17 December 2009

More on J

J had his first visit with the psychiatrist (pdoc) this week. It was determined that he isn't in any crisis right now, but I knew that already. What I want is to find out if J's poor judgment is coming from normal teenage stuff or is there some misfire in his brain. I didn't get an answer to that. Pdoc does, however, want to see J again in January to work out his reading problem.

As I mentioned earlier, J has been having problems reading so I had him tested at the school. Pdoc looked at the test results and said it was useless and a waste of time. All it says is that J has a problem, but it doesn't explore why the problem is there. Apparently there are more tests that could have been done or at least ordered. Pdoc asked me what followup had been done and I said none. I had to call the person who administered the test to ask to explain it to me, she said he was behind in reading. Her suggestion was mainly to have J read out loud at home for a minimum of 15 min/day. Right. Get J to read out loud to me. I would have an easier time getting him to go to school in drag. The other suggestion was to get the school to assign a reader during tests. A reader is someone to read the test out loud to J instead of have J read to himself. She told me to contact the school counselor for more advice. But then J got suspended and nothing happened.

When I took J to his new school I mentioned the reading to the Principal and ViceP, they said the counselor doesn't handle that sort of thing. There is someone else that does reading problems. I asked to have J see this person, they said that they would assign him to a tutor for reading. Huh. Not as helpful as I'd like.

Anyway, Pdoc looked over the testing and explained it to me (he's an adolescent pdoc and accustomed to all sorts of tests and programs. Some very depressing sounding programs that I hope my boys never need). J is above his grade level in math, but below in spelling. His reading comprehension is excellent as is his story writing. But he's about four years behind in word recognition. Pdoc explained it by saying it's like sitting down at a piano and being able to play a song well, but not be able to pick out individual notes. Somehow J is able to understand stories and information but can't read it off a page. Pdoc wants to explore this some more and find out why this is happening. All physical problems were ruled out: I've already had J's hearing tested (it's excellent), his eyesight is poor but has proper glasses, only two ear infections in his lifetime, no ear tubes put in, normal development (possibly a bit accelerated compared to his bro T), and he was a normal pregnancy.

Pdoc asked why the school didn't catch this sooner, like about six years ago. J told him that he doesn't read out loud in class because he can't pronounce the words. During silent reading time J just looks at the page without reading. If J has to do a test on a book, J will just read the back (but not all of it) and base his answers on that. He can glance through a story and pick up enough info to fool a test without having to actually read the story. Pdoc made his disappointment in the school system clear: how were the teachers to know J had a problem reading if they didn't have him read out loud? Why was only one test offered and other testing not even mentioned? Why hasn't the new school taken greater steps to help J right off? Sigh.


The Hyperlexian Aspie said...

so interesting for j to be within his age grouping for reading comprehension, but behind in word recognition. sounds like dyslexia, kinda.

i agree that the school should have had some reading aloud. however, if you would find it nearly impossible to force j to do it, the school would have found it equally hard.

as a teacher i used to pull students out for one-on-one reading, but i had the help of a teachers' assistant to watch the class.

in the absence of extra help, a teacher would have had to have j and other students read aloud in front of the class, which can be humiliating and can lead to bullying, so teachers currently avoid this whenever possible. after her own diagnosis of dyslexia, my child is exempted from reading aloud for this very reason.

it is a complicated situation, to say the least.


Anonymous said...

I had (have) difficulty reading out loud due to my dyslexia. I was laughed at and criticized all through my school experience. That is until Grade 12 where I refused to read something out loud and sat in the hallway for the rest of the year as a result.

I ran into the same problem with the DBT group that I briefly attended where they expect everyone to read aloud. With memories of school still haunting me, I refused to even try and it was used to kick me out of the group (among other things).

But I have no problem reading silently, although sometimes I have to use a straight edge to keep the words from switching lines.

Can you imagine a lawyer standing and reading something to the court, which happens on a daily basis, and not being able to figure out what the paper says? One reason I never articled.

I did try to get myself where I could read aloud in the DBT group by going to the daycare downstairs and 'reading' to the babies. I gradually started to read of other kids and learned to laugh when I made a mistake (they all know their favorite books by heart). But a mother questioned who I was and I had to leave because, even though it was good for me and for the kids, because I hadn't gone through the background check.

I really do hope J will be given the tools to enable his reading levels to catch up to his other abilities.

Oh, and it's great news that he's not in crisis right now :)

Love, his Granmumum

Chantelle said...

School systems and teachers have come a long way in dealing with and helping students who have trouble reading or are dyslexic, thank goodness.

Ian has the same problem with word-recognition; that's why he reads so slowly. Ian could have had someone read his exams to him through school, if he wanted. Plus he got extra time to work on exams if he wanted. I actually used to read textbooks to him because he understood the content so much better that way.

So there's hope for J yet, although learning to cope with it will take some time and work. J might be more comfortable reading aloud to you (or maybe T, or S) than to anyone outside your family, so it might be worth giving it a try before dismissing it. Heck, I'd be happy for him to call me (or me call him) each day and have him read out loud to me, if that's what it took.

I love you so much,