teachers probably already have just from wide experience. Things like Executive Function, processing speed, working memory, etc. aren't necessarily on the tip of most homeschoolers' tongues, but learning about these through the testing can help the homeschooler make changes in how they work together. 

So I told my dh I had to have evals because I needed that information to teach my dc better. That's where it's at. The evals will give you targeted information to intervene better and work with her better, and the info will go way beyond the decoding. 

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2 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

This is maddening and overwhelming. These women I'm talking to, calling local SLPs already have me in for thousands and they haven't even met her. How can you even begin to estimate what type of therapy someone is in for without even conducting a test? It feel so scammy. I am trying not to go into head in the sand mode. I feel like crying. We went from "she just turned 7 and is having trouble reading 4 letter and longer words" to these women acting like she's a step away from a special school with all the therapy needs. 

 

I like Peterpan’s above post. 

Nonetheless, I’ll be odd woman out.  I think you can go to LIPS and then to HighNoon (or Barton if you think that would fit her better, though she sounds a bit like my Ds where High Noon was an excellent fit) and diy.  

HN was very helpful over phone with me (I got advice from program author),  and I’ve heard Barton is too, 

 

unless you are trying to get her accommodations  or suspect something more like ASD, I think you could do remediation on your own. (Without getting evaluation first) 

 

Good remediation programs have been shown to significantly change brains to where they become close to or completely normal /non dyslexia seeming .   She may never need to depend on audiobooks or special things like that. Or certainly not beyond what Hoopla , Overdrive, and text to speech of kindle books can now do.

unless you do have state help that is far greater than the cost of evaluation.  We don’t. 

 

I linked LIPS at highnoon because it’s expensive there but about $300 less than Amazon price

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2 minutes ago, Pen said:

I think you could do remediation on your own. 

Absolutely!!!

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4 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

So helpful reasons for a homeschool to get full psych evals? 

-identify comorbid things that aren't yet on your radar (more SLDs, ADHD, anxiety, low processing speed, language issues)

-get paper trail that makes it easy to show to your ped for NLS (saves you $$$$ on audiobooks)

-screen for other things not on your radar (visual motor problems, vision/hearing, dyspraxia, etc.)

-get parents on the same page

-get advice about strengths and how to work to them

-qualify for state disability funding (some states have this)

Yes, to all those things.  There are benefits to evals.  I'm just saying that you can start the process, and see if the needs resolve with structured phonics, while figuring out if you need an eval.  Evals can take a long time to get set up.  

4 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Our state has extremely good disability funding, so it motivates people to get their kids diagnosed and get intervention. In our state SLDs would net you $10k a year to use to fund the intervention, so of course people are going to get their kids identified.

I really wish I lived in your state!  

4 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Things that happened for me *beyond the label* with evals? With dd there were surprises like the low processing speed and the word retrieval, things that continue to affect her even in college. We would not have known about those had we made assumptions and moved forward. In fact, I was thinking dyslexia and she ended up with different labels. You don't know till you eval.

Another thing was that I got sound advice based on someone who was looking at her objectively. Board advice is awesome, but they haven't met your kid, sat with him for 6-8 hours. All the psychs who have worked with my dd especially (my ds not so much, because they're just trying not to get hit, haha) have made a lot of effort to discuss with me ways to teach her, long-term outcomes, what to worry about and what not to worry about. This was SOLID ADVICE that we used OVER AND OVER to make decisions.

If you get a good psych, someone who is not a donkey's butt, someone who actually listens, you'll probably learn some things. I ask a lot of questions and they give a lot of answers. Sure you can choose not to. There also comes a point where kids like having the right words. Having the right words for their issues helps you avoid negative conclusions and assumptions like LAZY, etc. etc. 

Testing is HIGHLY USEFUL to homeschoolers, because it gives them information that experienced classroom teachers probably already have just from wide experience. Things like Executive Function, processing speed, working memory, etc. aren't necessarily on the tip of most homeschoolers' tongues, but learning about these through the testing can help the homeschooler make changes in how they work together. 


