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As I noted in a previous topic, my DS is really doing well and we are so, SO grateful! Of course, you keep shooting for the moon, though, hoping that you can continue to make gains and further enrich his life!

 

Here's my question. DS is in honors and AP courses in his junior year of high school, and the daily reading requirements in terms of volume are off the charts! In addition to his other subjects, the English and History cirriculums expect the kids to read, easily, 50 to 100 pages of text every night.

 

DS has a very expansive vocabulary, and his reading comprehension is well above normal, as well; however, his reading speed is abysmal! It seems to be mostly tied to perfectionism, but he reads incredibly slowly and carefully so as not to miss anything, and if he gets distracted at all, he'll sometimes go back and reread a paragraph or even a whole page, just to make sure he's gotten all the information/material! Drives me bonkers, and it's going to put him further and further behind if he can't figure out a way to speed it all up!

 

He's been given permission to use audio books for the fiction reading in his classes; however, that doesn't seem to be an option, really, for text books and teacher handouts. There have been times with DH or I would read aloud to him the assigned reading for a class, or take turns reading aloud with DS, and that helped drive the pace a bit, too. However, that isn't always an option and, frankly, we're hopeful that he'll be ready to go away to college and at that point, we won't be around to read his assignments aloud to him! So he's got to develop his own skills in this regard.

 

I've reached out to the school and its reading specialist, but thus far the feedback has been that most reading programs are focused upon learning disabilities or comprehension issues, rather than speed. Some OCD experts have suggested that one method to prevent "lingering" or rereading is to have him strike through what he's read as he goes along with a thick black marker, but that doesn't seem practical, either, as he needs access to the material again as text evidence for assigned papers, and defacing a book or copying the whole thing so he can mark it up isn't practical, either. I remember the days of "Evelyn Wood Speed-Reading" courses, but I don't know if that exists anymore or if it might not've been complete bunk to begin with. And do you think something like that would help DS?

 

Do any of you have experience or ideas in this regard? Thanks, as always, for your input!

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hey Nancy,

We had the exact same problem. Some other lyme moms I know steered me towards checking eyesight, but not the 20/20 kind - we went to a specialist and my daughter was found to have "convergence insufficiency", which is quite common and especially in lyme kids. It is correctable too, with special glasses and other exercises and light therapy, etc. I believe the cause is neurological in nature, but the symptoms are a child who is not enjoying reading, constantly re-reading, reading slowly, etc. The words jump around on the page, or go in and out of focus. Most kids are so used to it that they don't even know they have it. Check it out online, there is a lot of info.

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Two ideas came to mind - the first may be a total fail but it comes from the exercises my kids do for their CI. On several exercises, they have to read out letters to the sound of a metronome - it helps them keep pace. It could help, or it could be totally distracting. But thought I'd toss it out. You can google and download metronomes for your PC (free).

 

The other idea your DS may ballk at because it's what my kids did in 2nd grade, but if he's struggling enough, he may be willing to try it. Take a firm piece of paper - posterboard or a cereal box weight. Cut it the width of a typical text book page and the height of maybe half the page. Then cut a window in it that will allow one sentence to show thru. Slide the window down the page as he reads, blocking out the other sentences above and below. This helps kids with CI because their eyes are prone to jumping off the line they're reading and they lose their place a lot. But if the surrounding text is distracting your DS for some reason - OCD or adhd or something else - then blocking everything else out would serve the same function as blacking things out with a marker but not destroy the textbook.

 

Ok - one more idea - Kindles have been a big help for my kids because they can enlarge the font and change the brightness of the background. Maybe check with the IEP team and see if electronic versions of the textbooks are available for an e-reader?

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Hey Nancy-

 

good advice from above.

 

I continue to wonder if my dd has some eye issue. She also is an avid reader (for pleasure), and has great comprehension and retention. BUT she really prefers to read with a bookmark as a slider, or sometimes she says she loses her place. Our "mainstream" eye doc did a thorough exam and felt she was totally fine. So for now, I am in a wait and see.

 

My older dd, who sounds very much like your son in so many ways, honor student, perfectionist, etc- did go through a period (when she was not as well pandas wise) where she really wanted us to read her homework (novels) to her. I felt the same as you- great, but sometimes (most) I didn't like the book, and obviously while only in 6th grade at the time, I know how these things become crutches or habits. We required her to read the chapters on her own first, and then if she wanted we would re read the chapters aloud. She was always afraid she would miss something, and her class was very (ridiculously) challenging.

