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Understanding DAS-II Cognitive Ability score


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Can anyone help me make sense of this?

So my 11 year old son had some assessments done through the school, at my request, to check for learning disability. His major problems are spelling (letter reversals, number reversal, occasional transposing of letters), writing mechanics (lack of capitals and punctuation, tons of errors), and losing things. And when I say losing things, I mean, it's kind of extreme, in my opinion. He can't keep track of anything other than the book he's currently reading and maybe his deck of cards he loves. He will put on his 5 year old brother's pants and think they're his, he'll walk out the door without his backpack, he'll be wearing dress shoes with shorts, he won't be able to find his jacket in the coat closet when it's in front of his face, forgets his LUNCH in his locker at school when walking with this class to LUNCH... like, wow. He has a bad case of SCS (Space Cadet Syndrome). But he learned to read easily and as soon as he started reading, he HAS NEVER STOPPED and has always been super interested in games, puzzles, reading, and trivia. When he tells you about what he's been reading, or when you notice his vocabulary, he seems smart. But so many times EVERY day he does what I would call "the dumbest crap." 🙂

Anyhoo, so I got the results from this assessment and his General Cognitive Ability score is 130 which is the 98th percentile and in the "very high" range of ability. HUH?!  Now, I'm glad, of course, but also a bit flabbergasted. With a score of 130 (I'm not exactly sure how this correlates to IQ score?), WHY would this not translate to academic performance?  Like I said, he LOVES to read, he loves puzzles, loves games, loves anything hands-on, and can have extreme interest in learning things that engage him. But... he's a straight C student at school. Why??? Is it just that he's not conscientious? Definitely losing homework constantly and forgetting he even has homework is a problem grade-wise. But even still... this supposed "very high range of ability" is not showing itself at school. Plus... what's with the writing issues? Am I right that he could still have a learning disability? And if so, what kind of testing should I suggest to hone in on that?

Now, background: We definitely have learning disabilities in my family. I joke with my husband that we are a dyslexia factory. We have 8 kids and so far two of them are dyslexic (both score very high on spatial reasoning, but have problems with language... had a hard time learning to read, terrible phonetic spelling, etc). So my 11 year old seems to have the writing aspect of that, but didn't have a hard time learning to read. He also didn't really speak at all until one day he said a full sentence at over 3 years old.

Summary: Language-related learning disabilities in our family (dyslexia), smart kid who does really dumb stuff all the time (lol), surprisingly high intelligence score, does not do well in school. What the???  He was homeschooled up until last fall, by the way. So I have a hint of doubt in the back of my mind that maybe I've done this kid wrong somehow. But other than reading, he's never really noticeably excelled at work... especially when any writing is involved. Anyway, please let me know if you have any thoughts on this.

 

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First, some links about the test...

https://www.myschoolpsychology.com/test-tools/das-2/#identifying-children-for-giftedness

http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/BB/ubbthreads.php/topics/239748/DAS_II_or_WISC_V.html

It seems like there is a lot of overlap with the WISC, and the scores are on the same scale. The sample reports on Pearson shows the subtests available. 

When it didn't come in a search for giftedness, the test was mentioned (over and over) as being part of autism batteries.

I think it's safe to say that your child is gifted. Depending if he had a lot of spread in his various subtest scores, you might find that he does perform a little differently on a different test. For instance, my kids have had multiple rounds of testing, and my older son did dramatically better on the WISC IV than WISC V. Three things probably made a difference--treating ADHD with meds, fixing his convergence insufficiency probably helped with the non-verbal score, and finally, the WISC V non-verbal battery was updated to be even less dependent on language than previous versions. 

So, YMMV with different tests, but I would say the gifted thing is real. Generally speaking, you can't fake a high IQ test score, and this test is often used as one. 

3 hours ago, CatholicMom said:

His major problems are spelling (letter reversals, number reversal, occasional transposing of letters), writing mechanics (lack of capitals and punctuation, tons of errors), and losing things.

Both of my kids have ADHD, and inconsistent attention to details and possessions is par for the course.

Both of my kids did this, but my dyslexic kiddo's spelling errors are more diverse and egregious. My kiddo with ASD (2e, language deficits, good life-skills) needed someone to tell him explicitly that he should write his numbers and letters the same way each time--he would recognize a letter from any orientation, and I told him that most people really do need to know an M is an M, not a W when they are reading. When he adopted this understanding, the reversals quit. His inconsistencies persisted for a while. Punctuation was a bear for a long time, and even now, it's pretty bad.

4 hours ago, CatholicMom said:

He was homeschooled up until last fall, by the way. So I have a hint of doubt in the back of my mind that maybe I've done this kid wrong somehow. But other than reading, he's never really noticeably excelled at work... especially when any writing is involved.

Oops, out of order. You didn't do this. I promise! Did he noticeably struggle, or was it just that he had his own agenda? Was bored? Didn't engage?

Some of these kids need things to be harder in order to be easier. They are driven to have to make cognitive leaps. What's really fun is when they NEED to make cognitive leaps, but then you still have to go back and fill in how they got there, lol! That's not intuitive and is really a problem for some kids.

3 hours ago, CatholicMom said:

But he learned to read easily and as soon as he started reading, he HAS NEVER STOPPED and has always been super interested in games, puzzles, reading, and trivia. When he tells you about what he's been reading, or when you notice his vocabulary, he seems smart. But so many times EVERY day he does what I would call "the dumbest crap." 🙂

Anyhoo, so I got the results from this assessment and his General Cognitive Ability score is 130 which is the 98th percentile and in the "very high" range of ability. HUH?!  Now, I'm glad, of course, but also a bit flabbergasted. With a score of 130 (I'm not exactly sure how this correlates to IQ score?), WHY would this not translate to academic performance?  Like I said, he LOVES to read, he loves puzzles, loves games, loves anything hands-on, and can have extreme interest in learning things that engage him. But... he's a straight C student at school. Why??? Is it just that he's not conscientious? Definitely losing homework constantly and forgetting he even has homework is a problem grade-wise. But even still... this supposed "very high range of ability" is not showing itself at school. Plus... what's with the writing issues? Am I right that he could still have a learning disability? And if so, what kind of testing should I suggest to hone in on that?

Now, background: We definitely have learning disabilities in my family. I joke with my husband that we are a dyslexia factory. We have 8 kids and so far two of them are dyslexic (both score very high on spatial reasoning, but have problems with language... had a hard time learning to read, terrible phonetic spelling, etc). So my 11 year old seems to have the writing aspect of that, but didn't have a hard time learning to read. He also didn't really speak at all until one day he said a full sentence at over 3 years old.

So, you have lots of ADHD red-flags, and quite a few for ASD (probably a support level of 1). The bolded is stuff that makes me wonder about ASD (though some can be giftedness or ADHD). 

If you want to know more about LDs, you might need more language testing, and even just general achievement testing like the Woodcock Johnson. They would compare those scores to IQ, but the language scores wouldn't necessarily be compared to IQ.

Something like the Test of Narrative Language would be helpful. Sometimes the CELF metalinguistics test is helpful, but a lot of what is being tested there is better tested as an open ended assignment.

There are supports for the kinds of writing issues you describe--usually accommodations like checklists or not grading spelling until the final draft, etc. Is his writing disorganized? Does he maintain topic? Can he select relevant details? How is the sentence structure? Does he write good introductory sentences and concluding sentences? Those are things that are more concerning for LD criteria (not that the other issues aren't frustrating or an LD--just more common and more easily supported).

How does he do with solving day-to-day problems around life-skills? How are his life skills outside of organization and sense of style?

Is this the only test they did?

 

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2 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

Only if all 3 answers are yes, do they continue.  So, for example in your case they might find that your child has ADHD, but that the things he's struggling with aren't part of the general education curriculum (e.g. there are no standards for bringing your lunch box), or that specially designed instruction wouldn't help.  In that case, he would be found ineligible for services.  Or they might find that he has a learning disability, but that he's still learning well and making progress.  

If you want a broader picture, and an answer to the question of whether he has a disability at all, and whether there are things that would help, including things like medication that aren't the school's responsibility, or instruction to catch up his writing with his potential, which the school probably isn't going to offer,

To add to that from our own experience...

