should I look into having my son evaluated? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 01-19-2012, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am unsure if the "issues" we are having with my son are evaluation worthy, or just some ordinary kid stuff.

 

We thought everything was great, really, until he started kindergarten.  He is a bright kid and loved to be read to.  At 3 1/2 we were reading him the Little House series.  He loved non-fiction.  He went through a train phase, then dinosaurs, then rockets.  For around a year he was totally into rockets and spoke of little else.  He knew a ton about each of these subjects, and our family was amazed at his knowledge.  But, once he started school, kindergarten, issues emerged. 

started OT -coordination issues. 

his handwriting is awful and his drawings look a year or two behind his age

prefered to talk to his teacher rather than the other kids

at recess he just walks around by himself making up stories in his head

we tried him in team sports and the poor boy just looked lost and miserable

all through kindergarten, he would get his shoes on the wrong feet/shirts on backwards

didn't noticed when he accidently put on a younger siblings pants that were several inches too short for him

he is doing poorly in school, but I still think he is bright

his younger siblings are much better at puzzles than him

when watching a movie gets to excited that he is jumping on the couch without even really realizing it

seems to actually prefer to stand to eat

his teachers complain of attention issues

 

 

He attends a private school and is in 1st gr. now.  His teachers haven't mentioned having him evaluated, but as his younger siblings get older, I am realizing that they just picked up all on their own which feet to put their shoes on, where he really had to be shown and work on it, etc. 

 

He is an amazingly sweet, wonderful kid.  I don't want to not get him help if he needs it and I don't want to constantly worry about him if he is fine and just a little quirky.  Just want what is best for him.

 

Thanks.

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#2 of 26 Old 01-19-2012, 11:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mauricemcfadden View Post

 

I am unsure if the "issues" we are having with my son are evaluation worthy, or just some ordinary kid stuff.

 

That is what evaluations are for--to help distinguish "ordinary kid stuff" from...not.

 

Though ds was first diagnosed with ADHD by a psychiatrist, I also suspected Asperger's so we had him evaluated at a specialty hospital clinic that did medical and behavioral assessments (somewhere between a neuropsycological-evaluation and a psycho-educational evaluation -- though ds didn't have any educational concerns at that time), which provided a lot of useful information.


"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#3 of 26 Old 01-19-2012, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reply.  I know that that is what evaluations are for, but not every kid is evaluated.  We don't have all the money in the world and I don't want to make the boy be tested if the only issue is that he has a nervous, first time mother.  I don't want to make him think that we think that there might be something wrong with him, especially if there isn't.

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I would find a private clinic/doctor you trust and have him evaluated.  We are in a totally different situation so I don't have any specific advice but I will say from experience that a bad evaluation can do as much harm as no eval.  A number of speech therapists and an occupational therapist basically told us our son was on the autistic spectrum but it just didn't seem right to us.  It took a trip to a developmental pediatrician and a few weeks of intensive evaluation to figure out what was really going on with DS (a language disorder).  So my only real advice is to take care when selecting the person you want to help you figure out if there is anything going on. 

 

That said I do think it sounds like your son might have something going on and it would be better to catch it now rather than let things carry on. 

 

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#5 of 26 Old 01-19-2012, 02:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mauricemcfadden View Post

I know that that is what evaluations are for, but not every kid is evaluated.  We don't have all the money in the world and I don't want to make the boy be tested if the only issue is that he has a nervous, first time mother.  I don't want to make him think that we think that there might be something wrong with him, especially if there isn't.

 

We delayed getting our ds evaluated by at least two years with the same reasoning.

 

Children are evaluated when their parents have concerns that aren't relieved by development charts. And it's not about something being "wrong," it's about things that can be helped, made easier, understood-- however he is being taught isn't reaching him, why? he doesn't interact "normally" with classmates in or out of the classroom, why? Individually the things you listed may just seem quirky, but when you stack them on top of each other it may add up to something else.

 

Having the information to give ds' teachers about how he learns, how he thinks, how he reacts, and how to get the best response from him has helped tremendously. When he went into first grade at a new school, we had just started medication for the ADHD, but we knew there was more going on--we had a great evaluation done by an OT over the summer and gave a copy to his teacher to read before school started. His teacher didn't have experience with someone like Caleb, but she later said that the report was really helpful in understanding him and how to work with him--she was a great teacher but even better for ds when she had the right tools.

