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smartyjones

neuropsych testing and school plans

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so - i know that neuropsych testing may simple show pandas symptoms that may dissipate as the child heals -so, may give a picture of pandas and not necessarily the child. we're at a point that it's all rollled into one anyway.

 

but -- i think we're at a point that we need it to work on some issues with ds with school in general and with respect to writing activities. today, in doing work with me, he wrote a simple 7 word sentence as an answer to an essay question (2nd grade level). when he dictates to me -- it's a beautiful, well organized, insightful paragraph.

 

i am a huge fan of ross greene - who generally states is all lagging skills and unresolved problems - so why not just simply work on those. to me, it's easy to see those lagging skills and unresolved problems that ds needs help finding solutions to. the school is not even close to that line of thinking. i think we need some sort of official validation. of course, i realize we need to be prepared that testing may also just leave us with unanswered questions as well.

 

please -- those who have done such testing -- can you tell me your experiences and thoughts? thanks.

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We had neuropsych testing done on DS during the height of exacerbation. We did not know he had PANDAS at the time. I don't know that I'd do it again during exacerbation because the results are not really valid now. The testing we had done on DS was very thorough and we ended up w/ about 35 pages of report. It told us DS was Aspergers and bipolar, which he is not. It also was a very thorough in educational testing. The neuropsych told us DS was at high risk for disorder of written expression, which is not even close to true. Our DS was writing beautifully in 1st grade, well beyond grade level. His hand writing was atrocious. If your child is 'recovering' it might be more beneficial. I cannot recommend it when your child is untreated and/or in exacerbation. We spent $3000 out of pocket plus travel expenses to travel from MI to DC to see a top neuropsych. There is nothing that we can even use now. One thing we found out, though, is DS is gifted. That giftedness has saved his behind from getting behind in school when he was not functioning very well. He's in 2nd grade now. If you need ammo for school help, you'll probably get what you are looking for. We didn't get anywhere w/ the school because our DS was functioning beyond grade level even though he was a personal mess.

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We did it just as DS was beginning to come out of The Exacerbation To End All Exacerbations (TETEAE), and he was still definitely "under the influence" of some of his highest anxiety ever. It was required, however, to acquire and implement an IEP that would hopefully enable him to attend school again, so we went for it.

 

Fortunately, we were able to do sort of the "bare minimum" of required testing at the school, by the school psychologist who DS had known for more than 5 years, so he was relatively comfortable with her. Plus, frankly, I think she may have even bent the rules a bit to accommodate him while administering the testing due to his anxiety level at the time.

 

Later, when we were sent by our new psych to a private neuropsych testing firm for an eval and possible subsequent testing (she was concerned that our existing accommodations were insufficient for DS at school and that we would likely need to "gear up" and gain some additional advocacy before transitioning to high school), we found that 1) private testing was going to be very expensive and 2) would likely require multiple sessions, which likely would have been difficult for DS, especially with a psychologist with whom he didn't already have some sort of relationship. Fortunately, the neuropsych we met with was an awesome, honest guy who, after meeting with us and reading over DS's existing IEP paperwork, concluded on his own that, unless the high school gave us trouble in terms of implementing the existing IEP accommodations, we were probably covered pretty well already, and additional testing wasn't necessary at the time. His take on it was that the goal of most testing is for advocacy, and because we were fortunate enough to not be experiencing push-back from the school, we weren't really in need of additional advocacy, at least not for the time being.

 

Yes, I think the testing sort of showed DS at his most dysfunctional, so I suppose it's not a measure that I would want everyone throughout his life, for the remainder of his academic career, even, to define him. Again, our situation was somewhat atypical and fortunate that this school psych had known him before TETEAE, so she was able to interpret the test results and add some background to the narrative of the test that basically said, this is a kid who has special needs when he's ramped up, he's not always ramped up, but here's what it looks like when he is, and here's why he needs accommodations.

 

Bottom line was, the testing demonstrated that, via verbal scores, DS was "profoundly gifted," and via spatial scores, he was "average;" it was the chasm between the two that supported (statistically, anyway) his "right" to the IEP. The psychologist's take on it -- and of course I lapped this up -- was that, in a healthier period, DS's spatial scores would likely have turned out higher, and if his verbal scores were that high even in the high-anxiety period, imagine where they might land otherwise?!

 

So - BONUS! Now we knew quantifiably that DS was bright (and so did the school, which is a blessing when he's in a bad place and failing to finish homework or staring blankly at a quiz for a full class period), and that when he was in exacerbation, there was a verifiable "gulf" in his processing that secured the IEP for him.

 

From what you've shared thus far about your DS's school situation, it seems as though you might need the testing to successfully advocate for an IEP for him. I guess I'm pretty pragmatic about things like this . . . the end justifies the means, and all that. My bet would be that the testing will tell you some "good" stuff, too, about your DS's ultimate capabilities, as well as potentially highlight any current deficits that accommodations may support.

