Continued from Part 1 which can be found here: amomsjourney-mydyslexiclife.com/2023/03/11/the-endless-road-part-1/
So here we are, seven years down the road, and as stated we finally have diagnostics that match the child we know and love.
First a quick note on Part 1. I left out the following diagnostic information:
1. The school district performed an Assistive Technology (AT) eval that concluded he didn’t need AT but they would provide it anyway.
2. The school district performed an Occupational Therapy (OT) eval that concluded my child’s dysgraphia was not an educational impairment and therefore OT was denied.
3. A private OT eval wholly disagreed on every level and said therapy was needed, but we were strapped with dyslexia remediation and didn’t provide OT thinking we had more time to do so.
4. The district did force an ADHD evaluation, which they of course said he had ADHD. My pediatrician wrote the district a letter demanding they stop practicing medicine without a license and he offered to attend the next IEP meeting, which turned out to not be needed since his letter was sufficient to scare the pants off of the team.
So you see? My kid has been tested to death.
Second, I recommend becoming comfortable with the bell curve when viewing any diagnostics. This is a good explanation of what I mean and a bell curve is included in this link: https://www.wappingersschools.org/cms/lib/NY01001463/Centricity/Domain/40/SEPAC-%20%20Interpreting%20Test%20Results%202-16-17.pdf.
In my head I can envision the bell curve because I know it so well (and I love statistics). One of my favorite things about the new diagnostician we used is the way she presents the data you can literally visualize the bell curve and she’s plotted the results for you. It makes reviewing the data with her easy to understand and creates amazing conversations.
Now, for seven years every diagnostic performed had stated my child’s IQ was 100 to 102.
1. Dyslexia is not related to intelligence.
2. There is significant data that shows a discrepancy model, i.e. using IQ to determine if dyslexia is present, should not be used by diagnosticians, yet it still is in most American schools. See Mark Seidenberg’s Language At The Speed of Light for an explanation of why discrepancy models are flawed.
3. And this one is important…YOU SHIFT THE BELL CURVE BASED ON THE IQ OF THE CHILD.
The bell curve we teach in advocacy regarding diagnostics is what’s referred to as a “Normal Distribution Curve.” This means that the mean, perfectly average, is 100. +/- 15 in either direction represents 1 standard deviation (SD) off of the mean. That means 85-115 is the average (85-99 is low average and 101-115 is high average), but also that 85 itself is -1SD and 115 is +1SD. From there each increment of 15 is an additional SD meaning 70 is -2SD and 130 is +2SD. This means that 115-130 is high average and 130+ is gifted. Below 85 is technically intellectually disabled but again IQ is difficult to calculate for a dyslexic child. The further you shift down the more intellectually disabled the person. As I explained to my mom, the character Forrest Gump was reported to have an IQ of 71.
Now, if the IQ of the child is 100, then diagnostic scores of 85 are -1SD and 70 are -2SD. Any SD above or below should make one stop and further dive into the data. If the IQ is 100 and say, comprehension is 82 then there’s a problem! That means comprehension is -1SD off of the mean and represents that the child is significantly struggling. To further explain, with the first private diagnostics in the summer of 2016, many of my child’s results were -2SD up to -5SD off of his alleged IQ of 100. This is where the discrepancy model fails. The diagnostician stated emphatically that my child’s IQ was not 100. She said then that it’s significantly higher, but his reading results were SO LOW it drug the IQ score down. She couldn’t calculate a different number, and that made her sad because she stated she wasn’t giving me a proper picture of my child.
A further example of where the discrepancy model fails, I cannot tell you how many parents are denied dyslexia services because they are told their child is intellectually disabled, not dyslexic, because their IQ is below 100. These false negatives fuel a narrative of denial and never provide an accurate picture of the child. Note – if this is happening to you, exercise your procedural safeguards and get an Independent Educational Evaluation or IEE for short, and go to an unbiased 3rd party, a private diagnostician, on the district’s dime.
Ok, so all of that being said, these new diagnostics…wow.
