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    #189004 04/21/14 11:20 AM
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    DD is in third grade and has combined type ADHD. Her fine motor skills and writing fluency aren't the greatest. On the WJ achievement she scored an 89 for writing fluency, 100 for handwriting, 115 or 120 for writing samples, and maybe 112 for spelling. I don't remember the exact numbers. She was a lot higher for reading and math. The psych who assessed her said she doesn't have dysgraphia since none of those numbers are below the average range. I still don't have a report. I don't know if I agree since her IQ is so high and there is a large discrepancy.
    Does anyone have experience with WJ achievement scores being average but there still being dysgraphia or "disorder of written expression"? In my state a child can get an IEP for learning disabilities if there is a 1.75 standard deviation between their IQ and achievement scores, but it's really just handwriting and writing fluency where we would see a gap that large. Her overall writing score wouldn't be a big enough gap (although I don't have a Broad Writing Score, I'm just making a guess).

    DD now has a long term sub who is going to be there the rest of the year. The sub has been complaining about her and said that for writing in the morning she will write 2 sentences and the other kids write 1-2 pages. The teacher will tell them to write about a certain topic or put a "starter sentence" on the board along with an ending sentence. DD says that she has no idea what to write or how to construct a story that makes any sense with a prescribed starting and ending. She thinks it will be dumb, so simply does not do anything at all. She thinks she would do better typing but is scared to ask the teacher. I have mentioned it a couple times in emails that DD would probably do better typing, and those comments were dismissed.
    DD seems to have the hardest time with fictional stories. This doesn't really surprise me since she has never really played "pretend" so why would she be able to write pretend. I think she has a really hard time organizing her thoughts. Is there a graphic organizer of some sort that could help her construct a fictional story that has to start and end with certain sentences? I see graphic organizers but they mostly have to do with essays, research papers, and that sort of thing. Not creative writing. She's creative but it comes out in different ways, like things that she constructs or how she solves problems. She has a somewhat large gap between non-verbal and verbal IQ and is probably a visual-spatial thinker.

    Dh talked to the writing teacher she has in the afternoon and he thinks she's pretty average in terms of writing, but her verbal answers to questions are superior to most of the other kids. He sees her as being slow but a deep thinker. I don't think she's as bad in his class (maybe because her meds are kicked in by that time). But he said that she does often struggle to get started on things or figure out what to write about.

    blackcat #189010 04/21/14 11:57 AM
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    DD8 doesn't enjoy writing (penmanship is "quick and sloppy," and she uses 1000x as many words when she talks as compared with when she has to write). Her school, however, is a very "technology-rich" environment. She is already typing as much as, or almost as much, as she is writing. She seems to prefer to type. Does your DD do better when she is able to type? Could an iPad or other tablet be utilized?

    blackcat #189012 04/21/14 12:03 PM
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    Originally Posted by blackcat
    Does anyone have experience with WJ achievement scores being average but there still being dysgraphia or "disorder of written expression"?

    Yes! My DS is pretty severely dysgraphic in my opinion and always seems to come out average on those tests. They are testing him again for disorder of written expression at school and this time they are giving him the Bender Gestalt, Test of Handwriting Skills, Process Assessment of the learner and TOWL. I am not sure about those achievement tests picking up on disorder of written expression or if the schools do not want to identify the disorder. Last year the psych told me DS scored average on one to hose tests and that he had written a beautiful paragraph for her. I was shocked but did realize that DS will kill himself to perform for a tests but not be able to keep that up so I figured that s what happened. When I asked DS a few month later, he said the paragraph was "completely illegible." So I asked to see the actual paragraph he had written and then the school said they did not keep a copy. Our school seems really keen on NOT identifying the disorder and I am not sure why. I also find that if they can, they will try to blame writing difficulties on ADHD (again just my experience but when I tried to get Disorder of Written Expression identified by the school last year they did a lot of tests for ADHD and not so many for written expression and then casually mentioned that ADHD meds do help writing. Not sure if they had bad intent on that or if that all was a coincidence. This year I told them firmly and explicitly in writing that I don't want them giving rating scales and nepsy tests and adhd type tests, I want him given tests that will show whether he has disorder of written expression - Towl, Test of Handwriting Skills, Bender-Gestalt, etc.

    blackcat #189013 04/21/14 12:06 PM
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    MAster of None - will PM for tests info, also - if that is okay? I want to make sure the tests they give my DS are specifically for picking up disorder of written expression and not something else.

    blackcat #189014 04/21/14 12:08 PM
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    Coding I think was a 8 (and that was after I told her to go as fast as possible on the WISC for timed sections, since I knew she would be slow). The BOT2 which is for motor skills had scores that were around 25th percentile for the sections that were timed. She does well for visual-motor integration but can't remember if she had the Beery. I will ask the OT when we go in (she started OT for executive functioning issues and is doing IM therapy).
    I know that she scored high enough for fine motor and handwriting that it's not approved with our insurance. They qualified her with the BRIEF.
    Not sure what to do at this point. I can't get a diagnosis of a LD with scores in the average range. And the two teachers working with her say conflicting things. One says she does fine and the other seems somewhat melodramatic.

