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Parenting a Child with LD or ADHD

dyslexia/visual processing disorder?


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Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 6
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Posted May 18, 2007 at 10:55:56 AM
Subject: dyslexia/visual processing disorder?

Hi I was hoping someone could shed some light on this subject for me...Is dyslexia a visual processing disorder or are they something different? If they are something different how do you tell the difference? alot of the symptoms are the same. I have a 12 year old son who was just diagnosed with a convergence insufficiency and he is going in for more sensorymotor testing next month. he has difficulty with reading(skipping lines and words, sometimes gets b and d mixed up) he has very poor handwriting, has trouble copying stuff off of the board, failing math, and he gets his left and right mixed up all the time. we took him to a behavioral optometrist and he recommended vision therapy. has anyone else done this? it seems to be highly controversial and my insurance won't pay for it. any info on this would be helpfull! thank you!

I should also mention that when he was 7 he started an IEP for OT to improve his handwriting and also was in speech and language therapy because he had trouble puting his thoughts into words. he was released from his IEP in the 4th grade. while he was in OT he was diagnosed with a sensory disorder(sensory seeking). He was also just recently diagnosed with ADD. he will be starting medication on monday.

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jnuttallphd
Joined Jan 11, 2004
Posts: 64

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Posted:May 18, 2007 12:25:02 PM

Dyslexia is primarily at language processing difficulty which is not related to visual processing. It sounds as though your son might possibly have both situations. I would contact your states International Dyslexia Association. They should be able to refer you to evaluate her senior area that can do a comprehensive evaluation for your son.

In the meantime, you might like to look at the following book which is available both in paperback and audio format (CD) from Amazon.com. Sally E. Shaywitz, Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level. This book covers the topics of dyslexia, reading, studying, IEP help and technology assistance.

Jim Nuttall -- Michigan
Dictated with speech recognition software Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9.1.
www.geocities.com/jnuttallphd

Jim -- Michigan www.geocities.com/jnuttallphd

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innova7
Joined May 17, 2007
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Posted:May 18, 2007 1:00:40 PM

ok thanks! I have talked to the school psychologist about getting him evaluated throught the school and maybe getting an IEP. I have a meeting with the special ed team on the 29th so we will go from there. I am just trying to understand all of this so I can somewhat know what I'm talking about when I meet with them! thanks again for your reply!

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always_wondering
Joined Jun 12, 2003
Posts: 94

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Posted:May 18, 2007 2:21:41 PM

My child had a reading disability and written expression disability. His handwriting is terrible. He suffered for years with undiagnosed visual processing issues. He was to opthamologists and optometrists who all said he was find. Finally we found a behavioral optometrist who diagnosed him with several visual processing issues. My son had vision therapy for a long time and continues to complete some at-home computer therapy as a supplement. It will not teach your child to read. It will not make you child come up with better ideas to write on the paper, but it will allow your child to access the print.

My son is making fluency progress in reading. He still needs additional tutoring to improve his reading. It didn't solve everything, but it sure helped alot.

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innova7
Joined May 17, 2007
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Posted:May 18, 2007 2:30:51 PM

thanks alwayswondering...do you think the financial investment of vision therapy was worth it? my son actually has more difficulty in writing and math more than reading. we are a single income family of five and our insurance won't cover vision therapy. VT is very expensive... I want to be sure this would actually make a significant difference before I invest in something like this so any info will help. thanks for your response!

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always_wondering
Joined Jun 12, 2003
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Posted:May 18, 2007 5:55:02 PM

VT was all out-of-pocket for us too. It is something I wish we would have done when my son was in 3rd grade instead of waiting until 8th. We were told it was quackery, and it was expensive. That is why we waited. We also did an additional program called Interactive Metronome which helped my son get off of his VT plateau and helped with his brain timing. That was not covered by insurance and it was expensive. We too are a one income family. So, I know where you are coming from. We are also looking at the possibility of ADD.

Hmmm. Significant difference. That is a very subjective question. I will list positive things I attribute to the therapies. I will also list things that did not change.

Positive:
Before VT he would copy 2/3rd of his math problems from the book to the paper incorrectly. Now, he almost alwasy copies correctly.

Math homework would take 1 1/2 hours to complete - now 30 minutes.

Reading was choppy and disjointed because of inability to track and having his brain alternately turn off alternating eyes. Now he can read text on his level fluently.

He says now he can apply the information they told him about reading. Before it didn't make sense because the words never looked right to him.

He could not read a new word the same way when it was on a page multiple times. Now once you correct the word once, he gets it right the next time.

He now has depth perception.

