View Full Version : DS completed Psych. Testing

04-11-2012, 09:48 PM
We recently had DS (just turned 6 and in K) undergo a battery of tests by a Psych D. The main concerns were anxiety, auditory processing, and possible ADHD.

Clinically the psych. did not really want to diagnose him but does feel he needs some interventions to be successful at school, so in the diagosis category she wrote "Rule out ADHD" and "Rule out GAD." She thinks he'll do much better next year both in terms of anxiety and attention with a more effective teacher (his kindy teacher is horribly disorganized which exacerbates his issues). She gave written recommendations for classroom interventions but her primary concern is his inability to take a timed test; i.e., he knows the answers, but does not recognize the urgency presented in a timed test whatsoever.

She advised me she thought it was really too early to tell re: ADHD - he could have mild ADHD or just have a case of 6 year old boy. She did not think his axiety rose to the level of needing clinical treatment (and she does CBT, so I guess I am encouraged b/c wouldn't she offer this service and earn income off of us if he really needed it?). So, she wants us just to follow up in a year or as needed.

He did score low on processing, I think auditory was worse but visual was not great either. She does not think we need to do anything on that right now. I had previously spoken to an audiologist friend of mine who said many kids will outgrow auditory issues plus it is difficult to run the tests done by audiologists before ages 7-8.

Interestingly, his teacher still has him marked in the lowest group for reading (I've posted about this teacher before) and since I have been home tutoring him in this for about 6 months I thought he has really improved. Though, crappy teacher has not recognized any improvement yet in his reports. So, I felt somewhat vindicated that the psychologist says he is performing a grade ahead at reading and several other areas :)

I do have some questions but looking for general feedback as well.
I guess I need to approach the school to set up accomodations at this point. I'm not concerned about the remainder of this year but want to make sure he gets testing accomodations by the time first grade testing starts. I am aware I may have to go through the school testing process before getting them (the accomodations). I did not institute this first because I did not want the K teacher to have any part of this process due to my distrust in her interests. I have had to complain about the teacher and in response, the school has bent over backwards to make sure I am satisfied, so I am not expecting major problems in getting an agreement for accomodations from the school. I am looking for some basic information as to what to expect in terms of an IEP or 504 and maybe some reading recommendations so I can be properly educated and armed with information.

Plus,I just want to learn about special education advocacy in general, as it's a legal niche I want to learn about for professional reasons as well as the obvious personal reasons.

Also, I am looking for any BTDT with the issues with timed testing and how you may have helped your DC overcome this issue.

Thanks for listening and for any advice.

04-11-2012, 10:33 PM
Plus,I just want to learn about special education advocacy in general, as it's a legal niche I want to learn about for professional reasons as well as the obvious personal reasons.

Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy (http://www.wrightslaw.com/)- this has all you need to know.

My DD is allowed accommodations for testing- basically, it boils down to whatever it takes to get her through it they do. She can take breaks, go for walks, etc.

04-11-2012, 10:45 PM
Do you want any services or just accommodations? If you only want accommodations, you can ask for a 504 and the school likely won't do it's own eval--at least ours isn't. It is faster and seems easier to get because it doesn't cost the school much money (no services). We do have an ADHD dx though.

You might check out the wrights law website for more information.


04-11-2012, 10:54 PM
Elliput, thanks so much for the reference - it looks like exactly the type of resource I need to get.

CRL - I don't think there are any services we will need from the school, at least at this juncture in our experience. Good to know this may make it easier for us.

04-12-2012, 08:47 AM
That sounds somewhat like my older DD. She is anxious, but not technically diagnosable as GAD. But she has greatly benefited from CBT, meds and other interventions. However, not until she was older. At age 6, it seems perfectly reasonable to take a wait and see attitude.

DD also has ADHD-like symptoms at times, but her therapist and psychiatrist both think this is from the anxiety, not ADHD. The test taking issues for your DS could be part of the anxiety. He could be too anxious to settle down or copes with the anxiety by acting like he doesn't care if he finishes. It's hard to say and I would wait and see how this plays out.

Do you want any services or just accommodations? If you only want accommodations, you can ask for a 504 and the school likely won't do it's own eval--at least ours isn't. It is faster and seems easier to get because it doesn't cost the school much money (no services). We do have an ADHD dx though.

DD has a 504 plan that gets her accommodations at school, but she does not need intervention or different curriculum or a different classroom placement. I think those are the issues that schools tend to really fight. Her accommodations are about managing and reducing her anxiety, none of which costs the school anything, so they are pretty happy to do what we asked for.

As I said, she does not have diagnosed GAD, but her psychologist wrote a carefully crafted letter that implied she has GAD but did not state that. Based on this letter, we were able to get the 504 easily. But we did not get the 504 until third grade when it was pretty clear that she was not in step with her peers emotionally.

