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Learning Disable child…help.

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cmego posted 2/22/2014 07:35 AM

My NB's friends know that my younger child has been in testing for a LD for months now. He is in second grade, which I have been repeatedly told is "very young" for a diagnosis. Well…finally…it looks like the dx is coming through. The county psychologist called me yesterday and her words were, "We have enough to get him Intervention" and the words I heard were "Processing Disorder" and "Memory Disorder". I should be given a copy of the report by Monday morning, and the eligibility hearing is Wednesday.

His teacher told me he would do very well in the "Wilson Method".

Basically ds is failing second grade. His reading is very slow and jerky (already pulled 4 days a week for reading help), his writing looks like absolute garbly-goop. BUT, if you read to him the story/questions and ASK him the answer…he knows it. He just can't read it or write it.

SO…what does a kid with a LD look like in school?? Are the pulled out constantly? Will there be a helper with him all the time? DS is already saying, "Mommy…why do i have to leave my class? Other kids don't have to go. My other friends are reading better and don't have to go. *I* am reading better!!!!". I've done the whole, "Your brain works differently…" but any other suggestions on how to TELL and TALK to my son would be appreciated.

But, what does this really mean? I think the IEP is going to state he needs one-on-one help. What about SOL's?? Are his grades taken into consideration in say…middle school, high school? I don't want him to be "dinged" because he grades are low, although he is a bright kid.

I am a little overwhelmed right now. My older dd has ADHD/OCD/Spectrum, and not to have my younger kid with a dx learning disability is…a lot. But, at least I think we are moving in the right direction. I just want to know what to expect over the next 5-10 years! How is a LD treated in middle school?? How do kids emotionally handle being "different"??

Take2 posted 2/22/2014 09:07 AM

Deep breath cmego! It's going to be okay. Sending a PM with some information.

Lionne posted 2/22/2014 09:14 AM

First of all, breathe. Next, be grateful they were able to DX him and get him extra services. My son was on the edge and didn't qualify, styggled FOREVER.

The Wilson method is an alternative method to teach kids to read. Very successful with kids who learn differently. And that, in essence, is what your child is dealing with, a DIFFERENCE in learning styles. His is extreme enough to warrant these services.

He will probably be pulled either 1-1 or in small groups. Sometimes both. Many of his classes will stay the same. It will depend on what he needs. Sometimes they will have a special education teacher co teach in the regular classroom.

Much will depend on his progress. It's very possible that with early intervention he will not need any services other than supportive by middle school. Don't be hasty in declassification, however, make sure he has something to fall back on should the need arise.

Above all do three things. First, find an activity in which he shines and get him involved in it. Sports, music, art, whatever. Make sure the interest is driven by HIM and that it's something he can feel good about. Second, if he expresses concern or worry about his reading/schoolwork try not to let him see your worry. Tell him that you have confidence in the grownups involved and that he's to leave the worrying up to them. And third? READ TO HIM! Don't always make it a session where he is trying to fight his way through a forest of symbols to figure out the meaning of a word, there's a time a (small) place for that, but you want him to know that reading is fun and interesting. He'll get that from you as you read great books TO him with lots of energy and inflection. Work on his writing the same way, he dictating, you writing.
And teach him to keyboard.

My experience. 37 years primary teaching, one brilliant but ld son.

Hang in there.

cmego posted 2/22/2014 10:49 AM

Thanks for the PM's, I'll will read through everything and process.

I know I ask a lot of questions, I have the unfortunate brain that requires huge amounts of information, then I can sort and deal.

I have no experience with LD. I know no one that has one or has a child with one. I know a LOT about ADHD/OCD.

This is new territory. I am worried that if we can't get him on track, it is soooo late in the year, I need to figure out summer help too.

He plays sports, and he is decent, but I notice he is about 1 step behind everyone else. So, it is beginning to show that he may not be great at any sport.

