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Old 03-21-2012, 01:35 AM   #1
ShayShea
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School District evaluated DS as "Reading Disabled". Help/Advice w/ Next Steps

My DS is 8 and as a mother I have always had a hunch that he wasn't like other kids. He reached his developmental markers (crawling, walking, talking) much later than what is typically thought of as average. My pediatrician always dismissed my concerns telling me that all children develop differently and since DS was born prematurely, it was normal for him to "run a bit behind schedule".

As he got older I noticed that he had a tough time differentiating between right and wrong. So I spent some energy trying to help him with that. He has come a long way but he still sometimes lacks that common sense kind of understanding even though he is NOT a bad boy.

When DS entered Pre-K & Kindergarten he had a hard time staying seated and would wonder off. He also has a hard time making friends. He will almost never ask a child his/her name or engage in conversation even if he see's them on a regular basis. After my urging him to ask "this kid" or "this guy in my class" what their names are, he has improved a bit. However, socially he isn't quiet all there. He often says things that people consider to be mildly rude. However he is also charming and funny in his own way.

In 1st grade DS started showing signs that he was having trouble writing and learning. When I expressed my concern to his teacher and our pediatrician I was told that all children transpose letters and numbers and that I needn't worry too much about it. They suggested extra help in a small reading group. This helped him but he still wasn't "getting it" and was becoming frustrated.

In 2nd grade (his current grade), I asked the school district to have him tested. They told me that he has an IQ of 148 and that he scored above the grade average in a few areas but that they did see issues with his reading. They're ultimate diagnosis was, "reading disabled". He has an IEP which grants his OT 4-5 times per week for an hour with a teacher who uses the Glass method. It has helped him however he is still doing poorly in school. The school district said that they do not believe that anything is wrong with him because he tested high in some areas however I'm starting to suspect Aspergers.

Has anyone had similar issues with their child? Do you think my description sounds like Aspberger's? Or perhaps something else?

What next steps do you recommend I take with the school district? I am going to make an appointment to have him evaluated by a peditric neurologist in the morning. Worst case scenario, they tell me I'm crazy.
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:22 AM   #2
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The diminished innate social skills is certainly a prime marker of Aspergers, as is an exceptionally high intelligence level but underperforming on linear tasks like reading.
Often there are sensory issues with either being hypo or hypertensive to sensory input. The wandering thing is often an heightened need for sensory movement input which is not dampened by typical social perceptions.
Executive Function is also another strong indicator, with linear tasks typically challenging and image based task (non linear) a strength. A big indicator in this area is difficulty focusing on linear task which are not relevant to his interests, yet an ability to hyper focus on areas of interest, particularly when image based or supported.
Since the social skills deficits are recognized, as part of the evaluation they should have suspected ASD so I am assuming they did some level of social skill raters such as WPS SRS which is a questionnaire that you would have filled out.
If they did not evaluate for ASD then the evaluation was incomplete and you have the right to request that the evaluation be completed.
Often with highly intelligent and highly adaptive kids that do not manifest with the typical indicators schools and clinicians who do not specialize in Aspergers are incapable of doing a competent evaluation, so you may need to find a major clinical setting where they do specialize.
I about 2 years, we should have a genetic scan a large portion of specific genes related to Aspergers/ASD, but until then it is still more art than science.
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:13 PM   #3
Betty Rohrer
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it has been years ago but younger daughter was reading disabled. she had trouble with reading all the way thru school. in later years, her test were read to her. she only had a few friends at school but she is now married, working full time and the mother of my youngest grandchild. if you would see her today, you would not be able to tell she still has trouble reading. hopefully this gives you some hope for the future.
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Old 03-22-2012, 12:06 AM   #4
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It sounds like you may be dealing with more than one issue. Aspergers would explain the social issues that you are seeing, but does not explain the reading issues.

Just be aware that at his age, he may show characteristics that are Aspergers like, but not meet the qualifications to be given the label.

I have a close friend who has a DD who is in the 5th grade and just turned 11. From the time this girl was 3, both her mother and I knew that something was not quite right but could not put our finger on it. At my urging (I was a spec ed teacer) the mother requested and recieved testing for her DD many times starting at 3. She was tested at 3yrs old, just before kinder, and in 2nd grade. The girl had delays, but never enough delay to qualify for services. Finally in 3rd grade at a different school, the girl qualified as having Dyslexia and Dysgraphia. Later she was identified as ADHD (not by school), then in 4th grade her behavior spiraled out of control. The school identified her as Emotionally Disturbed but would not specify Aspergers. Last summer, she went to a developemental psycologist (I think) who gave her the Aspergers label.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:19 PM   #5
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if your child is having a reading issue make sure you have an accomodation in the IEP that they read every test to him. No exceptions. My sons grades improved dramatically when I got that accomodation put in his IEP. They also read the graduation exam to him and other standardized tests (except the reading portion because that it is the skill being tested). My sons IQ is much lower than your childs but with the accomdations we have in place he is doing well in school.
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:28 AM   #6
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Dyslexia/disgraphia occur at a much higher level in Aspergers kids than in the general population. It has to do with our kids Executive function differences and in particular the common lack of discrimination between left and right (or up and down).
One thing I tell parents to try is to see how your child does when they are reading a book that is upside down. Often they are almost as proficient as the standard way.
A lot of our kids also often orient themselves upside down or other atypical position, like sitting on a couch with their back against the back of the couch with their feet rapped over that top of the couch, when watching TV or even reading.
Sometimes a "mask" helps which only allows the child to see one line at a time or computer reading programs which doo the same and also step through the words visually.
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Old 03-25-2012, 03:56 PM   #7
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:41 PM   #8
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I, for one, do not like the term 'reading disabled'. Probably due to personal experience.
Eldest DS was diagnosed as RD when he was 6. Smart kid having problems in school [125, tho, not 148 ]..... 3rd grade, something clicked. By 6th grade, he was reading at college-level.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:14 PM   #9
ShayShea
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Thank You!

Thank you to everyone for all the advice, words of encouragement and suggestions.

I will definitely look into having his tests read to him as part of his IEP. I am also going to try asking him to read upside down.

I also hate the label, "reading disabled" because it doesn't specify what his issue is and I have a strong feeling that he is indeed dyslexic.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:55 PM   #10
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I agree with others that Reading disabled is not a good label and is not a category of disability as far as the department of education is concerned. It really has no meaning as it could mean a host of problems, such as dyslexia, and others people have mentioned. Perhaps more appropirate could be neurological impairment, learning disability, or ASD. I think a good medical/psychological based evaluation outside of the school district would give you a better idea of what his difficulties are.
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