I think a different type of teacher will make a HUGE difference for him. I know it does for DD. A teacher who is organized and calm goes a long, long way to helping DD keep control and manage in the classroom.

04-12-2012, 11:44 AM
I agree with Beth that the right teacher is a huge help for kids with these issues. Our principal has pretty much given me free rein to choose ds' teachers, mostly I think because it is something free and relatively easy for him to give me. I ask other parents and I ask his current teacher (we have been very fortunate with teachers so far) for suggestions. Given your difficulties this year, I would pretty much expect to be allowed to pick my teacher next year regardless of the school's usual policy on that issue.


04-12-2012, 01:31 PM
Thank you Beth and Catherine. I am really hopeful a new teacher can help my DS minimize his issues. Catherine - I am of this thinking too, I feel I am pretty much guaranteed my pick of teachers given the major issues I had this year and the accomodating way I've been treated once I complained.

Beth -I have followed some of your past posts about your older DD because some of them reminded me of DS - you have been extra helpful to me whtout knowing it. The psych. recommended several books I believe you have also recommended. Thanks for your feedback in this case!

04-12-2012, 02:34 PM
I do not have much advice....but I am glad the psychologist was helpful!

You might ask the psychologist which she/he thinks would be more appropriate: a 504 or an IEP? I think it can be hard to get the schools to deliver on services or accomodations without a plan in writing, but I am not sure which of the 2 is more appropriate for your DS. Of course, many of the moms here with experience in this department may be able to advise. :hug:

04-12-2012, 08:28 PM
My experience with our school and IEPs and 504s is similar to what has been said. Accomodations (504 plan) seem to be no big deal. The IEP - much bigger. Our school doesn't seem to need their own eval for some accomodations, but it took 6 weeks of data collection for them to demonstrate that DS was entitled to pull-out special education services (provided for in an IEP). I get it, but it ate up a lot of valuable learning time IMO. Just to provide general feedback from our process, the pull out time involves teaching of the same curriculum and methods, just in a 1:1 or small group setting. This lack of curriculum flexibility at our school greatly disappointed me.

I do think a good teacher often naturally accomodates kids based on their needs. For example both of DS's teachers in K and now first would orally test him if the goal was to find out what he knew, not to evaluate his handwriting. They did this purely because they saw how hard it was for him to write.

I was kind of surprised that viewing difficulty with a timed test in K is a problem? My son didn't really do too many of them in K or even this year in first. And I know a lot of kids that timed stuff freaks them out a bit.

One final thought - keep an eye on your son's reading skills and how variable they seem. What caught my attention was that you thought he made a lot of progress and teacher has him assessed low. I remember your posts about her - and it could just be the bad teacher thing. But reading skills that vary from day to day can be sign of a reading disability. Earlier this year my DS would read pretty well one day, and I'd get really excited. But the next day he'd have trouble with really simple words. And the school's assessment at that time was way off from what I was seeing at home.

Hope you are able to get what you need smoothly! I bet they know by now not to mess with you! :)

04-13-2012, 08:10 AM
I'm so happy it went well! I think you've done an amazing job of setting him up for success next year. Congratulations on the great reading results as well. That must feel really gratifying. All of your hard work is paying off. :)

04-13-2012, 09:55 AM
It sounds like the psych testing was helpful and gave you some good direction.

It's a frustrating reality that many of these things like ADHD, processing issues, anxiety, etc need to be evaluated over time and cannot be diagnosed quickly. But it sounds like you are on the right track.

DS gets accommodations for testing, including timed testing. He gets a separate room, extended time, frequent breaks. He also gets an aide to act as a reader and scribe.

Wrightslaw is the best source of information for special education law and advocacy. The website is great. The books are excellent. And their training conferences are amazing! I went to the 1 day conference last year and learned sooo much. Our IEP experience was a lot different this year as a result. I highly recommend attending one of their conferences if you can.

04-13-2012, 10:20 AM
Thanks for the additional responses! Gena, the training seminars caught my eye and I am definitely going to attend one, though based on the schedule I saw it will probably be at least a year before I can get to one since there is not a local one scheduled at this time, and I am about to pop with baby #2 in about a month!

JTs mom - yes I feel very happy with the progress we have made. Thanks!

Inmypjs: There is no standardized testing in K, but it starts out in 1st grade (less than 4 months away, yikes!) and from what I understand there's quite a lot of it. I agree timed testing could be a problem for lots of kids but it has caught my attention before that DS cannot complete much of anything quickly. The tester works heavily with younger children so I trust that if she thinks he is outside the bell curve on that particular issue, he probably is. As to reading, I will definitely keep that issue on my radar. At this time I think the anomoly is due to a poor teacher, but I will keep an open mind and monitor his progress next year when he is (presumably) being taught by a teacher who can better meet his needs.

Mamasnoo: :waving4: and thanks! Hope you are well!