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    #239614 - 09/07/17 09:10 PM Sibling 2E? Or just NT?
    Emigee Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 09/23/16
    Posts: 43
    I've posted a couple of times about my son, who we were starting to think was somewhere on the GT spectrum. As he gets older, I no longer doubt that he is an outlier of some kind, probably far surpassing my partner (ID'd as gifted as a child along with his sibling) and myself (no formal ID, as no gifted programming and no reason for ID, but very high test scores with very little effort, intensities, and the like). Both sides of the family are populated almost entirely with likely GT individuals, though I have no idea what part of the GT range.

    Now we are wondering what is going on with DS(4)'s older sibling, DD(6). She just started first grade. One of DS(4)'s "gifted" abilities is teaching himself to read at 3.5 or so, and now at 4 reading at at least a 2nd-3rd grade level with comprehension, but decoding literally anything put in front of him (adult books, whatever - I recently had to pull "One Flew Out of the Cuckoo's Nest" from his little hands, then rearrange shelves!). But his big sister is still struggling with words like "hot" or "spot." She basically can't read at all, despite being in pull-out reading help during her K year. She is very frustrated by this, yet resists doing any practice at home with us - she'd rather do anything than try to read (including math games - she's quite good at math).

    At the same time, she is a true book lover. She will listen to us read to her without limit, and this has been true since she was 2 years old. She can memorize picture books after 1-2 exposures, which lends the appearance that she's reading. She's very adept at figuring out words from picture clues as well. She has now discovered audiobooks, which keep her occupied for hours. She enjoys listening to relatively advanced books, such as the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, and has a very rich oral vocabulary for her age. She has expressed a longing to be able to read to herself more times than I can remember. She asked me to teach her to read the summer before she started Kindergarten, but it quickly became frustrating for both of us, and we agreed to stop and let school do its job. However, she hasn't made much progress since then. She told me wistfully, the week before starting first grade: "I hope this year I'll finally learn to read." Now, a week later, she says, "I hate first grade." (but she likes her teacher and her school - huh?).

    I should also mention that when I read descriptions of gifted kids, especially things like OEs, making unexpected connections across contexts, asking complex questions, etc., my DD is summed up to a tee. She has an incredible memory and will suddenly spout unexpected knowledge that she apparently picked up 2 years earlier on a trip to the zoo, a video, etc. She's also quite an artist and dancer, very creative, and seems to see art/construction projects in her head and then bring them to fruition with few or no intermediate planning steps needed.

    Thanks for sticking with me so far. I guess that the main reason I'm posting is my own self-doubt about whether my perceptions of my older child's progress are being overly influenced by having a younger child who is so advanced. But regardless of my younger child, I am concerned about the level of my older child's frustration, the gap between her interest in and enthusiasm for books, and her apparent (in)ability to learn to read them herself. It's a battle between my gut (something is wrong!) and my head (she's only in first grade, why should she be able to read!).

    Please let me know what you think. The school is not concerned at this point. Is it crazy that my partner and I are?

    P.S. I can give lots of specific examples of the types of reading mistakes/substitutions she makes if that would be helpful.

    Edited by Emigee (09/07/17 09:20 PM)

    #239617 - 09/08/17 04:28 AM Re: Sibling 2E? Or just NT? [Re: Emigee]
    aeh Offline

    Registered: 04/26/14
    Posts: 3038
    The school is likely not yet concerned because, in an NT context, her reading skills are not out of the range for her age/grade, and many schools are reluctant to identify LDs in young children (often for good philosophical reasons, especially when thinking about the general, non-GT population). I assume she already receives some kind of general education reading support, but since that often takes the form of simply more practice using the same strategies taught in class, it may not be sufficient if there actually is a learning difference. Your description does suggest that there is some kind of underlying concern, primarily based on her own frustration.

    I can see a few next options at present:

    1. request a special education evaluation in writing. In some states, that will be sufficient to start the process. In others, not.

    2. have a private evaluator conduct a comprehensive psychoeducational or neuropsychological evaluation. This is pricy, though your insurance may cover some of it, with prior approval. You'll want to go through your primary care physician for this.

    3. start remediating without a diagnosis, with an Orton-Gillingham-derived home program, such as All About Reading/All About Spelling (either one will work), Logic of English, or Barton. Or hire an OG tutor privately, or through a center. Private tutors are somewhat costly, while home programs are not, as long as you have the time to spend 20 minutes a day on the program, and can persuade her to try it. AAR/AAS have a one-year moneyback guarantee, so if she won't engage, you do have the option to return it. (The others may as well, but that's the one I've used personally. I have a reluctant reader/writer, currently on AAS Level 7, the last level, who finally complied with reading/writing activities for the first time after starting AAS.)

    The least expensive option is #1, but it might not work, if the school is allowed to reject your request. #3 is the second least expensive (if you use a home program), and has the benefit that OG helps pretty much all children with reading delays, regardless of diagnosis or lack thereof. #2 will probably provide the most information on your child's overall profile.

