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  1. #1
    inmypjs is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Default An update on my DS

    I thought I would take a few minutes to provide an update. We took my first grade DS to a private psychologist for testing in December, and he has been diagnosed with dyslexia, dysgraphia and ADD. I thought he might have Aspergers or PDD-NOS, but he does not meet criteria, though he has some traits. He can be socially awkward and has sporadic eye contact. He is actually pretty good at "reading" people when he looks at them, but he looks around so much. His attention testing scores were very poor. The psychologist said most dyslexics look ADD/ADHD, and that sometimes it gets better when the dyslexia is remediated, and sometimes it doesn't. DS also had huge gaps in his IQ subtest scores.

    DS is currently halfway through an innovative program called the Davis Dyslexia program. He works one on one with a facilitator every morning. We chose to do this because traditional phonics methods were just not working to help him read, and this program plays to the strengths of the visual/spatial learner. They use clay to make images for all of the sight words that have no visual images associated with them - words like the, because, when, etc. They also do some balance/coordination exercises (he is a little dyspraxic), and some things to work on his visual disorientation. It is for 2 weeks and we will continue doing the methods with him at home.

    I am feeling a little overwhelmed but am trying to stay focused on the present as well as what we need to do next. Soon I'll met with his teachers (primary teacher, OT and reading specialist) to officially do his IEP and 504 plan. I have good relationships with all of them and they really want the best for him. They're already doing some accomodating, but we need to put it in writing so it won't get lost. I've started a list of ideas, but sometimes I'm not sure exactly what to ask for. His reading teacher and writing OT have actually told me that the way they are teaching just isn't working for him, and they want to learn what else they can do. I'm very touched by that.

    His dyslexia program has a training for parents and teachers, and his teachers are particpating, which is great. They are open to incorporating their methods at school where they can. I'm kind of wondering how much they can really do though. They really want to help, but I'm just not sure how much freedom there is to change things for him.

    I've been thinking more about homeschooling. Let me say that it has never been my dream to homeschool my children, but so much of what I have read works well for kids like my son is different than what they do in most schools. I'm thinking he might really benefit from one-on-one attention. What I have learned is that more reading lab time and more handwriting practice aren't going to improve his reading and writing. We have to different things to work on the underlying issue - which is the brain pathways. Neuronet and Interactive Metronome have been suggested. I think we'll finish out the school year for sure and take some time to decide. It really overwhelms me though - I'd most likely have to give up my part time job and that would stink. I also think he really benefits from the social aspects of school.

    Sorry this is so long! I guess one thing I am proud of is that in the past couple of months, at the suggestion of my DH, I've done some things to get myself on a better path emotionally. As hard as this all is, at least now I feel calm and well and just in a good place to help my son.

  2. #2
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    Uno-Mom is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by inmypjs View Post
    Sorry this is so long! I guess one thing I am proud of is that in the past couple of months, at the suggestion of my DH, I've done some things to get myself on a better path emotionally. As hard as this all is, at least now I feel calm and well and just in a good place to help my son.
    Wise man, your husband. And good for you, taking his advice. That must have been awfully hard and it's great that you're doing so well in yourself.

    Often bumbling mother to baby girl "Sprog"
    Born November, 2009

  3. #3
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    i think it's wonderful that you are starting to have a path. deep breath, mama, and keep up the advocating for your ds!
    mama to j karst, former 25 weeker, 12/06

  4. #4
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    Gena is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    First of all, hugs, because it's a hard journey to be on.

    Secondly, don't write off the school system just yet. Homeschooling can be wonderful for a lot of kids with learning differences. So if that is what you want to do, that's great. But it's too early to start thinking that homeschooling is your only option.

    It sounds like your DS needs an IEP rather than a 504 plan (Kids get oneor the other, not both). Basically, a 504 Plan is when a child needs special accommodations in order to access the regular curriculum. An IEP is for kids who need accommodations and need services that provide them with a modified curriculum. Since your son has significant learning differences, he needs a modified curriculum. This would include different ways of approaching the material, such as the techniques currently being used in the Davis Dyspexia program. (By the way - that sounds like a really cool program!)

    If may not be possible for your DS to receive this modified curriculum in the regular classroom. He may need instruction from a teacher with more specialized training. Many schools do this type of instruction as a pull-out in the Resource Room. A student like your DS might be in the resource room for a certain amoount of time, a couple of times a week or every day to get this specialized instruction. Lots of kids with learnign differences get time in the resource room and for most of them this is a very successful approach.