He just always seems to be a step behind. Like his brain is always one step behind everyone else's.

tushnurse posted 2/22/2014 17:29 PM

Personally ADHD, with a form of dyslexia. Of course back then diagnostics and testing wasnt what it is now

I struggled and worked my tail off for every good grade I ever got. But I did manage to get a degree in a university and finished in 4 years. Testing was always hard for me. But I got through. Now they know how to deal with this and if you have the appropriate diagnosis and problems they give oral exams.

My point is no matter what they tell you he has they are able to manage and teach him to cope and Scardy is absolutely right about him finding his passion. It helps keep you focused and eyes on the prize.

There are many special schools that teach in alternative methods through junior high and high school and transition them to fit in more traditional settings when they go to higher education. The one surgeon I worked with had a kiddo like yours she is actually in college now guess what she is going to be a teacher to help kids just like her.

So deep breath. Deep deep breath. You will get through this.

rainagain posted 2/23/2014 20:24 PM

Because you all are doing something now about your child's reading means that things will work out just fine. This is all good! The Wilson program is a very effective one and also very easy to understand - your child's classroom teacher or special ed teacher should be able to explain it to you. It is most effectively taught outside of the classroom. As often as possible though services are delivered in the classroom. In my classroom there is very little stigma if any at all about receiving services.

You will be notified by the school regarding their testing plans, the results, the goals they have for your child and how they plan to achieve these goals. If you are feeling overwhelmed by all of this, you have a right to have someone attend these meetings with you to serve as an advocate. Your school district will have a committee of parents with special needs children that can advise you on this. As a teacher, I encourage you to reach out to the classroom teacher with your concerns as it is his or her responsibility to meet your child's educational needs plus they have the resources there at school to answer questions.

Take heart....reading difficulties or disabilities are by no measure related to intelligence (actually all of my students with reading problems are cognitively among the most advanced) and I would advise against making a sport ability correlation just yet. Love the advice about helping to find a passion or area of expertise as this keeps confidence and strength up.

[This message edited by rainagain at 8:31 PM, February 23rd (Sunday)]

tesla posted 2/23/2014 20:45 PM

cmego, I'm a middle school special ed teacher. My kids have no idea that I'm the special ed teacher until I tell them. In our school, we have an inclusion model with different tracks for wherever the student needs are best met. Most of my caseload are mixed in the general population and when I do have to 'pull' a group to read aloud, I'll bring others that aren't specifically identified but benefit from the small group environment.
Some of my kids I do teach in a 'pull out' class but they are so interested in the material and so happy to be making progress that they end up loving my class and not wanting to leave when it's time:)
A good program will support your child in the least restrictive environment possible. A good program will teach your child what his processing issue is and how to advocate for himself. The fact that he has figured out how to compensate auditorially is wonderful and if the wilson method they are talking about is what I teach, yes, it is very good and has been shown to help kids a great deal.
Feel free to pm me if you have any specific questions, I have some wonderful resources in my district that I can turn to if I don't know the answer off the top of my head.

Lionne posted 2/24/2014 11:23 AM

Does he like to draw? Is he interested in dinosaurs or minerals or trains or something else? Whatever it is, foster it. Gt him books at he library, (not jut kids books. Books that have lots of pictures that he can pour over, don't worry about the words) Take him to museums or the train station.
Kids learn to read at all ages, and it certainly is not related to intelligence. We just have to make sure he has something to hold up his self esteem while it is all being sorted out.
I an tell you that my son, very big IQ, did not learn to read until 4th grade when he also learned the violin. By the end of 5th grade he was reading at an 8th grade level. The brain is a funny thing...

GabyBaby posted 2/24/2014 11:43 AM

Hi Cmego,

My DS was diagnosed as developmental delays when he was in preschool. I knew prior to his first birthday that something was "off" with my baby boy.
Like you, we had to push multiple times and through various channels to even get him tested. We got the standard "all kids develop at their own pace" speech. Sorry, but a three year old should be able to speak and my son wasn't.

