I am hoping to get some ideas on ways to improve my sons education.  He is a very bright 7 year old, but is struggling bad in certain areas at school.  Especially reading.  I am a little worried about fatigue possibly playing a role in this.   His IQ levels are normal, so he doesn't neccesarily qualify for any special education, but I know he needs help.  Any suggestions or experiences would be great to hear...Mark

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Mark, I am sorry you are going through this, we are going through it with our 5 year old son as well. Our son is the same as yours, IQ level low/normal, but has extreme difficulty stringing information together when it is verbal (reading, abc's, numbers he seems to get the beginning and end and forget there is a middle part to the sequence), however when it requires little verbal communication and more hands on communication he gets it and does really well, hence we have had to change our strategy alot trying to get him to learn. For instance when you ask him to count 1-20 he will skip a part of it, but when you lay cards out with the numbers on them he can put them in their proper spot.

But as far as the IEP, I believe that regardless of the IQ levels, if your child is struggling the school is required to help, if the teacher also agrees that it is needed. This could be having him do special education for his reading or receiving a special one-on-one teacher/tutor to help him through this. What I have been told is It does not matter if his IQ levels are normal if he is sincerely struggling in a particular spot and has a disability that is shown to potentially cause learning difficulties, they are required to help.

Hope this helps and good luck on your journey! I know they say this boys don't read well sounding out things but read much better with 'site words'...where they recognize the whole word, not saying it sound for sound...

Cori
Thank you Cori. I have definately made a note of verbal and visual means of teaching. That is one of the main things I will bring up in the meeting. Also, I have spoken with the teacher, and she really cares about him and agrees that he does need more help. Thanks again.

Cori said:
Mark, I am sorry you are going through this, we are going through it with our 5 year old son as well. Our son is the same as yours, IQ level low/normal, but has extreme difficulty stringing information together when it is verbal (reading, abc's, numbers he seems to get the beginning and end and forget there is a middle part to the sequence), however when it requires little verbal and more hands on communication he gets it and does really well, hence we have had to change our strategy alot trying to get him to learn. For instance when you ask him to count 1-20 he will skip a part of it, but when you lay cards out with the numbers on them he can put them in their proper spot.

But as far as the IEP, I believe that regardless of the IQ levels, if your child is struggling the school is required to help, if the teacher also agrees that it is needed. This could be having him do special education for his reading or receiving a special one-on-one teacher/tutor to help him through this. What I have been told is It does not matter if his IQ levels are normal if he is sincerely struggling in a particular spot and has a disability that is shown to potentially cause difficulties, they are required to help.

Hope this helps and good luck on your journey! I know they say this boys don't read well sounding out things but read much better with 'site words'...where they recognize the whole word, not saying it sound for sound...

Cori
Brian, have you seen the PPUK Learning and Behaviour toolkit for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy? It has helped our family and Trey's teachers alot....

Regarding the reading with DMD I was told to take the whole word, write it on an index card, and stick it to the object. Stick the word DOOR to the door. This is supposidly the way that many of the boys learn to read. And then after he sees the word for sometime, you take a group of easy words, write them on a individually on large popsicle stick (doctors throat stick) and have them match up the word door (which is written on the popsicle stick) to the door, eventually they will remember the site of the word and once they learn it they won't forget it =)...
Mark
Did your son's school test his achievement scores(obtain grade/age level in reading, math, and writing) as well as his IQ? My understanding is it is the discrepancy between the achievement scores (our school used the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test) and IQ test- which should qualify a child for special services- not just IQ alone. We also have a very bright 7 year old who is struggling with reading, math, and writing. We had him tested at the end of Kindergarten (age 5 yr 7 mon.). His IQ scores placed him in the gifted range- however his achievement scores were only in the average/below average range (showing he was not performing at the level his IQ scores were suggesting) At that time since his achievement scores were still mostly average the school did not recommend special services. I had a feeling though- that my son would fall behind the next year when more reading and math skills would be required of him- so we had him tested again (age 7rs 5 months) this time with a neuropsychologist outside of the school. This time he scored in the below average range in all his achievements and finally met the criteria for Reading and Mathematics Disorder which I'm sure the school will now have to address. We are currently homeschooling, because we will most likely be moving out of state some time next year and did not feel like fighting the Chicago Public schools (which is really struggling right now with special ed. funding). One book we are finding that is working to improve our son's reading fluency is Reading Pathways Simple exercises to improve reading fluency by Dolores G. Hiskes. He enjoys the reading pyramid exercises and is feeling more confident in his ability to decode- we are now expanding to read other books. We also do a lot of sight words as Cori suggested- We found the PPUk learning kit to be helpful as well as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. A guide for Parents and Teachers by James Poysky.

