It's not as though I expected something groundbreaking. And, indeed, the results are very much in line with what I expected. But to me, the results give me concrete tools to add to my toolbox.
Results I can use in understanding Dylan during homework.
Results I can use in looking at his grades.
Results I can use (I hope) in getting more and better services at school.
I know that the last is somewhat of a long shot; that in general schools - public or private - don't usually want to provide services to kids with ADHD. At least, however, it gives me an objective and professional opinion to back up a lot of my own findings.
What did the evaluation show?
For starters, it shows that Dylan has superior perceptual reasoning skills. From what the psychologist said and what I've read, this means he can look at shapes and patterns and really understand them. He can identify shapes even if they turned and twisted. It suggests that he can pick up information from non-verbal sources and use that to complete his understanding of something. Sounds like a good skill set to have for someone who wants to study astronomy!
It also showed that he is challenged in terms of written expression. Again, no surprise here. I have long suspected Dylan of having dysgraphia, based on the extreme challenges he has even writing a simple sentence or paragraph describing his day. He's often reported that his thoughts get lost on the way from his head to his fingers. The psychologist strongly encourages that Dylan become more proficient in keyboarding, something I want to approach school about.
It also showed that he has a very slow processing speed. Anyone who has tried to get Dylan to do anything that isn't immediately entertaining knows this to be true. Although his 504 already provides for extra time on tests and (theoretically) shortened assignments, this will provide further reinforcement for that, especially on those nights when homework would take hours for him to complete.
In general, most other areas were average or within normal limits. There are a few areas to watch and few outliers, like the fact that he has good spelling skills which you typically do not find with dysgraphic kids.
Although I've had the results for about a week, I haven't done anything with them. When I met his teacher, I had just received them and I wanted to digest them. I will prepare a copy for her, along with the letter I've been trying to write to her for weeks now (even before I knew who she was).
I've also left a message for the social worker in the hopes of convening a team meeting. The psychologist recommends a full speech and language evaluation to complement the evaluation of written language, especially since he has developed a lisp in the past year or two that appears to be getting worse rather than better. He began receiving speech therapy last year, but only on the basis of a rudimentary screening. This gives us more information that supports a full evaluation.
I'm relieved. Relieved that nothing contradicted what I thought and relieved that it's behind us and we can move forward with more information. Based on last year's experience, we'll probably still have challenges, but at least there are some new teachers this year and it's a fresh start for everyone.
Hopefully, they will recognize that Dylan desperately wants to do well and he has the capacity to do so; he just needs teachers and administrators to understand his unique learning abilities and to work with his strengths.
You can't get blood from a beehive, but you can get a lot of honey.
(c) Argonne Chronicles, 2012