 

So, my thought to you is this- your son is doing awesome, his grades are awesome- let it go for a while? I mean, in today's time, most parents are WAY into their kids business like our parents never were. With us having kids that have had some "issues", we are hyper focused. I do think we all have challenges- and I know you want to help him, but I think the way to do that, is as you do, move toward him having absolutely no accommodations. If possible he should read the fiction work, and then use the audio book as reinforcement. A slider is a great idea- he can use that the rest of his life. Tell him, he obviously knows, that you notice this issue, you see where it could eat up a lot of time, and cause stress- and then maybe let it be unless he really wants the help. I guess if it is an ocd thing- you know what to do- and that is to NOT re read (by using LLM's method)- and if that means grades suffer a bit so be it.

 

So- I am not meaning to sound harsh- just giving you food for thought. I am so glad you stay around on the board, as the moment I see a post by you, I know I am in for insight or a little humor!

 

Keep us posted.

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Thanks! I knew I could count on you guys!

 

Laure -- I don't think its convergence insufficiency based on his overall profile (no lyme here, among other things), plus he and I have discussed whether or not the words or letters "jump around," etc. in the past, and he's adamant that's not the case. I had him take a test on line at one point, too, based on a previous post in that regard, and he passed with flying colors. I'm pretty sure it's the OCD/perfectionism at work.

 

LLM -- I don't know that he'll go along with the "cut-out," but he might agree to use a straight edge or ruler. The metronome sounds fascinating, frankly, and he frequently seeks other sensory input while he's working on other subjects, so who's to say it might not help rather than distract? I think we might give that a try and see what happens! I'll let you guys know.

 

DCMom -- I don't see your input as harsh, and I completely get where you're coming from. We have long since set aside concerns over grades, and we are all about getting him completely independent, mostly so that going away to college is a full-on option for him. He read a required novel entirely on his own over the summer, but that pace was manageable; the daily pace of these AP classes, frankly, is not. It's not that we want to enable him; what we want to do is move him along! Or, more accurately, help him to continue to develop his own skills with respect to moving along! So far, he's been able to do that with math, organization, writing papers, etc. It is only with this reading stuff that he gets dragged down to a snail's pace. And he's the one that cares about his grades, but somehow that doesn't translate to "inspiration" for yielding to the reality of the situation for him. I.e., he's historically not been the kind of person who actually "learns the hard way." We're also trying to wean him off accommodations because, quite frankly, in college, there likely won't be any. But then, too, his materials will, for the most part, be e-reader compatible rather than in voluminous Xeroxed and stapled "hand-outs," and e-readers do provide some features (as highlighted by LLM) that make the reading less cumbersome and overwhelming.

 

We'll try some of the suggestions and see if they work. I'm still entertaining the possibility of a "speed-reading" course of some sort, too. Thinking that maybe, if through a course curriculum, he is REQUIRED to read through a passage at a certain pace and receives practice of this sort in an enforced way, he might not come to realize that his comprehension really doesn't suffer due to an increased speed, and that might make him more willing to "speed" through his course materials?

 

Off to dig the metronome out of the closet! :-)

 

Thanks again!

Edited by MomWithOCDSon
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Hi Nancy!

Once again totally feeling like peas in a pod with your son. Gotta say I experience this badly when in exacerbation, but it backs off when I am well. As a reader/writer, I am usually able to tear through written material and i know how annoying it to not be able to do that.

I just wanted to say, that while I absolutely think it is so great you have college in mind and want him to be completely independent so that homework etc. is not hard in the transition, there are actually *tons* of opportunity for accommodation and adjustment in college. I don't use many, but as I am established with the disability office for accommodations for the physical symptoms I experience, I am familiar with other students who need reading material/formats adjusted, separate testing locations for extra time, extended homework time, etc. And all of these people are very bright, just coping with mental illness, developmental problems, or learning disabilities. Just wanted to let you know this in case knowing that there is some flexibility for the future will take some of the pressure off.

Your son always sounds so bright and motivated! I can't wait for the day when you start posting on here that he got in everywhere he applied :D

emmalily

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Hey Nancy- I am glad you didn't think I was too harsh (being "harsh" with my kids is actually a skill I have learned as an ocd parent, didn't come naturally, so still sensitive to it).

 

From what you are saying, you seem pretty convinced this is an ocd thing- so why not attack it with the usual ERP? I am sure you, or your therapist would be able to come up with some exposures, and this is probably, in the realm of ocd, a somewhat easy thing to beat (?)