 

You could check into what types of evaluations your school is able to do first; some private schools have special education "team" and some really don't have anything. How private schools are affected by special education law is limited; Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, has information on this in one of the later chapters. I recommend reading this book before the any evaluation you might schedule as it has good advice on organizing paperwork and how to interpret test scores--it's easier to start out organized than to backtrack like I've had to do. You may even be able to get an evaluation through your public school district, but I think a parent's right to that service is governed by state law (which may leave it up to the local school district).

 

This is the clinic we went to. Hospital clinics tend to be less expensive than other evaluators.

 

http://www.ncld.org/ld-basics/related-issues/information-processing/information-processing-disorders

 

I think that a "nervous mother" might be one who doesn't "feel" something is wrong but worries about anything not on target. While a "concerned mother" (best term I could think of at present) might be one who "feels" something isn't right--I say this because so many of us could "feel" something was "wrong" (and were eventually proven right), though our child was still "on the chart," or the provider/school said our parenting was at fault.

 

I want to add that ds has never felt that the evaluations or diagnoses meant that something was wrong with him--though he felt that way before his diagnoses.


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#6 of 26 Old 01-19-2012, 09:01 PM
 
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I understand your reluctance and fear of just being an "anxious mother". I was there, too. But I will say that when you describe your son it sounds very Asperger's to me, but then my kids are both on the spectrum so you know the old adage about when you have a hammer....

 

I don't know how it works in the US. Here in Canada such evaluations are paid for but wait lists are long and there are private options. Schools get extra funding to pay for this, and in fact we got funding through our homeschool program. Check with your school to see if they would pay for it. 

 

You can explain it to your son in a way that doesn't make him feel like you think something is wrong with him. There are threads here that discuss how to talk about testing with your children. 

 

Back when DS was 4 and was being evaluated by his preschool I was terrified they would say "autism". But when we finally figured out (3 years later) that he was autistic it was not the horrible thing I thought it was. It was a huge relief. Because now I was able to understand my kids so much better (and don't all parents want this?). And there are communities that really honour spectrum kids for who they are rather than treat them like they are "abnormal". This may be harder to do in a school environment but there is lots of advocacy for autism out there. 

 

Maybe your son isn't autistic, maybe he's something else. Or they won't find a diagnosis at all. What you need to ask yourself is this: is your child thriving and happy? is he being supported for who he is or is there too much focus on trying to get him to fit someone else's idea of who he should be? if the answer is no, having a label may actually help you get this for him. 


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#7 of 26 Old 01-23-2012, 01:04 PM
 
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I agree with the others -- sounds very Aspie to me, too. As for diagnosis and testing, it's not invasive at all. No blood tests, no needle sticks, no prodding and poking. Just questions, discussions, and some writing. 

 

It's ok to be concerned and it's ok to look into it. You're doing a good thing by even asking about it and entertaining the idea that he may need help. You should be able to have the school evaluate him and then have him eval'd again, at their cost, by an independent evaluation team. 

 

Good luck.

 


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#8 of 26 Old 01-24-2012, 09:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mauricemcfadden View Post

 

I am unsure if the "issues" we are having with my son are evaluation worthy, or just some ordinary kid stuff.

 

We thought everything was great, really, until he started kindergarten.  He is a bright kid and loved to be read to.  At 3 1/2 we were reading him the Little House series.  He loved non-fiction.  He went through a train phase, then dinosaurs, then rockets.  For around a year he was totally into rockets and spoke of little else.  He knew a ton about each of these subjects, and our family was amazed at his knowledge.  But, once he started school, kindergarten, issues emerged. 

started OT -coordination issues. 

his handwriting is awful and his drawings look a year or two behind his age

prefered to talk to his teacher rather than the other kids

at recess he just walks around by himself making up stories in his head

we tried him in team sports and the poor boy just looked lost and miserable

all through kindergarten, he would get his shoes on the wrong feet/shirts on backwards

didn't noticed when he accidently put on a younger siblings pants that were several inches too short for him

he is doing poorly in school, but I still think he is bright

his younger siblings are much better at puzzles than him

when watching a movie gets to excited that he is jumping on the couch without even really realizing it

seems to actually prefer to stand to eat

his teachers complain of attention issues

 

 

He attends a private school and is in 1st gr. now.  His teachers haven't mentioned having him evaluated, but as his younger siblings get older, I am realizing that they just picked up all on their own which feet to put their shoes on, where he really had to be shown and work on it, etc. 

