Many times in the past couple of years I’ve thought, “Well, at least he’s not dyslexic.” Because when you think of dyslexia – or at least when I did – you think of kids who mix up d and b, who can’t tell tab from bat or din from nib. When we had Dash’s vision assessed back at the end of first grade, one of the tests was to read words just like that. When the eye doctor went over the results with me, she said “This is one they’d use to identify dyslexia, for instance.” He did fine on that one.
But “dyslexia” just means a learning disability focusing on reading. Some people with dyslexia do see the words moving around on the page, and are liable to read them backwards just as easily as forwards – but Dash’s dyslexia is not like that. I think if it was, we’d have come to this particular label sooner. (Label. Labels are good. They help people get the help they need. I’m all for labels.)
Dash’s test results (this time) indicated that he processes things slowly, including reading. His lack of fluency in reading might simply stem from this, or there might be something else at work, maybe. The “Reading Disability” and the “Learning Disorder, NOS” due to slow processing are two diagnoses, but one probably influences the other.
He’s really good at decoding words and applying the rules. But too much of English doesn’t follow the rules. (We wondered if he’d be “less” reading disabled if we spoke Spanish, or Russian, or anything with fewer irregulars.)
It’s not just speed, though. He doesn’t have any sight words, or hardly any. He’s not recognizing the shapes of words as a whole the way most of us do. He reads every word as if it’s new to him. He hasn’t “automatized” the reading process, which is the stage that just comes for most people with a little practice. We’ve been waiting and waiting for it to just come, and it just doesn’t.
Of course, some people are just slow readers. There’s more going on here: when there’s a clear disparity between their intelligence in some areas and their abilities in others, you begin to look for a specific cause. This is what’s happening here – just to brag/antibrag, let me quote a couple of his results:
On the Verbal Comprehension Index, Dash scored in the 99th percentile. On the Working Memory Index he was in the 91st. On the Processing Speed Index he was in the 2nd.
In both the Listening Comprehension and Oral Discourse Comprehension tests he was in the 99.6th percentile, but his Oral Reading Fluency was at the 0.3rd percentile.
And so on. Of course, some of his scores were right in the average domain too, but it was interesting to see the huge “scatter” (as it’s called) in his abilities. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, but the report said this was a bigger span than most kids his age.
Some of the bits of the report I particularly noted were:
- D presented as a well-groomed child. (Heh.)
- He easily separated from his mother. (Take that, AP deniers!)
- He was sometimes tangiental in his thinking. (Ahem.)
- While D took his time to provide his answers, the responses that he formulated were articulate and complex for his age. (There you go.)
- D often made unique connections or had ideas that were outside the box. But he often had difficulty producing the simplest, most logical response. (Yes.)
- He read words such as “photograph” and “equipment” accurately, but he sounded out all the words including such basic ones as “cow” and “they”. (Yup.)
We have an IEP meeting set up for next week. In the meantime, if you’ve any resources to recommend, books I should read, whatever – have at it in the comments.