So, speaking as an experienced classroom special ed teacher, I feel like the evals are somewhat helpful, but I rely a huge amount on my instinct and on trial and error. (Error sounds wrong here.  I'm not really making mistakes with people's kids, I'm thinking of things like trying two or three interventions that have worked well for me, and watching to see which one they respond to)

Having said that, I will concede that knowing about those things probably guides my work, so I do see that as an advantage.  

4 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

So I told my dh I had to have evals because I needed that information to teach my dc better. That's where it's at. The evals will give you targeted information to intervene better and work with her better, and the info will go way beyond the decoding. 

 

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13 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

So, speaking as an experienced classroom special ed teacher, I feel like the evals are somewhat helpful, but I rely a huge amount on my instinct and on trial and error. (Error sounds wrong here.  I'm not really making mistakes with people's kids, I'm thinking of things like trying two or three interventions that have worked well for me, and watching to see which one they respond to)

Having said that, I will concede that knowing about those things probably guides my work, so I do see that as an advantage.  

A ps teacher also has the advantage of a team approach, where the homeschooler has to be everything under one roof or at least realize those issues could exist and push on them. So the teacher might not need to do narrative language intervention because the SLP is nailing it. She might have the OT coming in with behavioral supports and teaching Zones. But we're all under one roof, learning it on the fly, all from scratch. We're a whole IEP team in one, which is really sorta nuts when you think about it. 

15 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

see if the needs resolve with structured phonics,

The dc already have multiple years with multiple solid phonics programs. She just failed a basic phonemic awareness screener that literally asks basic questions like COULD YOU CLAP SYLLABLES and HOW MANY SOUNDS DO YOU HEAR IN THIS WORD. So to fail that is so far behind that there's no getting out of the box. Has to have intervention.

We have this happen all the time on the boards where people do stuff, intervene with professional level materials, therapy/intervention level materials (Barton is considered tier 3) and then get blown off by the psych. I was using Ronit Bird for math, and she's a dyscalculia specialist in the UK. So I spend months with my ds teaching him to understand the quantity 3, the quantity 4, the quantity 5. He's 5 1/2, turning 6, with a gifted IQ mind you, can't identify a quantity of 3 things. I succeed with Ronit Bird, so the DONKEY'S BUTT DON'T GET ME STARTED neuropsych is like "Oh, I can't see a math disability!"

And that's what they do to homeschoolers. They figure nothing we do is as good as a professional, if we've done it it's just homely and crap, on and on. That same idiot neuropsych told me I shouldn't teach my kid because no homeschooler should teach their dyslexic. Psychs will blame behaviors on us when the behaviors are autism. It just goes on and on. Going to a psych when you're a homeschooler isn't necessarily the most easy thing. They may have had instances where it really was just lack of instruction, wishful thinking about how it would just happen when ready, better late, blah blah. They have those experiences and it colors them for the next person.

So just reality is, to save trouble later, get a baseline. Around here you can get that CTOPP run for $70. Then go take 6 months and find your swanky psych, sure. But if you're gonna buy professional, therapy level intervention materials and use them, you're wise as a homeschooler to get the baseline. Or of course you can do like one of our local ps districts and do OG for RTI (like serious OG with a really stellar, certified OG intervention specialist, kicks butt, I know the lady) and then after a year of that "RTI" go dyslexia, what dyslexia? Snort. Because it's not fashionable there to have SLDs diagnosed, so they quietly intervene, sans IEP. They do great intervention, way better than what you can get in my district that hands labels out like candy.

So yes, if a homeschooler works with therapy level intervention materials, they're going to move that bar and make it harder to diagnose. We're not less than a professional in that respect, because what we lack in experience and training we make up for in zeal and access to the student.

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22 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

The dc already have multiple years with multiple solid phonics programs. She just failed a basic phonemic awareness screener that literally asks basic questions like COULD YOU CLAP SYLLABLES and HOW MANY SOUNDS DO YOU HEAR IN THIS WORD. So to fail that is so far behind that there's no getting out of the box. Has to have intervention.

