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computer tests and SPD

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
This is mostly just curiosity sparked by real life events.

Ds was recently dx'd with SPD, although I've had a hunch for some time. I don't know if this is just a ds thing or if it's related to SPD, but he has always been extremely drawn to the computer or tv - to the point that we rarely allow either at home because of how mesmerized he becomes and the tantrums that follow. He has had enough time on the computer that he understands how it works, though.

He is in 1st grade this year. They recently took a reading assessment ont he computer, and his score was almost a grade level lower than what his actual reading ability is. Now, I'm not worried over his score (well, I am worried over how that drives his in-class instruction, but that's a different thread), but I am wondering if anyone else with a kiddo with SPD sees results from computerized tests being discrepent from their dc's actual abilities or results on non-computerized assessments? It may just be lack of experience with test-taking, test anxiety (although they weren't presented as "tests," so I kind of doubt this one in this case), or just general indifference, but I'm curious about the SPD thing as another factor.
post #2 of 9
We actually have the opposite thing happening here. My son does better when he is allowed to do tests and work on a computer. His reading improved when we started allowing more computer time and his grades all went up. He uses a Neo Alpha Smart at school now to type all his work on and his frustrations have decreased to almost non-existent. Before it was tantrum after tantrum to get him to do any work.

I am very dependent on my computer and learn better when allowed to use it as a tool. I have an iPad that I download all my work to for school and use it to follow along with lectures and study from.

For us it has a lot to do with the sensory issues. The feeling of writing it physically irritating and frustrating, not to mention my handwriting (and my DS's) is horrible! The act of typing and clicking gives both an audible and physical feedback that is positive. It feels "productive".

When DS first started taking computer tests his scores were lower but it had a lot to do with not being familiar with how to take tests on the computer and thus just clicking around and not reading things through. When kids play games on computers they are used to just clicking around to get a result and figure it out, that doesn't work for test taking so even the most computer proficient kiddo may need to re-learn that specific skill. Once he figured it out we saw a huge difference. A difference so huge that the principal at the school offered to put an extra computer in the classroom for him. (He ended up just using one in the spec ed resource room instead and started training on the Neo)
post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rose-Roget View Post
It may just be lack of experience with test-taking, test anxiety (although they weren't presented as "tests," so I kind of doubt this one in this case), or just general indifference, but I'm curious about the SPD thing as another factor.
It might be a lack of familiarity with the test or problems with a specific skill tested, but I doubt it is SPD. My DD has intense sensory issues due related to her Asperger's dx and does great on computer assessments.

If he has any fine motor issues, he'll do better on assessments that don't require writing.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Good points. It was just crossing my mind, considering how crazy he becomes with computer time. It's probably just inexperience with test-taking skills. He's also one to take the easy way out, if allowed, and he told me he's allowed to skip 5 questions. (?)
post #5 of 9
My kiddo just had the same thing happen. She is very familiar and capable with computers. She can figure out all kinds of games and how things work. The computer lab were they did the testing was very crowded and loud, brightly lit with fluorescent lights and the test gave auditory instructions so all the computers were bleating the instructions at slightly different times to each kid. Plus, she kept getting interrupted to help her buddy next to her who was less computer savvy. I truly think her lower-than-expected scores were SPD related. I vote YES!!
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Geez - that sounds like a nightmare! I can't imagine that anyone did well on that test, much less someone with SPD!

Also, it occurs to me that SPD is different for different kids. So while one kid fares well with the computer tests, another might not. Then again...isn't that true for all children?
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
If he has any fine motor issues, he'll do better on assessments that don't require writing.
He does have fine motor issues, but he does fine circling A, B, C,or D, which is all the tests are right now. He would write a sentence to answer a question, also, if he had to.
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by MotheringRubyJo View Post
My kiddo just had the same thing happen. She is very familiar and capable with computers. She can figure out all kinds of games and how things work. The computer lab were they did the testing was very crowded and loud, brightly lit with fluorescent lights and the test gave auditory instructions so all the computers were bleating the instructions at slightly different times to each kid. Plus, she kept getting interrupted to help her buddy next to her who was less computer savvy. I truly think her lower-than-expected scores were SPD related. I vote YES!!
Wow that's awful! At my kiddos' school each computer is set up with headsets so the commuter lab stays pretty quiet. They also have a teacher computer set up to display on the smart board to help kids with directions. I've used the school computer lab to train a group of adults on how to manage a website and it worked really well for them and most didn't even know how to do email.

Anyways, IMO the school is just not providing an atmosphere that is adequate for test taking in the first place, no matter the skill of the child. I'd express my concerns with that. Our school did have parents supply headsets the first couple years as they tried it out. After that they invested in some for both labs. If they arent willing to do that I'd check about getting some noise reduction ones that your child can use at least.
post #9 of 9
Given that you've seen meltdowns after computer time - sounds like a definite possibility the testing results are SPD related.

Regarding meltdowns after computer time - DD's OT mentioned that these kids are getting stimulated in their peripheral vision by the computer - most of us don't notice/ react to this, some kids do and it really affects them.

Samm
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