Full Scale IQ (FSIQ) = 126
Nonverbal IQ (NVIQ) = 117
General Ability Index (GAI) = 132
Cognitive Proficiency = 109
Verbal Comprehension = 142
Visual Spatial = 119
Fluid Reasoning = 118
Working Memory = 110
Processing Speed = 105
On a normal distribution curve FSIQ is 4 points below gifted. GAI is 2 points above gifted. Verbal Comprehension is 12 points above gifted. Conclusion = gifted.
Now, the bell curve’s mean shifts 26 points to the right so instead of 100, now 126 is dead center and the average range is 111 to 141; so 111 is -1SD, 96 is -2SD and 81 is -3SD with 141 being +1SD. You shift the bell curve to properly represent a child’s strengths and weaknesses, otherwise everything looks like strengths on a normal distribution curve if the mean remains 100. No! You MUST represent the child, not manipulate how the data is represented to deny dyslexia. So on the above, yes, this means that Working Memory and Processing Speed are below -1SD, i.e. weaknesses. But, wait…the fun is only beginning.
Almost all reading and writing specific diagnostics are -1SD through -3SD. Some of the reading scores floored me, but at the same time, they are SUBSTANTIALLY HIGHER than they were seven years ago, so still progress. The writing scores were as expected. I’ve stated numerous times completing a program doesn’t mean that remediation is complete. Box programs can only go so far. They are limited by design and not individualized.
Here’s the part that makes me angry. My non-dyscalculia child is -2SD through -3SD in all math diagnostics except for Applied Problems which tested low average. These scores were borderline gifted in 2016. The diagnostician dug in based on what she was seeing and did not diagnose dyscalculia because it wasn’t a lack of understanding of concepts he had been taught and was getting confused. Instead it was that there was no understanding because nothing had been taught. This is the direct result of “new math,” a lack of explicit instruction, and not teaching a dyslexic child HOW HE LEARNS. This is dysteachia.
Almost all remaining scores are -1SD.
The district is going to say, “We can’t accept this report because it was done by an outside source.” I’m going to laugh and say I don’t care, you’ve accepted private diagnostics in the past regarding my child so the precedent is set, place it in his file. Regardless of the ultimate outcome of this conversation, I’m withdrawing him from public education at the end of this school year. Prior to these diagnostics this was already our plan, but what these diagnostics show is that the decision to withdraw him is critical, necessary, and timely. They’ve failed, and now I have to correct that failure on top of continuing remediation.
That doesn’t mean we haven’t had amazing and caring teachers along the way. Sadly I can count on one hand only two teachers who fully invested in wanting my child to be successful and happy. Regarding the rest of the team? Three people total. In seven years of public education that means five people have cared. In nine years of education, that is still only five people. FIVE!!
As for me, I’m going to keep reading these scores over and over again, committing some of them to memory. I’m going to pray very hard his application to this school back East is accepted and lives up to my hopes and expectations. I’m going to keep studying, and finding both balance and solutions for my child. I’m never going to allow him to darken the doors of public education again. I’m done feeding him to the wolves. We will homeschool from here on out.
So, as per the title, this is an endless road that continues to wind. This is a journey that ever evolves. This is our path. I am so honored that I get to be my child’s mother. It is such an immense blessing. He is strong and amazing and such a fighter. He is perfect in every way.
One comment on “The endless road…Part 2”
I’m so tired of our education system’s lack of education, lack of valuing diversity, lack of drive for improvement, and insistence that it is doing the best it can. The best at what? Housing children until they age out so current adults can work? Creating a massive work force for low-wage jobs & feeding the pipeline to the free labor of inmates? Ensuring citizens cannot understand that they have rights and how to wield them? Forcing trauma on our most vulnerable citizens, our children?
The system, the assembly line, chugs along, filling the coffers of those that see education funds as yet one more revenue stream for themselves.
Homeschooling is the only way our kids will get both remediation and enrichment in an emotionally sound environment.
Remind me what our children did to deserve neglect & abuse. Oh, yes. I remember. They were born (needing education), just like every child that fits the school’s target of an easy child to teach (i.e., one that doesn’t raise red flags for educational malpractice).
Onward and upward from home.
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