If he is ineligible for an IEP, they might still give him a 504, which could help support the ADHD problems. If they do qualify some students with severe ADHD for IEPs, it's often under Other Health Impairment. They sometimes use OHI for "patterns of strengths and weaknesses" that taken together are basically equivalent to having an LD. You have to be really good at connecting the dots for them if this is where you need to end up.

For the bolded, if you use some kind of standard testing such as the TNL, sometimes you can find data that connects problems with studied interventions for those problems. That can be compelling. They might offer intervention that is a lower tier and not something you have to have an IEP to access.

With my older son that has ASD, what happened outside of school was also really compelling. If you have something going on that demonstrates anxiety, for instance, that gets attention. 

So, you have to paint the whole picture if there isn't a hole-in-one problem underlying everything or if you have underachievement plus hindrances vs. an outright disability. Some schools do take "headed for academic failure" seriously if there is at least one compelling or borderline issue that can be documented. 

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It's EF and he'll probably get an ADHD diagnosis if you take him to the ped. Not sure about the dyslexia. My dd was sort of crunchy like that (sketchy spelling, great reader, lots of life issues), and she did not go dyslexia. My ds is diagnosed and is doubled down, homozygous for a gene (one of many) associated with dyslexia. My dd is heterozygous for the defect, so I figure that's why she's crunchy but not dyslexic.

So unless they ran a CTOPP and you're having actual phonological issues or whatever, I would treat the ADHD. Meds, read books on executive function, tech, get him functional. As far as his school stuff, he's either bored or disorganized. I wouldn't doubt his IQ scores. I'd treated him like the very bright, gifted dc he is, get him a coach to help with the EF. He should have a good outcome if you get him organized. For my dd that was meds and tech.

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Wow, this is so helpful!!!!  You guys are my "moms" for sure.  Sidenote that nowhere else on the Great Internets do I find such helpful, detailed input on this stuff as on this forum!!  <Sigh of relief!>

Secondly, this is a bit overwhelming. I'm so thrown off by this testing score and a little annoyed that nobody even called (at least we didn't connect) on the phone, or have a conversation in person about these scores. They just sent them via snail mail and I feel like they dropped a bomb off on my doorstep with no explanation. Okaaay???

Anyhoo, this is really helpful info. I was wondering about how this score correlated with an IQ score, and was afraid to say his "IQ" was 130 for fear of looking like an idiot, LOL. But I'm actually not telling my son this, other than "you're smart!" because I don't want him to get a big head, or think his IQ will put the effort into his school work for him, ya know?  But this is such a dramatic revelation for me, you don't even know. This is so strange to me because this is the THE kid in my house who does the "dumb crap" alllll the time (bless his soul!). 

So, to answer some questions, they did give me the whole print out of all his subtest scores and explanations in paragraph form. All 3 of his "cluster scores" were 90 percentile or above. But they noted a significant inconsistency in that his immediate recall was notably far weaker than his other skills, so they called it a "personal weakness."  It was a big discrepancy for *him* but it was actually still in the average range for a child his age. So.... hmmmm. They did also do achievement testing and although I don't have it in front of me right now, the nutshell version was that he did "OK" on everything other than math facts, fractions, and they did notice the errors in spelling and punctuation. They also noted a few reversals like I was talking about and one instance of transposing letters. To me, this made me worry that I have done a terrible job educating him!  Because, like I said, his school performance, and this achievement test, shows nothing that you would ever guess as indicating high intelligence. But it's very interesting that one of you said that THIS exact phenomenon (if I'm understanding correctly) is what could indicate a learning disability? (Btw, is Executive Functioning Disorder considered a learning disability?)

My plan was to get as much free testing done through the school as they would do, and then take that information to the neuropsychologist for them to build on, test him further, and give me the whole picture. We do already have an appointment in, I believe, September. I'm *100% convinced* something is not "right" with him (or at least definitely not "typical") because of all the space cadet stuff that really affects his daily living (and MINE, Lol). At this point, I'm so tired of guessing about what my kids are dealing with that I'm trying to plow through all of this and will likely be getting at least two of my other kids tested. We are full of neurologically "unique" kids in this house, it seems!

So, if anyone is interested, here is some info from the test results that I just grabbed to have in front of me:

General Cognitive Ability - 130, 98 percentile

Verbal - 132, 98 percentile
Word definitions: 71
Verbal similarities: 67

Nonverbal Reasoning - 120, 91 percentile
Matrices: 68
Sequential & Quantitative Reasoning: 58

Spatial - 119
Recall of Designs: 53
Pattern Construction: 69

Diagnostic Subtests:
Recall of Digits - Forward - 49
Recall of Objects - Immediate - 48

---------------
Wechsler Individual Achievement Test - II
Reading comp 91   (these are all the percentile ranks)
Word reading 79
Oral reading fluency 63
Oral reading accuracy 68
Oral reading rate 58
Math problem solving 32  (ouch!)
Numerical operations 32  (eek!)

------
Then there was a Test of Written Language - 4th edition where his overall Writing Composite was 106, with a percentile of 65
____

Then there was the BASC-3  composite score summary which placed him "at risk" and with two items that were "clinically significant" (leadership and activities of daily living)
His Behavioral Symptoms Index was 62 ("at risk")
His Adaptive Skills was 32 ("at risk")
____

I'm also attaching scanned images of what the tester said for Recommendations. I'm not sure how I feel about it. It kind of seems like she doesn't think there's anything terribly noteworthy, but what bothers me (I know I'm being redundant here, lol) is that this cognitive ability and his achievement don't really match up at all (wouldn't you say?). Especially math... yikes. He actually got a high D in the first quarter of school, I believe, and then got C's...

I worry a tad bit that I could have misrepresented him a little on the BASC because when the question has to do with attention, I'm not sure how to answer. The answer is really *it depends on what you're asking him to pay attention to!!*  He can be very focused on things that interest him. School (especially math) does NOT engage him. A book on Greek Myths, though, will... So will a book on geology, or a computer game, or a card game, etc.  Math lessons? Not at all.

Anyway!!  This kid is definitely quirky and complicated and I'm just trying to make sure I steer this whole testing thing in such a way that I find out what we really need to know to make sure I can help him live and learn up to his potential, which I feel like is NOT currently happening... especially after finding out this IQ score.

JoelTestResults20190811_21570889.pdf JoelTestResults220190811_22005924.pdf

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Oh, also... regarding his low math scores, something I plan to pay more attention to when school starts is whether he is getting such low scores because he is making what I call "silly mistakes" (which he definitely does a lot of), or if he is really not understanding concepts. His teacher noted to me that he would seem to be following right along during lesson time and answering questions correctly and then would proceed to bomb the test. He also was known to constantly a) lose his homework, b) forget he even had homework, c) forget to hand in the homework that he actually DID do, d) do his homework in a hurry, completely wrong.  

One thing he does that is another strange quirk of his is that he's super informal on his school work.  He hates writing answers to social studies questions, for instance, and more than once I looked at his homework and saw that on the EIGHT lines where he was supposed to write a thoughtful answer, he wrote: "I dunno. The indians maybe" (and not on any of the lines, of course).  UMM WHAT??? That is so weird to me. Is this just a case of not giving a crap? LOL  Kind of comical, but depending on my mood I will either laugh and smack my head, or ream him out.  If you have any thoughts on this particular quirk, please let me know!   

Doesn't "I dunno. The indians maybe" just scream high IQ ?  😂🤣😂  How could I not have known? LOL

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7 minutes ago, CatholicMom said:

I don't want him to get a big head

It's not that high, lol. I mean it's gifted, but it's just 130. 

 

8 minutes ago, CatholicMom said:

his immediate recall was notably far weaker than his other skills, so they called it a "personal weakness."  It was a big discrepancy for *him* but it was actually still in the average range for a child his age.