Once diagnosed, DS was started with speech therapy through his physician/referral. Once he started kindergarten, we took that diagnosis and pushed further. Ultimately he was diagnosed as PDD-NOS and was put into the "system" for other services through the school and county.

DS has always handled his learning differences pretty well, but he was diagnosed fairly young. To start, he was in special classes full day and was taken out a few times each week for speech therapy and other services.
As he got older and he improved, he was transitioned to special modules for part of the day and mainstream classes for the remainder. As he got older, the ratio of mainstream classes vs special modules became greater.

DS is now a senior in high school. He's fully mainstreamed, though he has accomodations (longer test times, etc) that are outlined in his IEP.
He is graded just like the other kids, takes all the same standardized tests, etc...but again with testing accomodations outlined in his IEP.
This is a kid who is determined to go to college etc and have a "normal" life.

As far as how to talk to your son and tell him, I vote for honesty. XWH treats DS like an invalid, which irritates me. DS is very bright and capable. It sounds like your DS is as well.
They just process the information differently and it make take more time. I speak to my son about his developmental issues in terms he can understand. I can recall saying, "If someone only speaks French, but they're in a room where people are only speaking English, does that mean he's stupid? No, it just means he doesn't know that language. Your brain is kind of like that. Sometimes it speaks in a different "language" than everyone else, so it takes longer for you to learn. Once you learn your brain's language, you do really well".
And for the most part that has been true. It does take longer for DS to learn things (and he has short term memory issues), but once he grasps a concept, he's LEARNED it.

StrongerOne posted 2/24/2014 12:01 PM


It's overwhelming, isn't it?! And so hard to watch our little ones have to struggle.

Everyone is giving you good advice on the IEP, getting services, and so on. So I will address the other activity part:

For sports, you might look into something that is NOT team based and/or not competitive. Lots of kids love to do some sort of martial arts -- this is a great activity for learning self control, respect, rules following, problem solving...Excellent sport. Or something like rock climbing (excellent sport for skinny kids) -- see if there is a climbing gym and try out a class.

Hiking, nature study?

Does he like dogs? Maybe he could volunteer to walk a dog for an elderly person in the neighborhood? He could even earn a little money that way, but volunteering is a nice way to start.

Arts and crafts are good, but check out word of mouth -- you want someone who is interested in helping children explore, rather than "get really good at" it, at least at this age. Doesn't have to take a class -- get him the materials, let him play.

Robotics, lego robotics, junior science, that sort of thing. Sometimes these are run through children's museums, or science-y kids stores, or colleges and universities.

BTW, books on cd are great for all kids. You can borrow the books for free from the library. They can also be pretty cheap on Amazon if you buy them used.

tushnurse posted 2/24/2014 12:45 PM

Cmego - My sons passions have been music, band etc, and that is a group of kids where he feels like he fits.

His other passion and thing he has really enjoyed as a teen is working with our bees, he is quite good. He finds it calming and soothing, and can manage a hive better than me.

My point being, whatever you get him involved in let him guide it, and it doesn't have to be sports related, as many of these kids are not all that coordinated, and end up being the benchwarmers anyway.

dmari posted 2/25/2014 01:34 AM

Wow. Our kids are similar. My son has several learning disabilities including Auditory Processing Disorder (when the brain does not process information correctly). I decided to homeschool him because he was waaaay behind. From 4th - 6th grade, he was in a specialized school and still couldn't read. He was so unhappy there that I decided to homeschool again with the goal of transitioning him to a small private school willing to make accommodations and modifications for him. He did transition from homeschool to 8th grade fairly well. Socially he was great but academically he still needed A LOT of support at home (3 hours every night of reteaching). He is now in 9th grade and is doing fine. He is happy, he is learning and he feels safe and that's all that matters to me. Soon we will have to decide if he is able to get a diploma or a certificate. It is a different journey and your son will be leading. Read as much as you can about his diagnoses' and especially the part in the report about recommendations.

