Thursday, March 3, 2011

Requesting opinions

So I know that requesting opinions can be dangerous, we may not agree on how I'm dealing with this thing in my life, we may not agree that what I'm thinking is a problem is a problem. That said, I sent an email out to a list serve I'm on and I realized I have a fountain of information in my friends that I use to dip into all the time when my boy was a baby and don't go to as much as he has gotten older. So with that in mind here is the email I sent out this morning and if you have some thoughts or ideas on it (or if you just want to say hi and let me know you are reading) please do.

With Love,

Hi Everyone,

I'm mostly a lurker, we have been at home for 2 years with DS 8 and the little worry at the back of my mind has become a screaming 1,000 lb gorilla at the front of my mind regarding his reading difficulties. 

I've decided to try the Barton Reading and Spelling system to help him and we are now trying to decide if getting him tested and an official diagnosis of dyslexia. When I look at the symptoms listed of dyslexia he has 90% of them and all of the spelling. He does not seem to be dysgraphic, but is very reluctant to write unless I first write the script for him and he has a letter guide in front of him to form the letters. Let me give you some of our thoughts on the reasons to and not to test and let me know if there is something we are missing, another road that may help.

Reasons to test:

He could get accommodations on the Standardized tests we have to give him every other year starting next year for our State (CO)
Same for if/when he wants to take the ACT/SAT for college acceptance.
If we put him back in school we will have a starting point to talk about what he needs without so many hoops to jump through.
It will give me information on his strengths and weaknesses that I might be able to use to help him learn

Reasons not to test:

I can just start using the Barton system without having any info and it sounds like it will work.
We don't know that we will send him back to public school so why would he need to face this now.
College is a long way off (I keep telling myself that let's ignore the fact that I still think of him as 5)
He may not want to go to college and have no need to take the ACT/SAT (yes that rips my heart to write but it could be true)

Reasons I'm afraid to wait to test:

What happens if we decide to just work with what we have and down the road we feel like he will need the official dx to help with something and when we test at that point he doesn't show as severe and so can get no accommodations on things like the ACT/SAT.

So that is most of it, I'm sure there is more rattling around my head but after 2 cups of coffee this is what I can think of.


Summit Ridge POA said...

We are not dealing with dyslexia, so my thoughts are based on our personal experiences, which may make them not as useful...

Is private testing financially feasible? I say this because then you choose who to disclose it to and when. If you want to give the info to the district so they can write up a 504 giving him testing accomodations, you can. Or you can wait a year. It puts the control in your court. The district does not have to accept outside testing, they will often do their own, but it will be the jumping off point you speak of should you want to re-enroll him in the public schools. Another plus to private testing is that the schools report is not going to give you nearly as much information on strengths and weaknesses, and you are right, that information is really helpful!

Thought two, anything done now (private or thru the schools) would likely need re-eval long before he's taken SAT/ACT, so the larger gap now will not necessarily benefit him that far down the road. (We had an eval in 2nd, they are doing one now, and she's technically up for reeval in 9th grade, so it doesn't matter what 2nd grade eval showed, if 9th grade eval shows she's 100% we're gonna struggle to get them to maintain the accomodations).

I don't drink coffee, so my brain is even less functional this morning. Mostly I just wanted you to know I was out here reading!!

Anonymous said...

hmm. for what it's worth, my husband has a form of dyslexia, and it wasn't even discovered until he was in college. he just thought he hated to read, his parents never questioned it - THEY just figured he hated to read, he didn't do well in any of the classes that didn't hold his interest enough to actually learn by listening, etc. it was never a frustration for him because he literally did. not. care. as long as he could do well in computer classes (which he aced), that's all that mattered to him. and his parents never questioned or pushed him.

HOWEVER ... times are different. this was back in the 80s and 90s, when acts and sats weren't as weighted, and college entrance requirements weren't as lofty and competitive. he was lucky. also, the resources for discovering and working around dyslexia weren't really there when he was younger.

if you have these suspicions, i say it doesn't hurt to look into it. if for no other reason than to reinforce "no, you are not stupid." a diagnosis and a work-around will go a long way in confidence and flexibility. by flexibility i mean options for the future. marc was at work one day and mentioned something about being dyslexic. then another network guy said, "hey - i'm dyslexic!" then a programmer said, "hey - i'm dyslexic, too!" turns out, there were about half a dozen guys in the IT dept who were dyslexic, so they started to google ... and apparently technology jobs are full of dyslexic people because it's the one career that doesn't seem to be hindered by it. something about the way code reads makes sense in the dyslexic mind.

however, if he doesn't want to be in IT, he may want to be able to follow his heart without the restriction of never having learned to compensate for his dyslexia.

if you can get official help and understanding for now and the future by having a true diagnosis down in the books, then it might be worth the effort. also, it's one thing for MOM to say, "here's the problem and we're going to solve it like this," and hearing someone in "authority" say it. i know my kids were listen much more to someone else trying to help.

good luck. i think you are on the right track just by catching it and questioning it. maybe you can implement, for the rest of the school year, some of the ideas and information you learn and see what happens, then pursue a true diagnosis and whatever help that comes with once you know for sure.

Julie said...

So you know our situation --- we hemmed and hawed for months about taking D to get tested and “labeled.” I detest labels but I realized that they were going to be placed upon him through the school system regardless if we were involved or not. I was going to ensure that any label for him would get him help, not hurt him in long run.
We went with private testing for a couple of reasons even though the schools do not have to accept it. It was more about arming us with information and it was the best money we spent that year (when he was 5). We got a diagnosis we didn’t expect so we went for another set of testing by another group just to be sure.

That was the beginning of a long road but I still refer to those reports several times a year – sometimes to sanity check and other times to check on resources.

Even though you are homeschooling now and who knows for how long you might still be able to get access to school district resources to help his dyslexia. It’s all about how you can gather as much information, resources and outright help. Then you can figure out what you’re going to use and why.

Having been through the process, I believe there is no downside to getting the boy tested. I’m glad we did it for D.

Gina Lee said...

um.... what could it hurt to get him tested? My answer isn't yes or no but why not? It is more info which is useful. Julie has a point about labels but I think that the problem isn't the label but treating the label as a static thing. Tests are limited things and can never gauge entire situations and shouldn't be used to do so. Just because a test says one thing, that doesn't mean that label gets applied from now on.

Personally I think it helps give you an direction to look in to find things that are better suited. It could help avoid more banging heads against brick walls. If you test now to get a better idea if the issue is something that has resources available, then you will be spending less time adding frustration and dislike to reading and writing.

I say go for it. It is just another data point that can help you plot a good path. So what if you need to do it again later? You probably should anyway.

My 2 cents, if he has something that keeps him from getting to the same level as others in reading and such, there is probably somewhere else where he goes beyond most people. Maybe finding out about the dyslexia, you might find out where he has the extra talent.

Bon chance!