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Second Opinion

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    Second Opinion

    Have any of you who have had testing done gotten a second opinion? I am incredibly upset about Clara's results, and no one in the family thinks she actually has a below average IQ. We actually think that she is quite bright. I am also heartbroken at the idea that we are supposed to put Clara in school.
    JeJe Greer
    Mom to:
    Stella (8M with 9th grade literature)
    Clara (SC 5/6 and 4th new user)

    Re: Second Opinion

    Most of our testing has been stellar. No need for a second opinion.

    The exception was an early experience when Michelle was a young 5. I think I have mentioned this here before. Both children had been tested at 3 and this was extremely helpful. We were looking to evaluate for autism spectrum. I took Michelle to a low-cost hospital clinic with a rather "green" tester.

    He tested with a host of unnecessary tests and told me that she ...
    1) should switch to working on the computer,
    2) should organize all of her school folders (at young 5) by color according to subject and gave other assorted tips like writing down her locker number where she could find it easily.

    He gave me a packet of additional template suggestions for disorganized children ages 9-17. Michelle's fine-motor was about age 2, and color-coded folders were just a ridiculous idea. I later sent him a more suitable set of tips on organization for children 3-8 to help him with future clients. He said he really appreciated that. At least we might have helped other families!

    3) did not have Kanner's autism (outdated term for "classic" unengaged autistic), which I knew going in, hence the request for more targeted testing, and
    4) that unquestionably, she should go to school.

    The tester had no use for homeschooling and could not see any benefits to a tutorial approach. He also spoke poorly about Michelle in front of her and asked if she eats crayons. Highly suggestible and impulsive in those early years, she promptly began doing this with the tub of crayons in front of her. She did this only once and for the first time -- at this meeting. I repeatedly asked to allow me to excuse her from the room, so she did not need to hear more about all of her "problems," but he refused. It was all really awful.

    He wanted us to follow up. I could not bear to follow up. We thanked him for his report and said we would be pursuing additional information and therapies privately, which we did. I filed his information away and never returned. At that time I did not want to put Michelle through another round of testing, so I figured things out myself for a while. We pressed forward with what we believed to be best for her.

    I think that is the only time I have felt uneasy about testing. Since then I found better places for testing!

    For your situation, keep a few things in mind:
    1) You mentioned to me later that your daughter's oppositional behaviors in the first subtests were noted by the tester as interfering with her overall score. Those first subtests are important! If your daughter was not cooperative, the I.Q. results are skewed downward.
    2) I.Q. testing is not primarily for the full-scale number but more to learn how she learns, find her strengths, and note the areas in which she struggles. Which were her highest subtests? How high were they? What did they measure? These are her strengths. Focus on these to affirm what you know about her abilities. It is possible that the other subtests might have been cognitive strengths as well. Her emotional/behavioral issues are interfering with her testing. A second opinion might only result in further skewing, until she is able to test more accurately.
    3) If you and your husband believe that a tutorial approach to her education is best, and if you cannot find this reasonably near you, then proceed with your best option(s). As her parents you are free to do what you believe is best for her and for your family. If it breaks your heart -- and if you fear it would break hers -- to send her to an inferior school, then your primary task is this: making homeschooling a healthier, more effective, more harmonious option than it has been in the past.

    You're still digesting. You have these next weeks and months to attempt to unravel the information, try the strategies, explore the emotional issues, and move forward. You are under no obligation to make any decisions this soon after receiving the report!


      Re: Second Opinion

      I've been thinking about you Jeje.

      My oldest just had an IEP evalution done by our public school. His IQ came out much lower than it had on previous evaluations -- he refused to participate or refused to do his best on many parts of the eval. So his score was low as a result. So if Clara refused to participate or just didn't really try her best (Anderson does a lot of "I don't knows") her IQ scores could be lower than accurate. Personally, pursuing a repeat evaluation would be low on my priority list if I was in your shoes. (1) I would just know in my gut that her score is higher but (2) I would think it would be unlikely for her to participate more/"try harder" until some behaviors have been addressed.