    #239619 - 09/08/17 06:18 AM Re: Sibling 2E? Or just NT? [Re: Emigee]
    RRD Offline

    Registered: 02/04/16
    Posts: 278
    Wow. There are so many similarities between your children and mine! DS7 presents very much the same way as your DD (adores books, extremely rich vocabulary, loves math, OEs, makes surprising connections, resisted learning to read, and struggled with reading to an extent that seemed unusual for such a bright child) and DS6 is like your DS (except that he learned to read spontaneously later than yours, when he turned 5).

    We were quite convinced that DS7 had a LD, likely dyslexia because his difficulty learning to read seemed so out of sync with his apparent intelligence. In part because of that and because of the OEs (and a few other things), we had him tested shortly after he turned 6. There were no red flags in his test results and he tested MG. Fast forward a year and a half, and he's reading quite well though still not perfectly. Everything else has fallen into place, and there are no real problems. DS7 is still more "mathy" and DS6 loves reading, words, wordplay, puns and jokes, but they are both doing great.

    With DS7, there may have been a few things at play, including the fact that his extreme perfectionism means that he is strongly averse to doing anything that doesn't come easily to him. And while he could be on a spectrum of dyslexia, it may just be that the mechanics of reading didn't come easily to him and that's that.

    Now obviously, there could be something entirely different at play with your DD, and I'm not suggesting that you forget about it. There are others on this forum who will have much wiser advice than I do. But I did want to tell you that there "may" not be anything to worry about, and that it may all fall into place before you know it.

    Good luck!

    #239620 - 09/08/17 10:01 AM Re: Sibling 2E? Or just NT? [Re: aeh]
    Emigee Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 09/23/16
    Posts: 43
    Aeh, thank you so much for such a clear list of options/next steps! That is extremely helpful. I'll have to do some research about special ed evaluations in our district, but I'm liking the idea of trying out one of the home programs you mentioned. Even if she doesn't have a diagnosable issue, I think getting her reading better would improve her self-concept and ease her frustration. She is not sure what to make of having a younger brother who can read when she can't, and will sometimes say she feels like she must not be very smart.

    #239621 - 09/08/17 10:07 AM Re: Sibling 2E? Or just NT? [Re: RRD]
    Emigee Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 09/23/16
    Posts: 43
    RRD, it does sound like our kids are very similar! It's great to hear that things have fallen into place for your older one now and that they're both doing so well. Did you do anything in particular to get your older son reading, or did he just finally "catch on?"

    #239622 - 09/08/17 11:07 AM Re: Sibling 2E? Or just NT? [Re: Emigee]
    RRD Offline

    Registered: 02/04/16
    Posts: 278
    We didn't do anything in particular. We were concerned and kept an eye on it but just when we were starting to look into remedial help, he started to catch on and make decent progress.

    #239624 - 09/08/17 03:46 PM Re: Sibling 2E? Or just NT? [Re: Emigee]
    polarbear Offline

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3344
    Emigee, I have a dd with a reading challenge - my advice is if you have a gut feeling that your dd is struggling, I'd pursue testing. Don't worry that you'll test and then find out there really isn't an issue - f you find out there isn't a challenge... that's a good thing!

    aeh has given you great advice re next steps - I have two more options to suggest, based on our experience. If you can find a remedial reading center or SLP etc near you who will test for reading challenges including dyslexia, you could consider going for a reading evaluation first before a full neuropscyh exam, since in the case of your dd it seems that your concern is clearly focused on reading. Our dd was tested through a more global educational evaluation before she was evaluated at a reading center local to us, but the reading center's eval was so thorough it was worth it's wait in gold (and it cost us 1/10th or less of what a neuropsych eval costs here). We came out of that eval knowing exactly what our dd's reading challenge was and what path to pursue for remediation. In our case, we chose to stay with the center and use one of the center's tutors, but we alternatively could have chosen to do the recommended remediation at home if that was what we had preferred to do.

    Second thing to consider - has she had her vision checked? My oldest dd struggled tremendously to learn to read but we had no clue it was related to vision until we were far enough down the path of concerns about potential LDs she had a full neuropsych eval, in which she had a WISC where her scores were as flat across the board as can be except for two specific subtests which require visual acuity - and she bombed those two subtests... fortunately her neuropsych was partially covered by medical insurance....otherwise that would have been the world's most expensive vision appointment ever! The gotcha on dd's vision though was that she had 20/20 eyesight, but her eyes didn't track together at all, so she was either seeing double vision or one eye would shut off and limit her peripheral vision severely. She was having headaches too... and never mentioned any of this once to her dad and I - she was young and just thought everyone in the world saw two of everything and walked around with headaches all the time. She was referred for vision therapy, and after around 6 weeks of vision therapy she started reading like gangbusters and morphed into a kid who spends her life with her nose in a book... lots of books since she reads very quickly now.