So you can google, but probably the standard deviation for this test is 10 or 15. Say it's 15 and say significance is 1.5 to 2 standard deviations of discrepancy. (ie. moving out to the edges of the bell curve, what difference is significant vs. still under the big bell) So YES ABSOLUTELY he could have "average" scores (say 100) that are going to be a full 2 standard deviations discrepant from his other scores and hence significant. 

They're not personal weaknesses in the sense of character defects. They're relative weaknesses, something that's not an absolute disability but relative to himself a weakness. And that can cause frustrations, unexpected difficulty, all kinds of things.

So you might want to google immediate recall and see what that term means vs. working memory, episodic memory, etc. These are things you CAN IMPROVE with just a small amount of purposeful work, and they can improve function. That's why they're tested. All see how much of it falls under executive function and whether they're mentioning other EF issues or whether they even did any tools for EF.

13 minutes ago, CatholicMom said:

Then there was the BASC-3  composite score summary which placed him "at risk" and with two items that were "clinically significant" (leadership and activities of daily living)
His Behavioral Symptoms Index was 62 ("at risk")
His Adaptive Skills was 32 ("at risk")

Ok, so I've filled out the BASC a bunch but forgotten a lot about it. I can assure you that no single question/answer decided those scores. There's a lot of redundancy, which they use to tease apart discrepancies and nuances in your answers. 

So I'll just ask, is spectrum on your radar? Your adaptive skills score is very low and you're saying he's quirky. Also you're saying he engages well if it's his interest and not if it's not. So you're describing spectrum there.

And it sort of matters, because frankly neuropsychs are a crap shoot for spectrum. I had one who was a serious donkey's butt, who used an out of date GARS, who blew me off, made assumptions, didn't care that ds was flapping and scripting. Total idiot. And there are clinical psychs who nail spectrum.

Given the profile, you might look for a psych from the Hoagies Gifted list. In fact, I'd STRONGLY suggest you look for a psych from the Hoagies Gifted list. They're not super common, but if you find the right one (someone who's seeing a lot of gifted plus ASD/ADHD/quirky) you're going to get a lot more helpful information. A neuropsych is NOT necessarily your best bet right now. You want the right person, someone who has the extra tests to tease things out, and the neuropsych might not be it. Might be or might not. 

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3 minutes ago, CatholicMom said:

Doesn't "I dunno. The indians maybe" just scream high IQ ?

No it screams ASD, quirky, writing is hard, narrative language deficits, inability to generalize when he's given the task in a new situation.

I don't know, I don't know him. 

Definitely look for a Hoagies' Gifted psych. Alternately, look for an autism school that has a really good, experienced psych doing evals. Around here we have one where the psych is a big wig for the ADOS. She does a killer, kick butt ADOS. It's something you really might want done on him. You're wanting to tease things apart, and that takes something more than the stupid paper tools they run like the GARS. (spit, fume, don't get me started) You can see what your options are, but it's questions you could be asking. A neuropsych eval is pretty limited and not SO much more enlightening than what you've already gotten. You're actually wanting something different, someone who specializes in gifted, quirky kids, someone who can run the ADOS, some language testing like the TNL, etc.

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Yes the ToWL is low, but you'd really like to tease out more what is going on there. Would having it diagnosed (which a psych would have done and the ps punted on because of their we want to see RTI, homeschoolers are crap schoolers bias), make a difference? Does it EXPLAIN what you're seeing, or is there still more? I think you're still needing pragmatics, narrative language, etc., and seriously good luck on getting a neuropsych to do those. Around here they don't. It's SLPs or clinical psychs who specialize in gifted. Ironically, those clinical psychs are a lower pricepoint, go figure.

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12 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Yes the ToWL is low, but you'd really like to tease out more what is going on there. Would having it diagnosed (which a psych would have done and the ps punted on because of their we want to see RTI, homeschoolers are crap schoolers bias), make a difference? Does it EXPLAIN what you're seeing, or is there still more? I think you're still needing pragmatics, narrative language, etc., and seriously good luck on getting a neuropsych to do those. Around here they don't. It's SLPs or clinical psychs who specialize in gifted. Ironically, those clinical psychs are a lower pricepoint, go figure.

 

I think you're probably giving me good advice, but I need a translation, Lol.   I don't know any of these acronyms. What do you mean that I need narrative language? Is there a narrative language test?  It's frustrating to hear that I may need to switch gears and look for a clinical pscyhologist who specialize in gifted kids. I'm thinking I will still continue down the path I'm on for fear that I will get waylaid since I'm not sure what I'm doing, but note taken.  The neuropsych can certainly recognize giftedness, though, right? So you would think they could then send me on to someone else for further testing if necessary, when they're done?  I'm kind of thinking, rule out (or diagnose) a LD so the he can get help with that at school sooner rather than later, and at the same time I want to know about a potential Executive Function issue, ADHD, and definitely if ASD is a part of it. Then after sorting out the problematic part, then I can worry about the gifted stuff? Does that make sense? I'm kind of thinking that after all of this is "out of his way" as much as possible, maybe he will start to take off academically and life in general will also get a bit easier for him (even if part of it is just our family and his teachers being able to name and learn about what he's dealing with, so we can be a bit more understanding). That's my hope.

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12 hours ago, PeterPan said:

frankly neuropsychs are a crap shoot for spectrum. I had one who was a serious donkey's butt, who used an out of date GARS, who blew me off, made assumptions, didn't care that ds was flapping and scripting. Total idiot. And there are clinical psychs who nail spectrum.

Given the profile, you might look for a psych from the Hoagies Gifted list. In fact, I'd STRONGLY suggest you look for a psych from the Hoagies Gifted list. They're not super common, but if you find the right one (someone who's seeing a lot of gifted plus ASD/ADHD/quirky) you're going to get a lot more helpful information. A neuropsych is NOT necessarily your best bet right now. You want the right person, someone who has the extra tests to tease things out, and the neuropsych might not be it. Might be or might not. 

OP, the more you describe your son, the more I see ASD traits. This is so much like my older son, except that he did fine academically. I don't think he was ever asked for open-ended responses to things in his time in school (k-2) other than outright writing a story, which he didn't do so great at (but they were with prompts that were ridiculous, so I didn't think much of it). 

Yes, you want someone who is well-versed in ASD and gifted stuff, and even better if they see a fair amount of ASD 1. 

I think you need additional pragmatics testing (social skills) and narrative language testing (TNL-Test of Narrative Language--we asked our psych to run it special for us, and she like it so much she purchased it). It sounds like something like the Test of Problem-solving might be good too (TOPS--the versions indicate the target age range). 

While we're on it, intervention for narrative language--I highly recommend products from Mindwing Concepts. 

At your son's age and with a gifted profile, he's kind of in a not-so-great place with score norms on some of the language testing. These kids who can do pass but are on the edge sometimes catch up (usually with intervention) and are fine. If you have ASD in the mix, oftentimes, things start to get worse, but you have to bump up to the next age bracket for testing to see a bigger gap in scores. My son was borderline at 11ish when the school ran pragmatics (by then we had an ASD diagnosis), but the nuances of the testing showed that he knew how to be polite, and that was literally his ONLY problem-solving strategy. More nuanced testing when he was turning 13 showed the gaps we finally needed to see to understand what language was a problem. It was narrative language. Getting targeted intervention is really helping.

It's also not unusual to see a gap between what a child can discuss vs. write. It sounds like your son's writing tests were for the parts and pieces of language, but it doesn't test open-ended language. My son is also good on those kinds of tests, but narrative language is where it falls apart. He could discuss something all day and then literally be unable to write all his good answers down and have them make sense or be at the same level of reasoning. 

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Btw, Yes, I'm wondering how much anti-homeschooler bias has to do with the "let's see what interventions will do" approach. But now that I see how the special ed system works for my daughter who has a diagnosed "specific learning disability" now I realize how much INTENSE "special ed" I gave her at home. I mean, if they call 45 minutes a day of basically helping with homework level of help "Special Education" then I don't know what you call the intense work I did to teach my two suspected-dyslexic kids to read at home. It was every single day, tons of one-on-one time, customized reading lists, sitting and listening to them reading, Phonics books until my daughter was in 5th grade (the special ed teacher who gave my daughter a decoding test said she had never seen a kid score so high on the phonological test she was given! [Yet my daughter's fluency and comprehension was still poor. It just shows how much intense phonics work I had her do to try to combat her reading issues. And I wonder where she'd be without!!]  