He is still my quirky son.

Negtives:
He still cannot express his thoughts in writing.

Handwriting is improved but not as much as it needs to be improved.

He still needs to catch up on decoding skills.

He still needs to improve his vocabulary.

He still makes careless errors in math and writing.

He still is inattentive at times.

If you truly can't afford it, talk to the doctor and see if you can start with a computer program and home exercises with less frequent visits. See if that helps. If he won't help, I suggest joining the ReadNow Yahoo!Group. I bet if you post there, you will get someone who can help you.

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jnuttallphd
Joined Jan 11, 2004
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Posted:May 18, 2007 9:45:43 PM

Thanks for the information on visual training. This is very helpful to know.

I worked with my stepdaughter on improving her writing. When I married her mother, S. was in seventh grade and wrote at the second grade level. When she tried to write a sentence she would lose her train of thought before getting to the end of the sentence. This is what I did.
(1) With all of her homework questions, we turn them into sentences.
(2) I would dictate the first half of the sentence and then she could dictate the second half of the sentence.
(3) I would write the sentence down on an dry erase board. She would then copy the sentence on to her homework sheet.
(4) I'm sure that we did this for at least a year or more.
(5) I would also shifted so that she would write the first half of the sentence and I would write the second half of the sentence.
(6) I taught her how to change the assignment question into a sentence. For example, "Who is president of the United States during the Civil War?" Answer: The president during the Civil War was ______________.
(7) Eventually she was able to write a sentence with just a word prompt for the answer.
(8) Then in high school, I would help her develop the outline for a book report. She was able to follow the outline to create paragraphs and sentences.
This was a long process but it is the way that we finally developed independent writing.

I participate in a forum on Assistive Technology for special needs students. The assistive technology specialists there recommended to me that students who have difficulty with writing/printing should be taught keyboarding. Often even "hunt and peck" methods which students develop is often better for them than being frustrated with attempting to write down their thoughts. Often schools will start a student with keyboarding on an Neo-AlphaSmart http://www.alphasmart.com/ . Sometimes in junior high and often in high school the student is transitioned to a laptop computer.

Jim -- Michigan

Jim -- Michigan www.geocities.com/jnuttallphd

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geodob
Joined Feb 06, 2005
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Posted:May 19, 2007 2:07:01 AM

Hi innova7,
Dyslexia is a general term for anything that results in difficulties with reading &/or writing.
Though the convergence insufficiency may be the major underlying factor?
You can use some simple home exercises for this, which basically use a tennis ball hanging from a string. Which involves repeatedly hitting the ball as it swings towards one. Using a hand or a racket/bat.
Also holding up a pencil in front of one, and then focusing on it, as it moves from arms length to close up, going back and forth.
Another simple exercise, involves looking from left to right, back and forth for half a minute a day. Focusing on something on each side.

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innova7
Joined May 17, 2007
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Posted:May 19, 2007 11:30:54 AM

thanks everyone for your suggestions and info! I think the convergence insufficiency is only part of it. he also has other things going on too. He gets left and right mixed uo alot and some other things that I don't know is related to that. I think it is more visual processing. hopefully I can get the school to evaluate him. I'm just worried that they won't think his problems are severe enough to help him.

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Kathryn
Joined Oct 02, 2006
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Posted:May 19, 2007 2:24:55 PM

This is quite a lengthy paper (pdf format), but I found it very interesting. At least the parts I read. I have read other articles as well, linking dyslexia to language impairments. I have also read about dyslexia and auditory processing deficits. I'm not an expert, but from what I can tell, there are questions about whether language impairments often (not always) lead to dyslexia. Again, I'm not an expert, but I would say there is definitely a link between language issues and dyslexia.

http://igitur-archive.library.uu.nl/dissertations/2006-0502-200205/full.pdf

Hope this helps.
Kathryn

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Rod Everson
Joined May 20, 2007
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Posted:May 20, 2007 12:56:33 PM

Hi innova7,

I think you're on the right track with the behavioral optometrist (or developmental optometrist) and I base this on working as a phonics instructor with children much like yours over the past several years.

I've been gradually building a website with information intended to help parents trying to decide what to do and how to proceed when they have a child who seems resistant to phonics instruction. The site is called OnTrack Reading and you can get there using the link [url]ontrackreading.com[/url]

So far on the site I've discussed how I came to the conclusion that vision therapy is needed for many struggling readers, and also how to prioritize phonics instruction and vision therapy. Feel free to let me know what you think if you check it out.