    Trust your gut - if you feel something is up, get it checked out. We are not able to get my dd who has the reading challenged diagnosed until the end of third grade, and by then she'd become so adverse to reading that even though she caught up and surpassed grade level after a year with a tutoring program, she never developed a love of reading and still avoids it as much as possible.. which means that she also has missed out on tons of critical vocabulary development because she doesn't read as much as her peers. You're fortunate your dd likes to listen to audio books - keep her listening!

    Best wishes,


    #239625 - 09/08/17 04:24 PM Re: Sibling 2E? Or just NT? [Re: Emigee]
    Kai Offline

    Registered: 05/17/09
    Posts: 520
    My younger son's very obvious gifted behaviors, including very early reading, were what finally got me to realize that more was going on with my older son than being "just slow" (which is how the school psychologist described him).

    It took several evaluations (and a few misdiagnoses) over several years, but he was finally diagnosed properly as HG(ish) with dyslexia.

    If you think your daughter is 2E, you're probably right.

    #239668 - 09/13/17 06:58 AM Re: Sibling 2E? Or just NT? [Re: Emigee]
    Platypus101 Offline

    Registered: 10/01/14
    Posts: 592
    Loc: Canada
    Argh! You'd think I'd know better by now, but no - long answer accidentally sent into the ether. Here's take 2, please excuse if somewhat terse.

    As other posters and the links at the bottom suggest, your daughter's age is not by itself a red flag, but her frustration and anxiety are. A large portion of kids (research suggests 40%!) don't learn to read well without explicit phonological teaching, which they mostly don't get, even in special pull-out programs. So you don't need to feel you need a diagnosis of dyslexia to justify taking a different approach to learning to read.

    AAR/ AAS: I had a long explanation of why I would suggest doing All About Reading first (rather than All About Spelling), given your daughter's frustration, young age, and the kinds of word mix-ups you describe. Happy to explain reasoning (and our own experiences), if you are thinking of going this route. AAR is an awesome explicit, coherent way for any kid to learn to read, regardless of whether they are actually dyslexic or just need better teaching.

    Reading specialists: I have yet to meet an education-related specialist of any kind who didn't insist "I've worked with tons of gifted kids". It's almost never true. 2E kids look different, you need to test them different, and they can fake "normal" achievement in ways you wouldn't believe. If you're thinking of going this route, I'd be happy to share what we learned about finding someone who might "get it", and not dismiss you as tiger mom. You have to dig deep with these kids, and someone who thinks there's nothing there, well - they may not be very motivated to do so.

    Vision: Another great suggestion. Note that it's important to look at visual processing, not just physical vision, which few optometrists actually do. (It's not about whether they eyes physically "work", but whether they are communicating with the brain in a coordinated way). Auditory processing weaknesses can also lead to phonemic weaknesses. In other words, you can have perfect hearing or sight based on the usual tests, but still have processing deficits that create problems that look like LDs. You can't diagnose on your own, but there a some easily-noted signs of some of the more blatant visual issues, and checklists for auditory ones, which I could point you at if that would be helpful.

    Links: Finally, a few previous discussions that might be of interest, looking at late readers as well as what people have found to be flags for stealth dyslexia:

    #239723 - 09/18/17 11:13 AM Re: Sibling 2E? Or just NT? [Re: Emigee]
    Emigee Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 09/23/16
    Posts: 43
    Thanks so much for these additional responses! I was out of town all last week, so I apologize for the delay in my response.

    Polarbear, vision is definitely an issue that has not been on our radar. Thanks for alerting me to this idea. She has never had her eyes or vision checked, except the routine checkup at the pediatrician. One question - she is very good at drawing, as well as things like hidden pictures puzzles. Do you think this makes vision issues less likely?

    Platypus, lots to think about in your response! As far as I can tell, the reading instruction at school has been based more on drilling sight word recognition and using picture clues than on phonics, although they certainly do incorporate some phonics. She may well be a kid who needs a more phonologically-based teaching method. Coincidentally, on my trip I was catching up on podcasts and happened to listen to this - right on topic:

    The headline focuses on students with dyslexia, but the article makes the point that Orton-Gillingham or other phonics-based methods are more successful for the general population of students as well.

    Kai - it's very interesting to hear from someone who realized an older child's giftedness due to the younger child. I feel like I've almost exclusively heard of it happening the other way around, so our situation has just felt odd to me.

    In terms of a general update/response: We do have some concerns outside of reading (mostly attention-related, also some issues with social anxiety, which we just started working on with some therapy). I think we are going to get her on the waitlist for a full neuropsych evaluation. The responses I've gotten here have been helpful in getting me over the hump to think there's enough of a chance of an issue to be worth pursuing. I believe the waitlist is about 6 months, so if we change our minds or find something else (e.g. vision issues) going on in the meantime, we can always cancel. In the meantime, we'll see where she is with reading at our parent-teacher conference next month. She just changed schools, so it's possible things will improve (same district, though, so likely not much change in instructional practices). If she's still struggling, we will likely try out the All About Reading program at home as well as consider asking the school to do a special ed evaluation.

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