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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Is it Dyslexia? Is it ADHD? Help!!

As the school year began again this year, I had to look back on our summer and the month leading up to summer break.  While others were planning their summer vacations, I was trying to figure out what to do with a diagnosis of Dyslexia, something we suspected, and a potential diagnosis of ADD, something we did not see in our own son. 
Over the last 2 years, we have went through a change in schools hoping it would help a bright kid who couldn’t seem to figure out how to get that intelligence out if he had to read or write.  Verbally, he was/is brilliant.  I asked numerous times in both schools to have him tested for Dyslexia only to be told he was too young, they would inquire with other contracting agencies or to just be ignored. 

Luckily, a fellow 4-H mom with a son the same age struggling with the same issues and dealing with one of the same teachers suggested that one of the nearby state colleges might be able to help.  They both are “teacher colleges” and I happened to know that our long time babysitter was studying Elementary Education at Pittsburg State University.  A quick Facebook message to her started a ball rolling that would dramatically change our summer and one son’s outlook as we start the new school year.


What most people in the area don’t know is that PittsburgState University has a Dyslexia testing and tutoring program.  The program isn’t some high priced thing out of reach and only for the wealthy.  The testing and tutoring fees are on a sliding scaled for the parent’s income level and totally on the honor system.  They never asked for anything proving our income.

Our son went through 3 hours of testing. 
They started him with a test for ADHD.  Why?  Did you know many schools think kids are ADHD because they won’t do their work and they are actually Dyslexic and can’t read the worksheets given to them? 
He did extensive reading tests including: sounds, nonsense words, letter recognition, reading sentences and so much more.

The graduate student that administered the test gave him several short breaks to come out and sit with me while she set up the next test.  Each time he came out you could tell his brain was getting a real workout.  By the time he finished, he just seemed to stare into space sitting next to me and his favorite sitter that found the testing facility for us.  They really tested him and trying to reach everything in his little head.

We waited a week and got the results.  Let me say this:  Knowing your kid has a hard time learning and hearing someone list off all the things that he can’t do correctly may or may not be handled with the same amount of grace.  I have a wonderful friend who happens to be ADHD and Dyslexic.  She is actually on ADHD medication as an adult.  I messaged her immediately hoping she could give me a glimmer of hope because at that point in time I was about to lose all grace that I had in me and it was about to stream down my cheeks.  The Facebook message she sent me said this, 

Remember the diagnosis doesn't change who he is or who you are. 
It's a huge step in helping understand how 
he ticks and helping him learn and grow.”

Oh wow!  Did I need to hear that!  She was right.  He is still the same kid he has always been and understanding how his brain works and what it needs to function is going to help him in the long run.  I can honestly say that hearing that he was seriously delayed in reading was hard to hear from someone else.  I wanted to make all kinds of excuses for the score he had on the TOVA testing (the ADHD test), but I also knew that I needed to be proactive.   

Over the next week, I will share with you what helped my son and our entire family.  I will cover resources we found concerning ADHD and how a writing this very blog got me an invitation to an animal health company’s, called Alltech, conference that would change how we went about treating the ADHD.

 You might find these other articles helpful:

How does one deal with an ADHD diagnosis?

Documenting Change

-A Kansas Farm Mom