Forum: Learning Disabilities and Special Education
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Hello! I'm Kara and I have a son, Greyson, who is 10 and in 4th grade. He is a good student and gets all A's and B's, and seems to do pretty well in school overall. The only thing he really doesn't do that well in is reading b/c he has poor fluency. The average reading fluency is 80-85, and his is at around 50, depending on what he is reading. If he is concentrating he reads at 50 (such as when the teacher tested him) but normally it is much lower. His teacher says his comprehension is good, but I don't really agree. She and the other school staff such as the vice principal just tell me that his fluency is poor but they haven't told me they plan to look into it...they just pretty much say it's no big deal.
I've been trying since 2nd grade to get him tested for Dyslexia, but the school refuses. I ask every year, sometimes multiple times a year, and they just blow me off. The reason why I want him tested is for one it runs in our family. His father has it, as does my sister. Plus, still in 4th grade he writes a few of the same letters and one or two numbers backwards over and over again, and b/c of his fluency issues. Also, when he is reading, he will misread a bunch of words, and it seems like he is just guessing as to what the word it. Sometimes he says a word that isn't even close, but starts with the same letter. They tell me that b/c he does write the letters the write way sometimes, and that if you cover parts of the words and have him sound it out and he gets it right, that he can't possibly have Dyslexia. I just don't think that at the 4th grade level you shouldn't need to cover up parts of a word, sometimes simple words, for him to sound out when he reads.
He also still writes at about a kindergarten to 1st grade level. He rarely uses punctuation and spacing, and his letters are all over the place in size and rotation. If he works really hard at it he can get it better, but normally it is a mess. I know everyone has a different style of handwriting, but his is WAY worse than everyone else in his class. WAY worse.
He does has an IEP b/c he is 80% deaf in his right ear due to Sensory-Neural Hearing Loss, and b/c of his hearing loss he cannot pronounce his /r/ sound correctly and makes it into an /w/ sound (except for /pr/ which he says as /pw/), so he is in Speech Therapy. The /r/ sound happens to be one of the consonants that his ear can't process at all, along with /s/, /n/, and a few others (even though the SLP insists that he CAN hear the /r/ sound, he may be able to partially, but not like a normal hearing child). He has an FM system on his desk and the teacher wears a microphone. B/c of his type of hearing loss he can't wear hearing aids b/c they wouldn't help any. His doctor wants him off the FM system by next year, but every time we try not using it the hearing specialist throws a complete fit. She drives me nuts and I'm glad this is her last year. *groan*
We were told when he was in 1st grade that he had low gross motor skills, but that gym teacher left after the end of the year and we never heard about it after that. If it makes a difference, he has some small lesions on his brain found during an MRI they took b/c of his hearing, and he has an issue where both of his hands move in unison...if he is writing with his right hand, his left hand does the exact same movements, or if he is finger painting with one hand, his other hand will do the same thing, if that makes sense. The Neurologist didn't seem concerned about it, though, b/c he can move the separately if forced to. We had him seen in I think 2nd grade for possible Aspergers, but the Psychologist insisted that he didn't have it. He has most of the symptoms, and I think she is wrong, but what do I know. I seriously think I have it also.
My husband tells me not to worry about it, but I get the feeling that b/c they already have to deal with so many issues with him, they don't want to deal with any more, so they keep blowing me off.
I just don't know what to do at this point. I thought a new vice principal would help, but she's been there for over a year and so far is not. I don't know what else to do at this point. Does anyone think it is worth pushing for further? Or should I just give in and be blown off and give up like everyone wants me to?
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Last edited by somo_chickenlady; March 12th, 2009 at 10:10 PM.
Is his fluency issue with oral reading or does it affect his comprehension as well? I ask because my son is 3.5 and my husband and I (along with pedi) believe that Sam understands more than he communicates, but because he doesn't communicate on level, it gives him a cognitive delay as well.
It sounds like you've hit a dead-end at the school level. You need to take it to the next level by contacting your district's special education department. There are resource groups in every state that can help be an advocate for your Greyson.
Research the special education laws. If it's one thing SOME principals hate, it's a well-informed special education parent. (for example, another parent in my son's room and I both wrote letters to the district office and managed to get a 3rd adult in the classroom.....12 special education pre-schoolers is too much for just two adults. we told them what the problem was and how we wanted it fixed. took about two months, but they finally did something.)
In addition to researching the special ed in your area (it may not necessarily help, though you can request evals through the special ed system), talk to your pedi about getting him evaluated by professionals outside of the school district. I don't always agree with what the evals through our school system say. I am assuming that the pyschologisat who evaluated your son for asperagers was from the school system, so I would look into either a developmental pediatrician (who can diagnosis autism related disorders, and probably the dyslexis) or a neuropyschologist.
If you think there is more going on than what he is diagnosed with, I would definately push for it. Nothing changes if it turns out you are wrong, but if you are right, there are so many services and such that can be used to help your son overcome this.
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Speaking as a school psychologist, if you request an evaluation, by law, you are entitled to one. Contact your district's Director of Special Education. You should also look into contacting your state department of education and getting a parent advocate. Request a meeting (we call them ARCs in our district) at the school level and bring the advocate with you, as well as the director of special ed if necessary. At the meeting request a formal evaluation be completed on your son to include cognitive and academic testing. I would also put this request in writing and submit it to the school, the director of special education, and the superintendent. Again, by law, you are entitled to a full psychoeducational evaluation at the school level at no cost to you.