A Beka is hardly lightweight on phonics. A Beka made it harder for my son to be diagnosed with dyslexia, particularly because as a gifted kid, he was interested in reading early, so we started early. It messed everything up. Add in the Barton results...the OP definitely needs a baseline evaluation asap if the full evaluation is going to take some time. Then a full evaluation would be really helpful as well.

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42 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

The dc already have multiple years with multiple solid phonics programs. She just failed a basic phonemic awareness screener that literally asks basic questions like COULD YOU CLAP SYLLABLES and HOW MANY SOUNDS DO YOU HEAR IN THIS WORD. So to fail that is so far behind that there's no getting out of the box. Has to have intervention.

 

Just to say fwiw it’s possible to read and not be able to do that.  My Ds who couldn’t do at 9 what op’s Dd already can do at 7, now reads quite well — 99%ile On std tests without accommodations — and would still have trouble answering “how many sounds do you hear in this word?”

 

 

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7 hours ago, forty-two said:

I didn't get the whole LiPS kit, but bought a used, older edition manual off Amazon for ~$90 (this one, from 1998, which has apparently come down in price on the used market) and made all the manipulatives from blackline masters in the manual, though I purchased the lip pictures directly from the publisher.  At the time I purchased it Foundation in Sounds didn't exist, but I figure a lot of things are easier for parents to implement than LiPS ;).  The manual was extremely clear and thorough, but it took serious study to wrap my brain around it - like studying for a college class.  It took two go-throughs before I understood the big picture and how the various pieces fit it.  Once I figured it out, though, it was very clear - quite logical and fairly intuitive; I just needed time and effort to learn enough to *have* helpful intuitions about the topic. 
(Once I figured out what was going on, I did use the sample dialogues as a mostly open-and-go script, which is not how you are supposed to do it.  You are supposed to practice the scripts enough to internalize them, so that with your actual students, you are "closed-book".  If I were paying the big bucks for a therapist to do it, I super would expect that of them.  But as a parent doing it with my kids, I thought it worked well enough with me looking and paraphrasing, though I did have to know what I was doing well enough to handle the kids' particular errors on the fly.  LiPS's error-handling technique is a big part of the program.)

As I understand it, LiPS goes further than FiS.  FiS just gets you what you need to be able to start Barton, while LiPS done all the way through could be an alternative to Barton, in that it's a complete reading program.

~*~

Here's the big picture outline I made of LiPS once I figured out how it worked:

Part 1: Setting the Climate for Learning:  This is a short step, but important - is basically explaining the point of the program to the student.  Focus is on teaching the students to be able to distinguish sounds for themselves, instead of having to rely on the teacher to tell them if they are right or wrong.


Part 2: Identifying and Classifying Speech Sounds:  This is one of the unique foundations for LiPS.  Instead of sounds being taught as a series of unrelated units, the LiPS program makes the underlying structure of the English sound system apparent as the students categorize the sounds on the basis of similarities and differences in the place and manner in which they are produced.  This provides tool students can use later in identifying and tracking speech sounds in syllables.  

Each sound has distinct characteristics that differentiate it from other speech sounds, and these characteristics can be heard, seen, and felt as the sound is produced, for a multi sensory experience with the sounds.  In this level of the program, students learn to use information from the eye, ear, and mouth to identify, classify, and label individual consonant vowel sounds, and to associate the sound they hear themselves say, the appearance of the mouth action when the sound is made, and the physical sensation of making the sound.

There's a big emphasis on distinguishing via comparison - first you start the sounds that are the most different from each other, and learn to feel the differences, and then you learn to make smaller and smaller distinctions.  The mouth pictures are used extensively here.


Part 3: Tracking Speech Sounds:  The ability to track sounds in sequences and conceptualize them visually is a critical factor in reading and spelling.  In spelling (encoding), sequences of sounds are translated into sequences of letters; in reading (decoding), sequences of letters are translated into sequences of sounds.  Either task involves two important skills: tracking sounds in sequences, and associating sounds and symbols with those sequences.  The LiPS program develops these two skills separately before asking the student to combine them in spelling and reading tasks.