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Hey Nancy- I am glad you didn't think I was too harsh (being "harsh" with my kids is actually a skill I have learned as an ocd parent, didn't come naturally, so still sensitive to it).

 

From what you are saying, you seem pretty convinced this is an ocd thing- so why not attack it with the usual ERP? I am sure you, or your therapist would be able to come up with some exposures, and this is probably, in the realm of ocd, a somewhat easy thing to beat (?)

Yes, we're going to try for some new ERP strategies in this regard. Actually, the striking through with a black marker was one of the old ones. We just need a new plan. That's one reason I'm actually thinking about putting him into a speed-reading course . . . seems like the ultimate ERP exercise "to fit the crime" to me! Enforced reading at a prescribed pace, demonstration of comprehension, etc. We've found a recommended one on line that might fit the bill, though we have to wait until Winter Break for him to take it on, given as it is a 10-day program.
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Hi Nancy!

 

Once again totally feeling like peas in a pod with your son. Gotta say I experience this badly when in exacerbation, but it backs off when I am well. As a reader/writer, I am usually able to tear through written material and i know how annoying it to not be able to do that.

 

I just wanted to say, that while I absolutely think it is so great you have college in mind and want him to be completely independent so that homework etc. is not hard in the transition, there are actually *tons* of opportunity for accommodation and adjustment in college. I don't use many, but as I am established with the disability office for accommodations for the physical symptoms I experience, I am familiar with other students who need reading material/formats adjusted, separate testing locations for extra time, extended homework time, etc. And all of these people are very bright, just coping with mental illness, developmental problems, or learning disabilities. Just wanted to let you know this in case knowing that there is some flexibility for the future will take some of the pressure off.

 

Your son always sounds so bright and motivated! I can't wait for the day when you start posting on here that he got in everywhere he applied :D

 

emmalily

Thanks, as always, Emmalilly, for your timely and valuable perspective! He, too, can tear through reading something he WANTS to read; it's the stuff that interests him less (like History) that has him slogging through mud, uphill, both ways! :-)

 

Hope college is going well for you this year!

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LLM -- We tried the metronome tonight . . . an electronic, on-line one on his computer while he read in the same room. He claims it did help him keep pace a bit better, so we'll keep trying that as one strategy until we find it isn't helping anymore. He frequently does his math and science work to blaring music (Fleet Foxes, so I'm not complaining!), so I think the additional sensory input is perhaps helpful to him, rather than distracting, and hopefully the beat is helping him set a rhythm with this less-than-exciting reading material, too!

 

Thanks again for the suggestion!

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Nancy,

 

I am so interested to follow this thread and find out what works for your son. As you know, I am having trouble with my 14 yr old right now and one of his issues is perfectionism in his school work. He is constantly worried that he may do something to make a bad grade or miss something important in class. What you are describing sounds exactly like perfectionist OCD to me. As usual I think you are right on the mark. From our experience in CBT / ERP he will have to come up with some method to read through a paragraph and not "be allowed" to re-read when he feels that urge. Of course you know this. The challenge will be how to monitor that. The danger lies (from what our therapist says) in this becoming such an obessive trait that he is no longer efficient in his work. Our therapist told my son that when he goes to college he can't be successful if his perfectionist OCD prevents him from being able to complete his assignments in an efficient manner. The concept seemed to make sense to my son at the time. Seems he is having trouble with it again though. This is such a difficult OCD trait to deal with. From the outside it seems like a good thing for a kid to want to do, but really it prevents true progress. Ugg....I'm sorry you are dealing with it. Let me know how it goes.

 

Dedee

Edited by Dedee
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Nancy- sure you will figure this out, this year.

 

I find it so interesting how much our kiddos have in common. My older one has been really, really great pandas-wise for a couple of years now- but she still has a "perfectionist" personality, especially when it comes to school work. It is funny because I have to be a little bit of the un-parent: yes you have time to go to the mall after school, no don't redo that paper, who cares if you fail the test, etc. It is a constant discussion with her to have "balance" and keep things in "perspective". (she was SHOCKED when I told her that once you left middle school, NO ONE ever looked at your grades from that time again, ie college).

 

Last year she got an award that our school gives to those students who get all A's in every class, every marking period, on their report card. Needless to say there are only a few of these kids (it includes pe, art, etc). She worked hard, and worried about it all year.

 

So just last week she says to me: "this year I am going to really buckle down in school, and work hard. I didn't do my best last year, could have studied more, etc."

 

WHHAAAT?

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