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Generally, what do you do with "behind" kids?


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Okay, I know I'll receive some side eyes off the bat, but I have no network of people to ask. I'm newish the to parent thing, and this is the only responsive group I know of, so work with me. 

How do you approach your children who are consistently behind?

I have a 10yo DD (5th grade) who came to us at 5, unable to count or sing the alphabet. She was in public school until last year, and we've been homeschooling exclusively this year because I felt it would benefit her to have 1 on 1 teaching (with me) and the public school is distand learning. However, K-4 she's been behind (I'd say C grades. Always a grade behind or so in reading level, red zone in standardize testing, and just generally off when it came to common sense and school work), despite working daily to remedy her reading and math skills. I'm talking 1-1.5hrs of homework, and 1hr of reading extra a day. Enough to see results. She never caught up.

My thought is a typical child with daily instruction would reach grade level. She hasn't. She is in 5, and tests in 3.5. 

Am I failing her, or is she just naturally not inclined to reach testable grade level standards? 

I have another child, but she's 4 years younger, and naturally grasping everything, so I have no comparison on normal. It's just rough because my 6yo can read more fluenty than my 10yo, and it's causing confidence issues during shared learning time. And I'm wondering WHY my 10yo doesn't read better than my 6yo....

I know this sounds SO self centered, but she's in a public charter, so it's hard to justify me homeschooling if she doesn't meet grade standards, kwim? I'm just curious how other families handle adopted or foster children who came to their homes behind the others. 

You guys, I feel like I'm not good enough to parent her because I'm so concerned about her academic capabilities. I feel like a crap parent and person, and yeah. Like I KNOW I need to accept her skill level, which I do, I just don't know the fine line between working at her level and keeping her steered towards grade level, with the goal being going back to PS at grade level. How hard do I push her, or know when to stop? Do I work through the grade 3 curriculum at a regular pace, though she'll never catch up? Do I go quickly, what happens when she continues to not grasp the concepts? (We've been doing this. She still can't tell me whst a verb is. Even after I tell her 2 minutes prior. We review, she tells me, but next time she still doesn't remember. She says noun, adjective, direct object... Just guessing and reading my face to know if it's right... She uses this technique of reading me with ALL her work)

I think she's ADD, but my husband doesn't want to medicate her so I haven't gone through the trouble of navigating her insurance for an eval. Writing that out makes me feel negligent and just horrible. I want her medicated. Hell, I'm not a doctor! Am I a crap, lousy person for saying she needs meds for being behind? Idk. Our days are tough because transition from A to B is a 5-10 min+ task. Is this typical? An 8-2 day isn't enough to get all her work done. Wtf is happening here. 

I'm so lost. I don't think I can handle the responsibility of trying to get a child up to standards and failing at it. I feel like she's doing well, then she takes a test and fails.

Anyone have any advice, encouragement , or relating stories? 

 

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What do you do with "behind" kids?  You meet them where they are at and focus on progressing to whatever is next. You also find something they are good at or enjoy and capitalize on that so that they don't feel like a chronic failure who will never be good at anything. 

I don't have experience with adopting or fostering kids, but my background is in Special Ed (specifically Deaf Ed.) and I worked with many, many kids on varying levels who were consistently "behind."  When I started teaching, I often felt defeated and it seemed an uphill battle for some of these kids.  I had very high expectations of how I should be able to help them that did not match with their capabilities.  I eventually realized that my job was to keep them progressing.  Some of them would never be college bound or able to support themselves independently, but I could still help them progress to the next step and work towards their highest level of life independence possible.  

For your DD, it sounds like there are learning disabilities at play in addition to a lot of lost learning time from birth-5yo.  Has she had any evals that revealed specific issues?  

1 hour ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

she's in a public charter, so it's hard to justify me homeschooling if she doesn't meet grade standards, kwim?

I'm not sure what you mean by this.  Do you only want to homeschool her if she will excel academically?  What if you can get her farther than the school can, but she still will not be a stellar student?  What if you can help her reach levels of success in something non-academic that will give her motivation, joy, and a sense of self-accomplishment?

For kids with special needs and learning disabilities, sometimes homeschooling can get them farther than they would in school, but sometimes the services that a school can offer are a better fit. There are specific strategies that Special Ed teachers are trained to use with kids depending on their learning needs.  This year of course is a wash for kids with special needs.  Remote learning is *horrible* for them. Without knowing specifically what her school has done to help her and what her needs are, it is very hard to say whether she is better off at home or at school.  

Now I will tell you what I would do academically for this age.  Focus on reading, writing, and math skills and hit content areas with living books and real life experience.  How you approach LA and math will depend on her needs, so without knowing specifics, I can't comment on that.  Find an outlet that she enjoys--fine arts, sports, animals, whatever and give her a lot of time to devote to that.

If you don't want to homeschool, put her in a school with the right services that can keep her progressing and still give her an outlet that she enjoys and where she can find some success.  

Either way, I highly recommend an eval that will give you more direction on her issues and needs moving forward. 

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So I just realized that even though you asked "generally", you also asked some specific questions for right now.  Since the situation is what it is with distance learning and she is home now, here is what I would do in these areas:

 

2 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

It's just rough because my 6yo can read more fluenty than my 10yo, and it's causing confidence issues during shared learning time.

Separate them for this.  Do a read aloud for both of them together that you will all enjoy.  Do NOT have them read out loud together. This is demoralizing and defeating for the 10yo.  

2 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

Do I work through the grade 3 curriculum at a regular pace, though she'll never catch up? Do I go quickly, what happens when she continues to not grasp the concepts?

Forget grade levels.  Do not rush through a grade level just to get through.  If she is retaining nothing, what is the point?  

2 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

She still can't tell me whst a verb is. Even after I tell her 2 minutes prior. We review, she tells me, but next time she still doesn't remember.

Honestly, at this age and with her struggles, it doesn't matter if she doesn't know what a verb is. Forget grammar.  Read to her, read with her, work on phonics, and have her write a little each day.  Talk about literature that you are reading.  

What curriculum are you using, by the way?  A boxed or all-in-one grade level curriculum is most likely not a good fit for this child. 

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The biggest question for a "behind" kid (1 of my 4 is this) is this:  Is progress still being made?  If the answer is yes, then I wouldn't really worry about it.  If the answer is no or not sure, I'd consider taking her to someone who can evaluate for any learning disabilities.  

There isn't a finish line to learning.  I don't mean to be trite or cliche.  It took me a lone time to understand this myself.  Let's say your child is a full year behind across the board, but continues to progress, always staying approximately one year behind grade level.  Then what?  She can start college, junior college, trade program, etc, at 19 instead of 18.  Absolutely nothing bad has happened.  

It sounds like you are in an adoption or foster type situation, so it is worth noting that your child may be making huge leaps in emotional age, processing trauma or separation, etc, even many years after she came to you.  In the case of my behind child, she is dealing with a "heavy medical load," which, while not life-threatening, requires a huge amount of treatment.  I have to remind myself that this is her real work right now, and probably will be for another year or so.  As long as she is making progress in school, her grade level is truly irrelevant.  

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3 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

Like I KNOW I need to accept her skill level

Whoa, who said this to you???

Loving her is not accepting failed instruction and intervention by her school.

3 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

she's in a public charter, so it's hard to justify me homeschooling if she doesn't meet grade standards, kwim?

Does she have an IEP through this charter? How is being at the charter improving the situation?

Yes, seeing kids fail in school and seeing the school system unwilling to do what it will take to identify the disabilities and intervene effectively is a reason people homeschool. Just for your trivia, we have a dyslexia school in our state and many people will enroll for 2-3 years, get the kid back on track, then put them back in the public school. So it's not like this has to be a LONG TERM commitment. You may be looking at a couple years, get things turned around, then decide what is a good placement. Placements are decided each year based on what is right for the child.

3 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

I know I'll receive some side eyes off the bat

Why? We have LOTS of discussions about SN and learning challenges here!! We have a whole forum (the Learning Challenges section) for it. You can come over there and post ad nauseum. We can walk you through the IEP process, evals, testing, curriculum choices, everything you can imagine. If you want to keep her enrolled, we can help you. If you want to pull her, we can help you. No aspersions.

My dd was one of those glib students who could seemingly do anything. She had ADHD and didn't start meds till 16, but she did really well. My ds, on the other hand, has a higher IQ but just has challenges out the wazoo. I think your dd is going to have more needs than just the ADHD meds. It's not a wrong choice to do them, but they're not the *only* thing she's going to need, from what it sounds like. 

Have they ever done testing on her to see if she qualifies for an IEP/504? If you have the team report they made, can you list out what tests were done? Was anything done for speech/language? Was she screened for ADHD, ASD, and APD? And did she experience ACE (averse childhood experiences), neglect, or trauma before she came to you?

Some kids with trauma have narrative language issues. So when you're looking at reading, there's more to tease apart than just decoding or just attention/willfulness. 

https://institute.aimpa.org/resources/pathways-to-practice/pathways-to-practice-resources/virtual-teaching-techniques/  Here's some info (more technical, sorry) with a picture showing how the *strands of reading* come together. So vocabulary, prior knowledge, decoding, strategies, inferences, executive function, narrative language, social/emotional learning and social thinking ALL COME TOGETHER to result in reading.

So that's why the school *should* have done evals on her to look for these things. It takes a variety of tests, a team effort. What is your option to make this happen privately? If you have insurance coverage to make testing happen privately, we can tell you how. Come over to LC. If you want answers, THEY CAN BE HAD. If your budget is the evals through the ps, then we'll tell you how. If you list what you've already got, it may be some of the answers are already in there.

3 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

shared learning time.

