Learning Disability (LD), but doesn't test Learning Disability (LD)? Any ideas? Thanks! (LONG)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, May 14, 2011.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    So I waited a little while before posting this because other stuff was going on in my life, but this is baffling.

    We visited a specialist in Learning Disability (LD)'s who works for a non-profit organization in WI. They will tutor and teach Learning Disability (LD) children for free (if income allows) and our income (cough) allows. We brought the very nice man, who has NOTHING to do with the schools in WI anymore (he is retired) Jumper's test scores.

    He looked at the test scores and drew a graft of her scoring. She did NOT score as Learning Disability (LD). He said that the testing doesn't lie either, that there are trick questions to get the results. He told us that almost all the kids he sees are bright kids who score very low on these school tests. An example would be that Jumper's IQ tested out at 106. To be Learning Disability (LD), she'd have to have scored in the very low range, indicates that she is performing way below her intelligence. However, she didn't. She scored about right.

    The teacher spoke in debt with Jumper who insisted that she can't read and struggles with math. He askeds her how her spelling is because, strangely, THAT was never tested. She said it was not good. He asked her how she felt her grades were in relation to her peers and she said, "Horrible." She said shes can't remember anything.

    This teacher said he was going to allow her into his services. He said he believes that she can't read or spell well and that she struggles with math, but he isn't sure why. Testing indicating that she should be able to do well. He encouraged us to keep the appointment with the neuropsychologist that is set up for her to maybe give him more clues so that he can find a good way to teach her. He was more than kind and we are waiting to hear from him to set up a summer schedule.

    Jumper's only diagnosis. has been ADD (inattentive type). However, although it makes some sense, it doesn't make sense too. Don't most ADD/ADHD kids struggle with social skills? Jumper has GREAT social skills. She always had. Everyone knows her and likes her. At prom, we watched while taking pictures, and all the kids of all grades went up to her to hug her and tell her how great she looked. She is considered extremely popular, yet she is a very good kid who does NOT make impulsive decisions. She makes good life choices. The only indications of ADD are her lack of ability to organize, her poor recall when she studies, and her inability to pass tests without looking at notes.

    Any guesses as to what is going on with Jumper? She is puzzling everybody. She clearly does not have any form of austistic spectrum. She is certainly not bipolar. She is not a defiant kid any more than any typical teen. Yet she struggles so badly in school and always has. We are going to have her looked at closely when she is tested for forms of dyslexia to maybe explain her reading/math problems.

    Jumper is a delightful child. A mom is not supposed to have a favorite child and I would not say I love her t he most, but I honestly like her the most of all my kids. She is that kind of child. Why can't my baby learn? Will she ever reach her goals? She wants to go to college to teach physical education and she wants to play sports in college.

    I would love any good feedback from all of you warrior moms.
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Could it be Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)?
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks, TM. I forgot She was diagnosed with that in third grade, but not since. That's something to bring up to the neuropsychologist.

    Anything else, guys?
  4. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    Maybe have him work with her on organization and study skills rather than specific subjects. Ask him is he can teach her compensating strategies to make up for her poor memory.

    My daughter is working with a Special Education tutor who is doing this. Part of it involves outlining the major points in the reading. She started at a grade level or two below my daughter's level to make it easy to get the concept without being overwhelmed by the reading itself.

    She also works with her for math. The tutor has her go through the same steps every time for problems, even if she can just do it in her head. The steps are written down in her notes.

    The tutor's focus is teaching strategies more than just math and reading.

    I wish I could tell you more about what the tutor is doing, but I'm not sure. My daughter isn't complaining about not understanding the reading any more, though. She used to just fall apart over the very idea of doing math. Now, she does it easily enough and even asks for more math so she can get caught up.