    This is a good time to get to know your rights and your son's rights regarding special education. You should be able to get a publication from your school staff or from the school district's website or the state's dept of education website.

    Wrightslaw is an excellent source of information about special education rules, policies, and practices. I highly recommend 2 of their books:

    From Emotions to Advocacy explains how special education works and gives detailed information how to advocate for your child. It includes thigs like how to write letters, how to organizer your child's information, how to understand the school/district culture, how to interpret test results, etc. It has a ton of useful information.

    All About IEPs is a short, easy to read book wrtten in a question and answer format. It's like the FAQ of IEPs. The questions are grouped by topic, so you can focus on the sections that are most relevant to you. It shows some of the common issues that come up when writing IEPs.

    You can order the books directly from Wrightslaw ro from Amazon - Amazon often has a better price. There are Kindle versions available too, I would assume nook versions as well.
    Last edited by Gena; 02-06-2012 at 10:37 AM. Reason: I can't spell
    Gena

    DS, age 11 and always amazing

    “Autistics are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It's that you're destroying the peg." - Paul Collins, Not Even Wrong

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    When you have a free minute which I can imagine is very rare I would start to research what resources homeschoolers have in your area. Your DS can still have a very active social life. Co-ops are a popular choice as well as classes offered by your park district, community college, art schools, sport complexes. I am not experienced enough with homeschooling to offer any more specific advice though.

    Over the past few years I have slowly come around to the idea of homeschooling and really think the benefits are too tremendous to ignore. I am most excited that if I can do it right my kids can grow up to actually love learning and not view it as a chore. My oldest is currently in kindergarten. When he is done I really want to homeschool but like you I am so overwhelmed at the responsibility and time commitment of educating my own children. Just wanted you to know that you are not alone and even those of use who really want to homeschool are still incredibly overwhelmed.
    AF wife and SAHM of three
    DS(2007.March) DD(2009.July) DS(2012.December)

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    inmypjs is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Thanks for all your replies. Gena, I appreciate you clarifying the differences between a 504 and an IEP. I have no idea what the school resource room is like, so that will be something to discuss. I am open to whatever works for DS. I'd just like him to be happier going to school and feel a sense of accompishment with his learning.

    I am pretty ambivilant about homeschooling. I would like him to attend our public school if possible, so we'll just see how it goes. So far everyone has been really great.

    And I am so glad my DH reminded me to take care of me. DS's mood and emotions have actually gotten better as mine have. Imagine that!

    One thing I did want to ask for opinions on - how much of DS's testing report should I share with the school? It contains IQ testing results, other intellectual tests and a behavioral analysis. There isn't anything in it I'd consider harmful to him, but it's just sensitive/personal, KWIM? I'm not sure if I can just share the diagnostic portion and the summary and conclusions? I think I would feel better about that.

  7. #7
    mytwosons is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by inmypjs View Post
    I'm not sure if I can just share the diagnostic portion and the summary and conclusions? I think I would feel better about that.
    It is up to you how much you share with the school. You are completely within your rights to only share the diagnostic portion, summary and conclusions.

    You can always share more later, if you become more comfortable.

  8. #8
    mctlaw is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Thank you for the update! I have no words of wisdom, but I remembered your post because your DS reminds me a little bit of mine, and we are about to embark on testing. I need to do my own post but I know it will be a long one so I have been putting it off!
    MC

    Fair Queen-Ruler of the House of Boys
    Mom to DS 3/06
    DS 2 6/12
    and a 12 year old (boy) min pin

  9. #9
    inmypjs is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Thanks for the book recommendations Gena, and to everyone else for your comments. I bought the IEP book for my ereader and I think I am going to order the other in hard copy. I also talked to a few aquaintances whose children have IEPs and that was helpful.

    DS has one more day of the Davis Dyslexia program. Today when I picked him, he announced that he could read 2nd and 3rd grade passages! And he did, right before my eyes. Holy cow. I think they are on to something!

  10. #10
    Gena's Avatar
    Gena is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by inmypjs View Post
    DS has one more day of the Davis Dyslexia program. Today when I picked him, he announced that he could read 2nd and 3rd grade passages! And he did, right before my eyes. Holy cow. I think they are on to something!
    That's great!

    Can the facilitator provide you with hard data on how your DS was reading before the program and now? Having solid evidence of the effectiveness of this approach can go a long way in an IEP meeting.
    Gena

    DS, age 11 and always amazing

    “Autistics are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It's that you're destroying the peg." - Paul Collins, Not Even Wrong

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