The LiPS program offers two unique and important features here:
1) A progression of smaller steps than is ordinarily given in beginning reading programs, and
2) experiences with tracking and representing sequences of sounds with *concrete objects* (mouth pictures and colored tiles) *before* the student is asked to associate and represent with sequences of letters symbols in spelling and reading.

The tracking sequences starts with tracking sounds in single, simple syllables (VC, CV, CVC) and then moves to tracking sounds in single complex syllables (CCV, VCC, CCVC, CVCC, CCVCC) and simple multisyllables.  From there it moves to tracking sounds in complex multisyllables.

Here's how it works:
You start by saying a syllable - /at/, for example - and the student models it with mouth pictures or colored tiles (same color for same sounds, different colors for different sounds).  In this case, let's use a blue tile for /a/ and a red tile for /t/.

Then you change just *one* sound and the student changes the tiles to match what they heard.  There are five types of changes:
*adding a sound
*omitting a sound
*substituting one sound for a new one
*shifting a sound to a new place
*repeating a sound
And with each change, the student shows the change they heard with the tiles.

The manual has lots of these sequences already done - you just move through them one by one - and it has lots of teaching suggestions and sample scripts.


Part 4: Associating Sounds and Symbols:  the other half of the reading/spelling task.   You can teach them in part 2 or wait and teach them here, just before moving to spelling activities.  Spelling and reading overlap with tracking - as soon as you've mastered tracking single simple syllables, you add in spelling single simple syllables as you also move on to tracking simple multisyllables and complex single syllables.


Part 5: Spelling (encoding) and Reading (decoding):  Spelling and Reading follow the same progression as Tracking: start with simple one syllable words (pseudo and real) and then move to complex one syllable words and simple multisyllable words, and then move to complex multisyllable words.

Spelling starts with using letter tiles to build words, and later moves to writing the words; Reading likewise starts with the teacher building words (real and pseudo) from letter tiles before moving to reading print.  Both use the same sort of "change one sound" sequences as tracking does.  And you overlap spelling and reading in the same way you overlap tracking and spelling - as you master spelling simple one syllable words, you move to reading simple one syllable words as you also move on to spelling complex one syllable words and simple multisyllable words.

Spelling emphasizes consciously integrating the sound-symbol cues previously established.  For example, consciously considering whether you can spell the Lip Popper /p/ using 't' - does that match?  The focus is on consciously using sensory feedback to check whether what they *see*  matches what they *hear* and *feel*.

When reading for meaning, if a word doesn't make sense in context, it's a sign to go back and check your decoding.

Error handling focuses on asking questions that help the student *discover* their error, instead of the teacher just telling the student the right answer.

~*~

Also, in case it is useful, here was my list of things to be copied and laminated and have magnets added to:

Things to copy out of the LiPS manual (I actually scanned them and cropped the edges and then printed all of them on white cardstock and then laminated them):

*Mouth pictures (1 page)
*consonant symbols and vowel symbols (1 page each)
*bingo cards (optional-ish, 3 pages)
*vowel mat (1 page)
*tracking mat (1 page)
*sets of simple syllables and words for reading (6 pages)
*sets of complex syllables and words for reading (3 pages)
*syllable cards (3 pages, and it's possible/probable that making more cards with other syllables you come up with would be good/necessary - I haven't read that chapter closely yet)
*grid endings (2 pages)

Additional things to make:
*colored tiles: 24, in four groups of six colors, and an additional nine more, each in a different color (and different from the six colors in the first set).  I made squares and colored them in with sharpies on the edges of the other pages (the ones where stuff was getting cut out)
*little line drawings of an ear and a nose (or pictures), on small squares (maybe 2 or 3 each?)

