You son sounds somewhat like my 13 year old. He has visual processing problems. It is hard to catch, especially by schools, because his eyesight is ok and always passed the eye tests they gave him. He is VERY bright but would make "careless" mistakes with math and writing. I finally had him tested by a developmental ophthalmologist between 2nd and 3rd grade because he was struggling so much. They told me they were shocked he could read at all. His tracking abilities were so horrible the machine could hardly follow his eye movements. His visual teaming and discrimination is extremely poor as well. They school would never have been able to catch these issues. OT's at school will do some tests for visual issues but they are not very thorough. You will also get different results from different OT's so it can really depend on who you have evaluate your kid. Sad but true unfortunately. We ended up doing vision therapy with him for awhile through an outside source.
These are some of the signs although it can present in other ways as well;
May be inattentive to visual tasks or appear easily distracted by too much visual stimuli.
The individual appears restless or inattentive during video or visual presentations, may be disinterested in movies or television.
May exhibit difficulty with tasks that require copying (ex. taking notes from a board) and written copies may be missing words or shapes, exhibit reversals or inversions.
Often cannot remember even basic facts about material read silently
Complains of eye strain or frequently rubs eyes (despite no presence of poor eye sight)
Below average reading or written level coupled with high oral comprehension and verbal skills
Math skills may be demonstrated below average, individual may ignore function signs, omit steps or confuse visually similar formulae.
Routinely fails to observe or recognise changes in bulletin board displays, signs, or posted notices.
Just food for thought. If your gut says something is not right about your son, keep looking and fighting. I work in Special Ed for my elementary school district. I know how hard they fight NOT to test these kids.
[This message edited by all_torn_up at 11:22 AM, October 8th (Tuesday)]
Why don't the schools want to help these kids? It doesn't make sense to me.
The ICD, or International Classification of Disorders (what insurance companies use), calls it Reading Disorder. Again, a larger umbrella for various reading problems.
The schools often use yet another set of language for it, generally calling it "specific learning disability" and using particular language from state or federal guidelines. Check your state website for the Office of Special Education to find the terminology they use. In my state, there are specific guidelines for how to request testing and legal deadlines for them to follow once you do that. Here it has to be in writing and they have 30 days to set up a meeting.
Schools are reluctant because it costs them a lot of time and money -- once you officially start a kid down this path there is a lot of paperwork and monitoring that needs to be done, and if the perception is that he is doing "fine" by grade standards, then they will be reluctant to take it on, given how overwhelmed they are already usually. They worry about kids who are falling behind grade level and not getting every kid to their full potential -- that's their mandate, really. So its not surprising, and I have a hell of a lot of respect for teachers who are managing so many kids and their individualized issues -- but as a parent it is intensely frustrating because we DO want the best for our kids of course.
Be persistent and find out how to speak to them in their language and what systems they are using (Response to Intervention or the discrepancy model, for instance) so you can play the game. If you know someone with a child with an IEP they can be a good resource for navigating the system, or if you get outside testing done they can help you too. Good luck.
Schools are reluctant because it costs them a lot of time and money -- once you officially start a kid down this path there is a lot of paperwork and monitoring that needs to be done, and if the perception is that he is doing "fine" by grade standards, then they will be reluctant to take it on, given how overwhelmed they are already usually.
You know your child best. Be his advocate and keep pushing and speaking up.
Many true dyslexics learn to read despite their brain differences,they compensate in ways we don't understand.
Yep, the world of us Dyslexics would look very strange to everyone else.
I know what word is more because of 'this is what its SUPPOSED to be' rather then, this is what it IS.
Like a colorblind person - they may not see the green, but what they do see they understand as green....something like that.
I did fantastic in school because I learned quickly that what I saw and what was true were not the same. I compensated and got through.
But man is it frustrating! I thank my 7th and 8th grade teacher for catching on so fast and for accomdating me. It was a blessing. She allowed me to write things down so that i could process them, because trying to spell a word out of my head never ever works.
I don't know if they have them up there...
I seriously considered starting my own Parenting Advocate service for this very reason.
As an ESE (special ed) teacher I am often frustrated on behalf of the parents and I have always felt they deserve someone to help them thru this process.
I always try to take care of my parents as well as my students.