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innova7
Joined May 17, 2007
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Posted:May 20, 2007 4:23:35 PM

thanks kathryn. that is definately an interesting read. I did not read all of it but what I did was very interestin. and to rod everson I will definately check out your website and let you know what I think! thanks to you both!

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Rod Everson
Joined May 20, 2007
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Posted:May 21, 2007 12:07:57 AM

Sorry, but the link didn't enter the way I thought it would.

Here's a link to my website <a href="http://ontrackreading.com">OnTrack Reading</a>

At least I hope it works. If it didn't could someone tell me how it's done in here? Thanks

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Rod Everson
Joined May 20, 2007
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Posted:May 21, 2007 12:15:10 AM

Okay, trying one last time

OnTrack Reading

If that didn't work, the site's address is just ontrackreading.com

Sorry for the confusion. It's my first day back in here after a year or so absence.

Rod

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RBickford
Joined May 24, 2008
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Posted:May 29, 2008 5:36:05 AM

If you Google "Simos dyslexia" you will find some very interesting and convincing research on using an intensive phonologically based intervention to rewire the brain. I don't know how the cost of this compares to vision therapy or how widely available it is, but I do know that there is evidence to support this in peer-reviewed literature.

Also, it is important to know your child's rights and your rights as a parent. It is good to start reading, learn the language, join an in-person or online support group, and read the laws. Do a search for a Parents as Advocates Handbook. You are your child's best advocate.

Unless the school psychologist you are working with is a doctorate level psychologist, s/he is probably not qualified to make a diagnosis. Getting an independent evaluation with a concrete diagnosis can be one of the most important things you do at this stage. You can call your pediatrician for a recommendation and referral. It can take months to get an appointment, but the psychologist can build on the work that was done by the school psychologist to figure out exactly what is going on for your child.

Best of luck!
R. Bickford

The secret of education lies in respecting the pupil. — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, U.S. poet, essayist and lecturer)

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Mandi
Joined May 05, 2008
Posts: 424

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Posted:May 29, 2008 12:27:29 PM

Recently they found something interesting in me, related to vision, and i have been diagnosed as dyslexic since i was like 8. I don't know if this was the reason But according to my opthemologist, it was a birth defect so ii guess it could explain it or atleast some of it? Anyway, it relates to the cornea which is all demented. *MY* advice which is based on a life being labeled, is always exhaust all the physical possibilities before you open that miserable can of life altering/destroying whoop-ass on your kid... My corneas are deformed and died out so that they are actually regularly changing a bit and are actually *wrinkled* I have worn glasses for *other* reasons since i was 6. The optometrist who finally caught it only caught it because he had seen it before and he said it was very rare.... Often a symptom of sjogrins however it is spelled... Which i don't have according to DNA tests. But i think sometimes people are too quick to label in thier fear and a label atleast allows them to name the enemy.... Which i suppose makes it less like fighting something you can't see. Wish my folks had caught this or one of the optometrists they took me to when i was a kid. Best of luck

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annette10dance
Joined May 13, 2008
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Posted:Jun 02, 2008 10:51:21 AM

I am going through this now, so I'm reading about vision therapy. My son will be getting a detailed vision processing test at the end of this month to check for dyslexia. I found some interesting information on this website www.eyecareprofessionals.com

As far as OT, my son had a very detailed OT evaluation. It includes: I. Behavioral Observations II. Neuromuscular Assessment/Gross Motor skills/Whole body coordination III. Sensory Processing skills (sensory intergration) IV. Fine Motor V. Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor/handwriting

Visual motor is a combination of visual perceptual and fine motor skills. This test requires the student to reproduce drawings of various geometric shapes that range in complexity. Includes basic shape, closure, edges, orientation, overlapp and overall size.

Visual Perceptual skills is a test for visual acuity and visual perception as the forms become increasingly smaller, closer together and offers increased chance of incorrect choices.

My son tested above average in these skills. He is still getting OT for next year because of one area of fine motor testing in which he is folding and cutting leaning on one side of the body.

Your son can probably benefit from both vision therapy and continued OT. Let us know what you think.

Annette

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Mandi
Joined May 05, 2008
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Posted:Jun 02, 2008 12:21:48 PM

Would agree! Getting the vision issue sorted to see if it plays a roll is a fabulously spectacular idea! If he is having trouble with the written word you all seem on such a perfect track, i couldn't do better. Did anyone know there are 50 some things that mimick ADHD? I dunno the details of anyone's situation... But just putting the info out there incase anyone wishes to look into it.

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annette10dance
Joined May 13, 2008
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Posted:Jun 03, 2008 10:15:39 AM

Your right. Many diagnosis mimic other ones. Our physician was only willing to do 1 medication at a time.