      Having a child whose primary problem is behavioral is hard. Hard. Anderson has many issues, but this past year his behavior has had to be the primary focus -- he goes to speech therapy twice a week for individual and once for group -- his articulation work was basically put on hold to work on social skills/emotional regulation -- he was unable to work on articulation without foundational emotional/social skills.

      My focus in your situation would be getting counseling and parent training in place. I might consider the Total Transformation program Cheryl has mentioned. It sounds like Jen is going through that.

      As far as homeschooling is concerned . . . you do not have to take the doctors advice. I would want to carefully evaluation all the available options, but I would keep homeschooling on the table. You could initiate an IEP evaluation with the public school system -- that way you could know what her placement would be and what supports she would have if you did enroll her and they could be in place before the fall. You might want to initiate that soon - it usually takes about 3 months.

      You'll need parenting training/counseling regardless of what educational path you take, right? So I'd focus on that for now. I'm the type that feels so much better when I have a longer term plan in place but sometimes you just can't have one and you just have to walk step by step in faith.

      A (11) - R&S math 4, Mash up of MP 2/3 & SC 4
      C (10) - R&S math 3, Mash up of MP 2/3 & SC 4
      G (6) - Simply Classical C


        Re: Second Opinion

        Thank you for your concern and prayers. I guess it would be silly to get a second opinion now. It does not really matter if Clara got a 3 on the Verbal Similarities scaled score when she got 7 to 10 on everything else. Without that score, she would still be within the standard deviation, and should be normal, but slightly lower than average. I am heartened by Cheryl's understanding of the test and its inherent weakness if a child refuses to answer at first, and by the test administrator's comments and score on Clara's Vocabulary subtest, as well as the doctor's indication that Clara simply refused to answer at first, and then "[w]hen the examiner continued past ceiling cutoff (not included in her score), she was able to provide additional responses that indicated her score on the Similarities subtest may not be an accurate reflection of her verbal reasoning ability." Of course, Clara is still below 100 in all of these tests, and her grade level scores showed her to be between grade 1.1 in spelling and 4.3 is applied problems (Clara can do really basic algebra like x+12=19 therefore x=7 or 9-y=5 so y=4). I am guessing that is applied problems, but have not spent the day looking into it more, and spent the weekend crying.

        Cheryl, as always your very frank stories are so helpful, and Susan, I am glad to know that my child is not the only one who just would not answer. I mean, I wish Anderson would have, but sometimes it is so incredibly helpful to know that you are not alone. Clara also has to get speech therapy because she speaks just fine, and then takes a large breath before the last word of her sentence. I had never noticed it. I had speech therapy when I was a kid because I could not say the letter "r." I speak fine now (according to everyone except for my phone!!!).

        I did manage to get Clara into a pscyhologist who sounds wonderful for her since he has his 2 therapy dogs in the room and whenever Clara becomes very stressed she immediately goes to one of our dogs for comfort, plus she wants to be a veterinarian and if she cannot get past vet school maybe she can get past clinical psychology and use therapy animals (A New Hope! It is almost like she is re-inventing Star Wars! - that was supposed to be funny). We have no parent training in Parent Child Interactional Therapy, and the wait list is until August for us to drive 1.5 hours for it at the Children's Hospital. My friends have already agreed to put together Clara's own social skills group to help her interact with other kids. In fact, she got invited to one of the girls' birthday parties at Water World (this is like going to Disney if you are not leaving Colorado!) already. The social skills groups all meet far from home pretty late at night and I cannot see to drive. The pscyhologist (who I really like from the phone interview, much better than the other ones we have seen), will help us find a psychiatrist, but we will have to go to Denver for that.

        So we are down to homeschool or not (which we have until August to decide, as Cheryl remarked, and which I should have realized but I was too busy crying), checking Clara's speech and her nocturnal enuresis (what a term!), getting her sister, who is the victim of almost all of Clara's physical rage, a regularly scheduled time alone with Mom and with Dad, or getting her into therapy, and getting The Explosive Child, which arrives tomorrow courtesy of Amazon Prime. I love that service! I am trying to be more positive. Thank you for your help.
        JeJe Greer
        Mom to:
        Stella (8M with 9th grade literature)
        Clara (SC 5/6 and 4th new user)


          Re: Second Opinion

          We love you, JeJe. 💕