Anyway, if anyone has any ideas on what they need to hear to convince them that my son has had PLENTY of instruction in writing, and yet his writing skills don't show it (thereby indicating LD or something mimicking it), please let me know.  Homeschooling is so much of a different animal that I think it's hard to get them to understand.  With my LD daughter, one time the school psych said to me, "It's hard to know what she's done because I can't talk to her teacher." 😮🤔  Ummm, you're talking to her teacher, nit-wit!  Go ahead and ask. 😂

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5 minutes ago, CatholicMom said:

I think you're probably giving me good advice, but I need a translation, Lol.   I don't know any of these acronyms. What do you mean that I need narrative language? Is there a narrative language test?  It's frustrating to hear that I may need to switch gears and look for a clinical pscyhologist who specialize in gifted kids. I'm thinking I will still continue down the path I'm on for fear that I will get waylaid since I'm not sure what I'm doing, but note taken.  The neuropsych can certainly recognize giftedness, though, right? So you would think they could then send me on to someone else for further testing if necessary, when they're done?  I'm kind of thinking, rule out (or diagnose) a LD so the he can get help with that at school sooner rather than later, and at the same time I want to know about a potential Executive Function issue, ADHD, and definitely if ASD is a part of it. Then after sorting out the problematic part, then I can worry about the gifted stuff? Does that make sense? I'm kind of thinking that after all of this is "out of his way" as much as possible, maybe he will start to take off academically and life in general will also get a bit easier for him (even if part of it is just our family and his teachers being able to name and learn about what he's dealing with, so we can be a bit more understanding). That's my hope.

I think I put some spelled out names in my comments, but I am not sure I put in RtI--Response to Intervention. It's a school thing.

The psych or neuropsych is the umbrella person to pull it all together. Some will definitely refer out if necessary, but they have to be suspicious from the beginning. I can tell you that my DS whose profile is like yours doesn't have an LD other than maybe expressive language disorder, and that is sort of misleading. He has specific expressive language problems that are common to kids with autism, and someone else with expressive language disorder might have an entirely different profile with different problems.

My son's only way of qualifying for services was under the autism designation (your kid's learning issues have to fit a specific box defined by IDEA). The school is looking at this differently than a clinical psych does. Schools gather enough information to determine 1. If I kid needs special services (the problem is "bad" enough) and 2. What category fits. It's not the same approach as a clinical psych that is going to give a diagnosis (if needed) even if the kid isn't having enough trouble to qualify for school help. 

With ASD that is kind of borderline, you are left with no leg to stand on if your psych or neuropsych doesn't diagnose. You're literally left with "quirky kid," and if that's true, it's true. If it's really ASD, then you have potentially LOST access to tons of things. In our state, you lose access to $27000 worth of scholarship money that even homeschoolers can use!!!

ASD always makes things difficult. It's a matter of What and When and How Hard. If it's there, you want to know.

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2 minutes ago, CatholicMom said:

Btw, Yes, I'm wondering how much anti-homeschooler bias has to do with the "let's see what interventions will do" approach. But now that I see how the special ed system works for my daughter who has a diagnosed "specific learning disability" now I realize how much INTENSE "special ed" I gave her at home. I mean, if they call 45 minutes a day of basically helping with homework level of help "Special Education" then I don't know what you call the intense work I did to teach my two suspected-dyslexic kids to read at home. It was every single day, tons of one-on-one time, customized reading lists, sitting and listening to them reading, Phonics books until my daughter was in 5th grade (the special ed teacher who gave my daughter a decoding test said she had never seen a kid score so high on the phonological test she was given! [Yet my daughter's fluency and comprehension was still poor. It just shows how much intense phonics work I had her do to try to combat her reading issues. And I wonder where she'd be without!!]  

Anyway, if anyone has any ideas on what they need to hear to convince them that my son has had PLENTY of instruction in writing, and yet his writing skills don't show it (thereby indicating LD or something mimicking it), please let me know.  Homeschooling is so much of a different animal that I think it's hard to get them to understand.  With my LD daughter, one time the school psych said to me, "It's hard to know what she's done because I can't talk to her teacher." 😮🤔  Ummm, you're talking to her teacher, nit-wit!  Go ahead and ask. 😂

You just have to translate it into things they understand.

At this point, they sound more cautious than biased, but their language would be a polite way to hide bias as well. 

You bring in samples and string together a narrative about how writing instruction has gone and how you responded to it. This was really hard with my DS because for him, it was literally a non-starter. Eventually, I could see that he had no way to really figure out what belonged and what didn't in a paragraph, so his selected of facts was often kind of broad. When it wasn't broad, and he did see that he needed to be narrow, he couldn't whittle it down to essentials--it was going to be a book instead. Then, he couldn't write introductory or concluding sentences or paragraphs AT ALL because he couldn't make a generalization. I have seen about one page of instruction, ever, anywhere for how to make a generalization (one of the Warriner's grammar and comp books). That's it. I could not find intervention. Well, we intervened on narrative language, specifically on what Mindwing calls the Critical Thinking Triangle and on cohesive ties...the generalizations started coming out left and right. They are still not super easy, but they came out on their own. It was part of the language problem that was so difficult to describe.

So, on generalizations, one of my son's big deals is that he couldn't ask questions because they were always missing that critical thinking piece (and for reference, his actual nonverbal reasoning is intact--he maxed out the IQ test on that). He would have a problem he needed to tell me about. Instead of stating what the problem is and asking for help, he would make a list of complicated statements, each very detailed but not really to the point. I had to 1. Notice they were related statements, 2. Figure out what connected them, 3. Find a way to state the problem for him, and 4. Then ask him a question he could answer as a way to troubleshoot and give him a strategy. Ha! No wonder he was frustrated a lot. When I could do all of this (and it often appeared, on the surface, that all was well), he would relax and be able to fix things. But this was EXHAUSTING. I didn't even realize that I had been doing it for the first 12 years or so of his life--it was just par for the course in parenting him. 

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Every state's Department of Education has blank forms that are the actual forms they use for the process that gets you to an IEP or 504. It's the same process in every state, but they use different terms. In our state, we have an Evaluation Team Report that gathers all the data from all the sources in one place. It's discussed, recommendations are put into this document (x problem rises to the level of needing services, but y does not, etc.). Then the team uses this data to vote.

Our ETR has three sections that every professional in the room fills out. Your state will have a document like this, and you can set up your observations in their format and bring them to the meeting. Some schools will actually request that you do this because you are his teacher, and they will treat it as just as important. Other schools, you have to fight to have this brought up at all, and you have to bring your concerns up verbally in the meeting. 

Also bring up behavior around school tasks. This is especially important with autism. Really important. My kid had a million ways to avoid and then came the meltdown if pushed, for instance. 

So, see what your state's forms look like and see if it helps you out. 

You can also use people who see your kid in church or other places to fill out observations for you--you just have to be sure they understand why and will be truthful. I had some former schoolteachers that taught my kids in Sunday School. Once I made it clear that they needed to be as blunt as what they were seeing because it was for an IEP, they got blunt. It was helpful. In our case, we used this form provided by the school SLP on our first run through: https://www.ocali.org/up_doc/Autism_Social_Skills_Profile.pdf  It's something that everyday people can observe and rate. As a mom/teacher, the place for description is GOLDEN. 

What made a big difference in our IEP process is that my husband and I could state 1. This is the problem, 2. This is what it looks like at school, and 3. This is what seems to work and not work. We also described how we basically did NOT see our 'real son' all year long unless we had a minimum of a 4-day weekend. He was so FRIED and STRESSED after school. He would hold it all together at school (97% of the time), but he was a hot mess at home. QOL at home COUNTS.

