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badmommy
badmommy , Parent asks:
Q:

My 9 year old son with ADHD is reading Shakespeare but can't spell.  School's not buying that he's gifted in any way.

Isn't the definition of a learning disability when your ability far surpasses your performance?  My 9 year old son has ADHD and OCD (Obessive Compulsive disorder).  The OCD I suspected by the time he was 18 months old or so- he'd have to line his bath toys up on the ledge of the tub in a particular order and touch each one three times each before he'd get out...but that's just one example.)  The ADHD became more noticable last year, and he's been treated for it.  He has horrific handwriting and his spelling is almost as bad.  He can only remember the proper spelling of words for the test, and sometimes he still gets D's.  By the time a couple of weeks have gone by it's like he never saw those spelling words in his life.  However, the kid loves to read things that are far beyond his grade level- like the Endocrinology Journal and Shakespeare.  He has The Complete Works and eats it up, and he reads extremely well and understands what he's reading.  For example, he noticed that often there'll be characters who "bite their thumb" at other people, and my son says, "They bite their thumb instead of giving the person the finger!"  and I tell him, "well, that was the same thing as giving someone the finger back then."  So not only could this kid understand the words, but he understood the spirit of what they meant.  He has a 504 in place for OT but school refuses to consider that he might be gifted.  And his teacher thinks ADHD is fake and caused by bad parenting!  Any advice?
Member Added on Dec 14, 2012
I finally sought out private testing and paid for it myself...to the tune of $1200.  Ugh.  It showed exactly what I suspected.  He's reading at the level of a 17 year old but his processing speed is one step above comatose, and they've suggested I get updated neurological testing for disgraphia.  The kids have to bring books from home to read in their spare time at school and my son's current choice is Michio Kaku's "Physics of the Impossible". He just can't get into it when they read what he perceives to be "baby books" in class.  Because he doesn't score very high on the quizzes involving the baby books, his teacher has the attitude that he's just carrying the physics book around with him as an accessory, like a designer handbag.  It makes me want to pull my hair out.  But the testing I paid for spells it right out in the summary:  My son needs to be classified as learning disabled, no ifs, ands or buts.  It's a shame that I had to do the testing on my own to get anyone to pay attention to what was going on.
In Topics: My Relationship with my child's school, My gifted child, ADHD & attention issues
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Wayne Yankus
Jun 4, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Ask for a child study team evaluation of your son.  I would start there. Since he has a 504, he might benefit from further evaluation for an Individual Education Plan.  Ask your principal.

Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics

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Additional Answers (7)

badmommy
badmommy , Parent writes:
I did that in writing to the principal...twice.  The second time was via certified mail because after three weeks she never responded.  She hasn't responded to the certified letter either.  I'm thinking at this point I may need to hire an attorney.  Maybe she'll respond to the attorney's letters.
> 60 days ago

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MimiR
MimiR writes:
Aspie might be more correct than OCD.  Those are autistic spectrum traits, too.  So is the dysgraphia.

I was excluded from my elementary GT program on the basis of my handwriting.  Seriously.  I also got a 1580 on my SAT.  Ahem.

I don't see the school as being any good for him at any point.  They're not actually helping him in his weak subjects, and they're not teaching him anything in his strong ones.  So why is he still there?

Homeschool, and remediate the handwriting (I recommend Italic) and the spelling (I like Pollard's for this) on your own, and let him progress in his strengths at his own speed.  He will be much happier and much more successful later in life.

I have a strong feeling, though, that given that the ADHD "just became evident" that it's not ADHD at all.  There's a good chance that he feels like his skin is about to crawl off his bones at school because he's so bored and frustrated.  Medication is not the answer to that!  Asking him to endure this kind of educational mismatch is close to abuse, and he is reacting like an abused kid.  Get him out of the toxic environment, and I bet that those ADHD traits will disappear.

I say this with all kindness as a person who has had a hard time forgiving her parents for keeping her in school when the setting was so inappropriate--this will NOT get better with time, and it won't get better when honors classes are available, either.  Your child is 1 in 1000 or 1 in 10000, and he still won't have any intellectual equals, much less be in an environment that supports his dysgraphia, too.

GET HIM OUT OF THERE!  Before it's too late.  His acting out is a cry for help.  Listen to it.
> 60 days ago

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Aunty-Sammy
Aunty-Sammy writes:
Your son has special needs and needs the correct help and support, I agree with the other comment I think he could well have Aspergers syndrome or mild autism with the lining up of the toys, I think the problems with spelling also indicate Dyslexia, and the poor handwriting is also a sign of dyslexia and even dyspraxia a co-ordination disorder that causes difficulties with physical tasks especially those requiring fine motor skills such as writing, getting dressed etc.
Dyspraxia causes difficulty with movement, fine motor skills, planning and organisation, thinking and preception and can relate to Aspergers, Dyslexia, Autism, and ADHD, children with dyspraxia often also have low muscle tone and can suffer with glue-ear and related hearing difficulties as well,
I would have your son reassessed as he may have 1 or all of the above. Good luck and let me know the outcome.
> 60 days ago

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Aunty-Sammy
Aunty-Sammy writes:
Also forgot to say once you have a diagnosis get your son an IEP in place and then find a school either structured to his needs perhaps with specialist teaching or a mainstream school with a good Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), where he will recieve good additional support in the classroom or extra help with spelling and the like. He will learn better and you will all be happier, good luck.
> 60 days ago

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dev1999
dev1999 writes:
He probably has Dysgraphia.
> 60 days ago

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Lalysa
Lalysa , Parent writes:
Do not give up. You're not badmommy, change your name to mom's intuition and don't give up.  I do not know if your aware but make friends with the wrightslaw special education law and from emotions to advocacy.  You can have the school test him, or at least to make his assignment with modifications or accommodations,  don't let the school lose your son in the system.  Read these books as you read I bet you will find how you can make it work for you.  He has wonderful abilities, he just learns differently.
> 60 days ago

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lms1949
lms1949 , Teacher writes:
Driven to Distraction by E.M Hallowell, M.D., and J.J. Ratey, M.D. is a great resource for anyone wondering about the impact of ADD/ADHD on children and adults.

I had to wait until I was almost 60-years old to discover that I wasn't 'broken' just 'different'. I learned to dislike and distrust public school because we didn't know in the 50s anything about this. I was the perpetual 'bad' child in trouble and didn't understand why.

I was reading the Harvard Classics and the Compton's Enclyclopedia before third grade. My favorite thing to do was to follow the "See Also:" at the bottom of the encyclopedia article. My handwriting was chicken scratchin' and I couldn't spell to save my life.

Like most of adults that weren't diagnosed as children, I learned to compensate for my weaknesses. I am a good speller now although my 'eye' often confuses me as to whether I spelled a word correctly. It was when I got good and mad at always failing at spelling that I learned to 'see, say, listen, and feel' how words are spelled. Using multiple modalities to learn was something I 'fell into' as there were no LD classrooms back then. Handwriting changed, too, with lots of determination on my part and the natural maturation that comes with getting older.

Find yourself a supportive, therapeutic medical team to help you and your son deal with the challenges that ADD/ADHD bring. For me the combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and medication has been a wonderful gift even this late in life.
> 60 days ago

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