Thursday, May 7, 2015

Kaleb's Testing

Warning: this post is very real. If you only want to hear the happily ever after, you might want to go back a post and look at Adam's prom pictures or something. This post is about real life with kids from a hard place. (Both have consented to having this information shared.)

 I took Kaleb to a specialist for testing over three weeks. I filled out a survey of skills I've seen him perform and different behaviors he exhibits. The dr. wrote the whole social section and evaluation based on my answers. So, basically he told me what I already knew. Kaleb's self help skills are quite low. He still puts clothes on backward and shoes, cleats and skates on the wrong feet at almost ten years old. He is more like a 5-6 year old in social and self help skills.

The teacher filled out a survey that included a comment that the other kids don't like being with him because of his immature behaviors. "Kaleb is not well received by his peers." That was kind of sad. I mean, he drives me crazy acting so young, but he's a nice kid. I don't want him hurt. Still, not too many ten year old boys are going to put up with a peer who jabbers nonsensically (is that a word?), hops around in circles and rolls around on the ground, asks nonsense questions, repeats back what they say or restates something they just said as a question. Example, another child on the team. "We're up to bat next." Kaleb: "Are we going to get to bat next?" Just as though the boy never said it. Or he will repeat back what someone just said as though he just thought of it himself. Boy: "We're out in the field now." Kaleb; "I think we're in the field now." 

The dr. gave Kaleb reading and math tests that were supposed to be on the fourth grade level. They might have been 15 years ago. But with today's curriculum and common core, they were about second grade level.  He did fine other than reading so fast that he couldn't answer many of the comprehension questions. 

The dr also gave Kaleb a test where the dr. said two words, and Kaleb had to say how they were related. He was given credit for answers that I would not have given him credit for. Like banana/apple. The dr was obviously looking for they were both fruit or could both be eaten. Kaleb's answer was they could both be yellow. Maybe true, but he missed the relevance. Lake/river  "You drive to them." 

I think the most helpful test was the one for inattention and impulsivity. It involved watching a screen and clicking a button when a light flashed above a center line. At times he zoned out on it, and at other times he got impulsive and went click happy. 

The dr pretty much used what the teacher and I said to confirm, well, what we said. For diagnosis he wrote, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, combined type and Adjustment disorder with anxious mood. 

"Kaleb does not understand the normal give and take in social relationships and should be given the opportunity to interact with peers of his own age." 

He already does that through Sunday school, baseball and gymnastics.

I guess I was hoping for something enlightening. Like a processing problem that could be fixed through therapy or something. It's unknown at this time if Kaleb will outgrow these behaviors or not. For now, as always, I'm trying to make the best choices for him as far as schools, recreation etc. He arrives home an hour before I leave to get the girls. So I have some one on one time with him. Often it takes that long to get him focused on anything. And he interacts with me in very young ways.

So basically I have a friendly, nice kid who doesn't know how to relate or cope at his age level. I guess that is better than having a bully or defiant child. I just wish life weren't so hard for him. Most of the time he doesn't realize how others react to him, so maybe it bothers me more than him. But he must wonder why the other guys don't ask him to join them for game and activities.
For myself, I think Kaleb's strengths are (with me) cooperation, a willingness to help, friendliness, interest in what others are doing (too much sometimes), after a pouting/sulking period, doing what he needs to in order to correct a behavior, and curiosity. He likes to run and likes gymnastics, although he's still on level one.

The twins' birthday is the 15th. They are celebrating separately this year. Partly by choice and partly because we've been forced to put some safety precautions in place for times when Kayla interacts with others. The school has had to change things to monitor her for the safety of the other students. Kaleb is having a skating party the day after his birthday. I am worried that with the issues, the other kids won't want to come. Has that ever been a problem for someone reading this blog? We are asking not just his classmates, but also his baseball team.

Summer plans have changed due to issues that are escalating rather than resolving. Both twins were planning to go to a fun Christian camp for a week this summer, but it requires a teacher form if there are any issues. The form was given to Kayla's teacher to fill out about how she interacts with other students. Unfortunately, there was an incident that resulted in deliberate injury to another child and she got her fifth detention/suspension the same day the teacher received the form. It was the second incident within a week. So the teacher could not fill out the form positively, and Kayla will not be able to attend camp. It is a hard lesson in consequences, but so far she does not see it that way. So, lots of work ahead. We've been given the name of a counselor who works with the type issues she is having. But we are not able to get her in to see him for a while. We have lots of fun activities planned for summer, so she has the choice to sabotoge her chances or not. 

I think her  strengths are that she does understand social situations and interactions at her age level. She can be cooperative and helpful. She is a good worker. She enjoys sports although we have not been able to put her back on a team due to aggression. But if she can turn it into positive competition, she should be amazing. She is not sure if she wants to be a runner, soccer player or basketball player. 

While I'm writing this, Jasmine is packing because she has to be at the school by 5:30 a.m. to leave for band competition at Universal Studios in Orlando tomorrow. She'll be back late Saturday.

Jasmine and I have undertaken an activity well out of our comfort zone which we'll share with you once we survive for sure. I am so amazed that she was willing. I mean, it really blows me away because she has a lot of fears. Yet she willingly volunteered to do it with me. Can't wait to share in a few weeks.