My son had anxiety issues...long story. He was weaned off anxiety medication after he started talking in school at the end of kindergarten. He started first grade okay, but would not use the bathroom in school. At the end of first grade, he was showing signs of ADHD with impulsivity, innattention and hyperactivity. Now, it is possible to go in the opposite direction from all the years of not talking in school.

Anyway, our physician stated that anxiety is a manifestation of my son's original disorder which was speech and language delay. So, until he is reading and writing at his age level, anxiety will continue to surface. It doesn't matter if it's a bathroom issue, foot thing, head thing or chewing on shirt thing. It's all the same thing.

The plan for second grade, was to resume Kolonopin for anxiety and get him using the bathroom in school and out of pullups. He did this in 6 weeks after starting school in September.

The school year is ending and the school psychologist did the BRIEF survey for executive functions. Executive functions are planning and organizing. Kids with ADHD would have difficulty with executive functions. You can read about it on www.schoolbehaviors.com

My son tested within normal limits by the parent survey and teacher survey. So, he can plan and organize his work,he just can't do the work because he has short term memory problems. Major finding in the psycho-educational report.

We also did the BASC II tests which shows all disorders not just ADHD. He tested last year with concerns for inattention, aytpical behaviors and social withdrawl. This year, he tested for concerns with somatization (complains he is sick all the time), withdrawl, atypical behaviors (scratching head and talking to himself), learning problems and social skills.

There is a sub-type of ADHD for anxiety disorders. It includes inattention, passivity and social withdrawl, which could be my son too.

We ruled out that my son does not have the classic type of ADHD. I recently took another Conner's survey at the learning center which looked like an anxiety based ADHD questionnaire. I don't have the scores yet.

I am pretty sure he does not have ADHD. I think his deficit in language ability and memory problems are contributing to his inattention and anxiety. I have another appointment in August with our Neurodevelopmental pediatrician to discuss everything.

Our physician goes by the criteria in the DSM IV. If there is ever a discrepency between home and school or a pre-existing disorder or if you are not sure, then it states to do further testing before making an ADHD diagnosis.

What a crazy life I have. What a piece of work my son is. I sure hope your child is easier to figure out.

Annette

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majaw
Joined Aug 21, 2003
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Posted:Jun 11, 2008 3:34:45 AM

I've posted before regarding dyslexia and vision therapy. Vision therapy will not make your son a better student but until the vision issues are cleared up he will not be able to become a better student. You must strike a fine balance.

There is a simple exercise you can do to help you see how important the convergence issues are. Get a 36" long piece of string. Put a bead on it 12 to 15" from the end. Hold this end up to your nose and have someone else hold the other end. Focus on the bead. (It took me a few minutes to do this when we first started doing vision therapy with my son.) If you focus correctly, you will see an X and the bead will be at the junction of the two lines that make up the X. This shows you that printed matter is in focus when you look at it. For people with convergence issues the junction of the two lines appears in front of or behind the bead and whatever they look at is not in focus. In order to see clearly with or without glasses your eyes must converge correctly. Glasses will not fix this problem.

Vision therapy is expensive but until you can see you cannot progress. We were in a similar situation as you are. We have four children and I'm a stay at home mom and, of course, insurance didn't cover vision therapy. But, it hasn't covered anything we've done or continue to do. Its par for the course with us. We've just given up a lot to help our kids. After a lot of deliberation, I went to the vision therapy eye doctor and had the complete eye exam done. After I got the report I told her our situation and asked her for home work. There is a lot you can do at home if the vision therapy doctor is willing. Initially, we went twice a month and then once a month.

I finally quit going because we got to the point that the reading problems were bigger than the vision problems. So, now we are going to a tutor for dyslexia. We are finally at the point that the biggest problems are not vision and reading. They are spelling, grammar and writing. I've been thinking lately, that maybe next summer we should try and go back to the vision therapist weekly and see if we can't eliminate the remaining tracking issues during the summer. I know it will be expensive but if we could eliminate the remaining tracking issues I think his fluency would increase dramatically.

I know the spelling, grammar and writing can be improved by more practice.

Good luck in your quest. I know that most people think that vision therapy is quackery but I suggest you go for the initial visit and ask lots of questions. Ask how much it is up front. Our exam, 6 or 7 years ago was $75.00. Ask the doctor to explain convergence and tracking and the other things they test for. Have them give you examples of each thing and show you how it affects vision. Ask questions until you are satisfied that spending your money will be worth it. If they are truly interested in helping you and your child they will answer your questions.

Maja

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