Hmm, want to tell us more about this? Are there parts of it that are positive? It's very important, when teaching a dc with disabilities, to have a part of their day that goes WELL. It's one of the MOST IMPORTANT things you can do. Intervention is good, therapy materials are good, but that's all tearing them down, emphasizing and using what isn't working. I had someone spend three hours yesterday reminding me again to make sure we have time every day that is POSITIVE. 

Does she like to play games or do art? What goes well for her? https://www.amazon.com/Dyslexic-Advantage-Unlocking-Hidden-Potential/dp/0452297923/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2VPW8PNYDEN43&dchild=1&keywords=dyslexic+advantage&qid=1610804680&sprefix=dyslexic+advant%2Caps%2C179&sr=8-1  This book may be available through your local library, and it's GREAT for helping you see your dc a fresh way, for finding what is going well, not just what is broken. Both will be there. Just sometimes you have to dig. You're going to get more of what you water, so find some good seeds to water and tend and nourish.

3 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

is she just naturally not inclined

That's pretty common with ADHD for the dc to get blamed. It's really not fair because children WANT to please you and ENJOY doing what they can do well. So if she COULD do it comfortably, she probably WOULD. She's a child, so she can't tell you what the problem is or what she needs. That's our job to figure out what the hold up is, how to back the task up to small enough pieces and enough support that she can get there.

3 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

Am I failing her,

The more polite way to put it is what a psych (psychologist) said to me. He's like *you need a higher step ladder* to get on. You're not just gonna step it up, but you have to get a higher chair and step higher than you have. You've been stepping, but find a new chair, a new step ladder, step it up EVEN MORE.

Remember, you cannot change the past. You can change the present and the future. So don't moan about what isn't working or didn't happen or should have happened. Even people with scads of money, education, time, and resources don't figure it out. So the only question is what can I do NOW to make this better. You change the future, not the past.

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3 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

She still can't tell me whst a verb is.

There's a more nuanced, deep answer on this. Some kids are just not attending, whatever, a little behind. They can *use* verbs accurately in sentences, and if you asked them to look at an object and state it's function or to compare the functions (which are verbs) of a series of objects or chain a series of pictures by functions (verbs), they could do it. 

This is a pen, we write with a pen. This is a car, we drive a car. This is a plane, a plane flies through the air. 

But then you have someone like my ds, with autism, and he *seemed* to have tons of language but actually glitched in these areas. I'm going to link an oop workbook here http://www.e4thai.com/e4e/images/pdf2/100_vocabulary_primary.pdf  This workbook is therapy level and explores that idea of functions (verbs), attributes (adjectives), comparing (antonyms, synonyms), etc. If your dc struggles with the tasks in this workbook, then that's a language problem, not a wait and see kind of thing, kwim? 

But you can tell. You can look at the workbook and go oh yeah she'd blow through that, no issues. My ds struggled with it. So when he would give me those blank looks, the reason was a language disability. And it's language testing by an SLP that helps you sort that out, not guessing, not advice on a homeschool board that waiting is fine. Waiting *in the presence of disabilities* is a mistake. Disabilities need intervention. Now there are people that say oh I waited, fine for them.

I'm just saying this is a stage to be *very careful*. Every one of us can be giving right advice FOR OUR SITUATION but it takes testing and careful examination to tease out the nuances and know what is a wait, what is a needs therapy level intervention, what you're looking at. The school SHOULD have done this testing.

https://mindwingconcepts.com/pages/methodology  This is a link on narrative language that shows stages of development. The print in the charts will be really small (because they want you to buy their materials, haha), but you'll see that *language* drives the development of narrative. So if she is not using verbs well originally in narratives, it's going to hold back her narrative language development. Same for adjectives, FEELINGS, etc. etc. Each piece she acquires helps her develop the next step of narrative language, and narrative language is ESSENTIAL for reading comprehension. If she had ACE/trauma, then that alone could cause glitches. 

https://www.brmtusa.com/what-are-reflexes  I'm going to suggest you consider testing her for retained reflexes. They can result in some ADHD behaviors, language delays, difficulty with handwriting, difficulty sitting, etc. I'm not saying it would solve your problems but that it can be a *piece*. You can take lists like at this site and google and look on youtube. I usually send people to Pyramid of Potential, because their system of exercises worked very well for my ds. A PT (physical therapist) had us do them. Sometimes OT (occupational therapists) do them. The school doesn't necessarily bother, but these can have a HUGE impact on learning. It's just something you can test. You can probably find enough info online for free to do the tests yourself and have a good sense of whether it's worth pursuing.

4 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

I think she's ADD, but my husband doesn't want to medicate her so I haven't gone through the trouble of navigating her insurance for an eval. Writing that out makes me feel negligent and just horrible. I want her medicated. Hell, I'm not a doctor! Am I a crap, lousy person for saying she needs meds for being behind? Idk. Our days are tough because transition from A to B is a 5-10 min+ task. Is this typical? An 8-2 day isn't enough to get all her work done. Wtf is happening here. 

You have so many things here. Honestly, what you described means you need evals. You need PRIVATE, FULL, COMPLETE EVALS. Have you ever wondered if she's on the spectrum? It doesn't look the same in girls, but transition issues are a VERY BIG SIGN. 

So I think the way to get the dh up to speed is information. They like data. The way for you to be convinced of what she needs next is DATA. The way to end the guilt and move on to what to do is DATA. And the way you get data is EVALS.

I would suggest you schedule with your doctor (assuming your insurance requires pre-approval) and spend time before that appointment reading. See what your options are within a 2-3 hour drive and what you can make happen with finances. There are autism clinics that have everything under one roof. So you'd go to one place and see SLP (speech), OT, psychologist, play therapist, all kinds of people, with one long day. They will only want you if you're passing a screening. This dc might. 

You can also do those evals separately. So it's just a question of finances, whether you're doing them privately or through the ps. But if you want to change how you're working with her and how you and your dh view the situation, you need DATA. Things you could have on the table?

-audiologist--look for one who also does auditory processing so they can screen

-SLP=speech language pathologist--You can find one who specializes in reading. They are out there! That person ideally will be OG (orton gillingham) trained and also have testing for narrative language and other detailed language testing.

-psychologist--to look at that ADHD and put other things on the table (executive function, processing speed, anxiety, ASD, RAD, whatever)

-OT (occupational therapist) to look at sensory, gross/fine motor, visual motor integration, etc.

-play therapist--Does she have social issues?

-another SLP or psych to run pragmatics (social) Sometimes this is done by one sometimes you need a couple.

-back to the MD for meds for ADHD or anxiety or both

Meds are not a crutch. For some kids they open things up and let the good they were inside finally show. But you don't have a lot of data right now and these docs cannot read people's minds. Girls are typically under identified for disabilities because their girl strengths MASK what is going on. So it's a KINDNESS to get her evals, get some data. You can do ALL that testing through the ps if you push hard. If they won't do it, you can file a dispute and get them to pay for it privately. Or you can just do it privately. But this is why it takes a team to do the evals in the school system when they do it right, because there are plenty of questions to be asked.

https://www.amazon.com/Stop-That-Seemingly-Senseless-Behavior/dp/1890627763/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2SIUOSJ57Z4QX&dchild=1&keywords=stop+that+seemingly+senseless+behavior&qid=1610806264&sprefix=stop+that+seemin%2Caps%2C168&sr=8-1  What behaviors is she having when she has transition issues? This book is short and if you read it and begin behavior logging, you may notice patterns. Studies find that parents who receive behavior counseling FIRST are more satisfied with the outcomes than parents who medicate first or who even do them concurrently. So time learning about behavior, behavior logging, and how to support behavior is WELL SPENT even you're going to do medication. 

You don't do medication because she's behind. You do it because you've tried all the tools and she needs one more. But I think if you have transition issues, you have more going on and need evals to sort it out. There may also be anxiety and that will take additional meds and strategies. 

https://jessicaminahan.com This woman's stuff is the bomb for anxiety. She has youtube videos of her workshops, books that may be at your library, a page of online resources, etc.

How is she with NO? Does it make her very oppositional or stressed? How is her self regulation? 

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4 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

I don't think I can handle the responsibility of trying to get a child up to standards and failing at it. I feel like she's doing well, then she takes a test and fails.

This is interesting. Do you think she *knew* the content of the test or had the skills but it didn't *show* because of anxiety or attention or ability to get it done in time (processing speed)? 

I think you're taking on yourself the wrong task. You cannot guarantee RESULTS. The only thing  you can say is that you did the evals, you did the intervention, and you provided the opportunity and support. The results are just what happens. I don't know if it would make you feel better, but my ds is 12 with a gifted IQ and he cannot write numbers legibly. He can print his first name passably. He probably would not even spell his last name correctly. We're still working on it and haven't given up hope! But I don't confuse my job (facilitating) with God's job (how it turns out). 

There comes a point where we have to *calm our own anxiety*. We look at it (as a very wise speaker at a homeschool convention said) and we say this happened, and IT'S OK. They didn't learn xyz AND IT'S OK. We didn't make this or that happen or this or that door closed AND IT'S OK. 

We have a lot of work to do, but it's going to turn out OK as we take deep breaths, face it as it is, face what it really means for them to be who they are. ADHD meds, anxiety meds, etc. might not change all this academic stuff. That dc is going to be who she is, and it will be ok. She can have a good life and be happy anyway. We have to calm our souls on this.

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1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

This is interesting. Do you think she *knew* the content of the test or had the skills but it didn't *show* because of anxiety or attention or ability to get it done in time (processing speed)? 

I think you're taking on yourself the wrong task. You cannot guarantee RESULTS. The only thing  you can say is that you did the evals, you did the intervention, and you provided the opportunity and support. The results are just what happens. I don't know if it would make you feel better, but my ds is 12 with a gifted IQ and he cannot write numbers legibly. He can print his first name passably. He probably would not even spell his last name correctly. We're still working on it and haven't given up hope! But I don't confuse my job (facilitating) with God's job (how it turns out). 