    Last edited by blackcat; 04/21/14 12:37 PM. Reason: error
    blackcat #189017 04/21/14 12:18 PM
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    She is switching schools in the fall and I am crossing everything that they have decent special ed people. Does anyone have any other suggestions for tests? I am going to write all of this down. The WJ seems to be a ridiculous test to give kids who are gifted, in order to find disabilities. DS has a PI IEP and tested above the 80th percentile on every single subtest. But the writing he was doing in class looked like a preschooler did it.

    Loy58 #189020 04/21/14 12:35 PM
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    Originally Posted by Loy58
    DD8 doesn't enjoy writing (penmanship is "quick and sloppy," and she uses 1000x as many words when she talks as compared with when she has to write). Her school, however, is a very "technology-rich" environment. She is already typing as much as, or almost as much, as she is writing. She seems to prefer to type. Does your DD do better when she is able to type? Could an iPad or other tablet be utilized?

    She types a lot in writing class on an online program but I'm really not sure how it compares to what she is doing on paper. She never brings any work home in terms of writing. Dh asked to see her journals when he talked to the writing teacher, but they were in a different room and there was no access to it when he was there. I think if nothing else typing would force her to use both sides of her brain. And she hates handwriting. She REALLY wants to type but the classroom teachers have both been old ladies, very old-school, and they just don't seem to get it. Her current teacher (sub) is actually retired and I don't know why she took this job. She says it's the most difficult class she's ever had and is really crabby. DD may be doing better with the writing teacher since he lets them do a lot of work on the computer.

    blackcat #189022 04/21/14 12:40 PM
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    blackcat - sent you a pm

    blackcat #189023 04/21/14 12:41 PM
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    Dysgraphic DS13 has the same problem with composing that you describe. He has always struggled with finding words to write but has profound insights verbally. This written/verbal disparity makes most teachers assume that he is lazy and disinterested.

    Yesterday I was scribing an English assignment for him in which he had to compose a sentence using a grammar rule (colon; possessive; correct use of numerals, etc.) This assignment should take about 5 minutes but he really struggled! "Okay, just think of any sentence with a possessive. Anything." (Me waiting, pen poised, for 2 minutes.) "Just name a possessive. Any one. Then put it in a sentence." Still nothing for about a minute, then finally, a simple sentence. We did this about 10 times. It's hard to believe that simple drafting is so difficult for him but it truly is.

    I think the drafting struggle is probably more a product of his expressive language disorder and by his extremely slow word retrieval speed. The expressive language deficit was identified in his recent CAPD testing and the low "rapid naming" was revealed in dyslexia testing (the CTOPP.) DS' rapid naming was in the 1st percentile for speed!

    I think both DS' slow word retrieval and expressive language issues cause a logjam for writing that is only exacerbated by the struggle to physically write.

    I suspected that DS was dyslexic as well as dysgraphic but I never dreamed he had an auditory processing deficit (which is related to expressive language problems), mainly because he has super sensitive ears. Do you have any concerns about auditory processing of ryour DD? Or dyslexia? The slow speed you reference could be related to very slow or inefficient word retrieval that underpins dyslexia. The signs of dyslexia for gifted kids are dysgraphia, poor spelling, poor oral reading and difficulty with sounding out nonsense words.

    Oh and btw, the requirement of "below average scores" is nonsense. The scores must show a significant ability/achievement gap for a diagnosis.

    blackcat #189025 04/21/14 12:55 PM
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    I've never seen anything with her speech to worry me and she was an early reader (around age 4)...with fluency scores always in the 98th-99th percentile. She does fine with nonsense words, I think. I think there is something going on in terms of organizing thoughts and sequencing...and her lack of pretend play kind of ties in. She can do pretend play when forced to but clearly isn't that into it. She also has some perfectionistic tendencies and is a big picture thinker...she sees patterns that other people would never notice (such as looking at a piece of sheet music for piano and immediately noticing a pattern in the music), but not necessarily details, and with writing you need details.

    Her piano teacher says she is extremely advanced with music reading ability but has trouble coordinating her two hands, although seems to do better when she is medicated more. Not sure what that means, if anything.

    I wonder if I can just use the writing fluency score to qualify her for an IEP, or if it has to be "written expression" as a whole.

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