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Also, you gather this data from something like the social skill survey I linked yourself, and if the person who did it was being "too nice" or was all, "I can't say bad things about your kid, it makes me feel bad," you just don't include it. That person is not great. But if you say to the school, "I'll get these three people to fill it out that see him at co-op" and those people weenie out because they feel bad, you're stuck submitting it. Just do the surveys, explain who the people are that competently filled them out, and then ask the school if they can be submitted. Or you present the data in your part and bring the forms with you for backup. 

 

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1 hour ago, CatholicMom said:

to switch gears and look for a clinical pscyhologist who specialize in gifted kids

I'm not saying you *have* to. What you can do is keep the appointment for now and find out what tests the neuropsych has and what he's going to do. I've used several neuropsychs now and gotten burnt. One was a pretty big name, somebody who co-authored a test that probably every person on this board has had done to their kids. You're only going to do this testing ONCE right now (again in 3-4 years, sure, but only once now), so if you get in there and he doesn't do what you need, you'll be disappointed. The best way to avoid that is to find out what tests he offers and realize what *else* you might want to happen and see what your options are. It's ok to be on the waiting list for one while you look at other options.

1 hour ago, CatholicMom said:

The neuropsych can certainly recognize giftedness, though, right?

You already have that. Done deal, the IQ is there.

1 hour ago, CatholicMom said:

I'm kind of thinking, rule out (or diagnose) a LD so the he can get help with that at school sooner rather than later, and at the same time I want to know about a potential Executive Function issue, ADHD, and definitely if ASD is a part of it.

So if ASD is on the table, you're wise to take your time and get the eval done right. I've been through umpteen psychs with my ds, who is gifted and on the spectrum. There are a variety of ways to approach the ASD question, and it's the hardest thing on your list. All the other stuff (SLD writing, giftedness, EF issues, etc.) are already obvious. You don't even need to pay money, because they're already visible. You can go ahead and intervene, and if he goes into the ps you have enough evidence to request evals and work on an IEP/ETR. No issue there.

For the ASD question, the things they look at are (well really I'm not making an exhaustive list because I'm going to go can tomatoes) 

-pragmatics/social thinking

-narrative language and receptive/expressive language skills

-executive function

-adaptive living (this is the one you had the crazy low score in, one of your lowest of all your testing)

-how he functions (verbal, nonverbal, conversation, social situations, etc etc)

So most psychs and neuropsychs and even some SLPs are sort of fast food about evals. They go to a publisher and get a matched set of tools for IQ, achievement, language, and boom do them all. It's tidy and it's what they do. So the fast food screener for language is the CELF. If you go to a neuropsych and even some SLPs, that's what they'll run. It's known to under-identify language disabilities in kids like yours, but they still run it. That's because they're not spending the hours to run more detailed, nuanced, targeted tools. So instead they're going to run a screener tool like the CELF. And when he doesn't flag on it, they'll say he's fine, move on.

For diagnosing ASD, that same fast-food publisher has the GARS. Google these names. The GARS is, well let's say I'm not a fan. I find it almost incomprehensible. So not a fan. But we had a big name neuropsych run that ONE TOOL and go he's fine, stop whining, he's just quirky. As Kbutton said, without the better tools, you're going to pay $$$ to be told he's quirky. That's all you'll get.

There are more tools for ASD and there are things like the ADOS which is your gold standard, stick 'em in a room and elicit the behaviors. You run the GARS for my ds and the results vary with the person filling out the form. You run the ADOS on him and the scores are in the Kanner autism range. Full blown, right in the middle, no disputing it, shut up. 

So as a homeschooler, you have less people seeing him and the behaviors enough to fill out the forms. You have the variability of one parent seeing more and being more aware than the other possibly. You have all kinds of factors that make using a single screener tool problematic, which delays identification and shuts doors. 

So you don't have to *cancel* the other appointment, but it wouldn't hurt to call around, try the Hoagies' Gifted referral list, see what your options would be within a 3 hour drive. Try an autism school and see if there's someone who's really good at the ADOS. I got someone who trains post-doctoral students on the ADOS. Not a novice or newbie, someone really experienced. If spectrum is on the table, it's the hardest thing on your list to answer. It basically is it's own separate evals.

We've had threads in the past where it was like oh neuropsych, bow at the feet of the neuropsych, if you pay for a neuropsych everything will be all better and they're sainted and omniscient. No, it's really basic. They are limited by what tools they run. Plain and simple. If you need the ADOS and don't get it, then where are you? There are other ways, sure, more tools. We used a clinical psych who specializes in autism who had 3 other tools and had us fill them ALL out. We did neuropsych, then clinical psych, then a psych at an autism school (the one who trains post-doctoral students) to confirm for our IEP fight. 

It's not a small question. It's the biggest question in the room. And you know here's to hoping whatever you do is extremely helpful. Sometimes it's a little bumpy like that. 

I'll make another post with less greek.

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Honestly, just google these things. When you see them, you'll see why they could be on the table as possibly useful.

Social Language Development Test

Test of Problem Solving

Test of Narrative Language

CAPS =Clinical Assessment of Pragmatics (this is new)

CELF Metalinguistics--after slamming the CELF, I'll point out this one has a better track record. It's not the regular CELF but the Metalinguistics.

Here, an article you might find helpful https://www.socialthinking.com/Articles?name=social-thinking-social-communication-profile 

1 hour ago, CatholicMom said:

Anyway, if anyone has any ideas on what they need to hear to convince them that my son has had PLENTY of instruction in writing, and yet his writing skills don't show it (thereby indicating LD or something mimicking it), please let me know. 

So if you want to bust through that, get the Test of Narrative Language. There are some clinical psychs who run it, but it's more often an SLP thing. 

Think about what you're saying. You're hoping it's an SLD and that getting an SLD label will solve it. We're saying that narrative language deficits are normal in autism and other disabilities and that they need to be identified with narrative language assessment. There's the TNL or the SLP can do a dynamic (on the fly, with models) assessment. You can have a writing SLD *and* narrative language deficits, but they aren't technically one in the same. You would need BOTH identified. 

https://mindwingconcepts.com/pages/methodology Here are some charts showing you the developmental sequence for narrative language. It also shows how the narrative language components become expository writing, which is why his school work is screwed. It's why even our ps is compelled to intervene for narrative language. I thought it was just being picky, but that development is the basis of all the expository writing and school work. 

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https://www.hoagiesgifted.org/psychologists.htm Here's the Hoagies' Gifted list I keep talking about. It's not like every psych on here will be a guaranteed winner, but *some* might be. You might find a gem. And you can call them and talk through what they'd do with suspected ASD and SLDs and just see what they say. You already have some testing to build on, so they're not starting cold. They might not waste your time on some things where you already have evidence but might build and go a different direction.

Neuropsychs are BIG MONEY, big business. They have zero accountability, no refunds if they screw you and take your money and do a crap job. It's totally buyer beware in the psych world. That's what we're saying, ask lots of questions.

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16 hours ago, CatholicMom said:

Then there was the BASC-3  composite score summary which placed him "at risk" and with two items that were "clinically significant" (leadership and activities of daily living)
His Behavioral Symptoms Index was 62 ("at risk")
His Adaptive Skills was 32 ("at risk")

So op can google the sections of the BASC and what each is looking at, but the ADL and adaptive are both your stuff necessary for independent living, how he's actually functioning. When our behaviorist came in, first thing she did was run a bunch of tools like that. There's the Vineland and other adaptive living tools, all looking at a bit different things. There was stuff I had been SAYING AND SAYING AND SAYING were problems, like my ds could not say his phone number. Gifted IQ, age whatever, and could not tell you his phone number. Well low and behold it was on those questionaires!! 

So to me, when you're saying you can't pinpoint what's wrong and you've got scores flagging low (clinically or close) in multiple areas of how he actually functions, that's huge. 

My ds didn't know the steps to wipe up a spill. That was this past year, age 9/10. There is no test for that, no questionaire. So they're putting on representative questions that build this picture of a dc and hint. There's a lot of living that happens, intervention in the trenches.

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1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

You're hoping it's an SLD and that getting an SLD label will solve it. We're saying that narrative language deficits are normal in autism and other disabilities and that they need to be identified with narrative language assessment. 