I've also told him the everyone's brain works differently speech. I also told him that it was his job to try his best and his teachers job to teach him in a way that he could understand. Kind of like a "team" mentality. The thing that I feel is the most admirable about kids with LD is that they try so fricken hard all. the. time! Working hard on school work is all they know. DS15 takes hours to finish a test while his classmates are finished in 30 minutes or less. He goes during his breaks and after school to finish his test. I know that I didn't have that kind of focus or work ethic at his age.

PM if you have any questions. Take care!

cmego posted 2/25/2014 07:26 AM

Thank you guys!

I received the report from the school,(15 pages long…) most of it I can't begin to decipher, but some of the areas he is "Below Average" in are:

He presented with significant difficulty mastering new knowledge of abstract symbols even when his errors were corrected.

XXXX was asked to hold a span of numbers in awareness and reverse the sequence and repeat a list of unrelated words in correct sequences. XXXX demonstrated Average ability on the Number Reversed task, which is a measure of Working Memory. His performance on the Memory for Words task was in Below Average range, which is a measure of Memory Span. XXXX often added words or omitted words to the sequence. He appeared to want to put the words into a sentence, rather than just repeat back what he heard.

XXXX Auditory Memory Span was measured to be within Below Average range, overall, with a standard score of 83 obtained. This score may suggest the presence of a processing deficit in the narrow ability of Memory Span.

There was also a lot of talk about aversion techniques he is putting into place to not answer. He also registered as "borderline average to below average" in several areas.

I haven't quite taken it all in yet. It isn't simply "dyslexia" or…any "label" and the fear of something wrong with his memory is…crazy.

The meeting is this week with the school, and my understanding is that if he came in at "Below Average" in at least one area…he qualifies for "Exceptional Education". He came in below average in 3 areas and borderline in several more.

Also…from what I could understand, 27% was considered the low end of "average".

I'm still…processing….

tushnurse posted 2/25/2014 07:50 AM

Hang in there.
You will get through this, and it sounds like the school is really working with you on it, and that helps tremendously.

Do you get a time to meet with the diagnostician, and really talk about all of this, and what it means? If that hasn't been set up yet, as for it. The teachers that do this stuff are absolutely amazing, and their goal in life is to get these kids educated, just like the rest of em.

((((and strength))))

gahurts posted 2/25/2014 08:14 AM


DS12 has needed help since before preschool. We thought his only issue was language development. When he was tested we found out he had motor skill and learning disabilities, too. He qualified for a special preschool at age 3 and then repeated Kindergarten to allow his skill to catch up with the other kids. It was the best thing for him.

In both Texas and Georgia he had an IEP and they worked with him as much as needed. As far as taking him out of the classroom, his resource teachers only took him out of class as needed to help him develop. He hated leaving class for speech and that was the most frequent. The other areas where he got help have been in conjunction with the classrooms and he often gets to take standardized tests separate from the rest of the class so he can ask clarifying questions.

He just started Middle School in August and is doing really well. He started struggling in math and they pulled him into a smaller classroom and then the resource teacher noticed he understood the concepts but struggled with the actual arithmetic so we approved the use of a calculator. He still has to demonstrate the work but he doesn't have to get hung up on the details of the actual addition or multiplication. I've been really please at how they are working with him and the close attention he gets. I hope you have a positive an overall experience as we have.

cmego posted 2/25/2014 13:07 PM

Thanks, everyone!

I am in an excellent school district, I moved into my neighborhood BECAUSE of the schools.

The meeting where all of this explained, and the recommendations that follow, is tomorrow (as long as snow doesn't interfere).

As they explained to me, ds has been "carried" due to having well educated parents and exposed to a lot of stimuli..and somewhere learned to memorize words that are less than 3 letters. So, this wasn't caught any earlier, although he did show minor struggling in first grade, but the teacher wasn't concerned at that point. I was concerned last year, but the school said "just give him time". In Kindergarten he was reversing letters, but they said it was still within normal range.