 

He is an amazingly sweet, wonderful kid.  I don't want to not get him help if he needs it and I don't want to constantly worry about him if he is fine and just a little quirky.  Just want what is best for him.

 

Thanks.


My ds has many things in common with the op's ds.  He is not on the spectrum for autism, but has other dx (epilepsy, adhd, and dyslexia).  Ds is also very bright; he does special ed and participates in gifted program.  I bolded the things op's ds and mine have in common.  We were slow to do anything about ds, and at the end of 3rd the school had an intervention.  Maybe Op, since you feel something is different, you should start discussing it with the teachers and your ped. Ask for testing because then you will know and not wonder.  

 

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#9 of 26 Old 01-25-2012, 05:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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To give a bit of an update.  Not sure if we made the right first step or not, but we had him tested, IQ and performace assessment which we were told would help highlight if there was a learning disability.  The results showed that he scored very high in the verbal section of the IQ testing, above the 99th percentile (which I didn't even know was possible, I though 99 was it) in two subsections.  His nonverbal IQ wasn't nearly as high, it was noted as a "significant difference".  Not sure what all of this means yet.  His processing speed subtest was WELL below average.

 

A few days after we had him tested, but before we got the results back, his OT mentioned getting him evaluated.  She said that he will get some sort of label, she just isn't sure what (or just isn't willing to share her opinion prematurely).  She agreed with me when I offered that he fit the aspie symptoms that I have read about on the web.

 

The hospital where he goes for OT is not covered by our insurance for LD evaluations, so I have a little searching to do with how to take the next step. 

 

One more thing, if you could help, please, for the btdt crowd.  As my son tested high in only the verbal, but not the nonverbal would googling under "gifted" fit him?  Not sure if you have to score high in both to have the term apply?  I have run across the term "2e", would that apply?  Just want to get reading up and educate myself as best I can.  Thanks.

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#10 of 26 Old 01-25-2012, 06:24 AM
 
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2E is twice exceptional.  It is a person with both a disability, such as aspergers, adhd, or dyslexia,  and is gifted.  Did you go to a psychologist or psychiatrist for the testing?  Did they explain what they felt were the reasons for a difference in the scores?  

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#11 of 26 Old 01-25-2012, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The tester is a psychologist.  He gave me no real analysis of the results.  The test was the WISC IV. 

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#12 of 26 Old 01-25-2012, 06:56 AM
 
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I would ask the psychologist for a followup visit in which they explain the results.  

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#13 of 26 Old 01-25-2012, 07:31 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by mauricemcfadden View Post

The tester is a psychologist.  He gave me no real analysis of the results.  The test was the WISC IV. 


Tests and Measurements for the Parent

 

This is the same page but addresses the WISC IV specifically:

Composite Scores & Subtest Scatter in the WISC-IV

 

Wrightslaw also sells a DVD where the author explains the information in the chapters on testing from the book "Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy", which is where the info in the links comes from.
 


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#14 of 26 Old 01-25-2012, 08:29 AM
 
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Ask about the test in the Parenting the Gifted Child forum here.  A lot of moms there know how the tests work.  Or look for a recent thread - I think there was one on that discrepancy in another child recently.

 

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#15 of 26 Old 01-25-2012, 08:58 PM
 
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A couple things --

 

First, he sounds a bit like my daughter, who has a gifted IQ and is also currently being evaluated for ADHD, Asperger's, and whatever-else-might-apply.  (We actually are getting the results tomorrow.)  She is the clothes-on-backwards, highly excitable, doens't notice how loud she's talking, can't sit still and listen in school, etcetc sort of child. 

 

Second, you aren't a nervous, first-time mother.  He's 7? and you have other kids.  Go with your gut and do what you feel needs to be done, right?

 

Third, yes, check on the Parenting the Gifted CHild forum about the IQ test if you still have question.  I'm pretty sure it's not uncommon for gifted kids to test poorly in the processing speed subtest.  My daugher was not tested in that area when she did an IQ test.  She did, however, have one other area in which she was tested that was at or below average, when everything else was far above, and our tester wasn't sure what to make of that except that she'd triple-checked that it wasn't an error. I suspect it had something to do with learning differences related to what she's now being evaluated for.