I agree. I think you have more than just narrative language going on. Narrative language might even be fine, but the writing test you had doesn't seem to cover that from what I could tell. Basically, you don't know and should find out given the other ASD traits that are ringing bells. 

1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

There are a variety of ways to approach the ASD question, and it's the hardest thing on your list. All the other stuff (SLD writing, giftedness, EF issues, etc.) are already obvious. You don't even need to pay money, because they're already visible. You can go ahead and intervene, and if he goes into the ps you have enough evidence to request evals and work on an IEP/ETR. No issue there.

The bolded is really important.

So, I wouldn't say they are obvious enough to request evals and work on IEP/ETR--I would say that the testing you have and the school's notes indicate that they are going to try to do RTI or find some way to prove these borderline scores are worth an IEP. I bet they go with RTI. 

So, RTI might be all that some kids need to be successful. Great. If your kid has autism, and has just a very mild case, you could get RTI, get some academic success, and make it harder to get a diagnosis. That's what I'm thinking...you have no magic SLD button right now, and it sounds like more testing might get you there. Your description and the fact that adaptive behavior is quirky suggest that SLD is not the case, it's autism. 

So, it's not in your best interest to start helping the problems if you want an answer, KWIM? Your answer, if this is autism, is one that requires a pile of evidence from multiple categories, most of which have been mentioned. You want things to be "bad enough to count," or you're screwed on getting an answer. 

It's also possible to get autism as an answer and be denied an IEP because he's doing too well. But with that paper, you have access to private therapies, and if he tanks academically or socially later on, you have data for looking at the IEP thing all over again--you can say, "He needs it now when he didn't before." 

RTI is not bad, but if you are not in public school, I am not sure you are going to be able to access it. It leaves you stuck in the middle of getting help or not getting help and lacking a diagnosis to have your insurance company or whatever give you therapy...not to mention, someday, if he isn't an "optimal responder" to treatment, he might need workplace accommodations...

The documentation is how you get therapy, sometimes even private therapy. Or at least get insurance to pay for it, etc. 

1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

https://www.hoagiesgifted.org/psychologists.htm Here's the Hoagies' Gifted list I keep talking about. It's not like every psych on here will be a guaranteed winner, but *some* might be. You might find a gem. And you can call them and talk through what they'd do with suspected ASD and SLDs and just see what they say. You already have some testing to build on, so they're not starting cold. They might not waste your time on some things where you already have evidence but might build and go a different direction.

Yep.

13 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

So, while the adaptive living score is the lowest number, it's an "at risk" score, which means it's closer to normal than the scores that are marked "clinically significant", which indicate a definite problem.  If you look at the narrative got some of those "clinically significant scores", those would be the most concerning scores in the testing, and the ones to prioritize when following up.

Yes, it's a good place for follow up, but don't prop him up now and make it so he scores just barely well enough to not get diagnosed. 

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Psychs who specialize in autism will have those adaptive living and developmental forms for you to fill out. There are some that discriminate ASD from ID, discriminate ASD from mental illness. It's all out there and when you get the right psych they'll have piles of these. 

And to think the (no nice words and I'm not a profane woman) neuropsych didn't use this stuff but just used a fast food GARS, nothing else. Seriously. And the developmental forms they use hit living skills, language, all sorts of stuff. 

Why do we keep mentioning RTI? I sort of lost track here. Op wants to put her ds in the ps? They're going to do what they want with the IEP process, that's for sure. 

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There has been a great deal of good advice in this thread so far, but I need to back up a bit, because I'm confused.

The school tested him. Okay, what school? Was it a private Catholic school or the public school? And then you say that you are teaching him yourself, so you are homeschooling? But I think you mention teachers at some point.....

Is he enrolled in school or homeschooled?

If this was the public school that tested him, they definitely should not have just sent you copies of test scores in the mail. They are supposed to hold a meeting with you to go over the results. Were you following the standard public school evaluation process, or was this evaluation done through a private school?

If he is enrolled in the public school, they are not following protocol, and I would have some advice for you about that.

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Just as background...my son was diagnosed on the cusp of DSM V. At that point, the gifted stuff seemed to be outweighing the deficits academically. Our psych could use either set of rules...she used DSM IV and gave my son a diagnosis of PDD-NOS because that was the least restrictive label for him and the trajectory she saw him taking. He did qualify for Asperger's. 

Next round--DSM smooshes it all together. We have more data. Some things are better, some things are more obvious and easily quantified. We get a diagnosis of ASD 1. The new criteria allow for not all symptoms to be current but to have been present. He can't "outgrow" this diagnosis because of that history. 

As Peter Pan said, her son has a support level of 2. Time, finding a way to quantify what we're seeing, etc. all played into both our kids getting a more clear diagnosis. There is a big difference between that 1 and 2. Your son sounds like he's maybe a 1. If that is the case, you need documentation. You need to give a whole developmental picture of him to someone that cares. You need to think back on quirks he's had since he was little and see if looking at them in the light of ASD means they make more sense. It's enlightening, lol! 

The more I learned about ASD, the more the terms and the behaviors made sense--to understand what kinds of things were stims and repetitive behavior (sometimes kids rotate through a variety of repetitive behaviors, and knowing that's the case makes a difference to how I answer that question, for instance), understanding the range of what is scripted language or echolalia--all of those things make a difference.

I think you mentioned that your son does accents...um, that's like a 2e ASD thing big time. It's kind of stim, depending on when your son does it. My son's stims were almost entirely verbal. No spinning and flapping, but tons of noise, noise, noise. When he stimmed like crazy, he could reproduce nearly EVERY sound he heard, faithfully with his voice. Like, when he was an INFANT, he made up games with this. He would make a sound, I would try to make the sound back. He'd make a longer sound, I would make it back. Then, when I couldn't reproduce them anymore, I lost. The game ended. 

Really, knowing what the traits are translated to a 2e canvas is just huge. A Hoagie's person is more likely to know this and help you do it.

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And if any psych you consider using says stuff about eye contact and "too social," RUN. 

My son is an extrovert, loves people, and does his best to blend in and be appropriate. He makes unusual eye contact, but he does make eye contact. When he knows someone well, it's barely atypical at all. 

Those things are so, so superficial when applied as an informal screener or given diagnostic weight they don't deserve. 

Also, it's not that unusual for 2e kids with autism to seem more normal to adults than to their peers. Or, the adults will attribute what isn't typical to something else other than autism, unless they understand that autism has a huge range.

So, younger professionals familiar with autism will see my son's quirks and think--yeah, that's par for the course and proceed to figure out how much of a problem it is, or realize they need to keep it in mind (for the totally unexpected lack of cooperation that is "new" meltdown when he is being asked to do something he can't do...). Older professionals often just keep moving through things with a sense of disbelief until they push him into a meltdown (not very likely now), or they completely disregard the language results that show deficits, see that he can carry on a great conversation (because they don't realize that a back and forth exchange props him up), and then blame him when he can't do a task that is too hard.

But when my son gets targeted intervention at the just right level, it all makes sense, he complies, he makes progress, and he has expected behavior. And he seems quirky, lol! 

It really matters.

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The correct medical diagnosis (what's really going on) doesn't have to match the educational diagnosis (what the school considers his most disabling condition that they use as the justification for his IEP/504). So the school could agree that my ds had ASD but say that anxiety was his most disabling condition in their setting, that his autism was not impacting his ability to access his education, only the anxiety (yeah, ponder that division), and that's how they put his disabling condition for a while.

So that is down in the weeds and only matters if you actually want to enroll him. 

If these evals were done by the ps, you have the dispute process and can request independent evals. As Story says, there's a lotta law. I fought it for three years till I brought in enough guns and got the data they actually needed. In reality, even kids with ASD1 should have IEPs, just by definition. But getting the data is tricky. And none of that is your medical diagnosis, just tons of legal fighting for IEP/504 stuff. 

It's why my ds isn't enrolled, because I finally realized the school was not set up to do what needs to be done. Nice people, nice intentions, just not able to. And that could change for any dc at any given stage. 

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I've taken three of my kids to three different neuropsychologists. I do think they are skilled at what they do and can answer a lot of questions. I also think that sometimes there can be a better choice.