    I have been told she looks like she has ADD. Her official diagnosis is cognitive disorder due to medical reasons. She has poor short term memory, poor working memory, and executive function problems.
  5. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    She scored about right.

    on that test. or that battery of tests.

    maybe it wasnt targeted to her area of Learning Disability (LD)--if you need a specific test to look at dyslexia, clearly it didnt test for the most BASIC of Learning Disability (LD)'s...doesnt mean she doesnt have one. its part of the reason why there are a gazillion neuro-psycho-edu-theraputic tests....no one test, or no one spread or lack thereof can possibly tell the story.

    she struggles with something. whether is an Learning Disability (LD), an attentional problem or an executive function problem its there. the neuropsychologist battery may tell you more, or she may need to be tested for auditory processing issues, or occupational issues, or whatever. but since she has a label of adhd-in, i'd use it if the school will accomodate for her, since thats how she presents. i seem to recall you did a stimulant trial that didnt work out for her....maybe try the non-stimulant route and see if that helps.

    i do think that its not always a disability if a kid doesnt "live up to their potential"--it could be as simple as a learning deficit due to weak teacher or curriculum, boredom, "laziness", or a too busy schedule/work overload. all still problems, but not a disability, if that makes sense. and in some way, all need to be fixed so that a kid CAN live up to their potential.

    there is also no hard and fast rule that one must struggle with social skills if adhd is present (in any form)....social butterfly is actually a pretty accurate descriptor of adhd-in girls.

    in any event, i'd treat/accomodate the symptoms, and worry about the diagnosis later.
    and i'd listen to what *she* is saying...she sounds like she has a good head on her shoulders, and an even better handle on what she had difficulty with.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    She is listed as Other Health Impaired at school for her 504.

    If she has dyslexia, there is a different way of teaching her to read.

    Everyone is stumped.

    The school did not look for dyslexia, I'm sure. She did say numbers jump around on her, but said that letters do not. Very puzzling girl. She is trying very hard.

    I am pretty sure she has ADD, but she sure has a strange form of it. She isn't just a social butterfly; she understands people much more than the average person. She doesn't annoy people or get in their faces. Her social skills are above average...not sure what is going on with that.
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Attention Deficit Disorder presumably means just that - a deficit in the ability to attend, to concentrate. It is a stretch to argue that it involves some kind of social inability or lack of empathy. in my humble opinion.
  8. Castle Queen

    Castle Queen Guest

    Sprite is another who is most definitely ADD but has great social skills and empathy. I think part of it comes from being around and understanding her brother.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I never said ADHD means a lack of empathy. My Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son has LOTS of empathy and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids often can't show it (he does).

    But I never heard of a chlid with ADD/ADHD with good social skills. Certainly not as good as hers. That makes me doubt that ADD is what is causing the school problem.
  10. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I was talking about ADD rather than ADHD. I think one of the problems here is that some years ago, I gather (when?), hyperactivity, which used to be a discrete diagnosis was put in with ADD to become ADHD... Personally I think this is sometimes problematic and leads to misleading diagnoses. If one thinks about it, it is the elements that go along with hyperactivity - impulsivity, over-enthusiastic invasion of other people's "space" - that lead to the social problems that can go along with ADHD. I would imagine, from my non-expert position, that it would be perfectly possible to be ADD and have no problems with social skills.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Not at all. And I don't mean empathy, but social skills in general. There can be an overlap, perhaps because a lot of kids get the ADD label who perhaps should have a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) label. But it is possible for a kid to be dyslexic but also the life of the party, for example. I had a couple of those in my class at school. They clowned around and 'worked the room' to compensate for their insecurity about not being able to read, or other difficulty at school. But clearly bright kids (fast with a quip) and very popular.

  12. seriously

    seriously New Member

    Social skills is usually a casualty of impulsiveness and distraction in my experience. If these are not big problems for her then I suppose it makes sense that her social skills are good.

    I am wondering about ...

    Language processing problems - these would most likely show up on speech/language testing that is not typically done unless there is an obvious language or speech problem. My daughter wasn't tested for speech until I insisted in 4th grade. Her language processing problems were so significant she was unable to do some of the tasks at all. I knew there were problems because she couldn't follow more than 1 step directions but the school was insisting she was fine. So if there hasn't been a speech/language evaluation done I would be thinking about that.

    Vision - there is more to vision than being able to read the wall chart letters. It is actually a very complex process. If you can find it/afford it you might try to get a comprehensive visual exam done by a developmental optometrist or orthoptist. Here's a link to a little more info on this so you can try to figure out if this is worth pursuing.


    You don't say what testing was done or what the qualifications are of the gentleman you saw beyond being a teacher. I'm not saying he's wrong but I'd be interested in knowing more details about the tests that were used and the results.

