Tag Archives: Ld

Testing, Quick And Dirty

A frightening statistic: According to the latest research, between 30 and 50 percent of all people diagnosed as having Attention Deficit Disorder also have some kind of learning disability. That’s a whole lot of little dudes and dudettes with a whole lot of challenge.

It’s not everyone, though. And one of the problems with this pair of comorbid disorders is that it’s difficult to determine if it’s only one of them or both. We found that separating out the two of them was almost impossible until we had each of the little dudes tested specifically to determine if they had a learning disability.

But first, before we kicked in for the expensive tests, we ran the idea past our doctors, a couple of teachers and the like to see if they had any concerns of idea that it could be a learning disability.

Now, for those of you who are worrying about this with your little dudes or dudettes, ADDitude magazine has come up with a relatively easy-to-give quick-and-dirty diagnostic test for your kid.

LD is a neurologically based disorder that results in problems processing and using information. Different children have different patterns of learning strengths and weaknesses; there is no one profile that describes all children. With that caveat, the magazine then goes into a checklist of some symptoms that could indicate your child has an LD. The questions are divided up between preschool, elementary school, middle school and high school.

Some of the statements from elementary school, k-4: My child has problems with rapid letter recognition and with learning phonemes (individual units of sound).My child has trouble blending sounds and letters to sound out words or remembering familiar words by sight. 

As you can see, it’s an exceedingly basic checklist, but it does have some quite specific markers for which you should be on the lookout.

Of course, once you decide that there is reason to worry that your child has an LD, the question arises: What next?

Well, according to the article, the best thing for you to do then is to go back to your child’s teacher. Discuss your concerns with the teacher and, if the teacher agrees with you there is a concern, you both can go talk to the special ed teacher to request a formal evaluation. If you don’t want to go through the school, you also can take your child in for an education/psychological evaluation with an outside professional.

Either way, the best thing for you to do is make sure, by setting up a thorough, professional evaluation what issues your child has. Only by knowing these issues can you begin to address them in an academic setting.

Of course, this is only a possibility. Most times, it probably will end up that your child has been goofing off a bit much or something like that. Still, I can tell you from personal experience that, if your child does have an LD, bringing in caring classroom teachers and special education teachers is definitely the way to go.

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Not Just Attention

Working at Awesome Elementary School, I see a lot of kids display symptoms of Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder. I’m not a doctor, though, so I can’t suggest that sort of thing to higher ups or parents.

However, having raised three dudes all diagnosed with ADD, I’m pretty sure I can spot the symptoms. One little dude in particular, a fourth grader, so obviously has the ADHD variant, it’s almost painful.

He can’t sit still. He’s constantly fidgeting and moving around, which annoys the kids around him and gets him in trouble. He can’t stay in his chair and stands up, so he can get moving a bit. Which gets him in trouble. He’s impulsive, blurting out whatever passes through his brain.

And the thing that makes this so painful for me is that he really can’t help it. I’ve watched him try and try to control his behavior, but he just can’t do it. If he could do it, he would do it. And he can’t. I’ve been working with him and a few others in the class and I’ve seen that he is intelligent, but he’s got difficult in getting that intelligence out on a predictable and regular basis.

Here’s the thing. I wonder if maybe ADHD isn’t all that’s going on. Mostly I’m wondering this because I just read an article on the ADDitude magazine website. According to this research, around 50 percent of young dudes and dudettes diagnosed with ADHD also have some kind of learning disability as well.

An LD may explain why a child on medication can sit still and stay focused and yet do poorly academically. There could also be another reason for academic failure. If the ADHD diagnosis isn’t made until the fourth or fifth grade, it’s possible that a child will have gaps in basic skills, especially math and language arts, prior to receiving treatment for ADHD. While this student may not have a learning disability, he will need academic interventions to help him or her catch up.

That last bit there is very, very true. I know that from personal experience. Zippy the College Boy wasn’t diagnosed until the start of fourth grade and he definitely has some gaps caused by him not being able to pay attention in the previous four years of school. Even though he graduated from his high school as salutatorian, he still needs to use his fingers to add and subtract on more than half the occasions when he does math. High-level algebra, and he’s adding with his fingers.

All that, and he also has to contend with a learning disability (LD) as well. He’s a tough kid, is Zippy the College Boy. He’s finally starting to use his stubbornness and toughness for good, rather than evil. It’s been a long, tough fight.

Which is why I bring this up. I know some people aren’t all that fond of even the idea of an ADHD diagnosis, whether they think the disorder doesn’t even exist (it does), or that it exists, but there’s no way their son has it, but we all as parents need to be on the lookout for these things.

These are especially subtle disorders that can sneak around the edges of a little dude without completely flattening him or her. Watch for frustration, as their innate intelligence struggles to overcome their own body’s inability to express that intelligence. It’s a rough life, especially if they’re trying to master skills on their own, not knowing what they’re struggling with.

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A Landmark Day

by Richard

Sarcasmo and I are off out of town. Yep, I hit the airport once again. This time, I’m going up to Putney, Vermont.

Well, I’ve always wanted to visit a state that’s smaller than the town in which I grew up (Dallas) or the town in which I worked (Palm Bay, Florida).

Okay, so Vermont’s not really that small, but, dude, it’s not big at all.

No, the reason I’m dragging Sarcasmo up to Putney, VT, is because that’s the home of Landmark College, an institution of higher learning that is designed from the floor up to help kids with ADD and learning disabilities succeed.

Following his rather ignominious return from High Point University, Sarcasmo, his mom and I have been searching for something that will get him up off the couch and back into an academic track that will lead him to a successful career. Hopefully one that doesn’t actually involve him staying at home for longer than necessary.

So, it’s off to Landmark College we go to take a look at the facility and meet the folks there.

It should be interesting. I just hope it’s interesting enough to actually grab Sarcasmo and make him excited about going to school so he’ll put forth some effort to work through his LD and ADD. I’m becoming more and more convinced that ADD and LDs, while real and based on biological factors, can only be overcome or worked around if the person involved has enough motivation to look for and participate in the plan and remediation efforts.

All of which means, if Sarcasmo’s not buying in to the idea of Landmark College being a good idea that will benefit him, he’s not going to do much that will help him succeed. And, yes, this is different from lazy. I’ll get back to you on a complete reason why in a couple of days.

So, anyway, that’s where I am today. Up in Vermont, where the nights say it’s still late winter instead of North Carolina’s early summer. Should be interesting.

If Sarcasmo really wants to go, he’ll experience his first real winter. I mean a winter where the snow falls and doesn’t go away. He’s a southern boy at heart so I’m interested in how he’ll face going to school and also doing it while hiking through snow.

But it all starts here. With a tour of the facilities. Wish me luck.

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