"Sometimes it takes a good fall to know where you really stand."
Regarding standardized tests: the school has to accommodate for them, which is why you want to get the 504 or IEP and get language in there about the testing accommodation. (For example, the standardized tests my son takes are often not accessible visually -- so the school or the state, whoever is requiring the test, has to create an accessible version for him. I made sure it has language about minimum font size, legibility, etc. I mean, be as specific and comprehensive as possible -- I make sure there is a good overarching statement -- "text on testing materials must be legible and of high contrast. Black ink on white or light paper, font size XX, no sans serif fonts. Other adjustmnets to testing materials may also be necessary.")
The school must review the 504 or IEP periodically and they have to review it if you request a review more frequently than the scheduled review.
Regarding schools not wanting to get students on 504 or IEP: understandable, but illegal. A key component of the federal law is "child find," which mandates that states are REQUIRED to look for students with disabilities/needing accommodation. So if they are ignoring, give them a kick. Here is a very clear explanation of child find, and this website as a whole is readable and helpful:
Some of these processing disorders, from what I have seen (and especially when occuring pre-teen) seem to be 'markers' for other issues such as Bipolar or ADHD or ODD that seem to manifest themselves somewhat later. I'm not saying that's the case here, just an observation for others who may be reading.
I didn't read the entire thread yet but I had to reply. My son is also in 5th grade is the poster child for dyslexia. My school system does not test for it either and we've been through testing for everything but dyslexia. My BH also has dyslexia.
DS has been dx with ADHD and Irlen's syndrome (look this up, the lenses have helped).
I just recently discovered that I can get him evaluated for dyslexia at a university a few hours from us...for about $2600 for three appointments.
I met with the principle, counselor, speech therapist and his teachers last year to see about what help he can get and was told that even with Irlen's, ADHD, and a diagnosis of dyslexia (obtained at our expense) he will not qualify for an iep because he isn't failing.
I have been researching summer programs for dyslexia and even thinking of moving our family or looking into boarding schools (don't know if I could really do this) in the future so we can get him in a program designed for his needs. Home school is a possibility but he really needs to continue practicing social skills (desperately) so I fear that wouldn't be best for him.
I'm at a loss too. I'm going ahead with the dyslexia evaluation at the university but have do idea how to get the help he needs after that.
ETA: The evaluation is for learning disabilities/differences, not only dyslexia...
[This message edited by knightsbff at 4:20 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)]
I would start saying lawsuit if anyone told me that my child could not be accommodated because they weren't failing. Documented disability and/or need for accommodation / services, they have to comply. This really chaps my ass.
[This message edited by StrongerOne at 8:39 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)]
The child does not have to be failing in order to qualify for a 504 or an IEP.
Ditto to this. Both my kids have 504 plans and both are honor roll students with high IQ's. They both have medical disabilities.
One child has issues that "impact their abilities to learn and attend school", the other child her disability "interferes, at times, with her ability to function in the classroom". Neither has a learning disability. Both have different accommodations.
Good luck! It's quite a learning process, still very much ongoing here.
Nobody forgets what happens, the secret is learning to live with it.
My school system does not test for it either and we've been through testing for everything but dyslexia. My BH also has dyslexia.
You would think that since your husband also has dyslexia that your son would automatically be tested. All the reading that I've done online from dyslexia sites say the school system has to test for it. My son's pediatrician told us that the school system has to test for it.
Thank you for all the tips and links. It is comforting to know that I'm not the only one battling a school system.
Dear Dr. XXX,
My name is simplydevastated. I have a ten year old son who I feel has dyslexia. I have spent countless hours researching this and I've seen too many parallels to ignore it. My son struggles with some of his school work and I have been trying to talk to his teachers and two different school systems since he was in first grade to only hear from them that "they don't test for dyslexia" and "he doesn't have it."
I have been referred to XXX university from an acquaintance who told me that there is a department on campus that can test for dyslexia as well as other possible learning disabilities which is how I came to your department's website. I'm hoping that you can either help me and my son or at least point us in the right direction so that I am able to get him the help that he needs.
I appreciate your taking the time to read this email.
Unfortunately, I when I posted the message here I just caught a few typos and now I feel silly for sending a message with typos to a Ph.D