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#16 of 26 Old 01-26-2012, 04:38 AM
 
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Both the testing scores (except that DS has one very high performance score, rest of performance scores a lot lower than verbal) and the behavior sounds a lot like my DS (who is on the spectrum, Asperger's type), and somewhat like me as a kid, too (I was diagnosed with NVLD).  Like you, I started out with a psychologist for DS, and his initial diagnoses was NVLD along with a lot of other labels.  What I found throughout a 7 year journey with evaluations until this year when we had an Asperger's diagnoses, is that educational psychologists are much more likely to look for NVLD rather than Asperger's/ASD than other professionals.  If you feel it fits as to why your son has a discrepancy in his skills, that's fine, but if you feel there's something missing in the equation, it might not be enough.  For example, my son already had access to social skills classes because of NVLD, but sensory and obsessiveness issues weren't being attended to.  The obsessiveness was the hardest thing for me as a parent and for the teachers (and if anything, it became more obvious with age) and I wasn't getting the help we needed with an NVLD diagnoses. 

 

As a Canadian, I have good access to health care at no cost for most services.  In your shoes, with limited money for testing, if I had any doubt that the obsessiveness on topics your son has was at all an issue, I'd also get an appointment with a neuro-developmental pediatrician.  They are more likely to look at the big picture of what is going on with your child than educational/cognitive psychologists.

 

I also second getting to know some other people with 2E kids, being in that situation myself (both my oldest son and myself).  Your son will need continued challenge in his strong areas.  Also, learning disabilities often manifest very differently in 2E kids, and you and the teachers might really have to keep an eye out for any problems because your son can probably use verbal and memory skills to compensate and cover up difficulties.


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#17 of 26 Old 01-26-2012, 10:18 AM
 
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It wasn't clear to me from your update if the psychologist just did IQ testing or if s/he did a more comprehensive evaluation, which would include assessing for ASD, ADHD, etc. This is hard because you often can't figure out if you've found the right person to evaluate for these things until after the fact. If the psychologist didn't look at the whole picture, I would ask families who have children with special needs who evaluated them. This evaluation should include a parent interview, some questionaires for you and other caregivers/teachers, and ideally a naturalistic observation in a setting with peers. Looking for an IQ differential is a piece of the process, but just one piece. I think, based on your OP, you would benefit from a more thorough look and some solid recommendations on how to manage things even if nothing is diagnosable.

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#18 of 26 Old 01-26-2012, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The psychologist only did an IQ test, It was not a complete eval.  Yesterday, we contacted my son's school and requested an eval, which are done through the public school system.  Not sure how long after requesting that it actually happens, but hope it is soon.

 

Thanks for all of your help on this, guys!  It has been so reassuring to me to read your responses and other threads here.  Some of them have really resonated with me, especially the range of emotions that I have been through leading up to making the decision to have him evaluated.  Like some others said, so may people, teachers included, told me his issues were my fault.  And, for awhile I was so worried that that was true.  I felt so guilty.  I am upset that his teachers never realized that he is very bright.  I knew it and they kept trying to talk me out of it. 

No matter the results of the eval, I think it will be better than the worry than the I have put myself through.  I am looking forward to just having some answers.  My son is just wonderful and no matter what, I wouldn't want him to be any different than he is.

 

 

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#19 of 26 Old 01-26-2012, 12:17 PM
 
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Quote:
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The psychologist only did an IQ test, It was not a complete eval.  Yesterday, we contacted my son's school and requested an eval, which are done through the public school system.  Not sure how long after requesting that it actually happens, but hope it is soon.

 

The number of days the school has to respond to your request is determined by state special education law; you could try a search: yourstate special education law.

 

The evaluation should be completed 60 days from the date they received parental consent for evaluation to do the evaluation; your written request should note that this letter is the consent for evaluation. (And, if you did not do it in writing, it never happened!).

 

I recommended reading "Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy"; the information from the book can be found on their site as well (Table of Contents). Reading "Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition," would be a good idea as well). An e-book version from Amazon is about $8.00 and the print version is about $13. The book/site details a long list of tests; you may find some or all of the proposed tests in there.

 

Tests and Measurements for the Parent

 

 


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#20 of 26 Old 01-26-2012, 01:24 PM
 
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One more thing: if you are in the U.S. and get a school evaluation, they CANNOT diagnosis your child. They can qualify him for services at school based on his profile (if they suspect autism, for example, he might be qualified under autism.  I think ADHD might fall under other health impairment -- not sure). He can also get services in his IEP to meet his needs as a gifted student. If you want an actual medical diagnosis, you will need a private evaluation with either a developmental pediatrician or a psychologist who specializes in this sort of evaluation.

