Are you coordinated?

Did you know there is a disorder called Developmental Coordination Disorder?  Do you trip and  fall down a lot, and clumsy overall?  Were you a struggling student, but never understood why?  Was getting dressed a real chore and sitting in a chair difficult, anything to do with writing, avoided as much as possible?  It sounds similar to ADD, doesn’t it, but it’s different and this disorder varies by degree far and wide.  Meaning you can have this disorder without being clumsy or not too noticeably clutzy. You might just be awkward, like a soccer player that is not a smooth runner, a little herky-jerky with movements and slow.  Or, some baseball maneuvers aren’t as “fluid,” but take a second to process before picking up the ball, then making a step, then throwing the ball.  Instead of it being a “quick” powerful combination of moves, the process takes a second too long- often Resulting in the runner being safe at first.  Or maybe you just practiced long enough, but you still aren’t the graceful player.

I only know this disorder, because our 11-year-old son was recently diagnosed with this as a learning disability by an independent psychologist we found via our insurance.  Her professional opinion, and testing results, gave us leverage to have the school psychologist (and team) to meet with us to discuss the testing results, and in turn, schedule to perform their own tests within 60 days (legally they must have completed in that time frame).  Within this time period, determination if they agree with original assessment, and further investigation for more specific learning issues.  Also, to determine, if he qualifies for Occupational Therapy/Speech Therapy, etc. special programs through the district.

With that said, the original diagnosis was based upon various tests performed AND questionnaire answers by myself, my husband, and our son’s teacher.  Interesting enough, our answers pegged him as ADD, but the tests did not support that at ALL.  There was a discrepancy.  So interestingly enough, the last two bullet points below, the psychologist didn’t feel 100% applied to our son and was considering removing them, but ended up leaving as possible issues, because DCD on its own, might not qualify for assistance (IEP) through the school district.  Not to mention, they could still apply after more in-depth study of the student.

Diagnosis received was DSM 5:

  • Specific learning disorder and impairment in written expression.  Moderate severity
  • R/O Developmental Coordination Disorder
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (she thinks this is only because our son becomes frustrated and acts out to us and in the classroom due to DCD- she did not see this in testing or her interactions with our son)
  • Unspecified Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (again, the tests taken did not support ADD, but all our answers on the questionnaire led to that as a result) *Also, DCD tends to go hand-in-hand with ADD, as well.  Typically someone who has DCD will have another disability with it (Dyslexia, Sensory processing disorder, Austism) or no others.

The crazy thing about Developmental Coordination Disorder, not too many people are familiar or have heard of it and it could easily be missed because the level of function and issues vary per kid so widely!  Often, they are misdiagnosed as ADD alone.  I read another blogger had posted their son was ADD, but medicine wasn’t helping.  A few years later, and more testing, eventually it was discovered he had both ADD and DCD.  In the material I’ve been reading, at least 1 child in a classroom had DCD.

Are they falling through the system like my son?  My son wouldn’t fit in the remedial classes, his intelligence is grade level, but there are things just too difficult in the regular classroom setting due to this issue.  Blogging about this helps me to better organize my thoughts and understanding the material I’m reading, the results of tests, and conversations had with doctors/professionals.  If this can help any other parent out there, thinking WHAT IS WRONG… something is not right with my kid.  It shouldn’t be this hard.  You might want to check into DCD.

GREAT ARTICLE  (They’re Bright but Can’t Write) I just read, portions of this describe my son perfectly.  It might apply to someone you know?

Wikipedia provides a simplified definition.  See also Dyspraxia.

 

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Think Outside the box – discovering a learning disability

Kids in boxes- outside the box

This is a follow up to my earlier post this morning, pertaining to my son’s issues with school and his diagnosed/undiagnosed learning disability(ies).

Where to start, this process is all so over-whelming.

To catch you up (see my earlier post) – so my son has always struggled with school, he has to take longer on homework than most students and my husband and I have to put forth a LOT of effort daily with him.  So much, that our daughter, thank GOD, figured out early on that she has to be independent…and she is exhibiting the ability to be a good student on her own- though she does need work with reading that we’re, frankly, too exhausted to give her because all our energy is dedicated to a full work day, and then helping her brother.  We try.

With that said, (there’s so much more- just suffice to think everything is SUPER difficult and HOURS spent on work) the school never tested our son, so 5th grade has been the breaking point for us, and realized, our son cannot and will not EVER fit in the box/mold of the typical classroom and learning environment.  The public schools don’t think OUTSIDE the box they have created.  If your child does not complete timed tests in the time they dictate, or they have any kind of issue, the teachers are too over-whelmed with a class of 35 students- sitting elbow-to-elbow, that they don’t “teach” any longer, but “lecture.”  Time tests are Fs, etc  And they have adopted an “oh well.  Too bad so sad,” mentality.  I’m sorry, my 5th grader is not ready to be a college student.  So the burden to teach falls on the parents.

In the past, we figured we could just work harder with him than the average family and work with the teacher to make some allowances in the classroom.  However, now the kids are older, and he’s being teased.  Our son has realized he’s just different and other students have realized this because any “written” work takes him double/triple the amount of time of the average student. Then they all begin asking why it’s taking him so long, etc.  And really giving him a hard time.  The teacher has indicated she nips-this-in-the-bud as quickly as possible, but I’m finding the source of that issue is her! She vents her frustration that he’s still working, and the other students pick up on that.

Anyway, a friend of ours referred us to her family psychologist that tested all (3) of her girls, and they all have a form of ADD, with additional other issues individual to them.  Luckily, this doctor was in our insurance network.  Still, because she is a specialist, it’s a $50.00 copay each visit.  The testing consisted of several tests requiring multiple office visits.  Basically, we paid $300.00 in co-pays to do this testing, that the school should have done for free part of what we pay in taxes, right?