There comes a point where we have to *calm our own anxiety*. We look at it (as a very wise speaker at a homeschool convention said) and we say this happened, and IT'S OK. They didn't learn xyz AND IT'S OK. We didn't make this or that happen or this or that door closed AND IT'S OK. 

We have a lot of work to do, but it's going to turn out OK as we take deep breaths, face it as it is, face what it really means for them to be who they are. ADHD meds, anxiety meds, etc. might not change all this academic stuff. That dc is going to be who she is, and it will be ok. She can have a good life and be happy anyway. We have to calm our souls on this.

My out of the box kids have been especially draining (mentally and emotionally) lately. 

I needed to hear this.  🙂  Thanks.

 

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I haven't dealt with this as a parent, so I don't have any advice on that front.  But, I do have a couple of thoughts based on talking to teachers and volunteering -feel free to disregard if it doesn't apply.  

First, the fact that she was 'behind' at 5 shouldn't be an issue with learning to read. Retired teachers will say that when kids used to come to school in first grade (before there was K), they often didn't know letters, numbers, counting, colors, shapes, etc.  They learned that in school.  Most were reading by the end of first grade and almost all were by the end of 2nd.  So, since she is still struggling despite a lot of effort on your part, I'd try to find out what is going on.  Dyslexia?  A processing problem?  A memory issue?  I have no idea, but 'more' of regular teaching might do nothing if there is a disability that isn't dealt with.  

Also, one of the most frustrating things that I saw when I volunteered (helping kids with homework at an afterschool program) was what happened in the effort to keep kids on grade level.  There is no point in moving on to more advanced concepts if a child doesn't understand basics.  They can expand their geography, science, and history knowledge with read-alouds or documentaries, but they can't move on with math or reading comprehension until they can do the basics in those subjects.  And, it always felt wrong to me that kids who struggled to get it the first time around were expected to learn at twice the usual pace to catch up.  Catching up can sometimes be done with more time on task, and sometimes a kid is missing a basic concept or skill and once they get it they rapidly catch up.  But, if a student needs more time to learn then they may not be able to learn at the regular pace, much less an accelerated pace that will let them cover 2 grades worth of material in one year.  Schools don't seem to know what to do with that, but it ought to be OK to cover 3rd grade skills as a 10 year old instead of an 8 year old.  Maybe the student will make a leap at some point, maybe they will graduate a year later, or maybe they will learn every year but never move beyond a certain 'grade level' of work and they'll need all of high school to get through 8th grade math.  

I can't imagine how frustrating this is, but I don't think a student's inability to understand things is proof that the parent or teacher are teaching poorly.  They may need an entirely different approach, more time, less content...it's hard to know.  

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So, first, just because she is progressing slower doesn't mean she would have progressed any faster in public school.   I know this because my son who struggles like this wasn't progressing in public school either.   He made the same pace at home as he was making at school but he was less miserable.    He had been crying every day and making no progress.   We meant to "catch him up" at first but learned that he really  needed a gentle pace.  It took two years to go from crying during nearly every lesson, and thinking he couldn't do it, to believing he could and actually being engaged in learning and wanting to try.   I do not think that would have gone better in school.   The barely started work they had been sending home showed that he was shutting down there too.

I did put him back about the same age your son is...for various reasons (that doesn't mean you should, but I wanted to share our experience).   At that point he was able to do more, but I was having trouble giving him enough.   We also wanted to see what services he could get, though at first we were looking at a charter that would allow him to homeschool most of the week but take classes two days a week (we were independently homeschooling before that, in Texas and then California).

 Here in Califonira you can get a child assessed for an IEP even if you are privately homeschooling (though services are harder) and of course you can definitely get an assessment if you are with a charter.   You just write them asking for it and they have to do it within a certain number of days.   Anyways, when we got him assessed and they offered him a space at a local public school in a reduced  class with THREE teachers (one teacher and two aids).   We decided to take him up on it.  Turned out to be 10 kids to 3 teachers which is unusual and we didn't know that beforehand.

I was so scared of being blamed for him being so behind, but I really didn't get that.   Our teacher actually had homeschooled our own son before, and so maybe understood where we were coming from more than most, but I actually didn't get that from anyone else either (not from the teachers who assessed him or anyone).   That was a relief. 

He did make a lot of progress in school...but then covid hit.   And now I'm back homeschooling him, and guess what, he's moving just as fast at home.   It wasn't their teaching vs mine...it was him being ready.    But I did need to do more than I was doing.  I am using primarily their material through a homeschooling program they have now, so we are doing more work now...the work is NOT adjusted to his IEP though, except by me, and he says it's more than he was doing in the special ed class so I think it's just the extra supports I'm offering like dictation and reading things to him thats allowing him to this level at home when he couldn't at school (his reading has improved a lot from when he was 10 but it's still slow and laborsome and it would take more time than we have to read through the texts if he was doing it on his own...but with that support he's able to answer the questions on grade level science and social studies, and we're making great strides in math now that we are getting out of the "memorizing math facts" stage and into the "conceptual" math stage.   His trouble was with memorization, not concepts.   

Anyways, I share this just to share another experience, not as much to give advice.  If you feel like school would help her don't be afraid to try it, but also don't undercut the value of what you are doing. 


(PS:  My son also has undiagnosed but pretty certain ADD and Dyslexia and my husband is similar.   It's hard.  )

 

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On 1/16/2021 at 3:56 AM, Mommalongadingdong said:

Okay, I know I'll receive some side eyes off the bat, but I have no network of people to ask. I'm newish the to parent thing, and this is the only responsive group I know of, so work with me. 

How do you approach your children who are consistently behind?

I have a 10yo DD (5th grade) who came to us at 5, unable to count or sing the alphabet. She was in public school until last year, and we've been homeschooling exclusively this year because I felt it would benefit her to have 1 on 1 teaching (with me) and the public school is distand learning. However, K-4 she's been behind (I'd say C grades. Always a grade behind or so in reading level, red zone in standardize testing, and just generally off when it came to common sense and school work), despite working daily to remedy her reading and math skills. I'm talking 1-1.5hrs of homework, and 1hr of reading extra a day. Enough to see results. She never caught up.

My thought is a typical child with daily instruction would reach grade level. She hasn't. She is in 5, and tests in 3.5. 

Am I failing her, or is she just naturally not inclined to reach testable grade level standards? 

I have another child, but she's 4 years younger, and naturally grasping everything, so I have no comparison on normal. It's just rough because my 6yo can read more fluenty than my 10yo, and it's causing confidence issues during shared learning time. And I'm wondering WHY my 10yo doesn't read better than my 6yo....

I know this sounds SO self centered, but she's in a public charter, so it's hard to justify me homeschooling if she doesn't meet grade standards, kwim? I'm just curious how other families handle adopted or foster children who came to their homes behind the others. 

You guys, I feel like I'm not good enough to parent her because I'm so concerned about her academic capabilities. I feel like a crap parent and person, and yeah. Like I KNOW I need to accept her skill level, which I do, I just don't know the fine line between working at her level and keeping her steered towards grade level, with the goal being going back to PS at grade level. How hard do I push her, or know when to stop? Do I work through the grade 3 curriculum at a regular pace, though she'll never catch up? Do I go quickly, what happens when she continues to not grasp the concepts? (We've been doing this. She still can't tell me whst a verb is. Even after I tell her 2 minutes prior. We review, she tells me, but next time she still doesn't remember. She says noun, adjective, direct object... Just guessing and reading my face to know if it's right... She uses this technique of reading me with ALL her work)

I think she's ADD, but my husband doesn't want to medicate her so I haven't gone through the trouble of navigating her insurance for an eval. Writing that out makes me feel negligent and just horrible. I want her medicated. Hell, I'm not a doctor! Am I a crap, lousy person for saying she needs meds for being behind? Idk. Our days are tough because transition from A to B is a 5-10 min+ task. Is this typical? An 8-2 day isn't enough to get all her work done. Wtf is happening here. 

I'm so lost. I don't think I can handle the responsibility of trying to get a child up to standards and failing at it. I feel like she's doing well, then she takes a test and fails.

Anyone have any advice, encouragement , or relating stories? 

 

Why is your goal to send her back to public school? The public school has failed her; why would you send her back?

No, you don't need to "accept her skill level." That will keep her at status quo, which is lacking in English and math skills.

The sole reason that justifies your homeschooling is that the school has failed her academically. You can do better.

No, you don't work through grade levels. Those are made up things.

This is what *I* would do (assuming she has no real learning disabilities but has just been lost in the system):

I would do Spalding with her. It teaches children to read by teaching them to spell, and at the same time does penmanship, capitalization and punctuation, and simple writing. When I have taught Spalding in a classroom, I have had children improve by three or more grade levels in just four months, so unless she has learning issues, I don't see any reason that she wouldn't be up to and past her age level in less than a year. 

I wouldn't do grammar with her until her reading and spelling skills have significantly improved.

I'd do something like Miquon for arithmetic, which uses Cuisenaire rods, no writing, not really any workbooks.

I would do the most homeschool-y kind of curriculum I could find, like KONOS, for everything else, with no workbooks or assignments. Just learning and doing things (yes, you would include your younger dc).

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{{{}}} I think first you need a hug. You are not a crap parent. You are not a selfish parent. You ARE good enough for her. 

Next: if she's making progress, I wouldn't be overly worried. She's been in school for these past years and is still "behind", so don't hold yourself to a standard of getting her to grade level in 6 months when they didn't in X years. 

"I don't think I can handle the responsibility of trying to get a child up to standards and failing at it." I think your responsibility is to give her love and support and teach her what she is ready and able to learn. Don't measure her by outside standards (including other children in the house), see her for her own progress and growth. 