I was also told most kids aren't caught until around 4th grade, so between a pushy parent (me) and a great second grade teacher…caught early.

I think I'm just holding my breath until the meeting. Then I will have a better grasp of what they are telling me, and what direction the school recommends to go.

I was really…mourning….when I first figured out there was a real problem. I have already gone through this with my dd and I assumed my ds would be my "easy" kid. I'm just trying to adjust to having two kids with special needs, and all the arguing that goes on with the schools. It is exhausting.

tushnurse posted 2/25/2014 13:13 PM

God Bless you Cmego - Your kids are luck to have a mom that will fight for them.

It makes it worth it when the LD kid with issues grows up to be a successful adult, and happy with their life....At least that's what my mom says.
Although I remember many many evenings sitting at the dining room table crying and fighting over some of the stuff I had to learn.

danegrl posted 2/26/2014 09:08 AM

Sounds like you are on a journey, not knowing much of the childs history, I can only tell you what I have known in my child with similar issues. In 2nd grade my son began to show signs of short term memory issues in reading among very sloppy and slow writing. long and short of it he was also tested in school. In 2nd grade they will not say a child has a "LD" officially, just intervention is needed. If you have suspicions, you are probably correct to act on them in my experience the parent knows the child, and sees the struggle more. Schools will also tell you they are not qualified to "diagnose" which leaves a parent wondering what is going on. In my child's life we chose to see a person to "diagnose" because that is how I function, I NEED to know what is going on to move ahead. So we made an appointment with neuropshycologist (sp?) to diagnose what I suspected as dyslexia. He agreed and we have been reevaluated every 2 years (for our IEP) by school now, and every 4 by him. My son is now 17, and has been extremely successful in school, mostly A's and B's. My best advice is to be overly involved in what the school is doing with your child-(they do not always like this), understand it all, question and support their efforts, and know what is going on. Support the child with positive praise and examples, not just nice work, but "you got that bc of how you think differently, show them their other outstanding qualities, school is so pen and paper, and we humans do not live in only pen and paper everyday, we have relationships, and friendships bc of our other "good qualities" like sensitive hearts, good personalities, being a good listener etc.! "learning differently" can seem hard for a child, especially in 2nd grade, but I always explained it this way, it can be a gift!! In a dyslexic mind they are problem solvers instead of going more of a straight forward way, they consider alternate ways. I am dyslexic and can pack our car better than any one in our family for a trip. BC I see the puzzle before i pack it! There are SOOO many LD stars, scientist and professionals! Let the child know you are fostering their exceptional way of learning, and they will be successful. It is VERY hard in the young years, I have no desire to repeat them with my son, however it has fostered in him perseverance, detail work, and work ethic, he has had to work VERY hard in the past up to 3 hours daily with my help in JR. high in homework. There is no sugar coating the hard work. There are resources like crazy now that I wish we had then, I will list some of them at the end. When the school says the have enough for intervention, that means they suspect his IQ is usually higher than what the child can out put with pen and paper, that should be encouraging, not daunting. My son was told his vocabulary this year in HS is basically off the chart and has exceptional vocabulary skills, however he can not write the word, nor read it quickly, or write a long engaging story, but he can tell it verbally. That said he can keep up audibly with stories, and lectures. Verbal instructions, and directions, that is a different story bc they need "holding memory" which he struggles in.
I explained it to my son in 2nd and 3rd grade, like this; that his brain is full of workers, each at a desk doing a job, but on some days the workers don't all show up! Work gets slower, sometimes they file the files in the other cabinet, and another worker has to look longer to find the file when his brain is asking for the file... thats all! It had nothing to do with how "smart" he was. So be patient with your workers, and realize it is in the file cabinet!! (his brain), it just takes extra time to find it! He liked that analogy, he grasped it. So any thing encouraging like that should help your child be proud of who they are. My son to this day jokes with his friends that "even though they are not dyslexic it is ok", "he will solve all their problems", or in light comedy will say to almost any comment they make " are you picking on my bc I am dyslexic?" to which they get a laugh! They have been supportive too in helping read things if he needs it. He became "safe" with his friends and not afraid to ask for help-which is a key point.
To answer are they pulled out constantly, yes they can be, but not forever. My son has a study hall with a tutor now, and takes tests with a reader if needed, that is all, but he did leave class frequently in elementary grades, He had partner reading, and IEP every year, and I met with his teacher every year to "clue them in" you will be surprised at how many teachers are not equipped and need to be clued in.
Positive examples of successful adults: Einstien, Charles Schwab (who has a great site for LD kids), Patrick Depsty-actor Greys anatomy-severe LD, Tom Cruise and many many more who say LD made them successful. ADD-the KINKOS inventor, Airline founders I forgot which, successful bc of ADD. These people used their "difference" to forge new ground not comply, and not complying to the norm is always difficult.
Here are my loved resources:
Book: A parents guide to Dyslexia
School help: Learning Ally-voice recorded books and TEXT books.
Kindle fire: Emergent reading books, audio and visual cues
These tools help them "keep up" and should be allowed in school.
I could sit and talk about this forever, but I will end now bc I have gone way beyond what I intended...
Please ask me any questions if you need answers and I can share what I have experience with and just encourage where I do not. :)
Be encouraged these younger years are difficult, but the learning (paper reading and pen) gap does close more over time with work, I cried many a nights and days worrying about my LD son, and he will be fine I have determined now. Support is key for you as a parent!
best of luck! I will look forward to seeing what transpires in this journey.