To get the ball rolling, this entire burden fell on me, because my husband wasn’t going to do it… “I was the same way in school, I didn’t care about anything until Jr. high.  And then my math skills really took off and I was basically the smartest kid.”

yeah… I don’t think that’s the case for our son… maybe… but what if it isn’t- can’t wait another 2 years, this is damaging his self-esteem and making him HATE school.

So, we took him.  All the teachers and other friends had leaned to and hinted he is ADD/ADHD.  Our pediatrician works with kids daily that are ADD.  He never thought my son fell in that category, but might possibly have another learning disorder that the school would need to determine.  The independent psychologist agreed with our Pediatrician.  Although our son has symptoms that manifest as ADD, they are the by product of DEVELOMENTAL COORDINATION DISORDER. Memory issues.

…more on this later.

What’s up with my kid?

…on a serious note, – Learning Disability:

Typically my blogs are usually told on the light side.  This is a post from an anxious mom today.  I could use some support from those that are blogger friends, but don’t know us in “real life.”  I need that anonymity right now.

Some of you are aware, I used to have another successful blog.  One where I made blogging friends, just like I am now, and a handful of them are now my facebook friends.  I had that blog linked up to Facebook, so all my friends/family would read.  I haven’t really been on there since I started working again about 2.5 years now.

Part of the reason, is now that my kids are getting older, some of the stories I tell, I have to be careful because the Facebook friends are parents of kids at school, etc.  Those parents are letting the kids read stories, etc.  For instance, my last post on Poopy Picasso.  My son is 11 and wouldn’t appreciate that story being told and getting back to kids at school.  Also, he has always been a struggling student, but now in 5th grade, his differences and quirks, are beginning to stand out to the other kids, and now he’s being teased/bullied more.  Often, by the kids that I’m friends with their parents on Facebook.

To make matters even more challenging, those same parents are Facebook friends with teachers of the school, so when I’m really frustrated at the system, and want to express my frustration with a teacher… it’s crickets on my post, and people come to me at soccer games and say “yeah, I wanted respond- I know what you mean, but I’m facebook friends with some teachers at that school.”

mind you, I don’t teacher bash, but I express frustration at the system and sometimes I feel the teacher fails teaching my son too.

SO hence, the start of this new blog, and me exploring new Blogger Pals.  I’ve only told a few of my past blogger friends about this site.  I don’t have my sites linked.  Separate e-mails, and such.   If someone wanted to find me, they easily could, but no ones going to do that.

With that said, every teacher my son has had, at parent-teacher conference, has indicated, “has he been tested?”  In a world fixated on ADD,  we feel many teachers just want to slap kids into medicine so they are zombies in class.  We explained he didn’t have ADD, or ADHD, as our pediatrician works with kids with these conditions on a daily basis, and he does not have that condition.  However, our doctor did indicate he could possibly have a learning disability that the school would need to test.  So we, parents, looked at each teacher, and expressed our agreement we wouldn’t mind having the school test him…and NOTHING ever came about…

Silly us, we were under the impression, he was just a slow learner- everything is so HARD in school now.  We figured, if it were bad, the teachers would send him to the office and arrange the school psychologist to test him, we already gave our consent.  That they would arrange and tell us their professional opinion.  Well, now the whole budget crisis, and closing of schools, and classroom over-crowding, and special reading programs and such are GONE.  They don’t offer testing of any child, unless they are at the very bottom percent.  (from what I’ve heard other parents talking)

What about those struggling kids in the middle?  The ones who spend HOURS doing homework and has to study so hard for a good grade on a test, meanwhile, fails another test because he can’t study for both simultaneously.

THE SYSTEM- let him slip on by and allowed us to think he was going to grow out of this or mature and things would just take off at some point, like they did for my husband, in Jr. high.  Except, times are different now.  School is much HARDER.  The demand of the students is amazing.  The volume of homework is HUGE.  My son is taking 5th grade tests I took in jr. high.

5th grade has been the year that everything has come to a head.  I’ll tell you more later.  We got an 8am appointment with the school psychologist.  I’m very anxious.  We already have a diagnosis from an outside psychologist and now we are checking with the school district.

A beacon of Thought

Sometimes it is so difficult to get our 11-year-old to work.  Currently, we have him going to a psychologist for “testing.”  We suspect short-term memory might be the issue.  So, it’s a challenge to get homework completed, especially now that math is multiple steps for one problem.  Today was especially frustrating because our son just wouldn’t engage in homework or any thinking tasks.

After an hour of math, and only a couple of problems completed, my  husband stated, “I really wish there were a light thatBoy with light beacon on head would go on above his head so I can see that he’s actually thinking or working the problem and not just sitting there.”

Me:  “Like one of those city vehicles – trucks with the orange lights on top.  Light spins as it’s working?  The Problem is under construction?”

Husband:  “Or like the hour-glass or spin thingy on the computer indicating it’s pulling data?  That way if something is not working, I know to reboot?”

Me:  “Escape… Escape/Escape/Escape   Ctrl Alt Delete.  Yeah, that would be nice.”

But then, if that applied to everyone, we adults would be in BIG trouble with our bosses because they’d be looking over our heads to see if we were thinking.  And we know that most of the workforce doesn’t “think,” because  everyone complains what idiots there are in the world.  The light would be a dead-give-away,   “Oh, it’s not flashing, pull the beacon report.  Show me the bar graph for the last week on thinking activity.”  OR “You had to think about that one… (sucking in air through teeth with grimace)…that was a no-brainer, dude?” (and yes, more than likely, they would be referring to me)  The jig would be up, man.

Thinking Chart

FTYD