Monday, September 29, 2008

My Beautiful Oldest Child..

is gifted AND learning disabled.

I went back to the place I took Salamander to last Thursday for another round of educational diagnostic testing to discuss the actual test results. As I already knew (and is now confirmed by actual numbers), Salamander is very very very very bright. Very bright.

The other good news is that the individual cognitive skills are intact.

The not-so-good news is that integration of the various cognitive skills is where the problems are, especially in the *visual input* arena (which is consistent with Salamander's Non Verbal Learning Disorder diagnosis), which results in substantial difficulties in reading (with outflow into writing and math). There is a 50 (!!!) percentile points difference between what he is mentally capable of and his actual output. His reading rate, accuracy and fluency are at a first grade equivalent (he's in 5th grade now); his math computation skills are at a 3rd grade equivalent. I knew these issues are there; it's obvious from the in-school and home work struggles. But actually seeing it quantified.. well, I took another one on the chin....

Can these issues be remediated? Absolutely. Will the learning disabilities become less of an issue as access to the various cognitive skills is improved and integration starts to take place? That is certainly my hope....

But as always, there is a cost. A significant cost (time AND money).

I will do whatever it takes to allow Salamander to fully access his potential. But right now, I am screaming inside (cannot do that aloud, or even let on how much I am hurting inside as I still have an *audience*).
As always, I'll work my way through this bit of news too and then I'll *deal* (that's what I do.. I'm a deal-er, NOT a die-er).

And now for a momentary laps into *if only* and *whine, whine, whine* land... I so wish I had recognized Salamander's challenges at a much earlier age (momma let herself be lulled into complacency until he was 6 years old). While substantial healing and improvement can take place at any age, it becomes harder and harder as the children get older. And you'll find more and more *stuff* that needs remediation.

I was asked repeatedly this weekend when I'll *finally be done with all this stuff*.
My answer? Most likely never....

(and that question followed immediately after my hesitation to agree that *in 10 more years Salamander will have moved out of the house and all of this will be over*).


At 8:35 PM, September 29, 2008 , Anonymous Jeanne said...

Petra, I can't think of anyone better to be by Salamander's side through this hurdle than you. You are his biggest advocate.

You know you're gonna take the bull by the horns and take care of this problem.

I'm just sorry you are having to process this while having an "audience"... you'll recharge your batteries soon and you'll be posting your game plan - which will knock our socks off, as your game plans usually do! :-)

Thinking of you... hope everything eases soon.


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