If this is new to you, the home schooling I mean, I can understand the worry and stress and wanting to be "good enough." Perhaps try changing the expectation on yourself: you aren't trying to get her to grade level, you are helping her learn the best ways for her to improve. You aren't trying to push her to be "better", you are helping her find her own interests and a joy of learning. 

From a more academic standpoint: I wouldn't say 1-2 grades behind on reading is really behind. That's within enough of a deviation that I wouldn't stress unless she fails to grow. "C" grades are usually considered "average", so even if she is not where others are, she is not necessarily behind. 

This child, in this moment. If this child, in this moment, is at a particular reading level, that's okay. Just start where you are are work from there. You've gotten a lot of good info from others above about particular strategies and curricula. 

You may try some learning through play and see if the things you mentioned (definition of a verb, etc) stick better when it is not "school" but instead rules or parts of a game. And, you may want to separate the girls just for a bit so that she doesn't feel the comparison and differences so noticeably. Or make together learning time things that are not going to give rise to academic comparison.

{{{}}} Good luck, you're going to be fine and I am happy she has someone so involved and concerned as you are for her mom.

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Very generally speaking: I work toward progress and improvements. but I don't define the goals by grade levels.

if any of this story time helps.....

I have children who are not typical learners. I homeschooled all of them from kindy through high school graduation. Oldest is gifted but with ADHD (and dysgraphia) and is a college graduate with STEM degrees. Middle has language and auditory processing disorders and should finish online college this semester with a bachelors in general studies earned in very non traditional route. She would have never thrived in group school and always was behind socially and other ways. Youngest has autism with intellectual disabilities and is in community college working on technical diploma. I did not base my reason to homeschool or not to be about grade level standards. I based it on my willingness to do the work to the best of my ability and keep trying. That’s me. Oh, and no foster or adopt. So I don’t have that to share.

Six hours of school a day is a lot for one on one instruction at your child’s age. My preference was to work on a subject for a fixed time and get done what got done. Next day, start there. I used materials that were friendly to having 15 minutes of lesson suggestions to move through the day. Less was more. I have heard over the years of homeschooling and sharing on forums that many average learners struggle with defining parts of speech without having a poster in front of them. But I also see what you are saying that there are memory struggles.

My bestie recently became a foster dad for first time. He has always homeschooled his older son (adopted at birth), and looks forward to homeschooling foster child after legally being allowed to. He has a dreamy expectation that homeschooling will make this child typical. We’ll see. Oh my that sweet little boy is very behind. And with covid he’s been homeschooled by default. Two months into it my dear friend doubts every day that he is qualified to be foster parent. He is qualified. And I’m confident that you are too. But the pressures that my friend puts on himself worries me some times I know he’s venting to me and I’m not going to share.those details. But I will say, keep on keeping on. Talk to doctors. Get the help needed. And so far, each week the social worker sees improvement and tells him how good a job he is doing. He just feels some outside pressure even though he knows better. It's just he really wants to do a good job with parenting and raising kids. He's the full time non incoming producing parent and feels the pressure of full time housework and teaching. It is hard work and sometimes even his older kid can't remember a noun from verb. and they are classical education too. 

Yes, I think you should do what is needed to either get her state insurance to do a full educational eval, or find a way to self pay if that is legal for you. It may or may not be ADHD. If it is, ask about treatments. Don’t let society give your husband some stigma that ADHD is bad parenting and making them zombies. Ok? Your foster daughter has enough symptoms that you have shared that a full educational eval needs to be documented and diagnosed especially if you have any hopes that she will return to public school. Even if you magically get her to grade level, she will need supports to stay and improve. It may not be adhd. But it is something. Don’t self diagnose. That paper trail will help even if you don't return to public school.

Ok. on your math struggles thread a few weeks back, the idea of developmental vision was discussed. I don’t know how you will go about that. My daughter’s occupational therapist suggested this website to us https://eyecanlearn.com/

and this one for general cognitive therapy https://equippingminds.com/equipping-minds-cognitive-development-program/what-we-do/

With my youngest she never made it to “grade level” by standardized testing. We worked one on one and had private therapists, and music lessons, and everything “right”. I did not consider it my responsibility to get her to grade level. I considered it my responsibility to make progress and keep teaching. I adjusted lessons. I adjusted teaching techniques. Hey, I’m envious of you. You got your child to conversational ability. Never happened here. But you know what? My kiddo is 18 and next month will be part of a virtual panel discussion as a health messenger advocate for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She will read her answers to the questions that were already given. I guess we’re getting public speaking credit now.

oh, and one of the other panelists is high school age and he is homeschooled with autism and intellectual disability.  a third panelists is high school age but public school with IEP. and other one is age 23. 

anyway.. don't base your decision about homeschooling on grade level issues. keep your expectations realistic and it is not realistic to make up several years of progress inside of calendar year.  There are students in community college who went through public school and yet still need developmental courses.

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Unless you are using targeted materials, it's hard to advance grade levels.

My phonics lessons average 1.7 grade levels for my inner city students who are usually 2 - 6 grade levels behind, students who are 1 grade behind usually advance about a grade level. They are free:

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

You need to follow on with something else like Webster's Speller or Back on the Right Track reading, another program designed for older student who are behind, here is an article about what works best for that and why:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/building-good-reading-habits-liz-brown/

For reading, if there is more than a 30% slowdown on the MWIA (I would do the MWIA 3 short linked at the end of my syllables page,) I would stop all outside reading for a month and just do word lists and nonsense words. If you're homeschooling currently, I'd do this for a 10% slowdown or greater, no reading of sentences and stories until there is a 10% slowdown or less, it makes the remediation go much faster.

Also, for math, a regular math program is not going to build up your skills either. Here are ideas for math and reading catching up, the reading is what I've already linked for the most part:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/failed-virtual-school-fast-fixes-help-your-child-excel-liz-brown/

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27 minutes ago, ElizabethB said:

For reading, if there is more than a 30% slowdown on the MWIA (I would do the MWIA 3 short linked at the end of my syllables page,) I would stop all outside reading for a month and just do word lists and nonsense words.

Nonsense words really do an impressive job with kids not naturally wired for phonics... I'm surprised more people don't use them. 

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On 1/17/2021 at 9:30 PM, Ellie said:

Why is your goal to send her back to public school? The public school has failed her; why would you send her back?

No, public school didn't fail her. Her POS birth parents who abandoned her after birth with elderly relatives who neglected her did. She didn't even have PBS to fall back on, she was minimally interacted with and played candy crush most of the day. 

I didn't read the rest of your post yet because that really bothered me. Even though her teachers blew me off, it wasn't the school. I didn't advocate for her hard enough when she was young, mostly because I didn't know what the hell I was doing. 

She will be returning to public school, I think that's the best fit for our family and goals. Thanks.

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On 1/18/2021 at 2:56 PM, ElizabethB said:

Unless you are using targeted materials, it's hard to advance grade levels.

My phonics lessons average 1.7 grade levels for my inner city students who are usually 2 - 6 grade levels behind, students who are 1 grade behind usually advance about a grade level. They are free:

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

You need to follow on with something else like Webster's Speller or Back on the Right Track reading, another program designed for older student who are behind, here is an article about what works best for that and why:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/building-good-reading-habits-liz-brown/

For reading, if there is more than a 30% slowdown on the MWIA (I would do the MWIA 3 short linked at the end of my syllables page,) I would stop all outside reading for a month and just do word lists and nonsense words. If you're homeschooling currently, I'd do this for a 10% slowdown or greater, no reading of sentences and stories until there is a 10% slowdown or less, it makes the remediation go much faster.

Also, for math, a regular math program is not going to build up your skills either. Here are ideas for math and reading catching up, the reading is what I've already linked for the most part:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/failed-virtual-school-fast-fixes-help-your-child-excel-liz-brown/

Elizabeth, I have actually worked through some of your materials (the syllable success one we did twice, most recently last April and saw a big improvement!), and I had done the MWIA test before and the results weren't super off last time, so I'm going to reissue it now because things seem to have gotten worse. When we first found your site, I wasn't even considering homeschool I just wanted to catch her up to reading on level, and it would be 2 years later that I end up here. Crazy what a small world it is.

She phonetically can sound words out well, her main issue with fluency is she changes words. Would becomes should, for of, where were, catching is catches or catches, etc. I was told it would fix itself with age, but no - she's almost 11 and emotionally she's caught up but mentally/educationally there are some blockage.

I think an issue too is that about 4 months ago I had her move to independent reading over reading aloud to me, because I thought she was doing okay, but I've noticed it's regressed since then. 

 

I'm going to take that assessment with her after she eats. 

 

Thank you so much!!! 

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On 1/16/2021 at 1:56 AM, Mommalongadingdong said:

 

You have a lot of replies and I don't have time to read them all.  But as another foster adopt parent I hope I can provide a unique perspective so I'll answer anyways.

"Okay, I know I'll receive some side eyes off the bat, but I have no network of people to ask. I'm newish the to parent thing, and this is the only responsive group I know of, so work with me."

No side eye. I promise.

"I have a 10yo DD (5th grade) who came to us at 5...She never caught up...Am I failing her, or is she just naturally not inclined to reach testable grade level standards?"

Hard truth: Traumatized children are not neurotypical children. She may never excell in school. Never. She will probably never catch up to her peers in all areas (academic, social, emotional). And that's ok!!!  "C" level work is actually quite impressive, given her background! She has only been safe for half her life so far after all. That's a lot of catching up to do. So let go of comparisons to other kids, it's not fair to her or yourself.  No one is failing anyone.

"I have another child, but she's 4 years younger, and.... wondering WHY my 10yo doesn't read better than my 6yo."