Hope this helps,
Nana
Hi Mark: Is Matthew in 2nd grade? A solid IEP is the best place to start. Under that, you should be able to get additional help. Liam;s first IEP came due to his speech. He talks so fast and his "r"s are crazy. They decided that it was due to his teeth. He's got way to many teeth in his head and some are coming in at strange angles. They when Liam was 8, we got the diagnosis and the entire scope of the IEP changed. He now received physical therapy in school once a week, he is under the eyes of the occupational therapists - they do nothing now because he needs nothing. They have reviewed Liam for adaptive PE, but he doesn;t need that either. But they assess him twice yearly and at other times if anyone at any time thinks he needs it. But, I can say for sure that if the process and those involved find that the DMD is not yet affecting his learning, they will do nothing. All this can be appealed, of course. But, if you think your son needs extra reading help, call the meeting and discuss your feelings. Be pushy - after all, your son deserves the best you and the school can provide. But many public school systems are hurting and they cut programs, the IEP program cannot be apart of those cuts - by law and Federal law to boot.

One thing to try are books on CD. Have Matthew listen while following along in the book. This worked great for Liam. At age 7, the reading process is in the beginning stages and he will catch on, it just takes time. One thing I found with Liam and MATH (I hate math) was that I was putting a lot of pressure of him to learn math. I was creating anxiety in him which made him struggle. I decided to completely back off and his anxiety went away and now he's got a great handle of math. Liam does very very well in school with all As and Bs. But again, it's only 4th grade.

He doesn't like to write, but I am finding out that most of the other 4th graders don't like this either. If there is a very long assignment in school, Matt and I will allow Liam to dictate to us and we will write it down for him. Liam is also give a little extra time on tests that require writing. I cannot get the school to have Liam use the AlphaSmart, but his typing speed is slow, but moving along. They do not think he needs it. So, we help out where we can.

But again, if you feel Matthew needs extra help - call an IEP meeting and see what you can do. The IEP process should not be based on IQ levels. If the reading is a problem affecting his abilities in school, they the school is required to offer services. I'm am not sure if reading would tire him out due to the DMD at this age - I have not heard of this, but ask Matthew's doctor.
Hope this helps - even a little...
Noreen
Wow. That sounded just like what I am going through. Thanks for the information. I will definately keep that in mind.

Nana said:
Mark
Did your son's school test his achievement scores(obtain grade/age level in reading, math, and writing) as well as his IQ? My understanding is it is the discrepancy between the achievement scores (our school used the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test) and IQ test- which should qualify a child for special services- not just IQ alone. We also have a very bright 7 year old who is struggling with reading, math, and writing. We had him tested at the end of Kindergarten (age 5 yr 7 mon.). His IQ scores placed him in the gifted range- however his achievement scores were only in the average/below average range (showing he was not performing at the level his IQ scores were suggesting) At that time since his achievement scores were still mostly average the school did not recommend special services. I had a feeling though- that my son would fall behind the next year when more reading and math skills would be required of him- so we had him tested again (age 7rs 5 months) this time with a neuropsychologist outside of the school. This time he scored in the below average range in all his achievements and finally met the criteria for Reading and Mathematics Disorder which I'm sure the school will now have to address. We are currently homeschooling, because we will most likely be moving out of state some time next year and did not feel like fighting the Chicago Public schools (which is really struggling right now with special ed. funding). One book we are finding that is working to improve our son's reading fluency is Reading Pathways Simple exercises to improve reading fluency by Dolores G. Hiskes. He enjoys the reading pyramid exercises and is feeling more confident in his ability to decode- we are now expanding to read other books. We also do a lot of sight words as Cori suggested- We found the PPUk learning kit to be helpful as well as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. A guide for Parents and Teachers by James Poysky.

Hope this helps,
Nana

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