    And I think that the neuropsychologist evaluation is a very good idea when you have a kid like this. Sounds like she must be very frustrated. Is she on or has she tried any ADD medications? Did they make a difference?
  13. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Did you get scores for working memory and processing speed? Also she should go to someone who is qualified to diagnose dyslexia.
  14. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    My ADD/Highly gifted son has great social skill, except with his peers. To them he is weird (except for a select few that are like him). He does wonderfully with adults and younger children. He was in drama and was nominated for a Cappie (high school equivalent of Oscars) for a leading role in a play. He does a huge amount of volunteer work.
    While his father wouldn't "permit" him to be labeled so we struggled along without a IEP or 504. He is currently not in college, and I don't see it happening anytime soon.
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My daughter, because she has no behavioral problems, was only tested by the school so far. In June she has a neuropsychologist assessment and will most certainly have processing issues and dyslexia looked at. She CAN read...she is just very slow and does not comprehend much or remember what she reads. She does much better when she is read to. She still has a poor short term memory though. She was diagnosed with ADD when she badly flunked the TOVA test twice.

    Marg, excellent point that a lot of ADHD diagnoses are actually kids who are struggling with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). I think this is also true, which would make social skills a bigger problem for those kids who are diagnosed with ADHD/ADD but are actually on the autism spectrum. In fact, I think this is a common mistake that diagnosticians make. Still, poor social skills is listed as a trait of ADHD. My daughter is not a class clown. She is just very in tune to people and seems to know exactly how to respond to them so that they are drawn to her. She is not an impulsive kid either. Her decisions are well thought out...it's all so puzzling.

    Maybe she does have ADD, but there is more going on than that. Why was her Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) diagnosis removed? I really think school testing pretty much hoovers. It doesn't really get to the core issues and that holds our kids back from getting the proper help. It's very frustrating.I'm looking forward to the private neuropsychologist evaluation. School always tries to simplify everything...and I wonder if the psychologists they hire are really any good.

    PJ, my daughter just recently had a complete ophthalmology exam, but I"m going to look into a developmental ophthalmologist. Thanks for your feedback. You are always a very helpful resource on this board :)
  16. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Have not read all the responses. Hope I am not redundant. What were the tests. Woodcock? WISC? I use to see 2 things when I was Special Education teacher that fall out of this gentlemans definition of Learning Disability (LD) yet are very Learning Disability (LD)-
    1. Many" hills and valleys" in the cognitive testing can indicate processing issues that cause learning problems. The overall all IQ is normal, but some subtests are much higher than others. This can often translate to LDs, esp. the older they are and the more demanding the curriculum.
    2. The cognitive functioning hovers around 80 or 85. Not low enough for intellectual disabilities, but because the cognitive functioning is suppressed there is no huge difference between their cognitive function and actual achievement.
    Spelling issues can sometimes be related to visual memory deficits. Spelling problems in the English language are difficult to remediate.
    Glad he took her and will help her!
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Naw. Her IQ tested 106 and she scored like somebody who has an IQ of 106. Yet she has so much trouble learning. The big puzzle...
  18. seriously

    seriously New Member

    I wouldn't draw any conclusions until the neuro psychiatric assessment has been done.

    A neuro psychiatric is to a school psychologist like an electron microscope is to a jr. high lab microscope.

    And you want a developmental optometrist or orthoptist - not a developmental opthamologist. The opthamologists generally dismiss anything that isn't an obvious malfunction of the muscles of the eye as insignificant.
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks, pj. And I know...school psychologists are usually not only the least skilled, but they are married to the school district and have to say what the school district wants. The school psychologist that tested Jumper actually wanted her to have an IEP because her ADD was THAT bad (according to him), but the Special Education teacher overruled him...it was a joke. Since when can a speical ed teacher decide who needs an IEP, but they listened to her. The 504 has helped her somewhat, but I want to know what is going on. Thank God for private sector NeuroPsychs who have no connection to anybody except YOU, the client.

    I'll look into the special eye doctor with the funny name too (couldn't remember) :)
  20. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Glad you got such great responses here. I agree with-more testing and also possibly different forms of dyslexia and processing speed.
    To me, those would be Learning Disability (LD), though, so I'm thinking your new tutor could just be splittling hairs in regard to definitions.
    Either way, she'll get the help she needs with-you as her mom. You're doing great!

    LOL about Seriously's definition of neuropsychologist :)