Because one child (I assume) is neurotypical and has never experienced extreme trauma/abuse and the other is not and has. An assumption, again. But I can safely say without assumption that every child is different, so the answer is because they are different. 😁

"I know this sounds SO self centered, but she's in a public charter, so it's hard to justify me homeschooling if she doesn't meet grade standards, kwim? ...Do I go quickly, what happens when she continues to not grasp the concepts?"

You sound like an amazing parent.  The crap ones are the ones who don't care.  But no, you don't push forward, you don't rush. It's not a fine line at all.  Forget keeping up and teach her where she is. It's better to learn 2nd grade work in 5th grade fully and completely than it is to not learn anything at all.  Which is what you are describing. How frustrating for her and you!  When you go back to ps they will continue to remediate because you will be there to be sure that they do :). I have 5 at home and 1 at school. I promise, they can remediate, especially in the higher grades.  Your child is not alone in needing that.

As for the ADD bit.  There's no way for me to know if she is or not. What you are describing does not set off alarms for me. If you don't want to medicate there's little benefit to a formal evaluation and you are correct they take forever. It's a personal decision. I have 1 child medicated with several evals of different levels and kinds. I have not bothered with the others, though I know they are not neurotypical, because I haven't seen a reason to yet. My PSer got his IEP without it.  

As for similar stories, I could tell 1000.

None of my 4 adopted kids are grade level, though some are closer than others. Both of my bio kids are, so I know it's not "me". One is severely adhd with fetal meth and alcohol and severe PTSD to boot. She could not survive PS, and likely won't fully graduate at a high school level even at home. One is at public. He gets straight C's when he turns in his homework. That's ok, it's where he's at, and we are working from there.  Honestly I focus more on fighting/getting that homework turned in/respecting teachers, than I do the 3 rs. The other two are still in grade school. Doing ok but not at level, including my 8 year old still not quite reading.  It's ok!  There is time!  The kid will be alright!

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On 1/18/2021 at 3:23 PM, Not_a_Number said:

Nonsense words really do an impressive job with kids not naturally wired for phonics... I'm surprised more people don't use them. 

What resources have you used for nonsense words? I usually see just a lost of words but no plan. 

We did Phonics Pathways over the summer, but that doesn't have nonsense words - that's probably how she was able to do it all pretty easily. 

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6 minutes ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

What resources have you used for nonsense words? I usually see just a lost of words but no plan. 

I make my own. I figure out what letters or letter combinations DD4 is struggling with, and then we focus on those until they are absorbed. She is very good at inferring from context and does NOT pick up phonics properly from words in context. 

(Yes, DD4 is an early reader. It's possible she'll outgrow this difficulty, although we've now been working on her reading ever since she asked to learn a year ago, and it still seems to come just as hard to her.) 

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6 minutes ago, Coco_Clark said:

It's a personal decision.  I have 1 child heavily medicated with several evals.  I have not bothered with the others

Thanks for responding, I'm reading through these now myself. I should clarify that I'm not actually a foster or adoptive parent. She's my neice who we took from my in laws to raise as ours when she was almost 5 due to their inadequate care. There's been no custody or social services, we just decided we could and would raise her, and that's been that. It's an uncommon situation, and figured foster or adopted parents would have similar struggles, but we are not either. 

 

If you don't mind me asking some questions about your choice to medicate. The ones you haven't bothered to, I'm assuming you think they could qualify for meds, but haven't bothered to persue that. Do they still struggle more than others in certain areas and how is that dealt with? Do you work within in, have you modified the behavior, do you think it's held them back in any way? 

I know those sound leading. My kid is unable to focus. I have to sit with her during every assignment, redirect and keep her on track. She can't do her independent work without me there to watch over her, like sit next to her or constantly make sure she's on task or else she makes careless errors, walks off distracted, and just... can't do her work in time. If I tell her its time to do xyz go do that, she will take 15 minutes to get the book and pencil, 20 to do it, and get half the answers wrong because she didn't read the directions carefully and oh look she forgot to write the last letter of her own name. That should have been a 10min thing, grading and all. So to help her, I will watch her get her supploes and guide her back when she drifts. And ask her if she read the directions, noticed this chart, noticed that she wrote d not b. I'm afriad she's growing too dependant on me to make sure she doesn't make careless mistakes and stays on task. She will fidget on her chair for 20+ minutes when given something to correct (like, hey you forgot a period in your essay) and when asked say she couldn't find it. She waits for me to show her. She's sweet and well behaved and I know she means well and is trying, just idk if medicating her would help her focus and thus help her to help herself, or if her issues are only a nuisance to me and minor hinderance to her in the grand scheme of things. 

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Its such a thin line.  For us, and this is a line I learned directly from our behavior medication specialist, it's a question of if the child is functioning.  There are also meds that are low risk and meds that are high risk.

My medicated girl has very very severe adhd. More severe than we even realized, to be honest, until we tried medication. It took 3 tries of different med and lots of dosage adjustments over a year to get it right. And she ended up on two medications in the end, one for focus and another for impulse control. But when we did get it right, it was night and day. She was 9 and went from a child that could not write (her lines went up and down the paper, she skipped words and phrases, ect) to writing pages and pages of stories. She got fully out of pull ups for the first time (she struggled to remember to go pee), ect and so on. She was an easy choice because she was so severe she was bordering special needs. And ADHD meds are very safe, work almost immediately, and have few side affects (and lots of other choices if you do have side affects). 

To be fair, she is still noticibly adhd. She's in a co op class and struggles to stay on topic and not distract other students. She has to have lots of breaks in her homeschooling, and is often disorganized and struggles with executive functioning. It's not a cure all, it's a booster.

I have another with adhd as well. He is more able to cope, and tends to be hyperactive vs her attention deficit. I find that easier to "manage" at home. It does hold him back in certain areas, but we use tools like therapy, audio books to read along with, movement breaks, timers, ect and it works. I do sit next to him for 70% of his work to make sure he doesn't leave. But as a homeschooler I'm free to use whatever tools I want and do what I want.  If he was in public it would be different.

My next in possible need of meds has an anxiety disorder, which includes panic attacks. Eventually he will end up on medication, I'm sure. Right now we are using therapy, supplements, and calming practices for as long as we can because anxiety meds are some of the worst for growing children, and you need 6 months to a year for them to build up before you can expect them to work.  At least that's what our behavioral medocation doctor tells me. 

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3 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

Elizabeth, I have actually worked through some of your materials (the syllable success one we did twice, most recently last April and saw a big improvement!), and I had done the MWIA test before and the results weren't super off last time, so I'm going to reissue it now because things seem to have gotten worse. When we first found your site, I wasn't even considering homeschool I just wanted to catch her up to reading on level, and it would be 2 years later that I end up here. Crazy what a small world it is.

She phonetically can sound words out well, her main issue with fluency is she changes words. Would becomes should, for of, where were, catching is catches or catches, etc. I was told it would fix itself with age, but no - she's almost 11 and emotionally she's caught up but mentally/educationally there are some blockage.

I think an issue too is that about 4 months ago I had her move to independent reading over reading aloud to me, because I thought she was doing okay, but I've noticed it's regressed since then. 

 

I'm going to take that assessment with her after she eats. 

 

Thank you so much!!! 

Small world indeed!!

My remedial students all make changes like that. I have lists and lists of similar errors on the MWIA tests and in person. 

Word lists and nonsense words only until they stop guessing and the phonics becomes automated--when they can sound out nonsense words or any word in isolation quickly and easily.

I have extra nonsense words on my syllables page for after completion of the syllables program, here is a direct link to them. Do a group of them at the beginning and end of whatever you are working on, an extra one some other time in the day as well if possible, they should only take a minute, do a group of 25 at a time or however many lines can be read accurately in a minute or less--work for accuracy, speed will come with time and accurate practice, slow down if need be. When you finish, you can start again with page 1, they will have been forgotten by then.

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

I would work through my syllables program a few more times, and all the word, word lists only, no sentences, in the complete Webster's Speller.

On Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Websters-Spelling-Method-Teaching-Reading/dp/1496153278/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Noah+Webster+spelling+book+method+potter&qid=1611377554&sr=8-1

PDF: 

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

The book We All Can Read also has a lot of nonsense words and is a complete phonics program that goes to a high level, designed for adults and older children.

https://www.amazon.com/We-All-Can-Read-Teaching/dp/1893609308/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=we+all+can+read&qid=1611377626&sr=8-1

 

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1 minute ago, ElizabethB said:

Small world indeed!!

My remedial students all make changes like that. I have lists and lists of similar errors on the MWIA tests and in person. 

Word lists and nonsense words only until they stop guessing and the phonics becomes automated--when they can sound out nonsense words or any word in isolation quickly and easily.

I have extra nonsense words on my syllables page for after completion of the syllables program, here is a direct link to them.

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

I would work through my syllables program a few more times, and all the word, word lists only, no sentences, in the complete Webster's Speller.

On Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Websters-Spelling-Method-Teaching-Reading/dp/1496153278/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Noah+Webster+spelling+book+method+potter&qid=1611377554&sr=8-1

PDF: 

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

The book We All Can Read also has a lot of nonsense words and is a complete phonics program that goes to a high level, designed for adults and older children.

https://www.amazon.com/We-All-Can-Read-Teaching/dp/1893609308/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=we+all+can+read&qid=1611377626&sr=8-1

 

Thank you for responding! We did the MWIA and she scored 19%, which I found interesting because her accuracy was great and until I did the calculations I assumed she was a-okay. 

I'm willing to dive in and give a month or so to strictly phonics instruction. 

You mentioned refraining from outside reading, could you elaborate for me what counts as outside reading? Should I just read her personal stories aloud to her, or do I need to also read all directions/instructions/etc. so the only interaction she has with words is within the phonics program?

