Well I just got back from LA where I took my son to see the neuropsychologist a UCLA again. It was not a good visit. That’s wrong…it wasn’t a bad visit it was just an overwhelming visit. I said on an earlier blog post that my son took two intelligence tests, the Stanford Binnet and a test referred to as “The Gold Standard.” I also said that he did better on the Gold Standard than he did on the Stanford. That was my misinterpretation of the doctor’s comments. Until yesterday the doctor had only given me general information about the results of the testing, pointing out that kid’s test performances can vary greatly due to mood, health and the like which is why she insists on doing lots of tests over a long period of time before giving any kind of evaluation. We’ll be testing some more next month but now she feels comfortable enough to go over some results with me.
There is no question about the fact that she was enthusiastic and excited after my son took the Gold Standard (a day after he had taken the Stanford). But it was the kind of excitement that doctors exhibit when they’ve just been told that they get to operate on a never before seen brain tumor. I’m exaggerating a little here but you get my point, my son is “interesting.” He did exceptionally well on the Stanford Binnet. According to his test result he should be applying to NASA any day now. But the Gold Standard told a very different story. He did fairly well in ONE area of the Gold Standard and exceptionally poorly in every other area. Testers expect to see a slight difference in the results of these two tests but not anything this dramatic. Basically it confirms my concerns, he is an incredibly gifted child with a severe learning disability. On the Gold Standard test they say that a difference of 15 points between two areas of testing is significant. My son has differences of 80 points. Academically he’s testing at average, slightly above average, and occasionally below average levels. The problem she told me (rather emphatically) is not dyslexia. However he does have some major problems with visual spatial stuff. Here’s an example of the problem. Given the lines below see if you can see if the first symbol is repeated in the line that it’s in:
! ) # ^ & !
? # @ ! * >
In the first line the exclamation mark is repeated, in the second line the question mark is not. Given a page of these it took my son an hour to do two problems. So as she pointed out, an accelerated academic program is not what he needs. On the other hand his intelligence and his ability to conceptualize is so high that he is destine to become extremely bored (and thus disruptive) in any class that is reading books about Dick and Jane or first grade level social studies. He’s not the most focused child in the world, she pointed out (as if I didn’t know this) and he needs to have a teacher who is capable of keeping him on task. That may mean that he gets to stand up at his desk instead of sitting because he does have a lot of energy but she dismissed this as a normal thing for gifted children, especially boys. She agreed with previous evaluators that he has some characteristics that are commonly found in children with Aspergers (a high functioning level of autism) but she doesn’t think he actually has Aspergers. Nonetheless he definitely needs a little help socially. She thinks that I should really work with him on typing and should even allow him to have a laptop in the classroom. “Writing legibly is not always the main point of an educational lesson. If you want him to get whatever’s being taught you have to be sure that he’s not so stressed out about how his letters look that he won’t be able to concentrate on anything else.”
She then pulled out a binder full of notes that she’d taken down during his session and said, “He told me and I quote, sometimes I obsess about words and it’s hard to get them down on a piece of paper. I have a lot of annoying problems.”
I swear, just writing that makes me want to cry. Of course there are programs, schools and specialists that can help him with his issues. Just none where I live. What I’m trying to say is that I think I’m going to have to move. Maybe I’ll find something as close as Silicon Valley. I’ve never really wanted to live in ANY kind of valley but there are worse fates. But I may find that the best programs for my son are a little farther away than that. I know they have lots of stuff in LA (I have never wanted to live in LA either). Of course there are places outside of California that would be good for my son too. It’s just that the Bay Area is my home and the idea of leaving is…hard. I did fall in love with Seattle when I was touring and their schools do have a great reputation, plus housing is cheaper in WA and they don’t have any State income tax and their health care is da bomb. So maybe…
I don’t know, as I said before I’m overwhelmed. I love my son so much, furthermore I like him. I like who he is as a person but I’ve got to say, it’s hard to be his mother sometimes. But then again it’s hard to be anyone’s mother (just ask my mom).
I could go on an on about this but I won’t. Hopefully Passion, Betrayal And Killer Highlights will sell really well and lead to a book contract that will make all of this a less financially daunting if nothing else (hidden subtext: buy my books, buy my books).
Life’s an interesting journey, n’est pas?
Tomorrow Alina Adams will be blogging here and (per my request) will be keeping it light because I seriously need a double shot of escapism.
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