Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Alphabet Soup of Learning Disabilties

Bruce has spent his entire academy career swimming – swimming in a sea of letters, numbers and abbreviations.
We’re from the government.  We’re here to help
You see Bruce has several learning differences.  It’s been a hell to navigate.  To make something truly complicated, involve the government.  In true government form there is been a lot of “hurry up and wait,” a lot of “information gathering” and a lot of acronyms.
Teachers began referring him for testing in kindergarten but he never received any actual help until the end of second grade – about 30 months later.
My favorite part of this process was what the school called “Information Gathering.”  That’s when they know exactly what the problem is, how to help him, but they need to prove to the bureaucrats that the teachers, parents and others are correct.  Roughly this translates into letting him fail.  It was like watching his self-esteem and love of learning melt like ice on a hot day.  But they’re the government.  They are here to help.
Pat, May I buy a vowel
Then came the part where we had him tested.
Don’t you love when people talk in abbreviations you don’t know what they stand for?  I think these people were doing it to make me think they were better qualified.  I never doubted their qualifications, until they felt the need to over compensate.  I’m pretty good at deducing information, people please!  
In the public school, getting your student diagnosed with learning disabilities goes something like this.
The School said:

Because of IDEA you might qualify for and IEP.  But it might end up being a 504.  Sometimes a 504 is easier to administer.  It will, of course depend on the DSM-IV.   

Me:  Of course it will.   

School: You need to get his hearing tested by an audiologist.  Depending on those results, you may have to take him to an SLP.  But because your son isn’t eight years old you’ll have to do that elsewhere.   

(After several trips to the audiologist, one at University of Tennessee, Knoxville) 

UTC:  We tested him extensively.  He has APD.  Sometimes called CAPD or capD.   

Me:  Hey, School, UTC said  he has APD, CAPD or capD. 

School:  Ya know that’s exactly what we thought but the State doesn’t recognize that as a real problem.  Soooooo (they start to trail off here) 

Me:  One of the top-tier audiology and medical schools, which is a state school, in the country has diagnosed him and it is not “recognized.”
School:  That’s about the shape of it… 

Me:  While we’re doing all this testing, let’s check for ADD/ADHD.   

School:  Sure!  We can only screen for that.  Your doctor has to diagnose that. 

Me:  Thank God for that. 

(some many weeks later) 

Me:  I need the ADD screen results so I can take it to my doctor.  

School:  Oh you’d be better off just going to your doctor first.  We have to send those results to the state to be certified.   

(working at a private school for children with learning differences did nothing but help in this process.  If nothing else, I got hip to the lingo) 

Me:  Bruce shows many of the signs of dyscalculia.  I’d like for him to be screened for that as well. 

School:  We don’t know what that is, but we’d like for him to be tested for learning disability in math…. 

And so on…. And so on…. 


Through this process Bruce has had all of these tests administered to him


·         VAS-PI

·         (WISC-IV)

·         Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Abilities  (That name cracks me up….)

·         DAS II

·         SB5)

·         Leiter-R

·         KTEA-II

·         WIAT-II

·         PIAT-R
“I’m not insane.  My mother had me tested”  
–Sheldon “The Big Bang Theory”

To sum up – Bruce has been tested…  And I am being tested in a different way. 

Most importantly, Ima need a 7&7, PDQ!!!!!


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