Second and final question, how much time should I spend daily with the diliberate reading off these word lists? I've looked at some of the materials you recommended (they are printing and others are shipping- I got them all!), and I have another Don Potter book and it was just text to be read. I'd like to know if you have a rough 20min/day or 15/2x a day or 5min/10x a day of reading from the nonsense lists you like to throw about as the right amount to work to.

 

Thank you so much!!

I'm all in a flutter, I feel like you're a celebrity. Sorry I don't mean to be weird. Thanks for all the good you invest in the world! 

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10 minutes ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

 

I'm all in a flutter, I feel like you're a celebrity. Sorry I don't mean to be weird. Thanks for all the good you invest in the world! 

The perfect level of celebrity, LOL, mildly famous in the homeschool world. As an introvert, that is the highest level of celebrity I want or need!!

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12 minutes ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

Thank you for responding! We did the MWIA and she scored 19%, which I found interesting because her accuracy was great and until I did the calculations I assumed she was a-okay. 

I'm willing to dive in and give a month or so to strictly phonics instruction. 

You mentioned refraining from outside reading, could you elaborate for me what counts as outside reading? Should I just read her personal stories aloud to her, or do I need to also read all directions/instructions/etc. so the only interaction she has with words is within the phonics program?

Second and final question, how much time should I spend daily with the diliberate reading off these word lists? I've looked at some of the materials you recommended (they are printing and others are shipping- I got them all!), and I have another Don Potter book and it was just text to be read. I'd like to know if you have a rough 20min/day or 15/2x a day or 5min/10x a day of reading from the nonsense lists you like to throw about as the right amount to work to.

 

Thank you so much!!

 

You're welcome!

Yes, read all her stories and sentences in other work for her for a month. Get audiobooks or read books to her. No sentences or stories of any kind, the context and sight words in them triggers the guessing habit. 

I would do just a few minutes a day of nonsense words and 30 minutes a day of phonics program and word lists. It's better to do  15 minutes twice a day, and spread out the nonsense words as well. 

So, you could do 25 nonsense words sometime, then later do 25 nonsense words then a 15 min lesson of syllables, then later 25 nonsense words and a list of words from Webster or We All Can Read or another program with word lists. The only sentences that are fine during this period are the nonsense word sentences from We All Can Read, and if she guesses from them, stop them, too, although I haven't had a student yet who did. 

With the 25 nonsense words (or 10 or 15 for a really slow reader, do about a minute of them), stop for any that are missed and immediately re-do the missed word, you want to build up the habit of being careful and accurate while sounding out the words.

With Webster's Speller, I like to have 2 or 3 tabs going--1 at an easy level, 1 at a medium level, 1 at a challenging level. I put pencil check marks on a completed row. For example, you could have a tab starting on 2 syllable words in table 26, one in the 3 syllables words in table 68, one in table 90, 4 syllable words. Start with tab 2, read a few lines, go back to easy words in tab 1, read a few lines, go to tab 3, read a few lines, continue for the time period like this but end with easy or medium tab words. The pencil checks (or slashes in the middle of a line if you need to stop in the middle) make it easy to start up again and figure out what's been done.

Working on word lists is much more efficient than reading stories--the same words are repeated over and over in sentences and stories. The most common 220 words are 50% of any running text, the most common 1,000 words are 90% of any running text. It's worse than logarithmic, too, the new words keep getting less and less frequent as the percentages go up. The math for this is complex, similar math is used for encryption. (It's called zipf's law.) So, if you're working with word lists, not only are you helping break the guessing habit, but you're learning about 20X to 100X more efficiently than when you are reading from a book.

Zipf's law, with graphs and equations:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zipf's_law

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2 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

She's sweet and well behaved and I know she means well and is trying, just idk if medicating her would help her focus and thus help her to help herself, or if her issues are only a nuisance to me and minor hinderance to her in the grand scheme of things. 

My dh wanted to delay meds on my dd. He had these strong opinions about how inappropriate they were (crutch, drugs, tough it out, etc.). Finally I just went and got the stupid scrip and did it. He was wrong. It's that simple. And usually it's people who are ADHD themselves who somehow hacked it out or live in the land of denial who say stuff like that. Her ACT score went up 30% and she went from looking like she couldn't do anything to top scholarships.

So if you're asking if an ADHD inattentive dc will do better academically on meds, OF COURSE they will. If you're asking if the meds will help her attention, OF COURSE they will. If you're asking (from the child's perspective) whether it's cruel to withhold them, of course it is. 

And that's really the more important thing to think about. Right now she seems little, but she's on the cusp of transitioning into teen years, forming her sense of self, and she's going to form her sense of her ability to do things and succeed. Depression rates are HIGH in ADHD and that's part of it, just that constant awareness that they're struggling to do what they want to do. Also accident rates in unmedicated ADHD drivers are high.

I see zero benefit in waiting at this point. Is there some familial history of mental health motivating it? Why the wait? There are two parents, not just one, and honestly these are short acting meds that clear the system quickly. This is not some major, unchangeable decision. You can try them, get the med that fits her, see what you think. Now if it were an SSRI or some kind of stronger med (like what my ds will likely change to next month), I could see it. But a stimulant med for ADHD? What's the hold up?

You do know that caffeine works very similarly, right? So anyone who drinks caffeine but says stimulant meds for ADHD are a sin is a COMPLETE HYPOCRITE. So as long as he eschews Starbucks, tea, chocolate, any of his caffeine vices, we have a conversation and I get it. So make sure you challenge the logic completely and know what he's really bugged about. 

There actually are legit questions you could be asking about WHAT ELSE explains the behaviors and WHAT ELSE could be done. Did we already talk that in this thread? Retained reflexes, auditory processing, trauma, language delays, I could think of a bunch of things right off the bat that could contribute to some of the behaviors you're seeing. So if the other parent were saying hey, keep looking for root causes and explanations and things to treat, we could help you there. But to say oh it's nothing, that just doesn't make sense.

You're describing clinical levels of behaviors and you're demonstrating that they affect her ability to access her education. So SOMETHING should be done and you know this. The only question is WHAT. 

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You can try 1/4 cup then 1/2 cup the 3/4 cup of coffee and see if that helps, some of my friends with active children who they or their husband don't want to medicate have tried this and find that helps, the level that helps is different for different children.

Also, you can use my nonsense word game instead of the word lists. It takes longer to do the same amount of words but is more fun:

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

You could write a few of the words from each lesson on index cards and have her run across the room to get them and sound them out, or a group of them and see how many she can run and get and read in 2 minutes. This sometimes helps and sometimes gets students too worked up.

Also, you can pause just reading and have her try to spell one out on the white board if focusing on word lists is too much.

Or, jump up and celebrate after every 10 correct words, again, can help or can be worse, try a few different things and see.

 

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I would try these books to teach parts of speech. For the verb one, have them act out various verbs during the reading, that helps make them stick.

https://www.amazon.com/You-Were-Verb-Word-Fun-ebook/dp/B00ESEEE7O/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=if+I+were+a+verb&qid=1611382003&sr=8-1

A library we once lived near had them, they loved the series, thought they were funny, much easier to remember with the books than your standard boring grammar program.

Jr. Mad libs are good, too. They come with a word list to read through and pick from.

https://www.amazon.com/Super-Silly-Mad-Libs-Junior/dp/0843107588/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&hvadid=78340323433297&hvbmt=be&hvdev=c&hvqmt=e&keywords=mad+libs+junior&qid=1611382186&sr=8-1&tag=mh0b-20

My 10th grade son can still not remember what an adjective is, but he is has a score of 100% in his dual credit engineering course. He only remembers after I ask him what an adverb is then realizes there is only one thing left to modify. I did a ton of grammar with him, science and math stick in his brain, language arts things need more repetition (until he's 25??) My daughter is the opposite, Language Arts and foreign languages are easy, science, engineering, math, not so much. She is good at psychology and biology, though.

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25 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

My dh wanted to delay meds on my dd. He had these strong opinions about how inappropriate they were (crutch, drugs, tough it out, etc.). Finally I just went and got the stupid scrip and did it. He was wrong. It's that simple. And usually it's people who are ADHD themselves who somehow hacked it out or live in the land of denial who say stuff like that. Her ACT score went up 30% and she went from looking like she couldn't do anything to top scholarships.

So if you're asking if an ADHD inattentive dc will do better academically on meds, OF COURSE they will. If you're asking if the meds will help her attention, OF COURSE they will. If you're asking (from the child's perspective) whether it's cruel to withhold them, of course it is. 

And that's really the more important thing to think about. Right now she seems little, but she's on the cusp of transitioning into teen years, forming her sense of self, and she's going to form her sense of her ability to do things and succeed. Depression rates are HIGH in ADHD and that's part of it, just that constant awareness that they're struggling to do what they want to do. Also accident rates in unmedicated ADHD drivers are high.

I see zero benefit in waiting at this point. Is there some familial history of mental health motivating it? Why the wait? There are two parents, not just one, and honestly these are short acting meds that clear the system quickly. This is not some major, unchangeable decision. You can try them, get the med that fits her, see what you think. Now if it were an SSRI or some kind of stronger med (like what my ds will likely change to next month), I could see it. But a stimulant med for ADHD? What's the hold up?

You do know that caffeine works very similarly, right? So anyone who drinks caffeine but says stimulant meds for ADHD are a sin is a COMPLETE HYPOCRITE. So as long as he eschews Starbucks, tea, chocolate, any of his caffeine vices, we have a conversation and I get it. So make sure you challenge the logic completely and know what he's really bugged about. 

There actually are legit questions you could be asking about WHAT ELSE explains the behaviors and WHAT ELSE could be done. Did we already talk that in this thread? Retained reflexes, auditory processing, trauma, language delays, I could think of a bunch of things right off the bat that could contribute to some of the behaviors you're seeing. So if the other parent were saying hey, keep looking for root causes and explanations and things to treat, we could help you there. But to say oh it's nothing, that just doesn't make sense.