 

Good luck!

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While my son already had an IEP for developmental delay, the school district paid for an outside neuropsych evaluation. We did not now what had happened to him at the time but the school was not agreeing with the labels given to him by other outside evaluators - bipolar, autistic, schizophrenic. My ds was/still is/in a full exacerbation for quite a long time and his symptoms are constantly changing. The testing did help to expose some teaching strategies that were beneficial if they could get him to attend. Unlike the others here, my ds was on grade level at the end of kindergarten and his symptoms were so debilitating that he could not function to learn. We are two years later (2nd grade)with a child at the end of kindergarten level.

 

Being a previous reading specialist and teacher, I know that an outside evaluation will be helpful in obtaining aid for your son. The school district does not like outside evaluations. They like to test their own. First, I recommend writing a letter to the principal indicating your concerns and ask for a team meeting/case study. By law the district must give you a meeting because a parent requested it. This doesn't mean aid will be given but it definitely is a starting point to air your concerns with the teacher, administrator, psychologist, social worker, etc. I hope this is helpful information for you.

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At the time we did this testing my son would have been considered 2E. It was interesting and informative for me because I was blaming his see saw school work on lasck of motivation, laziness, perhaps ADHD.

 

One section of test was very informative - they test how well you can do fine motor, at the same time as spacial processing. He couldn't do it at all. Bottom 2% and bottom 5% on the two sections that measure this. He would always do all his math in his head - pretty complex stuff that I could not do in my head - get it right or very close to right most of the time and then write down just the answer (and loose 50% of the credit for not showing his work!) We thought either he was really smart or very lazy - or both - turns out he just can't write when he is doing most math. Its very difficult for him.

 

I like to think he's really smart for doing long equations and word problems in his head, but he probably has been compensating for so long that he has developed other skills that enable him to hold all the numbers in his head for longer than most people can.

 

Made me feel pretty bad for all those times I'd been tough on him for being to lazy to write anything down - or erasing his work and telling him to write it neater ! (bad mommy..I cringe when I think about it - but who would guess that there is separte part of you brain for where these two things overlap?) He can write and draw just fine, and do math just fine, but not at the same time.

 

I also cringe thinking about all the stress and self esteem issues he probably suffered when the teacher would ask thme to do a simple task like copying a table, or a graph from the board. Its different than drawing a picture, you have to us spatial ability to copy stuff. Pooor thing! So I have more compasion for him now.

 

However, he refuses to use the alpha smart or get copies of notes for stuff that goes on the board. So, he just gets a pass from me if I see that he is marked off for not showing work and stuff liek that - however - he is MUCH better with it now - two years later.

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Yeah we did neuropsych testing. We did not know about Pandas at the time.

 

After spending $2,800, we found out that our dd has "OCD tendencies" and Anxiety. She is also extremely gifted. Although we were worried about Aspergers etc, we are glad that we were steered in the right direction. The dx of anxiety and OCD sent us looking for Pandas..... I did not find it otherwise helpful.

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I am forever grateful we did this testing on our dd 9 at the time. We found a top pediatric neuropsychiatric dr that our insurance paid for, ($2500) Not only have we used this "very, very" detailed report for her 504 plan at school, but with her therapist, psychiatrist, neurologist, and pediatrician. I have copies on me for when we have to go to the er, for the er dr's to get a quick understanding of who she is. I have copies of every lab, hospital records, test, etc. and this report is by far the most important piece of my file. It also helped me to understand her much better. :D

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A Neuropsych eval was the best thing I ever did for my dd to get her the support she needed in school. My dd was not in the midst of her onset, or, a terrible, horrible, awful flare when I had it done. She was just her usual cognitively impaired by PANDAS self. It explained in micro detail every single area that is required for academics. Luckily, my dd had an evaluation done prior to kindergarten for the gifted program in school so I had a baseline for her. She exhibits scores that went from "highly superior" in all indices to average, below average, borderline impaired and impaired. Seeing that stopped the school administrators cold. They were able to see exactly where dd had dropped off and what her biggest problem areas are now (working memory, executive function, processing speed and math). That test combined with her psychiatrist's recommendation that she have a one on one dedicated aide got her that aide (along with the help of a special ed. atty.). I think it is a critical piece of the equation when a school district is pushing back, as they were in our case. I think this test should be done where the school is just not listening.

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Ditto your comments. My son has had Psychoeducation evals done by school at least 3 times and huge Neuropsych evals from the "outside" at least 2-3 times. He is in 7th grade now and we held him back one year. This is over 9 years of schooling. The last big testing was right before middle school. I expect we will do it again before high school. We always learn something from the testing. It guides his IEP. We learned his strengths to use to our advantage. Know his weaknesses to work on and continue to see progress with each subsequent round of testing.

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