Anonymous said...

Praying for your twins. I am sure Jasmine will have a blast and hey can I guess, are you two scuba diving or sky diving? or hey why not both?

God bless


schnitzelbank said...

If you've taken Kayla for counseling with her issues, why not Kaleb? He may be able to learn some social skills from a counselor.

Kathy C. said...

Counseling is not recommended for him. Close monitoring and guidance in social situations is what is recommended at least at this point.

Kathy C. said...

Thank you Erica.

Can't tell. But both of those would certainly be out of our comfort zones. I think we both prefer our feet on solid ground.

Dawn said...

Did you have a private assessment? He may qualify for an IEP under the Other Health Impaired eligibility. Did he get an adaptive behavior score?

Kathy C. said...

He has a 504 plan right now. I'll have to check on an IEP. He's totally mainstreamed right now and gets extra time for testing.

Dr. Hopkins said...

I'm a psychologist and can offer some insight about the testing. Keep in mind that answers that deserve credit or partial credit are dictated in our manuals. Kaleb got partial credit for offering concrete similarities. Full credit would have been awarded for more abstract answers. You are absolutely right that our curriculums are demanding much more of children now and some students like Kaleb will struggle. This is not necessarily because of a disability or even delay- the curriculum is not developmentally appropriate! Finally, ADHD affects many areas of functioning including academics, executive functioning, socialization, and emotional reasoning- not just focus and behavioral control. So he struggles in social situations because he has poor cognitive and behavioral controls. It is not uncommon for children to develop strategies such as repeating what other children say or copy what they do in order to manage internal disorganization and try to "fit in". Participation in a social skills group is often VERY helpful for such children to develop more appropriate compensatory skills.

Kathy C. said...

Thank you for those comments. I agree that our curriculum is not developmentally appropriate. I used to teach. I do not ever see myself going back to teaching because I can teach the way that is expected today. There is no time for exploring or learning through play or any of the things that would really benefit children.

I couldn't actually think of any of the word correlations that were given. That's why I gave an example of the kind of answers he gave.

It's interesting that the copying is a strategy for him. That helps me know that I need to suggest some other ways for him to engage. I have suggested to him at times that if he wants to get into a conversation he should listen a few minutes and then ask a question or make a comment about what is being talked about.

Kathy C. said...

PS his overall IQ is listed as 110.

Dr. Hopkins said...

Wow, that's a strong IQ given his presenting concerns! So we have a high average IQ, but social-emotional immaturity and the executive function challenges of ADHD (focus, impulse control, organization, rapid problem solving, working memory, etc). No wonder that he appears to be more delayed than he is- that's a significant discrepancy in capacities. I'd look into sensory integration strategies to help organize him too. There are also some great books for kids with ADHD that will help him understand his challenges and how to compensate for them. I've discovered with a positive attitude, self- knowledge is power. Best of luck.

schnitzelbank said...

Dr. Hopkins, would you say that some therapy could help Kaleb with his dx?

Kathy C. said...

S. it feels like you are trying to over ride me on my own blog. I know my son better than any one else. Dr. H already gave his opinion. But even he is not trying to belittle what I am trying to do with Kaleb.

Felicia said...

Unfortunately therapy is way overrated, I haven't had much help in that area. I would make his interactions with his peers (siblings) much more purposeful. Realizing where his deficits are should help your family to work with him. Give him the appropriate responses and guide him in social interactions. As a family you spend much more time with him than a therapists would during their sessions.

Kathy C. said...

I agree Felicia. Dr. H's summary is very insightful. I'd love to know what books he'd recommend.

Guiding him in his social responses can be challenging as you know. Lots of practice with that tonight. And hearing what Dr. H said about him repeating to fit in, I've asked him several times what other comment he could make that would encourage his siblings to interact more with him in the conversation.

Hope you are getting some answers about L.

schnitzelbank said...

I'm "overriding" you on your blog? How does that even work? I am not Kaleb's parent. You are. You make the decisions. But I think you have a very sensitive view of blogging. When you write in a public forum, discussion can ensue. It doesn't threaten your position as a parent in any way. Get a grip.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you've tried everything with Kaleb, but is there any way that you could try to get him to have playdates with younger children? Have him join classes like karate that as a beginner he would be with younger kids?

And for both Kaleb and Kayla, my mother is a psychologist and at one point mentioned how some psychologists have "social skills" groups. They're usually about a 3-5 kids who are struggling to make and keep friends. Some social skill groups are also a lot bigger. Basically they just work with social and communication skills, teaching kids how to have conversations and realize when others are not interested, things like that. That could help a lot. I would ask the school psychologists and local psychologists if they know of any. Some may even start some for you if they realize they have a few patients that could work well with that. I know you said you didn't want a psychologist for Kaleb, but it wouldn't be more focused on his social skills rather than personal issues. Even if not, it could work for Kayla. Best of luck.

Kathy C. said...

Good suggestions. Thank you. I have been searching for a social group and am going to try and talk to the school because they might have others kids who need this. And maybe he could be a helper with a younger grade since he is a good reader. That's one reason I'm not going with counseling/therapy. I don't want to emphasize that he has problems or is different. I want the focus to be on helping him learn to relate with others.