Things to be cut out:
Basically everything *but* the vowel mat and the tracking mat

Things to have magnets added:
*consonant and vowel symbols
*colored tiles
*ear/nose pictures

Eta:  other thing to have - magnetic whiteboard.  It actually calls for a custom magnetic trifold whiteboard (which can only be bought from them, as far as I can tell), but I used 15"x15" square boards (with a 2'x3' board in reserve), and it was fine.

This is a fantastic summary of LiPS! I can't wait to get back to using it with my students in September 🙂

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Honestly, evaluations are great, but we've never had particularly useful results from them.  I've known that she had multiple, complex learning disabilities AND that she was gifted (and that she had severe anxiety and was probably autistic) since she was four.  I started getting evaluations at 2.5.  We've had a BUNCH of evaluations.  And the results have been....multiple, complex learning disabilities and gifted, but nothing that anyone has really pinpointed precisely.  One neuropsych said dyslexic.  Another said dysgraphic.  But neither really fits particularly well nor really explains the issues.  And she's 14 now and had her latest round through the public schools, and again, we mostly get shrugs.  Nobody's really sure.  I managed to teach her to read fluently and well without dyslexia specific resources, because she didn't have ANY of the early red flags for dyslexia (knew all her letters and sounds by 18 months, could rhyme, orally blend and segment words before she was three, etc), so honestly, I didn't think along those lines despite knowing rather a lot about dyslexia.  I did use OG type methods, because I think OG stuff is the best way to teach all kids to read, and we were homeschooling, so we worked at her own rate, but I didn't use super explicit stuff like Barton, because by the time the first neuropsych said dyslexia, she was already reading well.  She got Wilson tutoring and went through the program later (starting at age 11), but honestly, we started Wilson at 8 with another, very experienced and credentialed tutor, and she really didn't have success with her.  Wilson in middle school helped her spelling a heck of a lot, but she's still probably only at maybe a third grade level for spelling, and I think it's as good as it's going to get.  Developmentally, I don't think she was ready for it earlier.  

So....I always recommend evals.  Evals can be awesome.  But, they aren't always, and they really haven't been for us.  They got her an IEP in public school when our relationship fractured homeschooling and we needed to separate the parenting and teaching relationships.  But, the IEP is pretty useless academically.  So, while I'm definitely in favor of evals, I also know they won't necessarily make anything better.  It's good to have a diagnosis, because when you have it, even if it's not necessarily correct, having it can open doors and make things easier.  But while everyone preaches the virtues of early intervention, it can be really tough to get a diagnosis in a gifted kid young, because they aren't "behind enough."  And I wasn't really willing to wait for her to get that behind.  So I could totally get behind a plan of LIPS or FiS and then Barton.  Although honestly, I'm not sure that Barton would have been the right approach for my kid.  I think a more morphological approach like Structured Word Inquiry would have been the best for her, but I don't know enough about it to do it myself, and there are no real resources and tutors are hard to find.  So, we did Wilson.  

In retrospect, I sort of wonder if things would have been better if I'd waited till she was seven before I tried any academics.  A lot of stuff was developmental with her.  But, I'm not sure if it would have taken her the same amount of time beating her head against a wall before it "clicked," and the fact that we did that from 5-7.5 or so means that she doesn't really remember it now, and she doesn't ever remember not being able to read well.  Teaching her to read felt like legit child abuse, but she does read super well, so it might have been worth it.  

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I bought Overcoming Dyslexia today. Oh my gosh. It makes me want to cry it sounds so much like her. I don’t think she’s a severe case, compared to the kids discussed to where I am in the book, but so many things are ringing true. And the word slips. A few months ago she kept telling us there were obvious clouds around- it took me a few times to realize she was meaning ominous. Now, once I told her it was ominous, she hasn’t misused it again. But she knew what she was saying. And that’s happened a fair amount. Just not the right word. But she takes the correction and usually doesn’t repeat the error.  And cute things she says like “neverymind” I thought we’re cute little kids things.....now I’m wondering. 

Thanks everyine for all the wisdom and encouragement. I’m discussing with dh which path we want to try as far as evals etc. In the meantime I’m reading like a maniac. I feel less overwhelmed than I did earlier today. 

