Friday, May 31, 2013

Testing and more testing

So we’ve reached that point with reading where such little progress is being made that we’re convinced there’s a deeper issue at  play here. So our current project is testing to rule out as many potential issues as possible.

Perrin is so bright and has such a great imagination that if he were able to put pen to paper, he could write the most amazing and exciting stories. He comes up with these elaborate movies with vivid characters and scenes. He even acts out dialogue. There’s such a rich complex world going on inside that brain of his, but there’s a wall. A wall we haven’t been able to breach.

I have used several different methods to try and teach him to read. We went through 6 months of Wilson Language Program designed for kids with learning disabilities, but I stopped forcing him to go due to a rather impatient tutor who was more interested in getting him through workbooks on her timetable than actually motivating him to want to improve. I am currently using All About Reading, a multisensory approach to phonics that includes magnetic letter tiles and flash cards to try and start at the very basics of reading. He still struggles with sounding out CVC words consistently, and he gets incredibly frustrated to the point of meltdowns if he has to read a book with more than 5 pages.

He shows many signs of visual and auditory processing issues as well as dyslexia. In fact, he shows so many signs of dyslexia that every single online test I’ve filled out indicates a very high likelihood that this is at least one contributing factor. 

I have been teaching him with a highly visual format due to his auditory issues, but since there’s a chance of visual problems, we’re starting our testing there. He has an appointment next week for a one hour thorough developmental eye exam that will test for pretty much every possible disorder. If it turns out, there is a visual component, we will begin vision therapy. If visual is ruled out, we move on to auditory testing which has therapies as well.

Finally, we are considering an evaluation with the Davis Dyslexia Correction Program in Chicago. It is an intense, 5 day program that is supposed to teach a person with dyslexia how to modify their own learning process so that they can decode more effectively. It uses a lot of hands-on aids including clay modeling of words to help them visualize what they’re reading. It has very good results, but it is a ridiculously expensive gamble. After the failure of neurofeedback, John and I are both very gun shy about trying another approach that will potentially cost us several thousand dollars and yield no results.

I know that all kids read at different stages, and I am in no way pushing Perrin beyond what he is capable. I read to him a lot, and we use audiobooks and documentaries in our schooling. He IS learning. But if there is an underlying issue that is making it more difficult than it needs to be and there are feasible solutions, I want to take advantage of as much as possible. Especially now when his tics are at such a mild level that testing can actually be done in a timely  manner without being too painful for him.

So that’s where we are right now. So begins the process of elimination and intervention. Wish us luck.

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