*one last thing... Dyslexia is more than reading, writing, it has to do with memory, processing, basic ordering of ideas in daily life, and if what you said about knowing the answers, and reading for him and he fully understands, I would seriously look to this for some starting solutions. *studies say that if you can begin to train the brain as it is developing new pathways will "grow" as the child develops, so early intervention is recommended. (that is what i read and it spurred me on to really work to make a difference for him)

cmego posted 2/26/2014 12:55 PM

quick update, I'll try to answer PM's later when I have time.

He was dx with a "SLD", or specific learning disability, although only in 2nd grade. The meeting was overwhelming, but the IEP will be created and implemented next week. They want him help…NOW. I met with the Special Education teacher briefly and will meet with her again next week.

Still…just overwhelmed. Trying to wrap my head around everything.

helpemegetoverit posted 2/26/2014 13:24 PM

I have a special needs child who has a lot of the same issues you listed above. I had him tested in kindergarten (fought VERY hard to do so). We were very lucky that he qualified for services and those were increased this year. I won't lie to you, it's been very difficult for us as parents to see him struggle. He's doing fantastic but is very hard on himself .

It sounds like you are starting the process off on the right foot, especially given they were providing him 4 days of help with a reading specialist in the special ed dept before he was even tested. Did they talk to you about what further services he would receive?

I am lucky in that two of my best friends are special needs teachers and have guided me through this. I was able to scan and email both of them the reports as I got them and went into meetings armed with SO much information. Those reports have a lot of terminology that a 'lay person' would not understand.

We have had some hard days and its really making me realize just how hard parenting can be, and not in the traditional sense. We want our kids to be happy and confident at almost every moment. Anything less than that pains my heart, like when he comes home defeated after a standardized test. But I know we are doing everything we can and I try not to project too far into the future and just take things as they come. I get very overwhelmed when I try to think about how middle school/high school/his life beyond will be. He's brilliant and one of the smartest kids in his class, I keep that in mind and try not to let him get too frustrated that reading and spelling are not his strong subjects :-).

Best of luck, my advice is to also have him tested by a developmental pediatrician. It has really helped us stay in tune with the schools assessment and has made us more armed with info when we go into our annual meetings. Knowledge is power in this (and all) situations.

[This message edited by helpemegetoverit at 2:33 PM, February 26th (Wednesday)]

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