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Just to give you a ballpark for comparison -- I've had three of my kids evaluated by psychs for educational issues. When I've had to pay out of pocket, the full educational evaluation has run $1800 to $2000. That's just for two days of testing (a few hours each day, not all day long), the diagnosis, and the report. It includes IQ testing, achievement testing, and anything additional needed, based on the reasons that we were seeking help.

The cost of therapy is separate, and we've always gotten therapy from someone other than the evaluator.

We have had private OT and speech therapy, as well, and those usually start with the therapist doing some of their own screening and testing to help them plot the course of therapy. That is not what I'm referring to, above. When Peter Pan says you can get someone to run the CTOPP inexpensively, that's because some SLPs might be able to run it and get the scores for phonological processing. It would not include all of the other testing that a full psych evaluation would include, but it would capture a baseline phonological level before starting intervention.

To illustrate how effective intervention can be, DD14 tested poorly on the CTOPP when she got her dyslexia diagnosis. Then had a year of tutoring by an OG teacher. Then was testing with the CTOPP again, and she totally passed the CTOPP that time.

So if we argue that the CTOPP scores help establish the dyslexia diagnosis -- and it is generally the test that is used -- you can see that doing intervention before getting a baseline score might make it harder to get the diagnosis later, if you decide that you need one.

I would also posit that there are very good reasons to have an official dyslexia diagnosis. Can you remediate without one? Sure. Is getting remediation the only benefit of having the diagnosis? No, there are other reasons that I'm glad that we have it.

Edited by Storygirl
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I wanted to add a little more nuance to my description of DD14's success with OG. I don't want to leave the impression that OG tutoring was a magical cure all for her. That's not how remediation has looked for her.

She still has dyslexia, even though she can pass the phonological testing now. She has learned how to use the skills she has learned to decode and can do it when she is concentrating for testing, so that she can pass the CTOPP, but it is still hard work for her brain. Her spelling has improved enough that her words are now legible (many of her sentences were not decipherable at age 10 -- she used creative spelling and had scrawling handwriting back then), but she still needs to use spellcheck and other tools. She no longer has writing goals in her IEP and only has accommodations.

She can read on grade level and well enough that she no longer has reading goals in her IEP. But she still has a lot of trouble with unfamiliar words. Yesterday, she stumbled over "examiner" and said that she didn't know what the word on her her new sweatshirt was ("California"). She would be able to sound them out, using her OG training, but she cannot just read them, as a typical student would be able to do.

She has now had a year of one-on-one tutoring, followed by three years of instruction at a dyslexia school, and she is transferring to the public school this year. Her IEP has accommodations for the dyslexia, but her IEP goals are only for math now.

DD is fortunate, because she has very high comprehension and processing speed. So she can read and understand passages more quickly than she can decode individual words. Her dyslexia evaluation showed that she had severe phonological impairment at the word level; after remediation, that impairment does not show up on the CTOPP testing any more, but it still has an obvious impact on her day to day reading. I'm glad that we had the evaluation when she was younger, because it helps me understand her educational needs more completely than if we had never known those baseline scores.

I only have one child with dyslexia, so I can't speak from our own experience, but I have been told that remediation is more effective, the younger the child is. And it also is individual, of course, with some kids responding differently than others. But it's worth it to get an early start, so you are doing well to get the evaluations and start intervention now, at age 7.

Before DD was diagnosed at age 10, I had worked with her on several different highly regarded phonics programs, including two that were designed to help those with reading issues -- three if you count our attempt to use AAS -- and we had not broken through her phonics impairment. After age 10, when she started OG, she made tremendous improvements. So, for her, OG is rocket fuel. But the dyslexia is still there and always will be. Even though it does not show up in her CTOPP any more, and even though her reading scores during educational testing are now in such a range that they no longer trigger IEP goals.