 

Good luck. It sounds like you are on the right road to getting some support for both his gifts and challenges!

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#21 of 26 Old 01-26-2012, 10:12 PM
 
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Depending on your state laws, you may or may not be able to get something added to his IEP about serviced for giftedness, and they may or may not actually be required to do anything to meet his needs in that area.  We have a line in ours that says DD should be given work that challenges her at her level, but it has yet to actually HAPPEN. 


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#22 of 26 Old 01-26-2012, 10:40 PM
 
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A child can be gifted in one area of an IQ test (verbal or non-verbal).  It's also common for gifted kids to have average processing speeds.

 

I would highly recommend the Misdiagnosis/Dual Diagnosis book by Webb, here with preview!!
http://books.google.ca/books?id=NQrtt-peg5AC&printsec=frontcover&dq=misdiagnosis+gifted&hl=en&sa=X&ei=xkUiT4yKKILr0gH6yLHWCA&ved=0CDgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=misdiagnosis%20gifted&f=false

 

Also, Bright Not Broken (very interesting read!):

http://books.google.ca/books?id=cRSfm2BeK4sC&printsec=frontcover&dq=bright+not+broken&hl=en&sa=X&ei=90UiT970OoPt0gGko-WwCA&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=bright%20not%20broken&f=false

 

If you like super details, The Mislabeled Child is also very good.

 

This diagnostic process stuff is pretty complicated and it's worth getting to know some of the lingo and about how gifted kids can present and be dually diagnosed.  We've been through the ringer trying to get diagnostic accuracy with DS and I've found that it can really depend on who's doing the diagnosing.

 

This is also interesting stuff:

http://www.sengifted.org/archives/1472

 

GL to you!


Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

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#23 of 26 Old 01-27-2012, 05:00 AM
 
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Here is a map for finding the "giftedness law" by state Gifted by State.

 

Twice Exceptional Gifted Children

 

Hoagies' Gifted: IEPs

 
Hoagies' Parent's Unofficial Guide to Gifted IEPs and Gifted IEP Meetings
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aufilia View Post

Depending on your state laws, you may or may not be able to get something added to his IEP about serviced for giftedness, and they may or may not actually be required to do anything to meet his needs in that area.  We have a line in ours that says DD should be given work that challenges her at her level, but it has yet to actually HAPPEN. 

 

When Teachers Won't Provide Accommodations in the IEP

 

Effective IEP goals need to be specific and measurable; if there is literally only a line about about this in her IEP that's probably where the problem starts.

 

Wrightslaw talks about IEP goal in their advocacy book and they also have a book specifically about writing IEPs.

 

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#24 of 26 Old 01-27-2012, 05:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You guys are just the best!!  I am slowly working through all the information that you guys are sending my way.  I am a bit overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I need to learn to navigate through all of this and really appreciate the help.  It feels great though to feel like progress is being made on finding out what is going on with him.  The IQ stuff answered thousands of questions for us, but caused a million new ones to pop up :)

 

 

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#25 of 26 Old 07-26-2012, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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After months of waiting, today was evaluation day for my son.  The diagnosis is Aspergers.  Not quite sure how I feel about it yet.  I am somewhat relieved to have my concerns about him validated.  I guess I am somewhat sad for him that this means life is going to be more challenging for him.  But, I have been somewhat expected that diagnosis, so it wasn't a total shock, yet it still was.  I still have that nagging feeling that maybe this wouldn't have happened if I hadn't let him learned everything there is to know about NASA and MADE him play with other kids instead.  And, part of me realizes he is the same little boy he was yesterday and he's just the best and I wouldn't want him any other way.

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#26 of 26 Old 07-26-2012, 05:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, guys, hit me with some books that would be good for me to read to help me understand all of this.

 

Also, we took my son out of first grade toward the end of last year to homeschool him cause school wasn't going well and the (private) school was no help.  Would public school be a good idea to help him with his social skills?  Is homeschool is a good idea because I can really help him in the areas where he needs extra help academically?  Thoughts?  Currently, he really doesn't have any friends and that doesn't bother him, but it does bother me.
 

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