When evaluating for ADHD -- and there are TON of ADHD indicators in your posts -- it does not need to be done by a neuropsychologist. A pediatrican can diagnose, even. Some pediatricians want to farm this out to a psychiatrist (who can prescribe meds) or a psychologist (who can do a battery of tests and diagnose but cannot prescribe meds). When DS15 was diagnosed with ADHD, for reasons I won't bother going into, that are specific to our story, he was diagnosed with ADHD by all three -- a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and his pediatrician.

The neuropsych testing came after that. He was already on ADHD meds for the NP testing. They preferred for him to take the tests while medicated. You might call and ask the NP that you have the appointment what their preferences are about that.

Also about ADHD -- the school should have run some testing for that, as well. They will not diagnose, because the are not medical professionals, but they will want tests to show whether attention is an issue. Did your school testing not include this?

It should have, and you could go back and ask for them to run it.

About autism -- DS15 was just diagnosed with ASD level 1 this summer. We always, knew/suspected that he has it, but the neuropsych who evaluated him at age 10 missed it. Why, because he passed the GARS, the only screening test that they ran.

Ask your neuropsych what they use for testing for ASD. If they say GARS, it is not good enough. The ADOS is considered the gold standard, but it is a subjective testing experience, so the evaluator needs to know what they are doing and have a lot of experience with your kind of kid. There is another questionnaire kind of test called the ADI-R, which I have read good things about, but which we have not used ourselves.

But if it is the GARS -- not good enough.

And, actually, to tease out the question of autism, a neuropsych may not be good enough. You need someone who is an autism expert, and neuropsychs are not specialists in that way.

I would be in your same position, where I would think that I would go ahead with the NP appointment that I already had set up. It's not that that is a wrong choice -- you hopefully will get some really good answers.

BUT, the drawback is that you will be spending $$$$$ for the NP testing (unless you are having it covered by insurance, which can happen sometimes), and then you will have to pay out more $$$$ to determine the autism question, if the NP is not expert enough to figure it out.

From your posts, I would be suspecting ADHD, autism, and perhaps dysgraphia (or Specific Learning Disability in Written Expression). Of those things, you can get the ADHD figured out in other ways, and you need an autism expert for the ASD decision. The dysgraphia thing is the only thing that might benefit from the knowledge of the NP.

If your neuropsych is great at understanding autism, great!! But it can be hard to tell. One way to help figure it out is to ask what tests they will run for it.

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I think the references to bias against homeschooling are because last year was his first year in school.

For what it's worth, anyone who knows autism and works with my daughter for any length of time thinks that she is autistic.  I first suspected she was on the spectrum back when she was two.  She's passed the GARS and has passed the ADOS twice.  She's definitely level 1...she's pretty functional, but it's there.  She does not have ADHD, and it sounds like that is a significantly disabling condition for your son.  

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Let's see, over the past five years, how many people told me that they didn't think DS15 had autism -- his first pediatrician, the neuropsychologist, the first counseling psychologist, the second counseling psychologist, the school (to be fair, the school did not offer an opinion but just ignored my concerns), relatives.

Why? Because they didn't run proper tests. Why? Because in their interactions with him, they weren't seeing the signs.  Why did they miss the signs? Because he clammed up and didn't talk to them, but had decent eye contact, so they just thought he was quiet/awkward/anxious/introvert, and they couldn't see his atypical ways of thinking, since he wasn't sharing thoughts with them. They couldn't see his communication deficits, because his communication with them was minimal.

Meanwhile, I could see it ALL plain as day at home and it affects his school performance as well.

Kind of the opposite of kbutton's extrovert with ASD, but similar in that DS15 could pass for a quirky but typical kid.

I was afraid to take him to an autism expert for evaluation, because I worried that once again, they would not see it, but it became important for us to try, so that he can get better services as an adult.

And when we took him to someone who knew what to look for and actually considered the autism question on its own, without trying to explain all of the things in other ways (DS15 has a long list of other non-ASD diagnoses that piled up over time as one person after another looked at one aspect of difficulty at at time)......yes, he got the ASD diagnosis.

I really don't want you to think that going to the NP is the wrong choice. It's not. Just be aware that you may not get ALL of the questions answered there. And be aware that there is a difference between someone who will RULE OUT autism versus someone who will test for it. Some NP's might rule out autism by running something like the GARS and then saying, nope not autism. That is really different from someone who thoroughly investigates the autism question.

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17 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

I agree that I am confused.  For example, there has been discussion of "his locker", and  "his teacher" and "his homework" which led me to believe he was in school, but now there is a question of whether the team is biased because of homeschooling, which has me confused.  

I have to disagree with the bolded.  It's generally considered reasonable that parents have seen any reports or evaluations before the meeting, so that they can come in prepared with the questions they want answered, and have a chance to consult others if need be.  Presenting a report like this at a meeting, gives an enormous advantage to the school in the process.  @CatholicMom is doing exactly the right thing by taking the evaluation, and asking questions about what it means so that she can participate fully.  

Now, if the timeline is running out, and no meeting is scheduled, then of course that's a violation.  But given that the report specifically mentions that eligibility will be determined at a meeting, I wouldn't assume that there won't be a meeting. 

Oh, I totally agree that I would prefer to get the evaluation reports in advance of the meeting. That is ideal for the parent, but some schools will not do it.

So on that count, there is an advantage to having the reports in hand. But it seemed to me that there was not a scheduled follow up meeting, since the OP said that they just sent the reports with no explanations, and that was all she was getting.

Maybe she does have a meeting scheduled and didn't mention it.

I didn't click on the links that she put in one of her posts; the mention of the meeting must be in the document that I didn't read.

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With the report being in the format of a fairly typical psych report, I am wondering if the Catholic school has an in school psychologist. There are local private schools near me big enough to employ them. I think her signature seems to indicate he's been in Catholic school for two years.

I've never seen a public school give a report that looked like those two pages. ETA: That's not a bad thing. It's just that my info from school is ALWAYS typed into an official procedural document, not it's own report. 

In our state, private schools work together with the district the private school is in (I think--Storygirl will know) vs. the district of residence. They could be at some preliminary step where the private school is testing, and they are weighing some intervention before going into the process with the district to do an IEP/504. 

 

Edited by kbutton
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I think there is a difference sometimes if a student already has an IEP, or is at the point of seeing if they qualify.  

If there is an IEP and there is updated testing — it’s legal to ask for materials ahead of time.

I am not sure if it’s the same if it’s a meeting before there is an IEP, deciding on qualifications or whatever.  

This is the kind of thing you can google IDEA and read what it says (IDEA is the name of some special education law) and also read library books about the IEP process.  

I don’t know what the rights are for someone who is in the qualification process.  But there are procedures and ways to request things that are allowed (legally) to be requested.  It is a section of IDEA.

For updating testing that is being done for someone who has an existing IEP — I have read it fairly recently and it is possible to request materials ahead of time.  

Anyway — the way to find out is google IDEA or check out a library book about the IEP process.  

It is worth reading sections that pertain to you!!!!!!!!  Right now sections about requesting an evaluation, or qualifying for an IEP, would be pretty relevant I think.  

 

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Just now, Lecka said:

You can also read about options if the testing was not adequate (didn’t cover every area of concern) or whatever.  

Yes.

And while we're on it...one step of the process is to agree ahead of time on what those concerns are, and on what should be tested. A lot of schools aren't going to offer what the parent doesn't put out. So, if something is not on the parents' radar, it might not get tested, but you're stuck because you signed that paper early on agreeing on what you considered to be a complete evaluation. This is crazy because sometimes parents know something is wrong, but they might have an impression that it's x and not y, when the truth is it's y and not x.

Before we even went the IEP route, we did private evals and totally assured the psych that we didn't think autism was a problem. Because we didn't really know what 2e autism looked like. Our first eval was basically a baseline with some ADHD testing. At our request. Because we didn't know.

The process can definitely allow parents to hang themselves, in other words.

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17 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

According to federal law, if a kid is in private school that isn't paid for by the district* and wants to receive services, then they should be evaluated by and receive services from the district where the school is located.  However, if they are seeking an IEP to allow them to return to public, then that IEP is written by the district they live in.