 

Edited by Storygirl
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Story expressed it so well!  I do think it’s worth trying to get an evaluation before intervention.  And at seven, there might be enough gap to qualify.  We got our first diagnosis at 7.5.   Previous ones said that there were clearly issues but not enough discrepancies from the normal range to qualify.  You should be able to get one at five, but it didn’t work that way for us.  Even at 7.5, it was just barely qualified.  She’s actually never qualified for a reading disability because she compensated so well and had such great comprehension.  It’s been spelling that got us diagnosed.  

So it becomes a weighing alternatives of whether it’s worth the money for an evaluation that might work at this age.   Waiting on intervention long term isn’t a great idea, but to qualify, the kid has to be far enough behind relative to peer group, and that’s easier to establish at third grade plus, given the variation of normal in early grades.   

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Well, there is a gray area sometimes, where a score is lower but it's not low enough to hit a cut-off.  

There are not necessarily hard cut-offs (though there might be, but when there are there might be ways for a person to override a cut-off by using their judgment) -- but if someone scores under a cut-off score, they might definitely qualify, and if they score over, you might be hoping that the evaluator is seeing a bigger picture where problems are still visible despite remediation.

I can see both sides because I think sometimes with intervention and/or remediation -- things are really fine, it doesn't need to matter that much, it doesn't need to be some big thing with continuing accommodations.

But then sometimes kids can be really struggling but -- like a duck, on the top they look serene, but underwater they are paddling frantically.  

 

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To qualify for a diagnosis.  Actually, unlikely to get a dyslexia diagnosis.  More likely to get learning disability- reading (decoding).  That’s the dsm category that’s usually used.  The child has to score low enough that there’s enough discrepancy from the norm.  Some states will qualify you with enough discrepancy between achievement and IQ, but most are moving away from it.  So a kid would have to be two standard deviations lower than the mean, for example.  And when kids are younger, expectations are fewer and it’s harder to get low enough to qualify.  

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16 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

@Terabith what do you mean by “qualify”? 

The ps IEP process. They're super sticklers on numbers. And like Story said, the numbers shift with intervention. So with my ds, the school wouldn't qualify him under ASD at age 6 because he could pass a particular test with a raw score of *1*. (yes, that's as absurd as it sounds) So I did intervention WITH NO BASELINE, making it harder to get the school on board the next year when we tried. It was the moral thing to do, but my IDIOT SLP didn't baseline before I did my language work and it cost me a $30k scholarship for several years. Kinda hear the pissed, don't be stupid, always always baseline reasoning now? LOL

You know some people, cultures, religious circles are just super down on evals. My religious background is being told the DSM will send your kids to hell, don't eval. I have friends who are like that would destroy my kid's self-esteem. They'll even put them in a school for kids with disabilities and not eval. Don't get me started. Because evals are horrible, evals will destroy your child, the DSM is secular humanism, on and on.

And you know I think things work out and parents choose paths and it's all good. But there are usually reasons when someone is saying don't eval. They've been told evals will send their kid to hell, don't have the money (and won't go through the ps), marital disagreements, whatever. So take it all with a grain of salt.

In general, you're going to make more informed choices with more information. If you wanna shoot in the dark and not know what's going on and randomly intervene, go right ahead. But me, if I'm suggesting, I'm gonna say screen vision with an annual vision checkup, screen hearing with an inexpensive university audiology eval, and make happen as full evals as you can make happen till you've addressed everything you're seeing and found the things you don't realize you were seeing. Information is your friend and it helps you make empowered, informed, complete decisions on intervention. Or put another way, it saves you the heartache of going forward without that information. Like I said, I got one piece, one piece of information that was life-altering, huge, in that first psych eval for my dd. You don't know what you'll find and that information will help you make good, complete decisions.

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For homeschoolers also — my kids are in public school — it’s often harder to separate out for an outsider — this isn’t just my teaching.  

It’s also harder (for things other than dyslexia maybe) to get observations from someone who sees a child enough to know them decently well — a lot of things go a lot off of a school and a home evaluation.  

You might be more aware and less aware, because some things only you will really see, and other things may not show up when there is always a quiet environment, close instruction, very small ratios, etc, but might show up for the same child in a school setting.  

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