You're describing clinical levels of behaviors and you're demonstrating that they affect her ability to access her education. So SOMETHING should be done and you know this. The only question is WHAT. 

I haven't finished reading but you are SO right. I did call about an eval and got a referral, so this ball is rolling. You are SO right, so far my only argument against meds has been "what if we could manage without" - literally I didn't even think of drug side effects, I was concerned about me feeling like a failure for not being able to alter the chemical makeup in my kid's CSF instead of thinking to weigh results of her on meds vs. side effects of her on meds. 

I can get them, and see how she does after a month. I'm a self centered fool, thanks for spelling it out that this isn't about my oppinions on meds. It's about her and results and trying every possible avenue.

 

You are a saint. 

 

My husband has mostly been the one reluctant to seek professional help, likely because he doesnt want to admit it that there's a high chance that our kid's issues are a direct result of his families failures. Yikes. 

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27 minutes ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

My husband has mostly been the one reluctant to seek professional help, likely because he doesnt want to admit it that there's a high chance that our kid's issues are a direct result of his families failures. Yikes.

You are framing your dc's issues this way, but I think *more* could be going on. You won't know till you get proper evals. Have you had her hearing checked? Eyes? Has she had an OT eval? 

Sometimes what happens is there's a circle. ADHD, learning disabilities, mental health disorders, a lot of things are genetic. The parents had issues, the kid has issues. It's not a shock. But it's the PAST. 

I think it might be in error to blame EVERYTHING going on with this precious child as the result of neglect. If you do that, you may end up missing other things that need to be diagnosed and get some intervention. Rather than *blaming* anyone, you might be better served just to *get evals* and let professionals sort it out. 

I want to say this very politely, but you're describing dyslexia and reading challenge that really ought to have evals. Does this dc have an IEP? We homeschool but my ds has an IEP. Why does your dc not have an IEP? You have the FEDERAL RIGHT to make that written request and get those evals through the school. They would be compelled to do a multi-factored eval, looking at all the areas as a team (SLP, OT, psych, etc.). You'd get more information and turn up more. Even just saying you know it's ADHD and that nothing more is going on is back to blaming. And blaming is going to hurt HER in the end, because it may cause you to miss things.

If she has dyslexia, she deserves dyslexia appropriate intervention. If she has an auditory processing disorder, she deserves appropriate intervention. If she has narrative language deficits (which can occur for lots of reasons), she deserves intervention. If she has retained reflexes or sensory processing problems affecting her comfort when sitting to do her work, she deserves therapy/intervention. If she has trauma or anxiety, she deserves appropriate counseling and intervention.

All of this stuff goes beyond an ADHD med. The assumptions you're making about how she got this way and what's going on may make you MISS some significant things going on that could be helped. 

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12 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

You are framing your dc's issues this way, but I think *more* could be going on. You won't know till you get proper evals. Have you had her hearing checked? Eyes? Has she had an OT eval? 

Sometimes what happens is there's a circle. ADHD, learning disabilities, mental health disorders, a lot of things are genetic. The parents had issues, the kid has issues. It's not a shock. But it's the PAST. 

I think it might be in error to blame EVERYTHING going on with this precious child as the result of neglect. If you do that, you may end up missing other things that need to be diagnosed and get some intervention. Rather than *blaming* anyone, you might be better served just to *get evals* and let professionals sort it out. 

I want to say this very politely, but you're describing dyslexia and reading challenge that really ought to have evals. Does this dc have an IEP? We homeschool but my ds has an IEP. Why does your dc not have an IEP? You have the FEDERAL RIGHT to make that written request and get those evals through the school. They would be compelled to do a multi-factored eval, looking at all the areas as a team (SLP, OT, psych, etc.). You'd get more information and turn up more. Even just saying you know it's ADHD and that nothing more is going on is back to blaming. And blaming is going to hurt HER in the end, because it may cause you to miss things.

If she has dyslexia, she deserves dyslexia appropriate intervention. If she has an auditory processing disorder, she deserves appropriate intervention. If she has narrative language deficits (which can occur for lots of reasons), she deserves intervention. If she has retained reflexes or sensory processing problems affecting her comfort when sitting to do her work, she deserves therapy/intervention. If she has trauma or anxiety, she deserves appropriate counseling and intervention.

All of this stuff goes beyond an ADHD med. The assumptions you're making about how she got this way and what's going on may make you MISS some significant things going on that could be helped. 

Yes, thank you so much for all your advice and knowledge. I knew something was off and was brushed off by her teachers and I failed to advocate for her when I still felt like things were off.

Good news, she's capable of discussing what is and isn't an issue, and I think you're on to something with her eyes. I talked to her today about how she seems to have an easier time reading and understanding her science book than her chapter book, and asked if she preferred one over the other or something. She told me she likes the big letters. Guys, the science font is huge, early reader font. She can work with it even though it's 5th grade science, because it's BIG. Her novel? 3rd grade level, and usual small book font. Wow, her huge regression and stagnation with reading, especially when she read it herself, started when books started naturally transitioning to a smaller font. 

So I have things going with her MD, and I plan on emailing her charter liason and being upfront about my concerns and I'm not taking a let's wait and see as an answer. I'll reenroll her in thr local district if that's the only way to get this going. 

I want the IEPs for her, because I think with modifications she can keep up with her class when she returns to public school. 

 

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4 hours ago, Coco_Clark said:

My next in possible need of meds has an anxiety disorder, which includes panic attacks. Eventually he will end up on medication, I'm sure. Right now we are using therapy, supplements, and calming practices for as long as we can because anxiety meds are some of the worst for growing children, and you need 6 months to a year for them to build up before you can expect them to work.  At least that's what our behavioral medocation doctor tells me. 

I just have to say something here.  I have a child who was anxious from birth.  Her anxiety was crippling, and therapy, supplements, meditation.....they weren't going to get her there.  The doctor suggested meds when she was four.  We put her on celexa (an SSRI) just after her fifth birthday.  Literally overnight there was a noticeable difference.  They do take time to reach full effect, but it's 2-6 weeks, not six months to a year.  It can take awhile to play with dosages, but I now have two kids on SSRIs for anxiety, and they have totally transformed my kids.  They are functioning at high levels now.  Meds allowed my youngest child to learn skills to help, but she'll probably always need them.  But they aren't awful for growing children.  My youngest is 15 now; she's been on them for ten years, and she's had no issues physically, psychologically, academically, emotionally.  They've allowed her to really blossom.  I had not realized how much anxiety was impacting her globally until it was lessened.  And yes, we added buspar to the SSRI when she was about 10 or 11, but again, it's a pretty mild medication.  Nobody is putting kids on benzos or anything addictive like that.  I just really want to encourage you that medicating for anxiety can be amazing and really pretty easy and painless.  In retrospect, I wish I had medicated her at age three, when her anxiety first became obviously debilitating.  

Four out of four of us are on antidepressants in our family, and they are such a wonderful blessing, and I am so, so grateful to them.  My heart hurts at the thought of a child who might benefit being deprived of them out of fear.  I'm quite sure Cat would not be on track to go to college and live independently without meds.  Her anxiety had affected not just the panic attacks and social anxiety and problems sleeping, but it was impacting her social skills and her ability to learn.  She still has learning disabilities, but the difference is night and day.  

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1 hour ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

Yes, thank you so much for all your advice and knowledge. I knew something was off and was brushed off by her teachers and I failed to advocate for her when I still felt like things were off.

Good news, she's capable of discussing what is and isn't an issue, and I think you're on to something with her eyes. I talked to her today about how she seems to have an easier time reading and understanding her science book than her chapter book, and asked if she preferred one over the other or something. She told me she likes the big letters. Guys, the science font is huge, early reader font. She can work with it even though it's 5th grade science, because it's BIG. Her novel? 3rd grade level, and usual small book font. Wow, her huge regression and stagnation with reading, especially when she read it herself, started when books started naturally transitioning to a smaller font. 

So I have things going with her MD, and I plan on emailing her charter liason and being upfront about my concerns and I'm not taking a let's wait and see as an answer. I'll reenroll her in thr local district if that's the only way to get this going. 

I want the IEPs for her, because I think with modifications she can keep up with her class when she returns to public school. 

 

You might want to have her eyes checked, not just by any Walmart optometrist but by a behavioral or developmental optometrist from covd.org.  They'll do screenings as part of their normal exams.  She might have issues with convergence.  

Or, it might be that something as simple as reading glasses or doing more reading on a kindle, where you can adjust the font size, might make a big difference.  You can also get children's novels in large print, although they're a bit harder to find.  (My mom was a librarian at a school for the blind in New Mexico.)  

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4 hours ago, Coco_Clark said:

My next in possible need of meds has an anxiety disorder, which includes panic attacks. Eventually he will end up on medication, I'm sure. Right now we are using therapy, supplements, and calming practices for as long as we can because anxiety meds are some of the worst for growing children, and you need 6 months to a year for them to build up before you can expect them to work.  At least that's what our behavioral medocation doctor tells me. 

Just want to throw out there that the most commonly prescribed anxiety medications for children have a pretty solid safety profile and are often prescribed for kids ages 6 and up. They even come in liquid form for easy swallowing. They only take 4-6 weeks to build up in the system and hit full effectiveness, but we've seen improvement in as little as 2-3 weeks. They don't typically affect growth.

Anxiety is a beast, and panic attacks are, well, terrifying. Crippling. Awful. We delayed medicating for a child's anxiety and depression for a couple of years because we imagined negative side effects for his growing brain, etc. We had to have a second major crisis, including a second hospitalization, before we gave in and started an SSRI. The change in him was practically magical. It dramatically changed his life (and the rest of the family's) for the better, and I wish we hadn't waited so long. Our family works with pediatric psychiatrists at a major children's hospital for medication management because it makes me feel more comfortable that they know what they're doing and have seen complex kids like mine before.