*I have no idea how this works in those states like Ohio where there are scholarships.  In my area you can only get services paid for a private school if the district places your child there, either because of a hearing determination or because they admit that they can't serve your child.

Ah, I thought that which district does which thing was state, not federal. That would be how it is here too if it's federal. 

It's interesting that you've seen reports like this from a district! We had a mix of private testing and testing from the district (PT, OT, some years we had speech testing), and the school's part was never in any form other than right in the official form leading up to an IEP meeting. The school also provided multiple reports--one from every tester. The psych or district rep does summarize things, but it's not really like a private report. 

In Ohio, you go through all the normal channels to get an IEP. Then, you can use it in another district if they sign up to be a provider, a private school that is a provider, or homeschool and use it with private providers. Easy peasy if there is a provider near you that has what you need.

I don't know how people who live in an area with few providers feel about the scholarship--it might make their lives harder because the school might not be as ready to make an out of district placement when necessary by trying to push parents to use the scholarship for that. But then, when they do the scholarship, there may be poor or no access to services. 

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27 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

Just for comparison, both the district I taught in, and the district I live in (which are in different states, I live close to the line) give reports that look like other psychologist reports.  

Just varies. Our ps is high poverty, Title instruction, blah blah, and all I got was the dab in the ETR. The psych was getting like 3 hours sleep a night cranking out evals, totally slammed. It was nuts. They really needed more psychs. I've seen other districts turning out mutipage reports, sure. Just varies with the district.

29 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

According to federal law, if a kid is in private school that isn't paid for by the district* and wants to receive services, then they should be evaluated by and receive services from the district where the school is located. 

The evaluations are federally mandated but services/intervention are not, at least not for homeschoolers. That's all decided at the state level and sometimes even at the district level. It's really ridiculous when you think about it, considering homeschoolers pay taxes just like everyone else. I had a ps coor tell me I had GIVEN UP MY FAPE and had no right to evals or services. 

So you definitely have to be up on the law because sometimes the ps isn't going to get it right.

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7 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:


Here if a kid gets a non-public placement, then the district is responsible for everything they'd be responsible for if the kid was in district.  So, they get OT, PT, Speech, AT, Adaptive P.E., orientation and mobility etc . . . Plus transportation, 1:1 aides, ESY.  Which is all great, but there is a process to get there.  It's not automatic, the way I understand it to be in Ohio.  

People who want to be in the public school system and need an out of district placement face all the same obstacles--I am not sure if there are many public schools at all  sign up to be providers. If a person wants to use a particular private school as a provider, then it is more automatic if they have an IEP, but I don't think that they get transportation with that automatically unless the district already provides transportation to that private school for residents of that district. 

Staying in the system and getting a different placement is not at all automatic, and theoretically, your kid could need a school that is not on the list of providers. That would probably require a lawsuit. 

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My kids were in private school when they first got their IEPs. The school was not within the school district where we reside. So, yes, it was complicated, and in a way that did not really make sense.

The school where we attended was in W city. The special ed department of W public schools did the evaluations and determination of eligibility for an IEP. But then the school district of residence, G, where we live, had to write the IEP. So G had to write an IEP based on W's testing and determinations and based on teacher input from school C, where my kids attended.

So there were three schools involved.

W also was..... hmmm, there is not a really nice way to say it.... quite difficult to work with. That special ed coordinator had her own ways and was rigid about them. One of the things that she did was delay the start of the IEP after it was written. So my kids' IEPs were completed in March. But they did not become in effect until the next school year. For the remainder of that school year (March to May), the public school wrote a "service plan" and sent one of their own intervention teachers to the private school to work with my kids.

This was crazy. The private school had their own (very good) intervention team. But it was the way that the public school there used their pot of money that had to be spent at private schools.

I didn't care for it, but didn't fight it, and they wrote into the IEP an agreement that services would happen that way, so I guess it was legal. The special ed coordinator from W had her own methods, and she would not be swayed about any of it.

Anyway, we dealt with the out of district evaluations, then having the IEP written by our own district, then also a service plan using federal funds from the public school to help private school kids.

All this could be streamlined, if you ask me, and would be better for the kids. It would have been better for my kids to bypass working with W at all and just deal with our district of residence, G, and the school we attended.

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As if that is not complicated enough, DD14 transferred to a dyslexia school the next year, which was in city A.

And then we moved to a different town with school district B.

So I have worked as a parent with the special education process, using three different public schools and two private schools. And had meetings with other public schools that we didn't end up choosing when we moved.

And before that, we homeschooled. I guess we have had to try a little bit of everything. 😂 Didn't even mention yet that DD17 attends a completely different, third private school (but no special education for her).

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6 hours ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

Here if a kid gets a non-public placement, then the district is responsible for everything they'd be responsible for if the kid was in district.  So, they get OT, PT, Speech, AT, Adaptive P.E., orientation and mobility etc . . . Plus transportation, 1:1 aides, ESY.  Which is all great, but there is a process to get there.  It's not automatic, the way I understand it to be in Ohio.  

That's considered a full placement, and the only way to get that is to have the disabling condition in the IEP, have the dc enrolled in the ps, and have the ps agree they cannot meet the dc's needs. It's a pretty significant thing and NOT common. It can be hugely expensive for the school. My ds on full placement for some of the years of his IEP would have been $$$, way more than our state disability scholarship. The state disability scholarship is less than the cost of enrollment any of the local autism schools, so sometimes county waiver funding will cover the difference. Parents end up paying for the difference and additional therapies. 

So no, getting full placement is very hard. I've heard wind it's more common in small, affluent districts where they don't have significant special ed services. You could also get snotty and say they don't like having kids with autism walk the halls and spoil their image, but whatever. But yes, I think the cost of full placement (which at the time with my ds' complexity could have been an option) is why they fought me so hard. When I started, I was thinking very small. I didn't realize that they put in these barriers along the way to prevent you from getting to that point. So if they stop you on autism as your disabling condition in your IEP, then they've shut down the full placement question, saving them tons of money. When you're on the scholarship, the local school district receives money, a slice and a pretty generous slice ($5k? I forget) just for handling the IEP process and paperwork each year. The rest goes to service my ds' IEP. It saves the state money and makes everyone happy. Full placement is what they don't want you to have, because it would be 2-3X what they're paying through the scholarship. Double speech therapy, intervention for 3 SLDs, OT, pragmatics, and an autism school? LOL yeah, that would be a huge bill. So by doing the academics myself, I can make things happen with the funding that I CAN'T do myself. 

So the scholarship is automatic if you have the IEP and they haven't hit funding caps. (at that point a lottery kicks in I think) But full placement is NOT automatic. 

6 hours ago, kbutton said:

-I am not sure if there are many public schools at all  sign up to be providers.

Oh that part is easy. This is gonna sound like a big jab, but if the ps has services I want, yes I can just call up and use them and they can bill the scholarship, easy peasy. I'm on some lists where people are doing it. It's considered sorta backward, and I don't think people are doing it for *classes* as that would be a partial enrollment. They're doing it for services I think. But even then, I *think* I saw mention of someone doing classes. Where did I see that mentioned? I can't remember. That got some huge flames, that's for sure, because it's way outside the intent of the legislation. But yeah, I'm pretty sure you can contract with a ps if they have an SLP you want. The SLP we adored now works at a ps, so yeah that was on the table. I'm pretty sure you can. That would still have been a 2-2 1/2 hour drive and we finally have someone closer who can do what we need. (fingers crossed, starting this week!!!)

 

Edited by PeterPan
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Gifted does not mean high academic achievement.  Gifted kids are often selective about whether they apply effort and sensitive to all sorts of environmental conditions.  They are also likely only work for a teacher they like or respect.  Most of the high achievers (and where I am the kids who get into extension programmes which is all we have for gifted) are in the 115 to 135 area of IQ.  If you look at an IQ Vs profession chart that is where most lawyers/doctors etc sit too.  Your son is within that range but seems likely to be 2e so the figure could be an underestimate.

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