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6 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

I think you're on to something with her eyes.

So another tip. :smile:  You want to look for a *developmental optometrist* and you want to have her screened for retained reflexes. Vision develops as a progression of other things. (birth, nursing, crawling, etc.) When we are born we have neonatal/primitive/infant reflexes that drive each of those steps. If those steps glitch, for instance through a csection birth or someone who for whatever reason doesn't do all those things completely, the reflexes do not "integrate" back into the neurological system. They're still out screaming USE ME, because the body DIDN'T DO THAT STEP.

https://www.brmtusa.com/what-are-reflexes  This link has a list. You can look on youtube for them. Most likely she has one, maybe several reflexes retained. They are making her life uncomfortable, and they are easily treatable with exercises to integrate (use, tell the body to put away) the reflexes. 

Vision and developmental vision skills like convergence, tracking, visual memory, etc. are also developed with, drum roll, reflexes!! So you need to integrate the primitive/infant reflexes so the later reflexes for vision, posture, etc. can do their thing. 

In theory, you should be able to find an OT (occupational therapist) to check these things. When there is ADHD, an OT eval is warranted!! Odds are stuff is going on. But good luck finding an OT trained in them. OTs get very generic training and these are things they learn later. So you would need to ask around and confirm what system the OT you're considering uses and whether they're trained. Some will be and you might find an OT like that if you call around enough. That's why it's easier just to hit google and do it yourself, lol,

The system we finally used with success was from Pyramid of Potential, and it last I knew the site was down. You can see what you can find. Youtube is your friend on this. You can at least determine if it's an issue and worth tracking down some treatment.

So then as far as the vision, she may need glasses. But given the amount of symptoms you're describing with just overall how she functions, she probably has issues with convergence and developmental vision. The type of eye doctor you want for that is a DEVELOPMENTAL OPTOMETRIST. Don't screw around with a regular eye doctor. If you put glasses on a kid with convergence issues and you don't treat the convergence, she will get headaches. So then you'll be even worse than you started! Btdt, sigh. If you want to head off problems, your wisest bet would be to choose the eye doc very carefully. You want a developmental optometrist, and you can find them through COVD.

https://www.covd.org/?  This is where you look. Ask around, read reviews, because as with all things they vary. If you check out 3 or 4, you'll probably find one you feel comfortable with. You can start with a basic vision eval and ask them to SCREEN the developmental stuff. Our place has that regular eval with screening and a longer eval if the screening turns up anything. Some places do them together. Just call, see what you can get. But given the issues you're describing, I would not just plunk glasses on her without that screening and discussion of the developmental stuff. If you're REALLY lucky, the optometrist will know how to test for retained reflexes. They need to be integrated for the therapy to work and to correct the vision issues. 

Don't feel bad! You didn't know what you didn't know. My dd was 10, like yours, when we realized she had developmental vision issues. So many funky things were happening, and we just thought she was bad, not trying, blah blah. And it got to a point where I realized she was not being bad, that something was really wrong. Happily at 21 she's beyond that, haha. But yeah I felt really bad at the time.

So yes, get the vision eval, check for retained reflexes. And I'm gonna get on you about something. A big problem with "free resources" online is they aren't telling you the truth and sticking it in your face. Kids with dyslexia need evals. Kids with ADHD need evals. You would find this stuff with evals, and jumping over them and saying Oh I know what's going on, I don't need to ruin my kid's self esteem, I'll just do this or that quietly, results in you MISSING stuff.

So if you do not do evals, you are going to continue to miss stuff. I can look at what you described about her early language and make some assumptions. I think with speech language testing she would turn out to have language issues. There's more going on, and laying it all at the feet of neglect that occurred from ages 1-5 is causing you to miss it. She probably had neglect, but she probably ALSO has things going on that need evals and intervention.

6 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

Wow, her huge regression and stagnation with reading, especially when she read it herself, started when books started naturally transitioning to a smaller font. 

Yes, that is what happened with my dd. So it's going to be really interesting to see whether this dc has a learning disability or a vision problem or both. My dd was *crunchy* on reading in the early days, a terrible speller because of her poor visual memory, and then with VT (vision therapy), work on working memory, meds for the attention, she ended up with top ACT scores, top scholarships, and tolerable spelling. So you never know! THAT'S WHY YOU DO EVALS. 

With good evals you could discriminate a reading disability and vision problems in a hot flash. She could have either or both going on. She certainly sounds like she has developmental vision issues, so the only question is whether she has a reading disability as well. They can run a CTOPP and get that sorted out. My dd did not. But given the langauge issues she had early on, I would be concerned that she has more language based issues going on. The way to get that tested would be with an SLP who specializes in literacy. If you have insurance coverage or funding to make that happen privately, that will result in the most thorough evals. If not, advocate your butt off through the ps and then file a dispute when they don't do enough. They typically only run screeners, which means they miss stuff, especially on bright kids who can bluff their way through multiple choice tests and tests that provide models. 

6 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

I plan on emailing her charter liason and being upfront about my concerns and I'm not taking a let's wait and see as an answer.

You have the FEDERAL RIGHT to make a written request for evals. And what you need to do is see how it works in your state. The ps (not the charter unless it's a ps charter) has the federal responsibility under IDEA to identify students with disabilities affecting their ability to access their education. Your dd clearly has them. So I would make a written request, sign, dated, copied for your files, that you give to BOTH the ps and the charter. You just give the same thing to the secretary for each and you put both names on so they know they both got it. Your state law will then clarify who does the evals. 

What you don't want is to give it to the *charter* and then they filter and dilly dally handing it to the ps. You want your written request handed to the part with the LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY because this STARTS THE IEP TIMELINE. Does that make sense? You have specific legal rights here, including timeline. So if you want it acted on and not slow poked, that's how you do it. Use the law and don't hang around and let it get filtered. It's not being rude or pushy or going nuclear. It's just the LAW. You have the legal right to make that written request.

Now the sticky point is whether you have the legal right. You really ought to be sorting out the legal mess of custody, guardianship, etc. You're signing legal documents and I would think they're going to want that cleared up. But don't let that slow you down. MAKE A WRITTEN REQUEST, sign/date/copy it for your files. 

The law then will protect you. You can google the IEP timeline in your state. Your dept of ed will probably have something on their website. Use the law to protect her interests and make things happen. Our state law spells out the timeline of each step. It all says who does what with evals. So in our state, the ps in the district where the charter is would do the eval the first time. After that, the renewals would be done by the ps in the district of residence, which could be different. And the charter will be involved, but it's the responsibility of the ps to do this, which is why requesting only to the charter is not getting it done. That's basically talking with the teacher, and the teacher too has a legal right to make that request. But that's letting them decide, which you don't have to. If you want to make the request yourself, you have to do it yourself DIRECTLY to the ps. Find out the law in your state, but it probably rolls something like that.

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6 hours ago, Mommalongadingdong said:

I want the IEPs for her, because I think with modifications she can keep up with her class when she returns to public school. 

Look on your state dept of ed site for their IEP timeline. Also look at your library for the NOLO books on the IEP process. There are several and they're GOOD! 

-make a written request

-school meets to determine if evals are warranted

-evals and results of evals

-team determines if an IEP or 504 is needed

-team writes IEP or 504

So you see it's a process. State law determines whether the ps is required to write a 504/IEP for your situation. Some do, some don't. My *guess* is for a charter they will go ahead and do it, but I don't know for your state. But it's a *federal* right to have the evals. Those are separate, and you don't let anyone tell you she can't be eval'd. You have the federal right to make that happen.

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You might do a little bit of reading on auditory processing disorder. How is her spelling? How is she in background noise? If the kitchen fan is on or she's in a noisy place, is it hard for her to hear you?

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8 hours ago, Terabith said:

You might want to have her eyes checked, not just by any Walmart optometrist but by a behavioral or developmental optometrist from covd.org.  They'll do screenings as part of their normal exams.  She might have issues with convergence.  

Or, it might be that something as simple as reading glasses or doing more reading on a kindle, where you can adjust the font size, might make a big difference.  You can also get children's novels in large print, although they're a bit harder to find.  (My mom was a librarian at a school for the blind in New Mexico.)  

Yes, www.covd.org, not just a regular eye doctor, like @Terabith and @PeterPan said.

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11 hours ago, Cake and Pi said:

Just want to throw out there that the most commonly prescribed anxiety medications for children have a pretty solid safety profile and are often prescribed for kids ages 6 and up. They even come in liquid form for easy swallowing. They only take 4-6 weeks to build up in the system and hit full effectiveness, but we've seen improvement in as little as 2-3 weeks. They don't typically affect growth.

Anxiety is a beast, and panic attacks are, well, terrifying. Crippling. Awful. We delayed medicating for a child's anxiety and depression for a couple of years because we imagined negative side effects for his growing brain, etc. We had to have a second major crisis, including a second hospitalization, before we gave in and started an SSRI. The change in him was practically magical. It dramatically changed his life (and the rest of the family's) for the better, and I wish we hadn't waited so long. Our family works with pediatric psychiatrists at a major children's hospital for medication management because it makes me feel more comfortable that they know what they're doing and have seen complex kids like mine before.

Thank you for the thoughts.  We are working with a therapist as well as a behavioral medication specialist and for right now, I trust their advice that medication is currently a last resort *for this child*.  It may be his type of anxiety needs specific medication, I know that the  SSRI we have used for other foster children dealing with depression in the past were not on the table.  But I was told research showed regular therapy to be more affective than meds, and that anxiety is the last thing they like to medicate. They are not generally anti medication people, nor are we.  I agree they can be life changing and have seen it many times.  I also know as he hits his preteen/teen years he will likely become less stable and need more help.

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